What I like about blogging is that I can be as subjective as I like, and this blog is going to be very subjective, so if you’re a big fan of privatisation you had best not read on. There are many political reasons both for and against privatisation but, I’m not going to be talking about them (especially the reasons for). What I want this blog to convey is how great the NHS is and why it should remain in the public sector.
I’m going to start with a history lesson of the NHS. Many people know that the NHS was formed in 1948 just after the Second World War, with its aim being to provide health care for everyone who needed it regardless of their wealth. Aneurin Bevan, the then health secretary of Labour government, is known as the chief architect of the NHS, what is less known is that the idea of the NHS was actually suggested in 1942 by William Beveridge as part of the Beveridge Report. So what was life like before the NHS? Well you would be wrong if you thought the poor received no medical help. Researching for this blog I came across an article in the Daily Telegraph which argued that there was no need for the NHS and that medical care was available for the poor pre NHS, the article claims there were no waiting lists and there were sufficient nurses and doctors. I could probably write a whole blog criticising the article to be honest, but that’s not what this blog is about. Needless to say any medical help that was available to the poor certainly wasn’t the care that is offered by the NHS now. Many women who wanted a doctor present at the birth of their children would have to pay for the privilege as well as pay for the cost of the medicine. Sure there was medical help for those without money, but it was in the infirmaries in workhouses. The NHS has brought us out of this and now we have a healthcare system that we should be proud of. No one need go without care that is needed, simply because they have no money, medicine is available to those who cannot afford the cost of it, our children are inoculated against diseases, and all of this is paid by out of taxes meaning that care will be given to those who need it when they need it no matter how much money they have. Sick people no longer need to rely on charities to pay for their care or go into a workhouse to be made fit again.
The NHS is the best healthcare system in the world. I don’t really need the link because I am certain of it. The reason it is the best healthcare system in the world is simple, it’s because it’s a public body run for the benefit of people. It has the best staff in the world, the nurses the doctors and the support staff do an amazing job, they work all 12 hour shifts, day or night, 365 days a year. They don’t care who you are, what you do or how much money you have. They don’t judge you, they won’t refuse you, they will care for you, they will do their best to get you well again, and if they can’t they will give you the best end of life care that you could wish for. They are an amazing bunch of people who rarely get the credit they deserve, and above all this they do it because they care about people. In fact the whole system works because it was built to care for people.
So what is the problem with privatisation of the NHS? Well the problem is, that once NHS care is delivered by private companies it stops being about caring for people and it becomes about caring for profits. Any private company that takes money from the government to deliver health care will need to make a profit for its shareholders. This means that for every pound that should go for caring for the sick, disabled, mentally ill etc. will be reduced to pay for profits. How many nurses could be paid for out of the money that will be skimmed off for profit? Private companies will look to save more money by buying less reliable equipment or drugs. Some private companies will be the supplier of equipment or drugs and sell at inflated prices because they will have no competition. Nursing staff wages will be cut making them work more hours making them more tired and less able to give the care they otherwise would. Before long there would be charges for GP appointments and ambulances, queues for operations will be able to be jumped by those willing to pay for them. All of this will lead once again to the poor not receiving health care because they will not be able to afford appointments or ambulances. Simply put, private healthcare is what we had before the NHS why would we go backwards when we have the best healthcare system in the world?
Let’s keep our NHS and let’s shout out how great it is, because, it may not be perfect but it’s the best in the world, because, it puts the wellbeing of people first, not profit and because it has staff who care.