The National Health Service has already become too big, but has it now finally reached breaking point? Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the BMA thinks it has, and I do too.
An article in the Guardian today discloses comments made by Dr Porter which include:
- An “arbitrary” straitjacket on the NHS’s budget by Whitehall is leading to job losses, recruitment freezes and inadequate care for patients.
- Forcing the NHS in England to make £20bn of “efficiency gains” by 2015 at a time of rising demand for healthcare was wrong and damaging.
He is, of course, exactly right. Making cuts to the 5th largest employer in the world is inevitably going to have a negative effect when the government is its only source of income.
The article goes on to quote the Department of Health:
- “The key thing to remember is that there’s effectively a policy that results in redundancies because the single most important policy determinant in the NHS is the spending limits on it imposed by the government.”
- “The NHS’s budget should be based on population growth and people’s health needs rather than arbitrary Treasury spending limits.”
Again, I agree with these comments. Where I start to disagree with Dr Porter, the DoH, Labour, the guardian, the BBC, and in fact, the majority of the british people, is on how to fix the NHS. We can’t throw more money at it (Unless you know someone who has a tree on which money grows) because our government is already spending too much (Not to mention the debt!).
If I had it my way, I would gradually reduce the NHS by replacing services with a true free market in which private healthcare companies can operate. This would drive down the costs of healthcare compared to the NHS and would save UK taxpayers £billions. In fact, in a previous post I described how the NHS could save 8% of its budget in one swoop by privatising GP services. Do you want to pay for people picking up sick notes for work off their doctor?
Anyway, this idea is probably impossible to achieve due to the media’s grip over the word ‘privitization’. The only real difficulty that occurs due to privatization is it means people would have to shop around themselves for the best bargin. It means they would have to get up off their backside and make their own decisions instead of being forced to pay for one price by the government.