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NHS - Public or Private?


by Kathryn Heeler | 04 October 2016

Back in July, it was announced that staffing levels within the NHS would to be cut for the government to bring NHS finance in England under control. Now, plans have been drawn up that could see further cuts to NHS services across England. Investigations carried out by various news sources such as the BBC and the Guardian have shown that top NHS bosses are currently drawing up plans for closures, cutbacks and changes to the way healthcare is delivered in A&E departments and GP practices within organisations across the UK.

These sustainability and transformation plans aim to find £22billion in efficiency savings by 2020-21, all in a bid to improve patient care in the long run. But what will this mean for the public in the meantime? 

Plans that have emerged in these investigations include:

  • Proposals to reduce the number of Acute hospitals in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland region.
  • Reduction in the number of Acute units in the West Midlands.
  • A reduced number of face to face meetings between doctors and patients, as they encourage the use of “virtual consultation”.
  • Putting a number of GP practices under ‘review’ due to lack of funding.

Jeremy Corbyn has recently attacked the increased privatisation of the NHS, with private finance debts significantly being a recurring cost to the health service. Figures released in 2015 state that PFI debts, the process in which a hospital is built by a private company and subsequently rented back to the NHS, costs the health service over £2billion per year, or a staggering £3,700 per minute.

That being said the NHS is spending vast resources on servicing these debts so it is no wonder the NHS finds itself in such financial dire straits. The NHS has to be run either private or public, it cannot be a hybrid of the two as this causes processes to become disjointed and starved of resources rather than being a fully integrated service.

The debate then has begun, just like so many other Great British institutions – Public or Private?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the recent developments of the NHS. Should our National Health Service remain in the hands of the public or continue to be privatised? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.