The NHS was the most successful example of government intervention in public health since 1800 Essay

I agree that the NHS was a successful example of government intervention in public health, as it was a huge step forwards at the time; people could get medical treatment even if they were poor. This was brought about by the government when the labour party came into power, to ensure that they had a healthy nation to win the war. Although, everyone did have to pay taxes towards it, so it wasn’t entirely free. The NHS is a bit different now than it was before, you have to pay for more than you did and the quality and efficiency is slipping. I also think there are other successful, maybe more important examples of government intervention, including the sewage system, clean and fresh running water, and the immunisation system.

The NHS was still a success, especially when it first started, it was greater than expected, and the spending was twice the expected -about �350 billion, and by 1960 it was �726 billion. But since the war, things got more difficult, seeing as the success of longer life expectancy meant the need of more care for the elderly. Also, they now have problems with health service rationing and successive governments have reduced how much of the NHS is free; charges have been re-introduced for things like prescriptions and dental check-ups.

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Now there is also long waiting lists and doubts about the quality of treatment. These have led to many people getting private health insurance, or paying for treatment outside the NHS. Since 1980, the government has begun to reduce some provision; for example, free eye tests have been stopped as well. A lot of people say that NHS trusts in England are struggling to meet key hygiene standards, and a quarter of the trusts report that they are not complying with one of the three standards of the hygiene code. The Healthcare Commission said 40% of trusts were meeting all core standards.

Also, some critics say that the NHS is falling apart, and will never improve unless the system for funding the health service is radically changed. This is partly because, in many ways, the health services of other European countries are now proving to be better than the british. In Britain, 70 out of every 100,000 people die of heart disease, and this is only 36 in France. Cancer sufferers get better treatment than they used to do, but in the delevoped world, we still have the worst survival rate of cancer. Many peoples perception of the NHS is that the quality of NHS care has dramatically fallen.

There has been shocking cases of abuse in old people’s wards, the continuing scandal of mixed-sex wards, and very long waiting lists; this suggest a service that can’t cope anymore with the demands put on it, and many people percieve this to be the case. Although i think the NHS is quite a succesful example of government intervention, and developement in public health, i think the standards of the NHS are falling and should be improved.


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