Monday, April 19News For London

Do we appreciate having the NHS?

The National Health Service (NHS) Confederation states that every 36 hours over 1 million patients are seen by the NHS. This clearly impersonates that the service is being used at a high demand and is regularly in use.

The NHS was formed on the 5th July 1948 and aimed to provide a good standard healthcare for every citizen. However, presently, only after around 60 years, debates on the privatisation of the NHS have risen, leading to marches and protest on “save our NHS”. These marches included people who were wishing to have a high-quality service by the NHS which would be under democratic control. Moreover, they also wanted it to be a care free at the point of use. Other additional wants included to oppose Conservative Party privatisation drive and remove the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which were developed by New Labour at its time in government.


                               United for the future of the NHS                                 Photo: Arifa Khan (CC BY 2.0)


Such is the case for Esther Matthews, 65, translator, who was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago, which reemerged three years later. At both times, it was through the NHS that she was able to be successfully treated. Being present at the NHS march on 4th March 2017 near Downing street, she passionately expressed herself and said that this is supposed to “show (that) there’s plenty of us here” who are standing behind the NHS.

 Esther Matthews, 65, Translator, along with others stands behind the NHS


Similar is the case of Michael Crane, 60, who is a veterinarian by profession. He was also present at the NHS march with full fortitude and said that the NHS is “fantastic” and “I want my grandson to have same sort of security for his family when he grows up”. Thus, clearly defining a way in which privatisation of the NHS will be damaging the UK citizens. Many feel there are compelling reasons and possibilities for people not being able to afford it.

Michael Crane, 60, Veterinarian, wants his grandson to have same security as he had.

Comparatively, the situation of the health services of other countries given evidence that having the NHS is a huge advantage for the UK citizens.

Looking at the health service of Pakistan the difficulty level is further clarified. Saira Sami Khan, 26, Pharmacist from Pakistan explains how costly their expenses for health service are.  She states how “services are well designed infrastructure” but depending on the type of patient one is, the costs differ. If one is a “inpatient you have to pay fee for check-up, medication and surgery” however as an outpatient “you do not pay for any check-up, and medication”.

Saira Sami Khan, 26, Pharmacist: Outlining how Pakistan’s healthcare works

For instance, the Tabba Heart Institute in Karachi, Pakistan, offers the common procedure of angiography in a general ward at a cost of 35,000 Pakistani rupees; which would be £270,000.

In the UK, according to Private Healthcare UK, a private angiography by Ramsay Health Care UK would be £1,850 whereas this procedure in the NHS it would be carried out for free.  This illustrates that a privatise structure of the NHS will make the payments very expensive and unaffordable by the majority of citizens as the average income in the UK  is £26,000 (Source: Office for  National Statistics).


Table of treatments and prices offered by Tabba Heart Institute

Comparing healthcare services of other European countries; such as Sweden with the UK,  similar good healthcare services are available. Usama Saleem, 26, Pharmacist, from Sweden explains that the “Swedish policy states that every county council must provide residents with good quality health and medical care and work to promote good health for the entire population”.

Usama Saleem*, 26, describes how the healthcare works:


This depicts that having a healthcare system would mean more secure and promising healthcare for its citizens.

Furthermore, within the NHS system largely the patients are given free prescription. Some of their conditions include being under 16, or being 16-18 years old as well as being in full time education or having a medical condition with an authentic medical exemption certificate (MedEx).

However, Khan tell us that in Pakistan there are prescription charges regardless of age and whether one is a student or professional.

Saira Sami Khan, 26, Pharmacist: Explaining prescription charges in Pakistan 


Although Sweden has a healthcare system similar to the UK, it has certain regulations which categorise patients into whether they are required to pay or not. As Saleem states “children under 18 years don’t have to pay for their medicine”.

Usama Saleem, 26, describes the outlook on prescription charges in Sweden:

Thus, this signifies that due to privatisation the current system of UK  prescription charges would include paying high fees on prescription.

This would add to the people complaints from the NHS march. As presently they who already object about pharmaceutical companies already making  billions of pounds from the ill health of patients. Moreover, currently the pharmaceutical products costs the NHS around £11 billion which is around 10% of NHS annual budget.

Nonetheless, Jack Martin, 28**, an employee at a hospital, views privatisation of the NHS from a positive perspective. He feels that privatisation will improve the quality of the services which would start with employing well qualified professionals; though at a higher price. He further explains that fewer healthcare workers would be required as a higher qualified staff would be able to do the role of multiple less qualified. Also, there will be a “better individual care for those can afford it” and “less waiting time for the patients”.

Despite the large number of population depending on and valuing the treatments of the NHS as well as opposing privatisation of healthcare, it appears that the process of implementing privatisation is at its front and leading the British healthcare system to drastic changes in the future.




*Due to the person’s personal reason his real voice has not been used.

**Pseudonym has been used.