|The NHS is efficient, fair and popular|
Now, as this blog never tires from pointing out, numerous studies have demonstrated that this situation is quite the opposite - the NHS is in fact demonstrably more efficient than the US-style health system that the Tories are so keen to emulate.
Let's get something out of the way first: the NHS faces challenges.
Our population is getting older. The number of elderly people as a proportion of general population is rising. With these demographic changes comes severe challenges for health care systems - more older people with associated medical conditions, and a relatively smaller proportion of working-age people to pay for their care. At the same time there has been a rapidly growing costs associated with medical technology.
Health costs in the UK are consequently rising, and will continue to do so.
But this is not a uniquely British problem. It is a global one. Take a look at the US: health care costs rose a to a staggering $2.3 trillion dollars by 2008, with rising drug prices and an ageing population cited as factors. But, crucially, high administrative costs cited as a major factor too.
|Full Commonwealth Fund report: http://bit.ly/ouyyP1|
So, what is to be done? Well, a simple repetition of the facts amongst supporters of the NHS would be a start:
- The NHS is one of the most efficient health systems.
- Patient satisfaction over the last couple of years is as high as it has ever been.
- The quality of care in the NHS has been improved by investment through taxation.
- The size - and unified nature - of the NHS puts it in a strong position when bargaining with pharmaceutical companies.
Well, these are just some of the benefits of NHS that go beyond that. For not only does it, almost uniquely, offer universal health coverage to every man, woman and child on these islands, but the National Health Service does so at comparatively excellent value.