Are You Killing The NHS?
Health service varies around the world and as an immigrant coming from a developing country; I respect the quality and service provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
You would too if you had firsthand experience of families and friends losing everything they earned, forced to sell their house because of their inability to cover hospital bills. Recently my aunt had a heart surgery and had to shell out a whooping £5000 for staying in the hospital for two nights. Admittedly this was the cost for private healthcare but in most countries there aren’t a lot of better options as public healthcare in India is unashamedly shoddy. So when I compare that with public healthcare and the overall quality and experience in the UK and see how NHS is criticised in the media, it breaks my heart. A lot of times people grumble about something as petty as not having matching pair of pyjamas.
So all the moaners who complain about the NHS need to read about healthcare in Britain pre-1948 and see how well taken care of you would have felt back then. Failing that try migrating to America, don't get any health insurance and tell me what happens or maybe you’d learn to appreciate the NHS if you knew a few facts about healthcare in the world.
Did you know that over two million children die every year due to lack of proper healthcare just in India? This is the highest number anywhere in the world. More than half die in the month after birth and 400,000 in their first 24 hours due to lack of proper healthcare within the country.
The NHS is open to all and it’s free. In contrast almost half the world (over three billion) people are affected by poverty which not only excludes people from the benefits of health-care systems but also restricts them from participating in decisions that affect their health.
The NHS provides open and accessible youth friendly sexual health clinics which is taken for granted in the UK when in contrast around 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of information to lack of access to services. Most of these women with an unmet need for contraceptives live in 69 of the poorest countries on earth.
No human being should be denied healthcare treatment but did you know that in some countries transgender/people with different sexual orientations (LGBT) are laughed at and denied treatment. This intolerance in many countries leads to many deaths in the world. In the medical world neglect leads to inequality and deaths. We need to learn to appreciate that the NHS is inclusive and open to everybody from every ethnicity, every sexual orientation where treatment isn’t denied but provided to one and all.
The British Medical Journal says that the NHS is one of the most cost-effective health systems in the developed world and the study has been published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. So next time you complain or hear others complain about the NHS ask yourself – how much do you know about the healthcare in other countries and compare it with how good you’ve got it here.
The NHS isn’t flawless as anyone who works in it could tell you but these problems are entirely different from what is reported in the media.
A starting point would be accepting that admin staff is needed. When political parties talk about financial deficits and cost cutting, the immediate solution is firing administrative staff and make doctors do all the work. But that also means you're paying a doctors wage for simple admin tasks and giving them less time to spend with patients. There is simply no place for this 19 century work environment bullshit in healthcare.
Strenuous and long burnout shifts, startling bureaucracy from middle management, insufficient doctors and plenty of professional arrogance - no wonder it's falling apart, not just here, but in other parts of the world too. Intimately like anything, improving healthcare is not easy due to the costs required as well as various social, political and economic conditions. There isn’t one answer to health care provision, but a number of systems and issues seem to be emerging but we, the people, play a big role in changing it.
Personally I am aware that this isn’t a foolproof system but it is much better than a lot of other healthcare systems out there. I have never had any problems with the NHS. Most problems glamorised by the media can be defects in your local surgery and pharmacy than in the NHS as a whole. In any case, I can tell you that the situation would only get worse if the NHS was dismantled and privatised. Ultimately, if we lose faith in the NHS, then the NHS will die.
Before brushing the quality of the NHS here are few things you should remember:
“1.The NHS is rated stellar than most of its counterparts in the developed countries for the delivery of quality of care and service.
2. NHS heart surgery outcomes are 25% better than the European average
3. The NHS compares very favourably to other industrialised countries in terms of access to healthcare” via Liberal Conspiracy
The way we use healthcare has just as much an impact on its success or failure just as anything else. So next time you hear someone criticise/take advantage of nurses, doctors or carers within the NHS over something petty, please take a minute to realise the wonderful gift we’ve been given. The NHS is ours and we have to remember our part in improving the system.
So if you’ve been asked to have your say on the NHS what would it be?
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