Medicine through time

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The National Health Service

What is the National Health Service?

The National Health Service (NHS) is a nationalised healthcare system in the United Kingdom. It comprises of free at the point of access medical care in Hospitals, Accident and Emergency units, via General Practitioners (GP's) and via health visitors. It is designed to provide quality healthcare for all. Patients do not pay for emergency treatments, medical advice, periods in hospital or medical tests. originally patients were also entitled to free medication and free dentistry. This has since been amended and low, fixed fees apply for most patients for their prescriptions and Dental treatment.

When was the National Health Service introduced?

The act of Parliament that created the national Health Service had been passed in 1944. Several years of planning, negotiation and organisation of structures to enable the nationalisation of health services followed the legislation. The NHS officially began on July 5th 1948.

Why was the National Health Service introduced?

Before the war there were many different kinds of healthcare providers in the country. Access to medical care, even in emergencies, varied in terms of availability and quality across the country. The problems that this created were made very apparent by the onset of war and this added impetus to arguments for nationalisation of the health services in the United Kingdom.

What opposition was there to the NHS?

Until shortly before the official launch of the NHS a majority of doctors were opposed to the idea. Aneurin Bevan, the Minister in charge of introducing the NHS, had to work very hard to make sure that doctors were happy with the arrangements. In particular there were concerns about workload, arrangements for continued private practice and concerns about how the system could be administered.

What problems has the NHS experienced?

The main problem that the NHS has encountered is it's own size. management of such a large organisation is always likely to be problematic and this has certainly been the case for the NHS. Demand for NHS services immediately exceeded expectations and the costs of provision have proven to be an issue of great concern and political debate ever since the services was introduced. Other problems have arisen in terms of staffing and availability of beds for patients, along with arguments about the cost of new drugs and treatments.

 

 

 

 

 

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