A long time ago, when keyhole surgery started to become a common procedure, I felt that there should have been some form of profit and loss bookkeeping, in the health service, so that when new procedures, inventions, medicines and treatments were introduced that showed a cost saving in parallel areas when compared with the earlier systems, the savings should be set against more expensive procedures, medicines etc., so that people could benefit where they hadn’t previously. In this way I felt that the health service could maintain its quality, increase the number of procedures that were open to the general public, while not increasing the overall expenditure by any great amount, and so provide a more extensive service at roughly the same cost. It didn’t happen, but then perhaps I was on the wrong track
Currently free prescription charges are being brought in, in stages throughout the UK. There is no shadow of doubt, as is happening with the loss of subsidised dental care, that people who are strapped for cash, tend to go without essential remedial measures. Consequently free prescription charges will somewhat alleviate this problem, but I do see problems ahead of the system as it is currently being discussed by the politicians who are, by default, broadly implying that there will be a blank cheque. The pharmaceutical industry is constantly discovering new medicines and cures, and it is the introduction of this research that creates the greatest income for the companies. I’m only guessing when I say that my experience of pharmaceutical products over a period of over 70 of my 86 years, is that the development and the spread and quality of these items has been exponential over that period, and will tend to be more so in the future. We are hearing of cures for various diseases that can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds a year for just one individual.
I am aware that the health service tries to use viable products that are cheaper than some of the more popular ones. The problem that I see that requires addressing, with this new regime, is, there inevitably has to be a limit on what is available and to whom it is available. If I am right, also taking into account our current fiscal problems, then the rules must apply to all, the whole UK, and the postcode lottery must come to an end. In addition, the politicians must not only face up to this fact that some discrimination is inevitable, they must construct a feasible, legal structure for it to function smoothly, and admit that this is essential to the populace at large, if they are not to have a running battle of who is to get what where. Perhaps, with like the surgery, I’ve got it all wrong.