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Showing posts from October, 2016

Could private top-up insurance help fund the NHS?

This article first appeared in the BMJ
Current tax revenues cannot maintain healthcare standards, writes Christopher Smallwood, but David Wrigley worries that introducing inequity sounds the death knell of a service free for all who need it Yes—Christopher Smallwood It is hardly controversial to suggest that standards of healthcare in the NHS are declining. A stream of recent reports has shown the strain the NHS is under, drawing attention to a near universal failure to meet the target of four hours’ waiting time in emergency departments,1 the longest waiting times for operations since 2007, and unprecedented staff shortages.  The principal cause of this lamentable state of affairs is unquestionably underfinancing of the system. In 2012-13, few trusts were in deficit but by 2015-16 the proportion had reached 85%.2 As the King’s Fund has said, we are “facing a health system buckling under the strain of huge financial pressures.”2 Current problems are set to intensify at an alarming rat…