Monday, 27 July 2015

PoliticalSpeak: is this the beginning of the end of the NHS as we know it?

What will happen to the care of MSers in the new NHS? #PoliticalSpeak #MSBlog

"I have always maintained that if you have MS you would want to live in the UK and be managed under the NHS, or one of  the other socialist healthcare systems in Europe. I still believe this. However, there are worrying political clouds on the horizon. The following news piece summarises the issues very well. It its present form the NHS appears to be too expensive for central funding and the government is looking for alternative funding models. What do you think?"


Ingrid Torjesen. Government plans inquiry that could mean end of NHS free at point of use. BMJ 2015;351:h3971

Excerpts:

.... The Department of Health for England is considering an inquiry to look at how the NHS should be funded to ensure its future sustainability, which some doctors fear could put in jeopardy a founding principle of the NHS: that it is free at the point of use....

.... The inquiry was suggested during a House of Lords debate on the “sustainability of the National Health Service as a public service free at the point of need,” which took place on 9 July.....

.... Commenting on the potential inquiry, Clive Peedell, co-founder and co-leader of the National Health Action Party, said that the proposal seemed to have “slipped by very quietly.” ....

.... In the House of Lords Patel pointed out that close to 9% of gross domestic product was spent on the NHS, that 89% of NHS trusts were forecasting deficits, that outcomes, including those relating to cancer and avoidable deaths, were poor, and that the NHS needed to achieve productivity gains far in excess of the 0.4% year on year that it had attained historically. “In this scenario the NHS will need an annual budget of nearly £200bn [€290bn; $310bn] by 2030 and one fifth of the nation’s entire wealth by 2060,” Patel said.....

.... The health secretary for England, Jeremy Hunt, last week refused to guarantee that the current system of funding would remain. After a speech at the King’s Fund in which he set out a 25 year vision for the NHS,1 Hunt was asked whether the budget would continue to be funded by taxpayers for the next 25 years. He replied, “I am confident, but I don’t have a crystal ball.”....

CoI: none

12 comments:

  1. Its amazing how blind the population of the UK can be. The NHS is one of the finest institutions this country has ever had, and yet in front of our eyes the conservative government seeks to dismantle it. The politicians speak from both sides of their self serving mouths, saying 'NHS funding is ring-fenced' whilst simultaneously attempting to hand responsibility to private providers, the track record of whom is dubious to say the least with the treatment of long term life threatening diseases. It is no exaggeration to say that if it wasn't for the NHS treatments I have received in my lifetime I personally would not be here today, and finding any kind of private healthcare provider willing to insure me and provide the medication I require to manage MS would be impossible.

    It is only when the population actually starts to personally suffer that anything will be done to save the NHS, and by then it will probably be to late to save. Whilst the population feels fat and happy nothing will sadly change. It is a telling indictment of society as to how well it treats its vulnerable members, possibly the only hope is that the majority are in fact compassionate and in theory at least desire a universal health care system, that perhaps will prevent the politicians from condemning this country to a two tier system such as we see in the united states: health rich, and health poor.

    Or perhaps this country has become so 'Thatcherised' and self obsessed that the very bonds of society have in fact been broken and there is no connection to ones fellow man? If this is the case there truly is no long term future for this society and I will simply move to a desert island and wait for the mushroom clouds to dissipate! Its never going to happen.....UNTILL IT DOES!

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    1. I totally agree ! And let me know which desert island you are thinking about. Personally I am seriously looking at Iceland, because I'm heat intolerant and it has a universal healthcare system. Plus I like snow, volacanoes and socialism!

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    2. This is what British electorates' voted for last May. We got the government we wanted. The decision was made by us.

      The insidious Americanisation of British culture continues. We're getting fat and stupid.

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    3. Nope, I didn't get the government I wanted. And nor did a large percentage of the population, Tories only won a quarter of the overall vote. I blame Russell Brand:(. But that's first past the post democracy for you. Iceland on the other hand, as well as being -arguably- the oldest democracy uses PR.

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    4. Socialism is dead; Britain can't afford it! As soon as we realise this the better.

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    5. You've been drinking the Kool-Aid.

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    6. Maybe we just need to pay more taxes....what do you say Dre?

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    7. Diagnosed in 1978, I've seen my fair share of NHS highs and lows. In 1994 when it was on it's knees, I was admitted with an MS relapse. The wards were filthy and the bed linen was in shreds and blood stained. Who had heard of MRSA until the Thatcher years? There were patients that came from A&E that complained constantly and wanted to be transferred to private beds. No private A&E is probably why the government is so fixated on waiting times. Labour overspent because it took years to restore the NHS to put patients first. Now, we are seeing the new majority government tearing it to pieces again. There is loads of waste in the NHS and maybe they should look at that first, before sending us to an early grave.

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    8. The expectation that we can have a Scandinavian level of public services with an American level of personal taxation has been at the heart of the conundrum for the last 30 odd years.

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    9. "The expectation that we can have a Scandinavian level of public services with an American level of personal taxation"
      Alas, it has indeed. But with the Tory planned cuts, the reality may sink in. Then again perhaps not for those who don't get sick or do not have friends/ relatives who do.

      For quite masochistic reasons, I'm quite fascinated by the Daily Mail comments section and the levels of self interest and lack of empathy is astounding. I'd like to believe this not the 'norm' for the UK but that's probably just wishful thinking. I have no problem with paying higher taxes for a good health service, or good educational system, or even just a more compassionate society - so Iceland is definitely on the cards for me.

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  2. As a Yank, I can say that I feel for all of you. Until Obamacare arrived, we pretty much lived in one of two states: 1.) Blissfully ignorant and healthy, and 2.) Chronically ill and uninsurable. If you got sick, you had to hold onto your healthcare (usually through your employer) at all costs, and hope that you could keep working. Obviously, MS is the perfect disease to make that impossible, if it goes badly. Then you were fed into the jaws of the insurance beast. With Obamacare, came the "no pre-existing" rule, and hope. Let's see how long it lasts (if we get a Republican President in the next election cycle, look for Congress to begin trying to dismantle Obamamcare).

    In short - I'd suggest you hold onto the NHS at all costs. Your fears aren't misplaced - the second you privatize healthcare is the same second that profits trump life.

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  3. As an American with MS, my boss and I used to talk politics. Then we had the affordable care act (Obama care when Republicans want to put it down or ACA when they want to praise our healthcare). When it came before our supreme court, my boss asked which side I hoped would win, expecting a defense of the ACA. I said I have no dog in the fight. If the supreme court over turns it, we will get to universal healthcare quicker. The ACA was the product of a conservative think tank trying to save private healthcare in America. What most here refuse to believe in our demonization of anything not free market, is that we have socialized medicine already.

    Socialized from an economic view means the people (ie the government) controls the means of production or distribution of a good or service. I was diagnosed in a licensed hospital by a state licensed doctor. I take medication approved by our Food and Drug Administration which I get from a state licensed pharmacy. The government has controlled every good and service I have used for my MS treatment. We have socialized medicine here in the U.S. too...it's just not run well for those who need it most.

    As it stands now, we are finding we can not afford to treat many illnesses either. Prescription drugs are currently poised to topple our insurance systems, both public and private. The costs for MS drugs to our society pales in comparison to the costs of cancer drugs and Hepatitis C drugs. Don't think going the American route will save your government from spending too much on medical goods and services.

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