Today the National Health Service celebrates 70 years of providing healthcare free at the point of delivery but how much longer can it survive in its current state?
Since its launch, the NHS has grown into the world’s biggest publicly funded health service taking care of 1.4 million patients every 24 hours with teams of dedicated and hard working people working tirelessly and selflessly day in and day out to help others.
Over the years, we have seen the development of pioneering treatments and eradication of diseases. In addition there have been a whole range of ground breaking developments which include major surgical breakthroughs, mass vaccination programmes, the launch of the contraceptive pill, the use of CT scanners, the world’s first test tube baby, the introduction of breast screening programmes, the creation of the organ donor register, innovative new and successful treatments and a reduction in infant mortality. As a result of the medical advances achieved and improvements to public health, we can now all expect to live longer lives but do we really want to?
Instead of being rewarded for the outstanding service they provide, the trend is a seemingly a slow eradication of the core principles, which have previously defined the very existence of the National Health Service.
In 2018 we are now seeing major changes to the core structure of the National Health Service and the way money is spent. Salaries for nurses are low, wards are understaffed and staff are overworked, stressed, under valued and underpaid. There have been strikes by junior doctors over working conditions and various cost cutting initiatives, years of underinvestment and cuts to social care have been very damaging. Staff morale has taken a major hit as those work on the front line fight to give the very best service they can with the very little they have. Can this infinitely continue?
Those who work in the National Health Service are its very heart and soul and its strength lies in the dedication, commitment and professionalism of front line staff, who go above and beyond the call of duty on a day to basis. What a shame that those who should be fighting to ensure the survival of the NHS do not recognise this and instead seem hell bent on breaking it.
With an ever-ageing population, an increasing obsession with cost cutting and a range of mounting pressures slowly chipping away at the very fabric of the National Health Service, how many years does it really have left until it is no longer recognisable as the institution we know today?