Paying for the NHS – a letter from Dr Norman White. Safe staffing levels abandoned?

Denial of a need to ration is not only the prerogative of the politicians! We cannot afford current services and even NICE has backtracked (Shaun Lintern in the Nursing Times 30th July 2015) on staffing guidance for A&E departments. The bodies are just not there, and in a world market those remaining have choices… James Meikle in The Guardian 10th July 2015 reported Nice to publish report on NHS staffing levels despite being told to stop work

The Journal of the Royal College of GPs in August 2015 edition has a letter from Dr White:

It is unlikely that any real reforms of the NHS will appeal to politicians since they have reasons for keeping the status quo. Why not set up an independent expert body as the main overseer of the NHS, with satellites in all major areas? This would rid the government of the millstone round its neck.

This country is awash with money. Charities raise huge sums of money for good causes. What better cause than the NHS? Taxes on the causes of ill health such as alcohol, tobacco and excessive sugar in food and drink could be fed straight into the NHS budget. Gambling has a huge financial turnover and taxing winnings could raise millions. Everyone in a hospital catchment area could be invited to subscribe to a hospital fund. Industry benefits directly from an efficient health service and could subsidise local needs from tax-free profits. During WW II, even small towns had ‘thermometers’ depicting progress towards the purchase of a Spitfire. If the population as a whole felt the NHS belonged to and was supported by them, hospital closures would become a thing of the past.

National Insurance never did pay for the NHS. A true national insurance scheme would create a core for the main expenses of the NHS. Add Government-backed insurance with all the insurers in the UK. A dedicated lottery and local fundraising would remove the money worries of the NHS.

Limiting the unreasonable demands by patients needs education. The NHS and self help should be part of the national curriculum, bringing professionals into schools, colleges, and universities, and improving knowledge of a healthy lifestyle.

There are no insoluble problems in the NHS. Give the public incentives to voluntarily contribute to their local services so that the NHS really becomes our NHS and not a political plaything. Fund it by any legal means available and we could all become proud of the NHS and it could truly become the best health service in the world.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, General Practitioners, Medical Education, NHS managers, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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