Is more money alone the answer for the NHS?
Rumours abound that more money is to be found to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the NHS in July.
However, with the needs and expectations of an aging population rising, it seems germane to ask the question: is the solution simply to provide more money, or rather should the NHS be asking the question – exactly which services should the NHS be providing free of charge? The costs of ‘cradle to grave’ comprehensive medical care, ‘free at the point of delivery’ for a population of more than 65 million people, seem certain to rise inexorably. Just as an example, state-of-the-art care for each individual lung cancer sufferer now exceeds well over half a million pounds.
In addition to increasing costs, demand for NHS services is also rising, putting pressure on services, and on those who provide them. Almost every article in the health pages of popular newspapers seem designed to drive more patients to see their GP. More and more investigations, including expensive CT and MRI scans, are being requested, simply to reassure the patient (as well as to protect the doctor from censure) that all is well. Add to that, the repercussions of obesity crisis, pressing issues of mental health and the lack of provision of social care, it is easy to understand why the NHS at 70 – like many of us – is creaking at its aging joints. While increased funding would undoubtedly be welcome, surely the time has come to address of which services the NHS should and should not provide?
Do please add your thoughts and suggestions to this blog.