The NHS: One American’s Perspective
December 18, 2013
The National Health Service (NHS) of Great Britain was established in 1948 to create a national health system that would serve all citizens regardless of ability to pay. There were three main objectives established that were critical to the success of the program: (1) equal access to care, (2) provision of preventative and curative care, and (3) services provided at no cost to the patients (Perlman & Fried, 2012). Today, the NHS is still alive and well and is meeting the expectations of the original objectives set forth at its inception. Currently, the NHS is credited as being the single ...view middle of the document...
General practitioners are given funding to work with other practitioners in their trust to provide health care for their local community. The trust is responsible for making decisions at the local level on how the funding is spent. There are approximately 125 primary care trusts in England for which each general practitioner sees 140 patients per week (Perlman & Fried, 2012). Hospitals are separate, self-managed NHS trusts that compete for patients, especially those who have a choice for elective procedures. They are paid on a case by case basis. Most hospital trusts are located in large towns and cities and offer a range of services including general medicine and surgery. In England, there are 167 acute care NHS trusts overseeing the 1600 NHS hospitals and specialist care centers (Perlman & Fried, 2012). According to the NHS (2011), 80% of the NHS budget is managed by primary care trusts. At least 60% of the NHS budget goes toward salaries. The other 40% is spent on prescription drugs, supplies, equipment, capital costs and training (Perlman & Fried, 2012). Recently, there has been reform within the NHS to allow general practitioners to purchase health care for patients which opens the door for private insurance. This could greatly impact the NHS as there is currently a rise in the number of citizens purchasing private health insurance.
After reviewing and educating myself about the NHS, I must say that I have developed a new respect for the NHS on some levels. My initial impression of the NHS has been skewed over the years with my experience as an American healthcare worker as well as my political beliefs. I strongly oppose ‘big government’ and highly support the ideology of Thomas Jefferson. One of my favorite Jefferson quotes represents my bias towards government control: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them” (Thomas Jefferson, 2013). Unfortunately, I have superimposed my feelings of the welfare system towards the creation of Obamacare. I do believe that healthcare should be a right for all and that all should have access. I see it every day in our emergency room department. Those who cannot afford to see a doctor in an ambulatory setting will present to the ED because they know the care will be ‘free’ if they cannot pay. While I support healthcare for all, I do not support the loss of a free market for health insurance and the ability to choose for myself and for my family. That directly conflicts with the foundation of socialized medicine. In England, the NHS is funded by tax monies. Primary trusts then receive the monies and must plan a budget to provide care to local communities. If you are a citizen without private insurance, then you must see practitioners within the local trust to care for you and your health needs. Even hospital and specialist choices are extremely...