Much has been written and spoken about our NHS over the past several years; from the junior doctor strikes and Jeremy Hunt’s frequent mishaps to the theories of privatisation via the Tory government and Richard Branson. The news tells us that the NHS is on its knees, it is no longer fit for purpose and needs changing. However, real statistics and facts prove that this is mostly nonsense. One thing that is clear is that England’s National Health Service continues to be the best health service in the world.
The latest statistics indicate (see graphic at the bottom of this page or click here) that from an international point of view, the NHS in England is the leading healthcare service in the world. When compared with eight other countries including Germany, France USA and Sweden the NHS was rated as the best system in terms of efficiency, effective care, safe care, coordinated care, patient-centred care and cost-related problems and in 2014 the Commonwealth Fund ranked the NHS as the most impressive healthcare system in the world.
Whilst our health service in the UK is as good as it has ever been, at the same time, it is as busy as it has ever been. The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours. As of 2015 there are currently 45% more operations undertaken than the 10 years previous (9.92 million compared to 6.85 million) and in the last decade, average attendances at A&E departments have increased by 22% (18.76 million to 22.92 million).
It goes without saying that good and affordable healthcare is important to each and every one of us and with the increasing amount of people using it, it is no wonder that the net expenditure of the NHS has risen from £75.82 billion in 2006 to £117.23 billion in 2016. Furthermore, the Conservative government has pledged to spend an extra £8 billion more on the health service by 2020 increasing expenditure on the NHS to around £125 billion. It is estimated that the average annual cost of the NHS to the average British tax payer is set to pass the £5000 mark in the next five years (vote in our poll below how you as a taxpayer feel about this).
However it is not all good news for the NHS. It has been reported earlier today that Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has criticised children’s mental health services in the UK calling them the “biggest single area of weakness in the NHS provision” before vowing to make it a top priority. What we can take from this is unclear – it seems that the Health secretary has done nothing but criticise the NHS ever since he took the role.