This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The NHS – political purity or patient care?

Written by: | Published:

Mike Shallcross Mike Shallcross, Independent Nurse editor

The NHS was once described by a former Chancellor of Exchequer as the ‘closest thing the English have to a national religion’. I’m not sure of his original intention, but it is usually repeated on the right with a sneer. It precedes an argument that we are blind to its deficiencies, and celebrate a system which soaks up eye-watering amounts of tax revenue for mediocre outcomes.

It’s a silly argument which takes little effort to refute, but latterly I have started to see a kernel of truth in the reference to religion. There is a particular type of zealot on the left, usually found online, with a series of inflexible beliefs about the NHS which bear little relation to what it is, and what it needs to do. Chief amongst them is an obsession that politicians on the right have a secret plan to privatise the NHS. Never mind how such a plan can be kept secret; what the motivation would be; or any actual evidence for it. It is now an article of faith.

There was a good example of this recently when the new Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said that a Labour government would consider using private providers to clear NHS waiting lists.

Amongst those outraged by the prospect of such ideological impurity was an actual member of Labour’s NEC who tweeted that ‘No part of the NHS should be in the hands of private companies’. God help us when she find out about the last 75 years of general practice.

It is a strange type of socialist who prioritises their own imagined ideal of the NHS over real-life patient care. But no matter, clinicians will carry on providing the best care they can, while zealots prioritise purity. I know which path I would choose.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.