The NHS is a religion in this country. There is fervour and heated demonstrations whenever anyone mentions changes within their religion.
Yet from an economic point of view, there is no chance of survival for a 100% state-owned monopoly in a national and global recession. When people bring up the privatisation of railways, they forget to compare the current state to how bad it was before, when it was 100% state-owned.
Are we privatising the NHS? No. Is the patient paying? No. We are injecting money as the coalition Government will not let the NHS die on its watch – something that would be political suicide.
Private income is just one of many ways the Government is thinking outside the box to keep the NHS alive longer.
The sum of £1,645 allocated to each UK citizen in NHS expenditure (based on the £102bn paid in 2010/11 for 62 million people) does not go far when the NHS pot is further depleted by paying for medical tourists. The NHS pot is slashed further by the rising costs of obesity, an ageing population, NICE drugs that can postpone life by a few months and new innovations.
We have gone from £11bn in NHS expenditure in 1948 to £102bn in 2010/11.
It doesn’t take a genius to ask how long can we pay this bill when the country is £1.4trn in debt and borrowing the interest payments from other countries. Labour spent and spent for 10 years and encouraged a society of no responsibility. It’s time to grow up and face the accounts – and the bill.
From Dr Una Coales, Stockwell, south London
Secretary, Conservative Health