Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Bold, open review of existing structures

For quite some time now the British news is all about the NHS and how it is falling apart.  After Brexit, the state of NHS is the most discussed and debated issue in the printed press. 

The National Health Services (NHS) came into effect on July 5, 1948 at the strong recommendation and long battle of the then health minister Aneurin Bevan, a Labour party member.  It was a time after the war and the whole of the world, even Britain, was in recovery mode. Though today none would question the need and the great service NHS offers, back then there were many objections to it - primarily because it imposed tax on everyone and secondly because, doctors saw it as a form of national socialism.  Doctors resented it because it would mean that their independence was now at stake.  They would not be 'small businesses' but state functionaries.  The NHS survived years of revamping, policy changes, even threats of being thrown out...

However, with the reeling pressure of time and circumstances, people do not fear asking the bold questions: Is it time to move on?  Do we still have to invest and sustain a sinking ship?  Alternatives are being discussed and debated.  However, none of them seem to be 'better' than what NHS can. But I like the way the whole point is discussed and debated in open.  There certainly will be some political moves going on in the background, but atleast there is no secrecy about the state of affairs, or rather the sad state of affairs. 

I've admired the way the NHS works.  I may not be aware of all its intricacies but the health care system of the country is worth admiring.  I don't see this possible in India, given its large population and the mind set we presently function with.  Furthermore with the grave economic inequalities that are characteristic of India, a general taxation for health will never really take off.  Moreover, I wonder if we'd ever have such an open and free debate in the public domain, with members of the political parties (no matter whether in power or in opposition) participating and learning, rather than politicizing and merely criticizing each other and conclusively ending up far away from the topic under discussion. 

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