01 January 2008

NHS Bill of Rights

A new constitution for the NHS, proposed by the Government, would set out for the first time the rights and responsibilities linked to entitlement to NHS care. However, as we enter the year of the health service's 60th anniversary, does transforming it into "an NHS which is more personal and responsive to individual needs" really mean it will cease being free at the point of delivery for all and become a conditional provider of health services — more personal and responsive only to the needs of those who do not struggle with issues such as over-eating and smoking? Or, if the NHS is to survive, is this a necessary compromise in an age when an increasing number of patients expect their taxes to entitle them to access an ever-increasing range of expensive treatments and an ever-increasing choice of optional extras?

3 comments:

The Stonemason said...

It is becoming increasingly clear that the NHS is not providing a good service. Despite the vast amount of money it consumes and the huge numbers of people it employs (it is the third largest employer in the world after the Red Army and the Indian railways), sick people in the UK have a significantly lower chance of recovering than people from other European countries or the USA. Why should I pay taxes for other people to be cared for if they have lung cancer after smoking for 40 years, liver cirrhosis from binge-drinking or want an abortion after a one night stand? We use the NHS to pick up the pieces of our health after we have abused our bodies - the element of personal responsibility is taken out by a universal, free-at-the-point-of-delivery health service. NHS funding and the delivery of health servies in the UK needs root and branch reform so that the people of the UK can have access to levels of medical practice and health care are available to us as they are in toher parts of the developed world.

Freelander said...

patients expect their taxes to entitle them to access an ever-increasing range of expensive treatments and an ever-increasing choice of optional extras?

That comment is fine IF they have paid taxes. Since the Health Service began it has also been that those visiting our country or new immigrants ALSO expect to be entitled to a range of expensive treatments and an ever-increasing choice of optional extras.

Matt J said...

It's all very well releasing these ideas and suggestions but can we actually trust the government to carry out their promise on health reform and, for that matter, any other promises at all?

We have yet to see any real change or improvement to the country from Gordon Brown's administration and I fear that the next 18 months may be a backward journey for the United Kingdom...!