Our National Health Service is one of a Kind. Our Young Reporters report

The National Health Service was established by the Labour government in 1948, as a social reform after the Second World War. No matter who you are, where you are from, you are given the care you need – for FREE.

The NHS is the fifth largest employer in the world, and the biggest in the U.K. They employ around 1.2 million people, around 12.5% of those are from places other than the U.K. This means that the NHS is heavily reliant on people from overseas, celebrating a huge diversity of different types of people, all helping one another, helping YOU get the best care. In the U.K, EU Immigrants make up 10% of the total of registered Doctors and 4% of registered nurses. Our National Health Service is one of a kind, and despite government cuts, is one of the best health services in the world.

The funding that the NHS receives is increasing – but decreasing. Last year 140 billion pounds was spent on the NHS – over 10 times more than what was expected 60 years ago. But why does it costs so much to run the NHS? Well firstly, we, as humans, have a much longer life expectancy than 60 years ago. People over 85 cost on average 5 times more than a 30 year old. And, despite this, in 2018 the Conservative party cut £2.7 billion from the NHS. This enormous sum of money is enough to cover 61,500 nurses’ pay, 360,000 hip replacements and 3.3 million cataract operations. Tory cuts have meant that people are waiting much longer in A&E, on hospital trolleys, and even waiting longer for cancer treatment. After nearly ten years of austerity, Britain is underfunding the health service by £20-30 billion, against countries such as Sweden and France. Between 1987 and 2017 the number of hospital beds has decreased by 52.4% – an unbelievable statistic which should be causing uproar.

The wrong people are being blamed. People are constantly abusing NHS services, whether that be by missing appointments (£1 billion was lost last year just due to missed appointments), government cuts, or the people abusing NHS staff. People complain about the NHS – about all people who work tirelessly to make US the healthiest (and happiest) they can. The NHS are suffering with staff shortages, and there is an average of 200 (reported) physical assaults every day. We have reached the highest point of violence against NHS staff in 5 years. These are Nurses, Porters, Cleaners, Councillors – every small part of the NHS which contributes to something that our entire country relies upon. Something that your life will probably depend upon in the future – if it hasn’t already. As British people we forget how lucky we are – how we can walk into A&E or book a Doctors appointment completely free of charge. There are few other nations that we can expect the same level of care from for free- if any. But we still run into the tabloids arms – grumbling that our prescription wasn’t available at the doctors five minutes away from our home… it was at the one ten minutes away.

 In everyday life the NHS is misused, by people drinking too much and substance abuse. Excluding the group of people who have genuine problems involving these two factors, it is enraging to see people wasting already lacking resources on people who do not need it. People who have life threatening issues to do with drink and drugs are having their resources raided by people who act the fool on a night out or get too aggressive after too many pints. It’s a subject we need to talk about and be aware of. Our NHS is one of a kind – protect it.

Joseph Talbot, of the band IDLES, said: “Our mortality is what levels us all. We are reminded that what fuels the NHS, rather than science or taxes, is compassion from the people, for the people. At the core of the NHS is a sustained practice of human kindness and good will.”

At times such as these, the NHS is the most unifying thing this country can claim to be its own.

By Young Reporter Charlotte

Article originally appeared in Grimsby Telegraph 14th May 2019