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National Health Service (Coursework Sample)

To What Extent Can It Be Argued That State Healthcare Should Be Withdrawn From People Who Have Made Lifestyle Choices That Have Damaged Their Own Health? source..
NHS Withdrawal Your Name: Course Title: Name of Lecturer: Name of University: Department: Date of Submission: To What Extent Can It Be Argued That State Healthcare Should Be Withdrawn From People Who Have Made Lifestyle Choices That Have Damaged Their Own Health? Introduction The National Health Service (NHS) provides universal healthcare freely to everyone at the point of service. The healthcare is funded by taxes collected by the government. In the wake of the current economic meltdown, there is a lot of pressure for NHS to save money. The aging UK population makes it difficult to save money, since older people experience more health problems and this further puts a strain on the NHS. The population of those below 16 years is declining rapidly meaning that in the coming years, the number of those paying taxes to finance the universal healthcare is expected to decline (Glaser 2000). This situation calls for a change in attitude towards health to prevent the collapse of NHS. Most people have argued that one way of reducing cost of healthcare is by the NHS withdrawing treatment from people suffering from illnesses that result from living unhealthy lifestyles such as tobacco smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse. However, I strongly disagree that NHS should withdraw its services to people living unhealthy life styles. This paper will discuss the reasons why I do not support withdrawal of NHS services and also give opinions that support withdrawal. Section 1: Reasons for Not Withdrawing State Healthcare One reason why NHS should not withdrawal its services is because all citizens contribute to its sustenance. The establishment of the NHS in 1948 aimed at bringing together health specialists and hospitals to ensure provision of health services to everyone regardless whether they are rich or poor (Light 2003, p.27). All citizens contribute to NHS by paying taxes to the government. Government collects taxes in two ways: persons earning money within the UK pay an equivalent of a quarter of their salary as taxes to the government. Also, 20 percent of the Value Added Tax (VAT) levied on all goods purchased is also collected by the government (Light 2003, p.28). Approximately 15.8 percent of all taxes collected in UK are used by NHS in provision of health services (Light 2003, p.28).This contribution by all citizens makes NHS the biggest public funded health service in the world. Apart from taxes, NHS is funded by independent contributions from organizations such as the King’s Funds (Light 2003, p.29). Therefore, since provision of healthcare is an individual right and all citizens contribute to sustenance of NHS, there is no need to withdraw the state healthcare. Secondly, NHS has ensured better provision of health services to all citizens despite their socio- economic status. This has improved the overall national health of UK, as people with all illnesses can access healthcare. Through NHS, all citizens get free medical services at the delivery point. According to Poole (2011), universal healthcare provides free health services to vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children and this has improved the life expectancy with men and women living longer by approximately 10 years (Poole 2011). The UK universal system ensures that provision of healthcare is not left to individuals like in the USA, where persons have to pay their own medical insurance to access healthcare (Poole 2011). Most people in USA access medical care through their employers, while others pay out premiums with their own money. The level of medical coverage in the USA depends on how much you are able to contribute or how much your employer affords to pay (Poole 2011). This means that low income earners, the unemployed the old and children are unable to get quality healthcare because they cannot afford to contribute large premiums, unlike in the UK where everyone has an equal opportunity. NHS is quite popular in UK with around 92 percent of citizens utilizing it solely for all their health treatments (Light 2003, p.25).There is no preferential treatment as similar regulations and rules apply to all patients in UK under the state health care. Every patient is expected to register with a general practitioner, who will give primary care and write out a prescription. If a patient is in need of advanced treatment or further diagnosis, they are referred to a specialist consult. The patient is admitted if they need more intensive care and sent back to the general practitioner after treatment. No patient goes directly to the specialist unless upon referral or in private practice (Poole 2011). NHS enables citizens to access a wide array of services ranging from palliative care, intensive and acute care. Patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart problems and mental problems are able to access quality healthcare in the UK (Poole 2011). NHS also funds free continuing healthcare outside the hospital as long as one meets the eligibility criteria. This continuing healthcare is provided in any setting such as the hospice, care home or at home where patients are being cared for. Those in care homes who qualify for continuing care from NHS have their healthcare cost, accommodation fees, and personal fee covered, while for those at home have their healthcare and personal care costs covered (Jochelson2007). NHS also covers for non-emergency services such as IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), dental services and cosmetic surgery and hair transplants. IVF has helped infertile couples to get babies and NHS funds three full cycles of the procedure in women of the age of 23 to 39 (Jochelson2007). State care health has improved the overall national health and life expectancy (Jochelson2007). Withdrawing its services to those living unhealthy lifestyles may lead to a higher mortality by lifestyle diseases, and lower the UK life expectancy. This will erode the health benefits that have been brought about by the universal health system. Thirdly, NHS is the third largest employer in the world after the Chinese army and Indian Railways (NHS Career 2011). It is the largest employer in Europe, with a staff of approximately 1.3 million people and provides services to a population of more than 57 million and has an annual budget of £92.5bn (NHS Career 2011). NHS employers include various health service providers such as ambulance services, special health providers, primary care providers, strategic health and clinic authorities and the Department of Health (NHS Career 2011). Most people working in the health sector are employees of NHS and withdrawing its services to a section of the public that is living recklessly would lead to loss of employment and income of these health workers. Lastly, instead of withdrawing health services, NHS can use various methods to promote healthy behaviors among the public so as to cut down on the healthcare cost. NHS can use the radio, internet and television to educate and persuade the population to adopt healthy behaviors such as quitting smoking, eating healthy foods and reducing the intake of alcohol or abstaining from drinking and engaging in physical exercise (Jochelson2007). NHS can carry out an effective campaign by displaying content that captures the targeted group and invoke a social change (Jochelson2007). National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) which is the advisory board of NHS believes that incentives like those awarded to people on drugs can help in tackling drinking, smoking and obesity (Glaser 2000). According to NICE, a financial benefit is likely to persuade people to adopt healthier lifestyles (Glaser 2000). Such models have worked well in other regions such as Germany, where people who attend smoking screening and cessation services have their social insurance contributions reduced (Jochelson2007). Currently, NHS spends 4 percent of its budgetary allocation in schemes that aim at preventing illnesses (Glaser 2000). An example is the Change4life and other programmes that help people to quit smoking (Jochelson2007). NHS should consider investing more on such schemes to promote better health and cut down on cost (Jochelson2007). Opinions on Withdrawal Dissenting opinions state that the soaring rates of alcohol misuse and obesity have increased the cost of providing healthcare in UK. These conditions have affected a large portion of the population, necessitating constant medical care. There are calls for NHS to cut down on its cost and ease the economic burden. Most people argue that all these resources being directed towards providing medical care can be channeled elsewhere to stimulate economic growth (Jochelson2007). NHS also provides non essential procedures such as IVF and plastic surgery. These are considered as primary care and there is a huge outcry that they should not be free when the government is making heavy cuts on other public services. Secondly, it ...
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