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Can the NHS survive?

January 2018

doctor checking patient's blood pressure

Most of us have lived all our lives with the National Health Service and it can be a surprise to realise that until it was introduced some people simply couldn’t afford medical treatment.

Can you imagine what that would be like? But now things have almost turned full circle. Amazing treatment is out there, but providing the equipment and staff in the numbers required costs more than the NHS can afford.

At the moment the service is bouncing from crisis to crisis and of course everyone hopes that a solution will soon be found because no one’s want the dreadful worry about how to pay for essential medical treatment.

But few of us really consider the true cost of even everyday medicine and certainly the cost of various common procedures. To get some indication of costs Laterlife looked at some of the charges when having medical procedures done privately. Nuffield Health offer wonderful services covering a huge range of procedures...but they have to be paid for. Their prices are recognised as being on the low side for private treatment but even so they give some indication of the cost of medical procedures...these are sample prices from treatments at the Nuffield Hospital in Taunton, Somerset...

Carpal Tunnel Release - One Wrist £2,160
Cataract Surgery - One Eye £2,785
Gallbladder Surgery - Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy £6,150
Grommets Insertion - Treatment of Glue Ear £2,320
Hernia Repair - Groin Inguinal - Laparoscopic £3,415
Hip Replacement £12,650
Hysterectomy - Abdominal £7,950
Knee Arthroscopy - Key Hole Surgery £3,665
Knee Arthroscopy - Key Hole Surgery to Remove Damaged Cartilage £3,725
Knee Replacement £12,650
Slipped Disc Removal - Lower Back £8,995
Varicose Vein Treatment - EVLT - Both Legs £4,135

When you think of all the expenses incurred by the NHS, it is clear a huge budget to cover the British population is needed.

Investment in the NHS is increasing...it was just over £120 billion for 2016/7 increasing to £123 billion for 2017/18. This sounds a lot until you look at what it covers...over 40,000 GPs alone, together with 150,000 doctors, 285,893 nurses and health workers, 21,597 midwives, nearly 20,000 ambulance staff and of course a large number of scientific and technical staff, managers and so on. IN fact the NHS employs over 1.5 million people putting it in the top five of the world’s largest workforces.

The services they offer are of course world class, but the demand is now outstripping what can be provided.

No one is sick on purpose, but there are a few little steps we can take that can all help to make a difference. Wasting medication is a growing concern, it is estimated that £300 million is wasted every year on unused or partially used medication.

There is now a lot of information available on how to reduce medicine waste...a good campaign is being run by Medicine Waste

There are also some excellent volunteering programmes to help in various sectors of the NHS, and this can be a wonderful way to give something back to the community.

There are lots of details on nhs.uk/Livewell/volunteering

You can also contact your MP about your thoughts on spending for the NHS. After all, your MP has been elected to represent your views and if they don’t know what you think, then your opinion won’t be counted.

A good site to help find the contact details for your local MP is
parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp

Britain once was the envy of the world with its National Health Service. It would be wonderful for everyone if we can get the right treatment to make it fit and working for everyone again.


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