Should the NHS undergo radical reform and how far should we go?
With reform of the NHS again on the agenda and some saying we should scrap it, how should we reform the NHS and indeed how far should we go to achieve this.
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Yes to NHS reform
The NHS needs a redical overhaul if its is to remain the main health provider for the next 60 years. It needs to look at new forms of paying for healthcare such as social insurance or co-payments. We also need to look at other providers of care coming into the system and working alongside the NHS in providing both primary and acite care services. We need to look at the role that government plays in the NHS and whether it should move towards being the gaurdian of healthcare, ensuring access for everyone and setting regulation/standards.
See my response to "There needs to be a greater focus on alernative methods of funding healthcare", further down the page.
The NHS it to bureaucratic and needs slmming down
The NHS needs radical reductions in the amount of adminisration that it consumes, with vast layers of management and administrators cut out in order for it to funciton in a more flexible and patient focused way.
What precisely needs reduction? Reducing management and administration, the NHS could not function properly. The idea that it would function better is absurd. Not to mention the fact that cutting tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of jobs is epitomy of economic stupidity during a recession. If anything at all the NHS needs to nationalise those parts that have been previously privatised and its budget significantly enlarged.
I personally have no qualms whatsoever with the NHS. Yes, when I read a story about superbugs etc. I think that it is very unfortunate indeed. But these things are bound to happen no matter how much money you put into the NHS, nor how much money you take out of it. Reducing its size or enlarging its size makes no difference to these sorts of problems.
There needs to be a greater focus on alernative methods of funding healthcare
There needs to be new forms of funding healthcare introduced as the current method of a fullt tax-funded healthcare system in unsustainable in the long term. There should be moves to look at social insurance as a serious model for future funding of healthcare, this works in most European countries and is a good way to create a responsible and patient centred health system. More importantly such a system ensures that only those on what can be deemed good wages will pay insurance, those that cant afford to for whatever reason would continue having their healthcare provided by general taxation. This is both progressive and fair and would allow on those in society with the greatest need to be covered through taxation, the majority would pay into insurance schemes and would therefore reduce the pressure on government expenditure.
Firstly, how is a fully tax-funded NHS "unsustainable in the long term"?
Secondly, if the plan is to allow people who can't afford insurance free healthcare, why not simply allow everyone to have free health-care and tax the rich more instead of charging them both taxes and insurance? The rich would be more happy with this, along with the poor, working and middle-classes and, necessarily, also the doctors. The doctors of the NHS love working in it. There may be many who have various problems with certain policies of the government in the NHS, but the vast majority of doctors/GP's etc. would simply refuse to work for the NHS.
Through the enlargement of healthcare in the private sector so it infringes upon the NHS. Where would the private sector get its doctors from? The NHS staff are paid very well indeed (more money is not an issue in switching from the nationalised to the privatise as the doctors' preference is the National Health Service and that they don't need more money).
Other group should be allowed to provide healthcare alongside the NHS
The situation at current where the NHS has a monopoly on providing healthcare to UK citizens is not sustainable in both the meduim or long-term future and there seriously needs to be amended. There should be barriers removed so that charities, religious organisations and private companies provide healthcare ranging from hopsitals, doctors surgeries, clinics, dentists and others. This is the same system that works in major European countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands. It allows a mixture of state, non-for-profit and private to provide healthcare services to citizens and for the patient to choose where he or she wishes to have their treatment carried out to, to see a doctor or to have a small procedure carried out to. This system also breaks the monopoly of the NHS and allows of providers to compete for patients and therefore giving them incentives to offer good quality services, tailored to the patients needs and responsive to their concerns.
All this would achieve is an ultimate decrease in the size of the NHS and its resources. Doctors should be contributing to the NHS to help the most people possible, not helping the privileged few. The doctors working for the NHS love their jobs and most of them can't think why on earth any other doctor would want to treat people privately anyway. There is absolutely no argument for private healthcare. If the argument is that it takes the strain off the NHS, then this can be countered simply by "if that private doctor worked for the NHS, the strain would no longer be there".
There is absolutely no place for a private health system anywhere (unless the state is doing a terrible job of it themselves which, in Britain's case, is far from the truth).
A Question Already Addressed.
This question is already being answered by the Labour Government. They have been reforming the NHS for over twelve years now. If you want to see what Labour is now trying to do for the NHS, then look at some of their policies. What they are doing is far more sensical than anything the Conservatives have proposed. (The only reason I am bringing party politics into this is because the question has a hint of Conservative support - suggesting that reform is not going on currently but that it will happen in the future under a new Government).
The NHS should not undergo radical reforms becuase there is no reason to do so. If by radical reforms we mean more choice, then this is simply a terrible idea (something Andy Burnham, Health Secretary, has said that he wants to do - disagree). The only result of all these choice-inclined plans is that people will abuse the system more than they can already. The idea that choice is beneficial as a patient under the NHS is an illusion. It's not. In fact, if GP's are able to be held accountable by patients and that patients are able to report that GP or leave that GP, then the GP is simply inclined to give the patient whatever they want - this will lead to a lack of resources and ultimately a huge waste of money, because people think they know better than the GP. They don't. Also proposed (and widely assumed to be good) is the policy of being able to choose one's GP. This is a terrible idea. What happens to the GP that people just "happen" not to like? He/she wouldn't be a GP if they were a bad person, or more importantly, a bad doctor. So what is there to fuss about in choosing a GP? All this will result to is a policy of favouritism, resulting in certain GP's being overloaded with work and thereby fairing worse in performance and practicality, and those GP's who are being underworked end up losing their jobs or being pretty much pointless.
What do you think?