Let’s be frank. Like too many things in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service is in dire straits. Gorging on taxpayers money similar to how a fat person does cakes, the once “envy of the world” has become something of a laughing stock.
And we let it carry on without reproach. There is something of a stigma that comes with attacking the NHS which has allowed this omnishambles to carry on unchallenged. Any effort to make the case a £108.9 billion a year budget for this “service” is perhaps a huge waste of our money is almost instantaneously shut down. The fear of privatisation has suffocated any intelligent debate on how best healthcare can be offered, with the most efficient utilisation of resources.
What is clear is that we cannot continue as we are. Despite the funding, patients are still subject to waiting lists that can stretch months, and in areas criminally substandard care. A case can be made for immigration putting an unsustainable strain on the system and of course it is important that the NHS remains a national service than an international one. But ultimately, the immigration argument is just a scapegoat for much deeper problems. Bureaucracy has led to an ever-thickening band of middle management, which on the whole, is simply unrequired. Obscene salaries going to people whose jobs shouldn’t even exist is sapping the life out of the system. Such wastage is greatly impacting the end product, and if such issues aren’t addressed soon, the NHS will not survive.
Almost certain to be the heartbeat of the general election, the political parties are all doing their best to get the jump on the other, as the electioneering begins to heat up.
The Labour party continue to believe they own the NHS and are forging an election campaign on being the arch-defenders of it, conveniently forgetting they have been responsible for some of the privatisation that has taken place, through Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs). Ed Miliband has pledged an extra £2 billion if he’s elected next year, with a new ‘mansion tax’ in order to fund it. A naive policy for a naive electorate. The idea that £2 billion added to a budget of 109 will solve the problem is a delusion of Keynesian proportions.wil
Prime Minister David Cameron used his well documented personal circumstances as leverage to show his support for the NHS at this autumn’s Conservative party conference. Promising to protect the budget, the Tories showed that whilst they don’t seem keen to throw money around like confetti, they have few ideas of reform. Indeed, they will spend most of the next five months convincing voters that they won’t privatise it further.
The UK Independence Party had the opportunity to offer a new alternative but have missed the boat in order to win over potential Old Labour voters. Footage recently emerged of Nigel Farage mooting an insurance-based system back in 2012, which the media proceeded to wrongly interpret, claiming the UKIP leader was in favour of Americanising healthcare. The party recently confirmed they will keep the NHS free at the point of delivery. They did however propose to reduce the bureaucracy within the system, in order to produce a more efficient end product.
Unsurprisingly, none are offering any real radical alternatives. Threatening to make any substantial changes to the way our healthcare system operates would be political suicide.
We have developed such a loathing of the free market that we have bogged ourselves down with an NHS which we are prepared to accept, despite stark under performance. The concept of liberty is so dead in this country that there is no choice for people to opt-out and receive a tax rebate, in order to seek their own healthcare. We must all struggle along together, give our money up, and allow it to be squandered in the most disgraceful manner.
Whilst parties pander to the voters every time election season rolls around, unaffordable and irresponsible policies will continue to rule the roost. The fact is, the NHS in its current state will soon cease to exist unless it undergoes serious reform. We need to decide what we want. If intent on keeping the service free, which we appear to be, we have to be realistic, serious cuts are needed. That doesn’t mean firing doctors and nurses it means stripping out the bureaucracy and looking at how to make the system more efficient. If that requires some business nous, then so be it. I haven’t heard a better option.
Anything would be better than what we have currently. The taxpayer has been mugged off for far too long, and if it wasn’t the NHS, more would challenge it. They don’t, for fear of change. Provided it remain “free at the point of use”, people are happy for the government to steal more and more of our incomes to pay for it.
Which makes me think, it isn’t really free at all.