NHS is more fully known as the National Health Service. As it is quite obvious from the name, the National Health Service is a type of organization which provides ordinary citizens with a range of health services free to a certain extent. These healthcare services do not include optical care services and dental care services. The National Health Service was set up after the Second World Ware as a type of social reform. According to various reports and sources, the National Health Service was setup at the same time in England, Wales, and Scotland. All of these services were setup in 1948 and in this year, the Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern Ireland was also established and this organization is affiliated with the National Health Service (NHS). Currently, the NHS faces many challenges because of which many experts have suggested that it should be privatized. However, there are many possible pros and cons of that decision which one must consider before making that decision.
An Introduction to the National Health Service (NHS)
As it was mentioned above, the National Health Service is an organization which provides ordinary citizens with free healthcare services to a certain extent. NHS in England, NHS Wales, NHS Scotland, and the Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern England, which is affiliated with NHS, were all established in the year 1948 after the Second World War. There are three founding principles of NHS and those principles are that healthcare services provided by NHS should be free at the point of delivery, comprehensive, and universal.
In the majority of the cases, patients are exempted from paying any charge for availing healthcare services but in some cases, they might have to pay certain standard charges or some sort of prescription fee. It is important for readers to remember that each of these National Health Service (NHS) systems are operated independently from each other and are accountable to the relevant government. For example, NHS Wales would be accountable to the Welsh government while the NHS Scotland will be accountable to the Scottish government.
The idea of the National Health Service was proposed in 1944 by Henry Willink, who was conservative Health Minister and MP at that time. Over time, certain challenges starting cropping up. And because of these challenges, many experts have postulated that a new approach needs to be taken to deal with these challenges. And one such potential new approach is the privatization of the National Health Service (NHS).
The Current Challenges Faced by the NHS
As it was mentioned above, the National Health Service currently faces a number of challenges. And some of those major challenges are mentioned below.
- The Problem of Funding
According to the official reports, NHS is funded to a total percentage of 98.8 from the National Insurance contributions and general taxation. Only a small amount is paid by the customers or the patients when they use the services. Further, only 10% of the total GDP is spent on healthcare. The NHS also started out with the funding of roughly 9 billion euro. And at that time, this amount seemed to be sufficient. However, since 1940, now there is a larger population to take care of which comprises mainly of elderly people. Because of this, even the current budget of more than 122.5 billion euro is not sufficient.
- The Current Issue with Staffing
Currently, many NHS staff members are considering leaving due to the plan to exit the European unit. This is simply because of the fact that physicians are in a state of doubt regarding whether their families will be able to continue living in the country or not.
- The Overall Performance Records
According to a recent study conducted by the Health Foundation, it has been found that the main weakness of NHS is its healthcare outcomes. When the mortality rates for heart attacks, strokes, and cancer were compared with other countries then the NHS had some of the highest mortality rates.
- The Mental Health Care Services
When it comes to mental health services, then patients have to wait excessively long to avail those services. In many cases, patients might even have to wait for thirteen months to get the right mental health treatment.
These are some of the major challenges which are faced by the NHS. If the government organization wish for the NHS to continue functioning and existing then it is important for all to join forces together and find an efficient solution to all these issues.
The Pros of Privatizing the NHS
Privatizing the NHS is observed to be one of the solutions which can be used to solve the current issues which are being faced by NHS. There are certainly a number of benefits of privatizing the NHS. And some of those benefits are mentioned below.
- More Efficient Services
One of the challenges which are being faced by the NHS is that the services are not being delivered efficiently. This could be due to the fact that the number of patients in the emergency unit has increased drastically but this does not negate the fact that an appropriate solution is needed. By opting for the privatization of NHS, efficiency could be improved upon with ease.
- Less Waiting Time
Many patients have to wait for more than a year to receive proper healthcare support. This is definitely not ideal and can be harmful to the overall health of an individual. This is why by privatizing the NHS the waiting time can be reduced tremendously.
- More Choices for Patients
Another major benefit of privatizing the NHS is that it will allow patients to receive more choices in terms of healthcare services and treatment options.
The Cons of Privatizing the NHS
There are always two sides to a debate. And similarly, privatizing the NHS can also have many drawbacks. And some of those cons are mentioned below.
- The Higher Costs
The most obvious drawback of privatizing the NHS is that the prices for healthcare services will increase drastically. Because of this, many ordinary citizens might not be able to afford access to proper healthcare services.
- The Lack of Transparency
Private companies or organization often have more control over their data and because of that, many individuals might also suffer from a lack of transparency when it comes to getting proper healthcare treatments or services.
- The Issue of Morality and the Continuity of Care
If one looks at the issue of morality then it goes without saying that healthcare services should not be charged for or should be provided at minimum costs. However, this would be completely ignored if the NHS is privatized. Further, free healthcare services would also be discontinued soon.
The NHS or the National Health Service is an organization which provides healthcare services to patients without charging them for anything. There are many challenges which are being faced by the NHS including the issue of staffing, funding, and the lack of proper mental health services. Many experts have suggested that NHS should be privatized for solving all these issues. However, there are many pros and cons to that decision. Some of the positive aspects of this decision are that the waiting time would be reduced and patients would have more treatment options. The drawbacks, on the other hand, include the increase in prices and the discontinuity of free services. Hence, it is important for one to consider all these points before making the final decision.