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Views from the BMA on the NHS’s 65th birthday

The NHS is something we should all cherish and be proud of. The vast majority of the public see a service that has delivered remarkable outcomes for the money invested and its founding principle of healthcare free at the point of delivery is what makes our health service what it is today.

It is also more than 65 years since the BMA began calling for a national medical service and I am proud to say that the principles first laid out by us in 1918 continue to be a part of the NHS’ DNA.

This does not mean we can ignore the enormous pressures being felt across the NHS due to rising patient demand, an ageing population and the costs in keeping pace with new technologies and treatments. The government’s Health and Social Care Act was the biggest top-down reorganisation of the NHS since its creation in 1948, yet politicians seem to be blind to the problems already developing. Instead of working on sustainable solutions they seem intent on manufacturing further crises for narrow political purposes.

If the NHS is to survive for another 65 years then politicians need to stop using it as a political football. There has to be a clear recognition that patient demand in reaching a critical point and simply pinning the blame on doctors and other healthcare staff does nothing to solve the real problems.

Doctors responding to a recent BMA survey said the things needed to keep the NHS going for the future were greater integration between health and social care, better management of activity and less emphasis on competition.

We should be proud of our NHS and the BMA will continue to work with the government to see that it continues to be a challenging and rewarding work place for doctors, and continues to provide the best care for patients for another 65 years.

Click here for more on the BMA’s role in the creation of the NHS.

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