The NHS is facing increased pressure this winter as a result of staff shortages and the twindemic of Covid and flu cases, in addition to the longstanding issues of funding, patient backlog, and lack of social care places. Many Britons are now seeking private healthcare instead of using the NHS which has resulted in a two-tier healthcare system emerging. However, a new poll of Express.co.uk readers has rejected the idea of the UK adopting an insurance-based health system.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay set out £250 million to reform the NHS and help “shift the dial” on the crisis facing the publicly funded healthcare system. He told the House of Commons on Monday £200million would fund thousands of extra beds in care homes to help discharge patients faster and a further £50million would be put towards upgrading and expanding hospital facilities for patients ready to be discharged.
He told MPs: “All of this work ultimately builds on the much-needed greater integration through health and social care through the 42 integrated care boards. This is a comprehensive package of measures.”
One in eight UK adults paid for private medical care last year according to an ONS survey of 2,510 people. David Hare, the chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said: “With NHS waiting lists at record levels, it is not surprising that more people are paying for private treatment, including those who have never previously considered it.”
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, co-chair of the campaign group Keep Our NHS Public claimed that the use of private healthcare was “a damning indictment of the devastating effect this Government’s mismanagement has had on the NHS over the last 12 years”.
READ MORE: £250m boost ‘will ease health crisis’, vows Steve Barclay
In a poll that ran from 9am on Tuesday, January 3, to 11.30am on Tuesday, January 10, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should the UK adopt an insurance-based health system to save the NHS?”
Overall, 3,958 people cast their vote with the majority, 65 percent (2,556 people) answering “no” against an insurance-based health system in the UK.
Whereas 34 percent (1,347 people) said “yes” in support of insurance-based healthcare, and a further one percent (55 people) said they did not know either way.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers discussed the future of the NHS.
Most readers commented in support of the NHS, arguing that the service needed to be reformed to be fit for purpose in modern Britain. Username Bandersnatch said: “The NHS was never set up to deal with the services now being demanded of it or the number of people doing the demanding.”
Username NoSSherlock said: “The NHS needs a complete overhaul from the ground up. Unfortunately, it has been treated as a sacred cow and untouchable for too long. That needs to change and it needs to change now.”
Another, username NorthernGeezer, wrote: “The problem with the NHS isn’t lack of money, its poor management and lack of political will for change. An insurance-based system will make it worse.”
And username Bulmers Bedford added: “The problem is with the way the NHS is structured and managed. Reform this behemoth.”
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However, other readers commented that the UK already had a two-tier healthcare system. Username KDave said: “I don’t know about adoption, but we are being forced into paying for private healthcare in the UK. It’s been creeping in for years.”
Likewise, username pete21 said: “We already have a two-tier health system, you can take out a health insurance policy and get your work done privately, as much as the NHS is a basket case we must avoid any further loss of our health. services
While username NRN said: “Anything is better than what we have now.”
And username Babyboomer added: “The NHS concept was ahead of its time but is now well past its sell-by date.”