The NHS at sixty is not fit for purpose, argue leading opinion formers

Study reveals lack of support for centrally planned healthcare

The IEA today made public the results of a major new survey of 100 leading British health opinion formers on the future of the NHS. The research was conducted by Dr. Helen Evans*, RGN. Called ’Sixty Years On: Who Cares for the NHS?’**, the study lays bare the private views of a large number of the country’s most senior health politicians, policy advisers, academics, journalists and professionals.

Containing a series of devastating blows to the NHS at 60, the research shows that when speaking off the record a substantial majority of Britain’s health elite no longer believes in nationalised healthcare. Instead, an overwhelming majority accepts a much greater role for private provision – including private hospitals, clinics, GP services and dentists.

While the NHS is itself now charged with being ‘inequitable’, ‘two tier’, ‘rationed’ and ‘costly’, a majority also believes it is too ‘monopolistic’ and wants to see a much greater role for private insurers and even the introduction of personal health savings accounts.

Looking at private funding arrangements versus State funding arrangements, a majority of the respondents surveyed believes that because people’s healthcare is unpredictable, some of its costs will increasingly have to be covered by private sources: ‘government arrangements such as taxation cannot do it all’.

Commenting on the results, Dr. Evans said:

‘The results show that the world has moved on from the 1940s. Opinion formers are now much more aware of the in-built failures of the NHS. As people’s expectations increasingly outpace what the state can deliver, and as nationalised healthcare loses the battle for hearts and minds, behind the scenes our opinion formers are starting to seriously consider market alternatives.’

She concluded:

‘With NHS dentistry collapsing before our eyes, ever more voters having private medi