Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid's suggestions for saving the NHS - including patient payments - cause a stir - The Bromsgrove Standard

Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid's suggestions for saving the NHS - including patient payments - cause a stir

Bromsgrove Editorial 24th Jan, 2023   0

QUESTIONS  have been asked regarding Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid’s article in The Times at the weekend when he said people should pay for some NHS services to increase revenue and ease the ever increasing burden.

In the piece in the national newspaper, Mr Javid, who was Secretary of State for Health and Social Care between 2021 and 2022, spoke about the important role the NHS has played in his and his family’s lives and the treatment they received.

But he pointed out services were under extreme pressure, waiting lists were growing and it ‘fet as if patient queues are longer than ever before’.

He added, whilst the impact of the pandemic had been huge, ‘NHS dysfunction was not an isolated event – it had become an annual ritual’.

He said when addressing The Times Health Commission this week, he would be making the point that the 75-year-old model of the NHS – which was started in 1948 by then Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan and the Labour Government of the time – was now unsustainable.

He said: “Unless it is radically reformed, the principles on which it was founded cannot survive much longer.”

And he said, while it may not be a popular view, the country and the health service was ‘at a crossroads’ and that needed to be said.

Mr Javid, who announced at the end of last year he would not be standing at the next election, said the estimated 10million people who stayed away from seeking care and treatment during the pandemic had led to illness and conditions going undetected and untreated, causing a surge in demand, especially at hospitals.

Other factors highlighted by Mr Javid included the UK demographic being so different to how it was in 1948 with people now living, on average, a decade longer – 75 years ago, half-a-million people lived past 80 but today more than 3million people have reached that age.

He said radical reform was needed but because so many people cared about the NHS, many – including politicians – were ‘resistant to meddling with it’.

Mr Javid added in 2000, NHS spending equated to 27 per cent of the UK’s overall spending, now it was up to 44 per cent and would likely be 50 per cent by 2030.

He said in supply needed to be looked at because people were frustrated waiting for GP appointments, scans, operations, for ambulances and emergency care.

He pointed to the system in Ireland where free healthcare is means-tested. People referred for an injury appointment at hospital by a GP do get it free but people choosing to take themselves costs €75.

In some countries, such as Norway and Sweden, people pay £20 to see a GP while many other countries means-test it so people pay a fee for their appointment if they can afford to.

“Even a tiny fraction of patients reconsidering their visit to the GP (and perhaps visiting a community pharmacist instead), would save thousands of clinical hours.”

He speaks about other nations’ approaches including some where people get more choice of provision if they pay but he said there was a lack of choice of private healthcare in the UK.

He also claimed more people living in Britain were moving towards private healthcare for treatment.

And he said more prevention was needed as often the NHS was tasked with treating people when they became ill, rather than preventing it.

‘An honest conversation was needed’, he added.

Mr Javid’s piece caused plenty of debate on social media and the Conservative Party has been repeatedly criticised in the past of ‘trying to privatise the NHS by th back door’.

Among the views expressed, included richer people should pay more for NHS care through higher taxes, while others said ‘they already paid for their treatment through taxation and National Insurance’.

Some people said the cost of means-testing everyone for treatment would far outweigh the cost of everyone paying a one-off fee and others questioned salaries that NHS managers were earning.

One constituent pointed out to the Standard a letter they received from Mr Javid last June, when he was Health Secretary, where the Bromsgrove MP used the line ‘The NHS is and will always be free at the point of use.”

Dr David Nicholl, Bromsgrove Liberal Democrat Chairman and a frontline doctor in a Birmingham hospital, labelled it a ‘zombie policy’.

Click here to read the full article on Sajid Javid’s website.

  • What do you think? Is Sajid Javid right to suggest some people need to pay for frontline services to ensure the NHS is sustainable for the next 75 years and beyond? Or maybe you feel the Government and its experts have not done enough to find a suitable solution. What approach do you think could save the NHS? Email your views to [email protected]




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