Reasons Why the NHS Is the UK's Best Accolade

Updated on July 13, 2018
aaronmitch profile image

Aaron is an Undergraduate Law Student with a great interest in political, social and historical matters.

The Service

The NHS is undoubtedly the most effective healthcare service and easily one of the most recognisable public services in the world. Each day the NHS in England treats more than 1.4 million patients; the fact that the population of England is only 53 million makes this even more outstanding

Before the creation of the NHS in 1948, the average life expectancy was 12 years shorter. Of course, in the Western world strives in medicine and technology has been exponential, but the top quality healthcare service in the UK must be a great contributing factor. Another fact which proves the creation of the NHS has extensively improved our well-being in general is that the infant mortality rate has dropped from 34/1000 live births in 1948 to just 3.8/1000 live births in 2018. The UK achieved the greatest decline in mortality amenable to healthcare between 2004 and 2014 (37%).

Not only is a skilled workforce needed but also a hospital needs to work at a very fast pace; the proportion of patients seen within 4 hours at A&E departments in 2016/17 was 83.7% in major (type 1 units) and 89.1% overall.

As the population grows and the need for healthcare grows; the NHS is forever adapting to and developing as an organsition; in 2015/16 there were 40% more operations completed by the NHS compared to 2005/06

Of course all of these facts and figures supports the argument that the NHS is the best accolade that the UK has created; but the fact that the NHS was rated as the best system in terms of safe care, affordability and equity by the Commonwealth Fund 2017 definitely gives an idea of how highly rated it is by official reports.

Employment

The UK's NHS is the 5th largest employer in any area of work in the world; it not only provides the public with a great healthcare system but also greatly decreased unemployment rates and boosts incomes of millions of families.

The NHS in England and Wales employs around 1.3 million people. This is approximately 1/23 of the working population. No other sector of employment can come close to this, it is hugely beneficial to the economy.

Unlike other governmental organisations; the NHS shows no signs of prejudice against women; especially as an astounding 77% of the NHS workforce is female!

Along with gender equality, there also seems to be more of a racial equality too. Although 90% of the UK population are classed as being ethnically white, only 80% of the NHS workforce is white; therefore there is a greater employment of ethnic minorities than in other jobs.

Employment in medicine has become more and more attractive to young people. Between March 2010 and March 2017 the number of professionally qualified clinical staff across HCHS has risen by 5.89%. Medical school intake rose from 3,749 in 1997/98 to 6,262 in 2012/13 - a rise of 67%.

NHS Staff
NHS Staff

Funding

The most significant part of the UK NHS is that the service is free for UK citizens and also, for now, members of the European Union. Funding is provided by tax money and used in government funding. Contrary to the US, thanks to the NHS, the average person in the UK can receive healthcare without spending copious amounts of money.

The NHS net expenditure was £120.512 billion in 2016/17, the highest it has ever been. Despite what seems like a vast funding by the UK government; the health expenditure in the UK was 9.75% of GDP in 2016, this compares to 17.21% in the USA.

Therefore, this shows that the most recognisable NHS service in the world has almost half the government expenditure of arguably one of the poorest health services of a 1st world country. This makes the UK NHS even more of an honourable achievement.

Public Satisfaction

It is easy to see how the NHS is the golden beacon of global healthcare and should be appreciated by the UK public.

Although, there are signs of dissatisfaction by UK citizens; the large majority of people are grateful for what the NHS provides.

In a 2016 survey:

  • 98% felt their hospital room or ward was 'very' or 'fairly' clean.
  • 83% and 80% 'always' had confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses treating them respectively.
  • 84% felt that they were always treated with dignity and respect while using inpatient services.
  • In April 2017, 95.79% of 205,417 patients treated by NHS trusts and foundation trusts would recommend their provider to friends or family
  • 63% of respondents were ‘very’ or ‘quite satisfied’ with the NHS, whereas 22% were ‘very’ or ‘quite dissatisfied.

There will always be poorly portrayed moments, mistakes and tragedies when the life and health of people is concerned. However, it is clear to see that most people in the UK are grateful for the NHS. Although the NHS has undergone its ups and downs during economic struggles, the UK NHS is definitely one of the best healthcare services to ever exist.

Sources of Information

https://www.nhs70.nhs.uk/about/nhs-facts/

http://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/key-statistics-on-the-nhs

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-65th-birthday-65-fascinating-2015188

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Aaron

    Comments

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      • bradmasterOCcal profile image

        bradmasterOCcal 

        5 weeks ago from Orange County California

        If have heard from many people in the UK and Canada that the biggest problem is waiting years to get an non emergency operation. Like knee and hip replacements, while not an emergency operation, it is debilitating and painful.

        Waiting months to see specialists, limited time for examinations are not the NHS strong point. It is more like the US Veterans Service.

      • profile image

        Robert Gove 

        5 weeks ago

        another great article aaron, keep it up

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