Despite the NHS now being 70 years old, there are still many out there who wish to debate whether it is fit for purpose. It is one political achievement that no one can deny has had a huge positive impact on the welfare of the British people. Despite its impact being felt by all the population, the level of knowledge on the NHS remains extremely low. For too long the population has had to fight through the media’s stories, designed to help corporate interests involved in healthcare. Here are the 4 main lies people use when they wish to undermine the NHS and why they are complete nonsense.
Lie 1: It’s hugely costly
“The black hole that is the NHS” is complete nonsense. The UK spends far less on healthcare than most developed nations. Currently, total healthcare spending accounts for 9.7% of GDP. This figure includes private spending outside the NHS. When compared to other nations this is a small figure.
When we look at nominal values the picture does not change.
Source: OECD data
We do not spend much on our healthcare yet our life expectancy remains good.
Lie 2: It’s inefficient
We have seen how cheap our healthcare is in comparison to other nations yet we are often told the NHS is spectacularly inefficient. Those on the right seem to believe anything run by the government is inefficient simply by its status as being publicly owned. Again we have no idea how lucky we are.
The commonwealth fund every year assesses the developed nation’s healthcare systems and rate them on their efficiency. The results from 2017:
Lie 3: We’d pay less with a private system
Despite what a Neo-Liberal would tell you about publicly run services the fully public single payer system for healthcare is the most efficient in the world. The most obvious example of expensive private healthcare is the USA, their ‘free market’ for healthcare without proper government regulation leads them to have the most expensive healthcare in the world.
Other nations do have working insurance systems, but their citizens also pay the price. The graph above shows the costs of healthcare around the globe. The nations near the top like Switzerland, Luxembourg and Germany all have multipayer systems. An insurance based system would drive up the cost of healthcare for the average citizen. The average US citizen spends more than twice on healthcare than the average Brit. Take a glance at there efficiency scores as well.
If we want a service that is less efficient, where insurance companies scoop off a share of our money we should move to a private system. If we want to continue to pay less for healthcare than our neighbours, we must keep the NHS.
Lie 4: It’s getting more money but is still failing
Yes in nominal terms the NHS is getting more money, it needs it. With an ageing population and more treatment available, healthcare in all nations is getting more expensive. However, in real terms, this is what the Tories have done to NHS funding.
Cutting the funding in real terms has caused this crisis, to fix the NHS we must fund it properly. There is no need to look for a different system, we just need a ruling party who support our current one.