This assignment will consider whether the NHS has been a ‘60 year mistake’ giving a brief outline of its strengths and weaknesses. It will summarise the comments made by the Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan and equally, the comments made by David Cameron the Conservative leader on Hannan’s remarks. Finally it will consider the future of the NHS and whether it should continue functioning as it is or change to an ‘open market system’.
From its inception in 1948 the NHS has been hotly debated as to whether it has been successful in its promise to deliver its three basic principles: (1) meeting the needs of everyone, (2) be free at the point of service and (3) based on clinical needs, not the ability to pay (Walsh, et al, 2000: 47). A number of reports indicate that it has, but that a high price has been paid to keep it operational.
The NHS can be congratulated for helping the British population achieve a better and extended quality of life attributable to the eradication of diseases, eg TB, because of immunisation programmes, advances in medicines and technologies resulting in the treatment of an assortment of illnesses, and education into healthier living practices. Free prescriptions, eye tests and dental care for those people on benefits mean they do not have to suffer because of a lack of income. This has been achieved through general taxation with the richer contributing proportionally more than poorer people, with care based on clinical needs rather than worrying about who has paid what into the system.
However, this progress has had its drawbacks. It has led to a growth, not accurately forecast, in the population resulting in more burdens being placed on the Government to find funding. The Government has tried ways to recoup some monies using prescription charges but this alone has not been enough to cover pharmaceutical bills. Another consequence of this expanding and also ageing population is that more benefits are being claimed and the need...