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Does a Free Healthcare System Actually Work?

The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK has often been lauded as a shining beacon of healthcare to the world. However, the practices and attitudes in the NHS are a stark warning for citizens of countries who are being asked to part with their hard earned money to fund such schemes.

The NHS was introduced as free healthcare for all from the cradle to the grave. This means not only people from the UK but also those from Europe. This puts a huge strain on resources especially with the huge influx of European immigrants. Doctors are bound by protocol to administer drugs based on cost effectiveness which means that some more effective treatments are only available to those who can afford private healthcare.

The use of cheaper and less effective treatments is not the only concern for residents of the UK. Health workers in the UK are trained to spot and report any family they feel may be at risk of abuse. This means that if your child is involved in an accident at home and you seek medical treatment you will be interrogated by the doctor who should be treating the child. This has resulted in cases where parents regret taking their children for treatment, or are reluctant to seek medical advice. This has been further aggravated recently with a government incentive to encourage more cases to be reported.

Killing for profit

Another concern is that older patients are unnecessarily being put on the LCP. (Liverpool Care Pathway) which means provision of food and water is removed from the patient which condemns them to die. It has been reported that some hospitals are being paid extra money if they put more patients on the LCP, essentially doctors are killing for profit.

The NHS is also a huge customer for Big Pharma. It is estimated that the NHS spend 8.81 billion GBP per year on pharmaceuticals. Doctors routinely prescribe drugs for conditions that can be rectified by diet and lifestyle such as bowel disorders, stress, depression and heart conditions caused by excess weight. This is partly due to the patient’s requests for a quick fix but also due to the training the doctors receive and the literature they read from the drugs companies. One example of this is the use of statins which have been claimed to prevent heart attacks in trials sponsored by the pharmaceuticals companies that make them. This research is then published as fact in the BMJ (British Medical Journal), doctors and managers in the NHS read these articles and are swayed into prescribing the drugs which then have side effects much worse than the diseases they are supposed to prevent.

The fact of the matter is that any government based organization will be subject to the influence of big industries who lobby the government. In the case of healthcare, the lobbyists are the salesmen of Big Pharma. Free healthcare for all has to be paid for by someone and that someone is the tax payer. The aim to provide free healthcare for all is a noble cause as it allows the poorest in society to access treatment that they would never otherwise be able to afford. However, just like many of the drugs that are prescribed by those who work in it, the healthcare system that is put in place may have unwanted side effects.

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