We love our NHS, but we all know it’s heavily underfunded and desperately needs more money. We have set up a cross-party commision to make sure that politics is taken out of the NHS, that it is properly funded including for mental health, and that the NHS becomes fully integrated National Health and Social Care Service.
We sometimes forget that we have such a great health care system in place, so here are 5 reasons we love our NHS.
1. Saving lives The NHS provides some of the best emergency care in the world. Although the NHS winter crisis has placed unprecedented pressure on our health service, the NHS has, historically, maintained an impressive standard of emergency care. Last year an astounding 23.65 million of us attended A&E. This number increases each year. Over the last five years, A&E departments have seen a 7.2% rise in attendance. Yet despite this enormous pressure, A&E staff display tireless dedication during gruelling 12-hour shifts and regularly go above-and-beyond the call of duty.
2. Value for money
Despite the fact that the UK spends relatively little on the NHS, the healthcare service has proven to be both effective and efficient. US healthcare consistently ranks lower than the UK services, yet Americans spend twice the amount on healthcare. Per capita the difference is even more drastic: US healthcare costs £7,627 and offers less comprehensive coverage, whereas the NHS costs only £2,892 per person and reaches the entire population. Although the NHS is chronically underfunded, it delivers one of the most acclaimed healthcare systems in the world.
3. Universal care, free at the point of use
The NHS was founded on the principle of universal healthcare, free at the point of use. The Liberal Democrats helped to establish the UK’s welfare system, with universal healthcare as a lynchpin. 70 years on, the NHS continues to adhere to the principle of comprehensive health care based on clinical need rather than the ability to pay.
4. Largest employer
As well as saving lives, the NHS provides many of us with a career and livelihood. The healthcare provider is the largest employer in the UK and the fifth largest worldwide. With a workforce of 1.2 million, many of us have made a career for ourselves within the NHS.
5. Specialist care
The NHS provides some of the highest quality healthcare in the world with experts specialising in a variety of fields. Some of the most groundbreaking medical milestones have been achieved by NHS doctors: the NHS pioneered in vitro fertilisation in 1977, performed the first successful kidney transplant in 1960, and the first heart transplant in 1968.