Healthcare policy

Across the UK, a shocking 4 million people languish for hospital treatment and at current trends this number is set to rise to 5 million in 2019 according to The Guardian. 25% of British cardiac patients die waiting for treatment, delays in treatment for colon and lung cancer patients have been so long that 20% of the cases were incurable by the time they finally received care. The elderly simply are not given access to particular services. The Guardian also revealed that the more socially deprived an area the worse the quality and access to care on the NHS is likely to be.

The Scottish Libertarian Party has a new common-sense policy that will allow far more patients to be treated at far lower expense, while reducing the workload for practitioners by allowing doctors surgeries, clinics and hospitals to train and certify their own assistants to take responsibilities off the hands of highly specialised staff. These new assistants would be able to take care of ailments such as blocked noses, dandruff, travel sickness, sprains, flus, colics and insect bites which currently have to be seen to by GPs and even A&E staff, costing the NHS £2bn a year.

It’s little wonder we see major staff shortages across the NHS when every year our medical schools turn away thousands of perfectly bright and capable would-be doctors to a lack of capacity! The new policy would allow new medical schools to be built and remove restrictions on the building of private hospitals to help meet growing demand for services.

Aimed at ending profligate waste within the system, the policy would target severe inefficiencies which cost not only the tax-payer but human lives. Data from the government shows that a stay in an NHS hospital costs around £400 per day, whereas a typical private hospital stay is almost a third cheaper at around £275 per night. In 2014 an NHS efficiency league table revealed that some hospitals were spending eight times as much as others to buy the same items – sometimes at an expense of up to £600,000 a year. In a recent report it was revealed that the NHS had been spending up to £16 on packets of rubber gloves which can be bought for 35 pence. Correcting these flaws could save £1 billion across a £14 billion budget.

The biggest reform is removing NHS spending from General taxation and replacing it with a system of insurance, modelled on the Dutch system which has been ranked the best system in Europe for the seventh year and has highest user satisfaction among citizens. This will give citizens the flexibility to choose where they wish to receive their health treatments from and drive down costs.

Prevention is better than cure, as evidenced by the fact that lifestyle related illnesses cost the NHS £11 billion a year as well as destroying lives. The British system is a ‘sickcare’ system which largely focuses on the treatment of ill health and highlights the importance of helping people achieve optimal health.

You can download the policy here: Healthcare Policy