The NHS – A service to be proud of?

The NHS (National Health Service) is funded primarily by National Insurance contributions and general taxation, around 98.8% with the remaining 1.2% from patient charges. The planned net expenditure for 2017/18 was £126.269 billion.

The NHS constitution is based around seven points.

  1. The service provided is available to all irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity or marital or civil partnership status.
  2. The service is provided based on an individual’s clinical need, not on their ability to pay.
  3. The NHS will always aim for the highest standards of excellence and professionalism.
  4. The patient will be at the centre of everything the NHS does.
  5. The NHS will work with other organisations based around the interest of the patients, the local communities and the wider population.
  6. They are committed to providing the best value for money (the taxpayers money) and ensure effective, fair and sustainable use of its finite resources.
  7. They are accountable to the public, communities and patients they serve.

A service to be proud of, right?

On the face of it, this should be (and has been) a service to be proud of and the envy of much of the world. Lately? I’m not so sure.


This person has broken their arm. Would you help pay for this persons medical treatment? Well if you are a UK resident, a taxpayer and this person receives treatment in A&E then you have. How does it make you feel? Now, what if I told you the person is an alcoholic and broke their arm falling whilst drunk? Feel any different?

Research shows the average cost to the NHS to treat a broken arm without surgery as £500 or £2,900 with surgery.

There were an estimated 1.1million hospital admission in 2017 where the primary reason or secondary diagnosis was linked to alcohol. This is approximately 7% of all hospital admissions.

Hospital treatment

This person receives free prescriptions due to cancer treatment. That’s only fair, right? What if the cancer was caused by a 40 a day cigarette habit over twenty years?

Chemotherapy elements cost £260 per cycle


This person receives free treatment and prescriptions for diabetes. Diabetes caused by lifestyle. Are you happy for some of your hard earned taxes to pay for this persons treatment?

An insulin infusion for diabetes cost £390


This young lady is pregnant, she is single and has never worked. Hopefully there will be no complications and as such will cost approximately £2,790 to the NHS. Whilst this might sound mean there are people who save and make sacrifices in order to raise a family.

£11 billion per year – cost to NHS

Health problems related to poor diet, drinking and smoking cost the NHS £11 billion every year in England. Could this money be better spent? Of course it could in my opinion. I understand that those whose lifestyle causes their health conditions have paid tax on their cigarettes, alcohol etc. but it is very unlikely their contributions will cover their treatment.

£1,156 of earnings go to NHS

Using the Office of National Statistics average weekly pay of £569 x 52 wks to give an annual salary of £29,588 the average person would pay an estimated £3548 income tax and £2540 personal NI contribution. This totals £6087 and approximately 19% of that will go towards the NHS or approximately £1,156 per year. This does not include taxes collected when buying goods etc. so the figure is more than this.

Your money – your choice

Should we be able to choose to have our income tax and NI contributions paid into a private health care subscription or insurance policy of our choice? Yes, the NHS would lose that much per person but also lose the burden of that person’s treatment.

Other alternatives

  1. Provide free treatment but charge everyone for prescriptions – children, those on benefits, the elderly etc.
  2. Or maybe change the subsidy given for dentist, opthalmic treatment etc. Bring the cost down but charge everyone.
  3. Run the NHS more efficiently (actually this is not an alternative but an essential). Too much money is wasted, locum and bank staff etc. There needs to be a change in the thinking of Government and head NHS staff, for one thing they need to look to the future 5 – 10 – 15 – 20 years etc. not just concentrate on the next years budget. A private company run like the NHS would not last long!

Your thoughts?

Well what do you think? I know this is a very complicated subject and please be assured I am not actively discriminating against those scenarios I have mentioned. I just think that £11 billion a year treating lifestyle related health issues is unsustainable when the NHS is stretched too far all ready. A lot of the problems must also be blamed on the management of the NHS from Government level down.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your comments.


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