The NHS is a national emblem; a symbol of the social, political and medical progress our country has made within the past hundred years. It hasn’t come without its criticisms however, and from the outbreak of superbugs to being accused of clinical negligence and inadequate standards, our golden institution is far from perfect. This article will look at the criticisms surrounding the NHS and ask whether these are justified, or whether we’ve just gotten a bit too spoilt for our own good.
Criticisms Levelled at NHS
Within the past decade, it has seemed as if clinical negligence claim after clinical negligence claim had been levelled at the NHS. The catalyst behind it all was a wave of superbugs which occurred like an epidemic at the turn of the millennium. Mostly namely MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Clostridium difficile, these superbugs were deemed the result of unsatisfactory hygiene standards, which put the NHS under the microscope.
The matter of unsatisfactory hygiene standards is in essence one of clinical negligence and this furthered the anger aimed at the NHS.
The matter of superbugs has somewhat subsisted from the news, and reforms have been set and implemented within the last two years. However, the matter of clinical negligence has remained.
This has also been despite a deep cleaning program introduced by the government in order to counter the existence of superbugs.
Large Waiting Lists
We all either know someone who’s experienced the lengthy NHS waiting list procedure, or have been through it ourselves. This however, is a problem that would require a huge change in structure to amend.
With the NHS being funded through taxes and open to all members of the public with equal treatment, there are a variety of gatekeepers, with GPs functioning as the main one. Therefore, referrals are usually needed in order to gain appointments with consultants and other higher courses of treatment. While this is all done in a bid to reduce cost, the structure lengthens the time taken for treatment to be prescribed, subsequently increasing waiting lists.
The composition of the NHS therefore simply goes hand in hand with large waiting lists.
We can’t have it both ways
In regards to the superbug ‘epidemic’, it must be noted that the situation has drastically improved and the problem doesn’t appear to be much of a problem anymore.
Concerning large waiting lists, us Brits complain about this matter, yet are totally unprepared to ditch the set-up of the NHS in order to practically tackle the issue. We cannot have it both ways. Either drastic health care reforms are needed, or such problems will continue to exist, to the detriment of the public.
In general, the NHS is an institution we ought to be proud of and one that, despite its flaws, still provides world leading health care. Maybe we’ve just become spoilt by such high standards.