The NHS is one of Britain’s great economic mysteries, and I honestly wonder whether this enormous State monolith is financially viable and sustainable for the next generation – even if it’s drastically pruned and radically reformed in the near future.
The British people are accustomed to medical treatment provided free at the point of access, yet the State simply cannot afford it. The main reason Britain has a colossal national debt is because of decades of borrowing to meet the costs of running a welfare state, including a national health service.
The State’s healthcare bill is in urgent need of reduction but it would be political suicide for any politician to be honest with the electorate about what must happen, sooner or later.
We have an aging population and an already un-payable national debt. Politicians know the country can’t afford to carry on with the NHS in its present form, but they also know that whenever they’re up for election they can’t afford to do anything other than promise voters ever more spending on the NHS.
Having said that, since for the time being the NHS is still with us – for as long as the government can carry on borrowing – I am always amazed by the extraordinary ability of the NHS to waste millions of pounds on non-health and anti-health services, whilst vital and genuinely useful services are not paid for or provided by the NHS.
Why, for example, does the NHS spend money on sex change surgery and abortions but not on hospices and air ambulances? Why is it that the NHS can pay millions for the abortions of 200,000 British babies every year, but the funding of hospices and air ambulances is left to charitable donors?
The air ambulance in the photo above serves Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and, as with similar services around England and Wales, the NHS doesn’t contribute a penny.
Where Eurocopter EC135 helicopters (or similar) are in use with British police forces – though the police do not really need helicopters (though they’ll tell us they do) – the helicopters are paid for with public money, but air ambulance helicopters and their crews – more than justified by the service rendered – must be paid for by constant charitable fundraising.
How sad it is that the spending priorities of the NHS and police forces are so wrong.