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Guest Post by Marcus Stead >

It’s Time for an Honest Debate About the Provision of Healthcare …

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Hi,

It’s Time for an Honest Debate About the Provision of Healthcare

By MARCUS STEAD

We need to face up to reality about the National Health Service. For too long, it has been politically taboo to question whether the current model is either the best way of providing healthcare, or its sustainability in the long term.

William Beveridge
William Beveridge, the true founder of the NHS.

The Labour Party likes to portray Aneurin Bevan as the founder of the NHS. This is not the case. In fact, it was a key recommendation of the Beveridge Report of 1942, in which William Beveridge, a Liberal economist, outlined social reforms that were to be brought in at the end of World War II.

Both the Conservative and Labour parties agreed in principle to implement the report’s recommendations, regardless of which party won the first general election after the war (it came in 1945, and was won by Labour).

Beveridge’s vision was of a National Health Service run through local health centres and regional hospital administrations. In other words, they were to be non-political and free from government interference. But in the years immediately after 1945, Labour’s Minister of Health, Aneurin Bevan, had other ideas.

Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan, whose role in the creation of the NHS continues to be absurdly overstated.

Bevan, a temperamental, undiplomatic, extreme left winger, loathed by many inside the Labour Party, fought hard in Cabinet to abandon Beveridge’s vision in favour of a centralised structure of 14 regional boards appointed by the Minister of Health and local management committees.

From that moment onwards, the NHS became a political football, and it has remained so ever since. Bevan, knowing full well the implications of the seed he was sowing, didn’t allow facts and evidence to get in the way of his ideological dogma. Sir Harold Webbe, the Conservative leader on London County Council, was unhappy about local government’s role in the NHS being removed, and said of Bevan, “He is so full of his own importance that he is prepared to pit his knowledge against the accumulated experience of this council, which is to be butchered to make a Welshman’s holiday.”

Yet even Beveridge’s vision for an NHS contained three major assumptions that sounded quite reasonable at the time, but subsequently turned out to be utterly incorrect:

  1. As people became healthier, demand on the NHS would decrease.
  2. The demographics of society would remain roughly the same.
  3. The NHS could be paid for from ‘the stamp’, now known as National Insurance.

The reality has been utterly different. Huge medical advances in the last 60 years have resulted in significantly increased life expectancy, albeit with the assistance of ongoing care and drugs, which come at a price.

With the exception of the Callaghan government of 1976-79, all administrations have overseen vast increases in real-terms spending on the NHS, as demographics shifted, demand increased, and medical advances continued. By the late 1980s, National Insurance could just about cover pensions and contributory benefits, with the occasional bit of help from general taxation, but it was certainly no longer in a position to fund the NHS.

There is some evidence that Margaret Thatcher understood the magnitude of the problem as long ago as the early 1980s, but she was advised not to handle the ‘hot potato’.

The time has come to end the mawkish obsession with the NHS model, which was epitomised at the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony by the sight of nurses jumping up and down on beds. Britain’s cancer and stroke survival rates are significantly down on where they should be for an apparently rich country, and there is a lack of choice on the part of the patient.

It is easy to see why the Labour Party is so ideologically attached to the NHS. It frequently misleads people into believing it is a Labour creation, and is one of very few things in this country that can in any way, shape or form be described as a Labour success story.

The quasi-religious reverence with which the Labour Party treats the NHS, and the way in which it tries to make bogeymen of anyone who questions it in any way, is holding back a full, honest and frank debate about how we provide sustainable healthcare for the next 50 years.

When they hear any form of criticism of the NHS, their default position is always to make crude comparisons with the system in the USA, one they rarely know very much about, and are quick to point to horror stories within, while conveniently ignoring the numerous deaths in the NHS due to poor hygiene, lengthy waiting times and medical negligence. Doctors and nurses themselves are treated as saints to be revered, rather than tax-funded employees who deserve praise and respect when they do well, but should not be above criticism when they fall short of certain standards.

It is as though no other countries or healthcare systems exist elsewhere in the world. Why can’t we try to learn lessons from Singapore, which from a very low starting point in the 1960s, has managed to create and sustain one of the very best health systems anywhere on earth? Or what about continental Europe, where many countries operate with a mix of public and private healthcare, with compulsory insurance schemes using various models?

This debate should have begun at least 20 years ago, but there are signs that we are approaching the point where the current NHS system is unsustainable. Sooner or later, we will have to face up to this impending reality. Is it not better to do so while the hospitals and GP surgeries are just about working?

To see the original of this article CLICK HERE
The Labour party has never since the NHS’s inception missed an opportunity to lay claim to having founded the NHS and attributing it to Aneurin Bevan. As with so much else that seems to emmanate from socialists it is a misleading and dishonest claim.
Clearly William Beveridge drew up his report the background of which can be read CLICK HERE
Churchill’s wartime government endorsed the 300 page 1942 report and in 1943 Churchill gave an undertaking that whatever government was elected after the w ar they would impliment the report, having gained the undertaking of both Labour & The Liberals.
Unfortunately the task fell to Labour and the deeply unpopular Aneurin Bevan was tasked with the job of implementation – whther of his own volition or under the influence of his openly Communist wife, Jenny Lee, he immediately campaigned to change the structure of the NHS as clearly laid out by Beveridge – it was thus that Bevan converted the brave concept of the NHS placing it under direct control of the Government and the management of 14 separate Health Boards.
Thus began the unravelling of the economist Sir William Beveridge’s report and the conversion of the NHS to being a political football – the seeds of the NHS’s problems of today were sewn by this meddling and ineptitude of Aneurin Bevan and although evelcted from a humble background in a Welsh Valleys Constituency he rarely returned and eventually died of stomach cancer on his farm in the home counties!
More of this background can be found if you CLICK HERE
Unpalatable as Socialists may find the truth it is worthy of note that the implementation of the Beveridge Report was a cross party decision and the ineptitude of that implementation and the problems of today were as a result of the ineptitude of Aneurin Bevan his personal ambitions endorsed by his socialist colleagues!
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     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
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Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

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YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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