When the National Health Service was being set up, there were a lot of people who were doing very well out of the old system and didn’t want it to change.
The consultants were almost exclusively working privately and making good money out of it. There was no such thing as a generally available G.P. – there were Doctors and you paid for them or you weren’t treated.
Friendly societies operated insurance schemes; you paid in every week and while you were up to date you would get some treatment. Trades Unions operated similar systems and some like the South Wales Miners Federation even employed their own Doctors.
Pharmacists were making good money, dispensing “cures” to people who couldn’t afford a Doctor.
When the NHS was being built, the British Medical Association threatened to boycott the new service unless major concessions were made; resulting in consultants having time and access to NHS facilities to do private work. G.P’s and Chemists were to be self-employed.
The new health service had to guarantee the financial interests of all those, like doctors, who had done well out of the old system.
Pharmacists were guaranteed a good living and a local monopoly, which means that even today a Chemists shop (with a licence to operate) sells for huge amounts of money.
The pharmaceutical industry grew up making millions out of the NHS and in addition uses NHS patients as guinea pigs in medical trials, without which it would have problems in developing the drugs it charges the NHS so much for.
All of this represents huge amounts of money drained out of the budget for treatment and doesn’t even include the “Private Finance Initiative”, where new hospitals are built on Hire Purchase, except that at the end of the term we don’t get to keep the hospital.
All this is paid for by annual payments over 50 years to “venture capitalists” which add up to many times more than the cost of just paying up front.
The Governments new proposals are to bring in private firms to provide services and run hospitals, draining even more money out of the system.
Think about it; if they can make a profit out of it where does that money come from?
From the money available for staff and patients.
Neil Harris(a don’t stop till you drop production