Reforming the NHS, or reforming taxation?
We don’t truly value something until we realise how much we really need it. It’s without question we all value the need to have a health service, but despite what some politicians say, let’s call a spade a spade. Shall the NHS be privatised or should it remain funded by general taxation?
Corporations don’t necessarily have a more efficient way of doing things and in actual fact, the NHS has been independently evaluated by the respected Commonwealth Fund, a US-based think tank specialising in reviewing healthcare systems around the world, as not only being best for giving access to care but also best efficient use of resources!
It probably won’t receive a best for ‘access to care’ next time, should we decide to put passport control at the entrance. I must say, maybe we should leave passport control at the border, and allow Doctors, Nurses and everyone associated with a hospital to never need to compromise their nurturing and duty of care character by having to say ‘No’ to vulnerable human beings needing care…yes even if they are illegal immigrants who managed to outsmart border control.
Look missed GP and hospital appointments cost the NHS nearly £1 BILLION a year, health tourists cost us £200 million, I am not saying let’s ignore it, but let’s put our focus in the right place.
A possible solution…
What if we looked at the NHS as a charitable institution? What if we knew how much of our paycheque went to the NHS? What if we the public could decide to top up our ‘NHS Tax’ contribution by way of a charitable one? I appreciate our charitable giving would have to increase considerably but I think the more involved people are, there will come with it a sense of pride and want to contribute money and time. There are around 30 million workers in the UK according to the ONS, if each of us contributed an extra £10 per year, that’s an extra £300 million for our beloved NHS. Let’s be a bit more ambitious and say an extra £100 per year, that works to another whopping £3 billion.
As to monetising it further, let’s get the NHS to charge foreign travellers who would prefer to be taken care of within our health care system because theirs is underdeveloped. I’m sure this would be a huge market, particularly across the developing world. But not just that, how about the NHS offering its own travel insurance policy for the millions who visit the UK from America, Europe, China, Australia and elsewhere.
I am against the NHS being privatised, but I am not against the NHS having a commercial mindset.
As a strong believer in ‘a big society’ of sorts, where charity must begin at home we need new ways to engage with that society. A strong part of that could relate to being given a chance to contribute to those areas of society that matter a lot to us and allow us to be involved with those very institutions that are pivotal to society.
Such an innovation could go many steps further, in encouraging children to participate in those areas of civic society their parents are interested in. Gently introduce children to hospitals, visiting the sick and elderly, learning about compassion, patience, difficulties and also the importance of aid.
Whatever the solution, we cannot continue to patch things up, we must change our entire approach to the ‘social contract’, that is the contract we want our Government to have with us be it in the specific provision of health care, security and education. Such industries which should never be given over to corporations whose entire structure is based on increasing shareholder value.
Disclaimer:The opinions of this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of ADL Estate Planning Ltd or its management but we welcome different perspectives.