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The Credit Cruncher was conceived to help you to keep up to date with credit crunch and recession developments, it provides some helpful credit crunch advice and it addresses personal debt. The Credit Cruncher also seeks to explain how the credit crunch started and shed some light on the worldwide recession. Recently, we have begun to look at how BREXIT will affect the UK economy. Please feel free to leave comments where relevant.

21 Aug 2009

Let's put the record straight on the NHS

I know that this is more of a political issue than an economic one, but it is hard NOT to say anything about the current attack on the NHS by US politicians funded by private insurance companies.
Let's face it, the NHS was a Utopian idea which has not quite reached the pinnacle that some may percieve it was aimed for, but nevertheless is an absolutely fantastic institution to which many, many people owe their health and their lives.
Sure, there are queues for non-emergeny procedures, but then the option to go private is there for those who want it. On the other hand, when you are rushed into hospital from the site of an accident or as a result of illness, at what point in a British hospital are you asked for your insurance details? Answer: NEVER! There is never any question about who is going to pick up the tab for your visit to the doctors surgery or to outpatients or A&E it's all free - and how on earth can you knock that??
How on earth does a privately funded commercial enterprise even come close to the NHS? the same NHS that takes in private patients when the private hospitals mess up and suddenly have to rush their customers to the nearest A&E... Yes, for those who have not considered this before - what do you think happens when things go seriously wrong in the private operating theatre? The answer is that they rush their clients into the nearest NHS hospital and let them pick up the peices. How can they do this? Well the NHS is free for every UK citizen (even those with a private health plan) and the surgeons are of course trained in NHS facilites and NHS procedures and have contacts (if not actually a position) themselves in the local NHS facilities. It is easy for them to get their private patients admitted to an NHS facility when things go wrong.
There are even NHS surgeons who have been known to get their NHS staff to assist in private procedures and then get their 'overtime' approved as if they had done the work in an NHS facility - they basically use their NHS-acquired knowledge and skills, not to mention materials and staff for personal gain. This could be the next great scandal to follow on from MPs expenses if there were any media-interest...
However I digress, my point is that criticsism of the NHS from a country that only has privately funded healthcare is completely ludicrous and is inspired by fear from the private insurance companies. The possibility of free healthcare has shaken the very roots of the insurance companies that pass themselves of as healthcare professionals - this is very big business and business with a lot of influence, after all every Senator, Governer, professional politician and commentator (in fact anyone with any influence) HAS private healthcare and regards it as their right because they can afford it. They don't want to take a hospital bed next to a car mechanic, a housewife or a road-sweeper and are concerned that their life will be somehow cheapened by free healthcare available to anyone that needs it.
Take a moment and consider the people who are turned away at the hospital door, those who are discharged too early and those who do not even attempt to get any healthcare because they know they can't afford it - these are not the people with influence but these are the people who need healthcare the most. These people don't live in pristeen germ-free houses on guarded private estates, working in air-conditioned offices kept apart from the streets and their dangers. These people do not have membership of a private Gym and do not have their heart and cholestoral intake monitored on a weekly basis. These people are more likely to live exposed to violence and disease, eating the worst kind of food and exposed to pollution on a daily basis. These are the people without a voice in this debate and these are the people that would massively benefit from a free health service.
My fear is that despite Obama's attempts, middle-America will reject these plans to help those who are worse off than themselves, without appreciating what they are throwing away. The worst aspect of the debate is that the NHS is being slurred without any justification. I personally rejected private healthcare offered by my employers simply because I see no need for it. Any time I have needed a medical professional I have been able to turn in full confidence to the NHS and have found an institution which entirely meets my needs. Any time I have needed attention, attention has been there free and immediate, efficient and without consideration of cost. I have had a few short days in hospital as a child, X-rays, eye exams, help with tinitus, innoculations and the friendly advice of a GP or nurse any time I have needed it. I have been patched up at A&E departments around the country and have taken others to be attended with never a thought of cost to me personally - all I can say is 'Long may it continue' and to those in the US, I grieve that you will probably reject free health care - a more perfect example of 'throwing the baby out with the bath water' would be hard to imagine....

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