Question: How much does our National Health Service cost each year?
Answer: Over £100 billion
In our blog last week, Graeme from Education Quizzes provided statistics that showed people in the 65 to 79 age bracket are the ones most likely to be happy and I suggest that is largely due to the influence of our much-maligned NHS.
Never a week goes by without us hearing of funding shortages in our health service and how much better things could be. It’s the old story of the “half-empty-glass” because the hard truth is there can never be enough money to fund everything we need and whatever our poor old health service does there will always be more that it COULD do. Let’s look at a few statistics…
The cost of developing a new drug is in the region of £1 billion. The drug then has to be manufactured, distributed and dispensed by a highly qualified medical professional. How much of that cost is borne by a retired person? Nothing, it is provided free by the NHS.
The cost of open heart surgery including all aftercare is in the region of £200,000. How much does it cost a patient of any age in the UK? Nothing, it is provided free by the NHS.
According to the Royal College of Surgeons there are 3.7 million surgical procedures performed every year. These include 120,000+ hernia operations, 115,000+ hip replacements and 81,000+ knee replacements. All provided free on the NHS.
If you elect to pay privately for a hip replacement then the “guide price” is £11,434. Any guesses as to how much the NHS charge you?
The NHS employs 1.6 million people and is amongst the top five of the world’s largest workforces. For the benefit of the more curious amongst you, the other four are US Department of Defence, Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Walmart and McDonalds!
When the NHS was launched in 1948 it had a budget in today’s value of approximately £15 billion so there has been a real increase to the order of 7 fold.
The service provides care to over 1 million people in every 36 hour period.
We can’t protect our children from the incessant, attention-grabbing headlines about how bad the NHS is but let’s make sure that we balance that with telling them that over a million people dedicate their lives to making us all healthier. Let’s explain that a person born in the year 1900 had a life expectancy of less than 50 years and now it is over 80. Above all, let’s reassure the children that we can all look forward to increasingly long lives that are increasingly healthy.