Should we really love the NHS
An assault by various members of the US Congress, Public Action Committees and Former Governor of Alaska and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin on the National Health Service caused outrage in the UK. Recently Conservative MEP Brian Hannan unleashed a withering barrage of criticism when he attacked the NHS on Fox News. But should Britain really love the NHS or are there other models that people in the UK should turn their affection to and are there other models apart from ours that the US should think about emulating.
Helps people regardless of whether people are rich or poor
The NHS is a life saving organisation which saves thousands of lives each year whether as a result of serious injuries sustained in an accident or as a result of diseases such as Cancer or Leukemia. This provides a measure of equality which helps poor people as one of the NHS's key principles is to provide healthcare based on the priority of those who are in clinical need of treatment rather than those who have the most money.
Helps disabled people and old aged people to live equally
Stephen Hawking who is affected by Motor Neurone Disease said in response to criticisms of the NHS :"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.". Disabled people of all conditions are given a large amount of access to medical treatment and support such as speech therapy at a young age and prescription glasses something that is not provided in countries like the US.
Also the elderly benefit from access to flu vaccinations as well as
Makes medical innovation accessible to those who need it
The NHS has been the place where some groundbreaking improvements in medicine surgery and in medical technology have taken place. For example in Scotland in 1950 Ultrasound scanning was developed by Professor Ian Donald. "Also in 1974 the Glasgow Coma scale was developed by NHS employed Bryan Jennett and Ian Teasdale something which improved the ways doctors asess the level of conciousness of those that suffered brain injuries [[http://www.60yearsofnhsscotland.co.uk/history/60-years-of-innovation/]].
Also South of the border there have been improvements such as in the way we treat liver cancer for example operating to remove as many modules as possible rather than just a certain number in a certain area which before the late 1980's was the certain procedure and something that costs lives.[[ Jane Elliot "Cheers-an extra 21 years of life!" BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8176956.stm%5D%5D. What happened on one patient has happened on over 1300 people in one hospital and possibly where as had it been confined to those that could merely afford to pay then the number of people who's lives would have been saved would be far lower. The same thing applies to the innovations north of the boarder.
The N.H.S relies on a stable or rising birth rate . As people grow older and more people become unable to work then the dependency on those active will increase causing taxes to rise.
Yes and more people are born,people who were formerly young become old and people who were formerly are dead.Really, new young people replace old young people who replace people who are now expired.The number of old people will only rise if the number of young people did, earlier and or if they received better health-care.
If the number of young or active people also rises, taxes will not rise.
It isn't a case of it ain't broke don't fix it
While the UK may have a good healthcare system that is mostly miles better than the United States there are other countries that do perform better in areas something that was noted in a report done by the Commonwealth Fund which compared the UK, the USA, Germany, Canada and Australia on a number of key areas.
The report cites Germany's healthcare is more accessible than the UK. Also the United States and the United Kingdom both fall badly behind when it comes to the number of people leading healthy lives. For example where deaths are caused by conditions that are treatable the UK has 130 deaths per 100,000 people which makes it higher than Australia's which is at 88 deaths. Admittedly the data is from 1998 and those areas may have improved but it still counts. [[Deborah Lorber "Mirror Mirror On the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care"http://debatewise.com/debates/1017-should-british-people-really-love-the-nhs/points/5128/edit?type=against Accessed 17.08.2009]]
Furthermore there are some systems that are better in terms of cost effectiveness that aren't . For example Cuba is cited as a system that provides effective free universal healthcare which is something that isn't bad for a developing country and one that has been subject to strong US sanctions in the past.
So while the UK may have a fair system there are always ways in which to improve the system.
What do you think?