Skip to content

Talk: Thoughts on the NHS – Nov 2022

It’s always good to see old friends and it was a particular pleasure to welcome former member Andrew McHugh whose subject was ” his thoughts on the NHS”.

In many ways, he said, the NHS is a victim of its success with huge advances in the treatment of both acute and chronic illnesses. The chances of us surviving, for example, heart attacks and strokes are many times more than 70 years ago.

Many medical conditions are now controlled by therapy which didn’t exist then and the outlook for cancers has completely changed – and continues to improve almost month by month. We are all living longer and diseases such as TB and Diphtheria are now a thing of the past, although we must remain vigilant.

On the downside, health style related illness has increased dramatically, particularly diabetes and hypertension, both due to obesity and lack of exercise.

Our national spend on the NHS is approximately the same as most other European countries as a proportion of GDP. This is much less than the USA and Singapore, in the latter case where good life style and exercise with it’s benefit to health are rewarded by an annuity on retirement!

Is the NHS doing a good job? We agreed that it was but we, as consumers tend to take it for granted and could do much to help by living sensibly.

Photo by Derek Finch on Unsplash


1 thought on “Talk: Thoughts on the NHS – Nov 2022”

  1. We all agree healthy lifestyles need to be encouraged but I can’t help but feel some of the UK health statistics are extremely concerning. According to 2021 OECD data – yes – we do spend an amount similar to most European countries on health but we are near the bottom of the European list in the number of doctors per capita and behind almost all of Western Europe on nurses – so no great surprise we have huge waiting lists! As it happens we’re also way down the list on per capita expenditure on pharmaceuticals. All of this begs the question – “If we’re spending a similar amount per capita yet receiving much less access to qualified medical staff – what does this tells us about the organisation of NHS?” We really must not be persuaded by politicians, of whatever colour, that our admiration for many front-line NHS workers should inexorably lead to an uncritical “National Treasure status” for the NHS as an organisation. Such thinking detracts from the inarguable need for the better strategic planning to bring about dramatic improvements in efficiency and effectveness – and that doesn’t mean further cut front-line staff!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *