Monday, March 5

Make the cost of NHS treatment clear

I fully agree with this assessment. I quote

Hence, I want a public debate around healthcare that is more informed and less driven by emotion. That is why I presented my bill to parliament yesterday, calling for general practices to issue annually to each person eligible for care provided by the NHS an itemised account of the cost of his or her healthcare in the preceding 12 months. I believe this simple measure would help put the NHS on a more sustainable path for the future.

Although "free at the point of delivery" is a worthy founding principle of the NHS, it has led to a belief in an increasing number that healthcare is literally free. Throughout my clinical career, I have seen evidence of this in the failure to attend GP and hospital appointments and the dreadful wastage of prescription drugs. I've seen it in the lifestyle choices of my patients who seemingly have no awareness of the true costs of long-term conditions such as diabetes. Furthermore, as each generation has passed, stoicism in those I care for has become less prevalent. The consequent changes in health-seeking behaviour and the profound differences in the perception of suffering between generations are both driving up demand. To be blunt, the current situation is unsustainable and getting worse.

What are we to do about it? Well, I would suggest that unless we educate people about expenditure on healthcare, then a system available to all at their time of need could cease to exist within a decade. By issuing an annual statement itemising the costs of drugs, appointments, diagnostics and treatment, everyone would begin to understand the true costs of delivering 21st century care. That knowledge would be empowering and lead to an informed debate across dining tables and in pubs throughout the country.

This large lump of money that’s shoved down the insatiable and ever growing NHS throat is worrying, we simply cannot afford this and we need to be very clear about how much we are spending. While NHS productivity is growing, the absolute costs are growing faster. I was unable to get some good references, but look at this:

The Primary Care trust costs are increasing at a very rapid clip. Average yearly increase of 8.2%. We WILL run out of money. But this idea that the NHS is free is wrong, it is costly and we are paying for it. So while the general public tax pot pays for this service, it wouldn't be bad for each citizen to have a clear idea about how much did his or her yearly NHS service cost.

I betcha that would make you think twice or wish the NHS is totally free, eh? There is no such thing as a free lunch, we are all paying for it, and people who can afford the least are paying the comparatively most…

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