The National Health System – known as the NHS – was long regarded to be the jewel in the crown, so to speak, of the UK’s government achievements.
It was borne out of a necessity to allow people access to health care in a country that was ravaged by war and also had a very poor record in the past when it came to workers rights.
The NHS was conceived by Clement Attlee’s Labour Government in 1948 and was born out of the ashes of World War 2.
The UK obviously had many war veterans at the time and there were also a lot of widows left with families that had lost their fathers while fighting in the Allied invasion of occupied France. Something had to be done and the British Government of the day knew it. And so, the NHS was born.
The system works whereby people pay into the system through their taxes, a result of which they can seek treatment in hospitals or doctor’s clinics without charge. People still take out health insurance, but the system being free means that the most vulnerable in society have access to a health system should the need arise.
The UK has reciprocal agreements for treatment with many countries, but the system is creaking under the strain of the influx on EU migrants who are entitled to use the NHS as long as they pay their taxes. The issue came to the fore in the Brexit referendum when the leave camp said that over £350 million would go back into the system as soon as the UK left the EU. It proved to be a lie.
The NHS is not what it once was and hospitals are complaining of being understaffed and not having enough medical equipment to look after patients adequately. The government has ordered a review of the situation to see how it can steer the NHS to what it once was. One of the major problems being experienced is the lack of qualified nurses on the wards. The NHS is still the envy of many countries around the world.