‘NHS still the fairest way to deliver healthcare’

Resolution passed at RCN congress declares UK system still offers the fairest method of providing healthcare for all

The NHS still offers the fairest method of providing healthcare across the UK, a resolution passed at RCN congress has declared.

Problems in the NHS ‘more often than not are caused by a lack of funding’, said RCN Lothian branch member Geoff Earl. Picture: John Houlihan 

Congress heard on Monday how concerns about healthcare funding and creeping privatisation are raising fears of the demise of the NHS.

RCN Lothian branch member Geoff Earl said before the NHS was established in 1948 healthcare was inaccessible to large parts of society, largely the working classes.

Yet he said it has gone on to be rated the most efficient and effective healthcare system in the world, according to a 2014 report by the Commonwealth Fund.

Fair and efficient

‘The NHS is successful; it’s fair and it’s efficient. There are problems but these problems more often than not are caused by a lack of funding,’ he said.

Former RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos said the NHS remained the ‘envy of the world’ and, while it was not perfect, its failures were down to structures and investment.

‘The NHS is not broken but it’s being dismantled by stealth,’ Ms Spyropoulos said.

She added: ‘Our message to Theresa May is very clear: if you want strong and stable leadership, you look at our NHS.’

US system

RCN Dumfries and Galloway branch member Douglas Lockhart was one of several nurses to highlight how much care costs in the United States.

He said a friend of his had a heart attack while in the US recently. ‘The bill for his care was $94,000. Do we want this system here? No we do not,’ Mr Lockhart said.

But RCN Tayside member Mike McCabe questioned if the NHS was the ‘fairest’ method of providing healthcare.

He pointed out that, outside of Scotland – where prescription fees are covered by the government – the poorest patients could not afford their prescription costs to stay healthy.

‘To say that the NHS is the fairest possible way as it stands; I have to disagree with that,’ Mr McCabe said. 

The resolution submitted by the RCN Lothian branch, that the NHS still provides the fairest method of providing healthcare across the UK, was passed.

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