When the NHS was formed it was meant to be a free and fair system. It was to be funded through the tax system, with those who could pay more taking some of the burden. I think we can all agree it is still a great idea. We all need health care at different times. We all expect the NHS to be there when we need it.
Now there is an opposing view. It suggests that as the population ages and health costs rise that free and fair NHS system isn’t sustainable. The suggestion is that the private sector should come in and more and more people should make use of it.
The NHS reform bill is in truth all about the second view. Those who hold this view say they are doing it to save the NHS! It may well be very different NHS, one reduced to a safety net for those who can’t afford a private service but there will still be an NHS. Because I. like so many others believe in fairness and the NHS I know which view I agree with.
The NHS has been a massive success though of course it has never been perfect. It is easy to confuse reform with destruction. I’d like to see the NHS reformed and improved. The success of the NHS is reflected in an increased life expectancy. We should rejoice as life expectancy increases and turn our attentions to adding life to the years gained so people are active and happier for longer too! There is something just a little disgusting in seeing improved life expectancy as a problem. Our elders deserve respect for their lifetime of hard work and hard won wisdom.
It is a hard honest fact that the NHS is a very efficient system. The outcomes we achieve, the quality it delivers and levels patient satisfaction are incredibly high compared to the level of spending. In the USA they spend over two and half times more yet have a lower life expectancy and obscene health inequalities between rich and poor. It isn’t a system we should try and copy.
Last week I wrote about this ahead of a crucial vote in parliament to reveal the truth and publish the risk registers of the new bill. That vote was defeated as government MPs both Conservative and Lib Dem voted to hide the truth of the NHS reforms from the public. I support the NHS and want the truth about these reforms to be told.