Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Favoritism in the NHS

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Oct• 16•08

One of the goals of a government-run, single-payer, centralized health system is to give everyone equal access to quality care.  The availability of health care in the UK’s National Health System should be the same for all people regardless of income or employer.

An article in the Telegraph reports that NHS employees are getting preferential treatment.  The NHS “spent more than £12,000 on private treatment for hospital staff because its own waiting times are too long.”  The amounted to 271 visits to private physicians.

Now, let us put this in perspective.  The UK spends 8.4%  of GDP on health care.  This amounts to about £100 billion ($180 billion).  So an expenditure of £12,000 is essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

However, the principle is important.  In a marketplace, those who are able to pay are the one who receive services.  In a government-run system, the ideal is for everyone to be able to receive government services;  what generally happens is that those with political connections get preferential treatment.

Mark Wallace of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Their staff should have to wait like everybody else.

“Perhaps if they experienced it as their customers – that is the taxpayer – experienced it, they might be a little keener to improve their waiting times.”

Do you support a government-run health care system?  Like anything, there are pros and cons to this, but one of the cons is the following: government-run organizations will inevitably exhibit cronyism and favoritism.

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  1. “…government-run organizations will inevitably exhibit cronyism and favoritism.

    In a government-run system, the ideal is for everyone to be able to receive government services; what generally happens is that those with political connections get preferential treatment.”

    Are you trying to tell us that the above don’t exist in a marketplace? Would a cousin or friend of a celebrity or Governor X get the same treatment with you? This belief can only be characterised as naive.

    About equity in the NHS:

    Comparing equity in NHS not simply with some ideal distribution, but with a situation that predominated in the past or with a situation that predominates in other health care systems is perhaps a more realistic approach. In other words, what should be addressed are questions of a comparative nature such as: does British health system perform better than the Italian or the Greek one?

    Part of current’s NHS “failure” to promote equity in some cases is due to the fact that what is actually compared is a real life situation, with an illusionary system which is relative to some ideal and of course unattainable state.

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