Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Dr Shehadeh’s Blog: “Can we have our cake and eat it?”

“Can We Have Our Cake and Eat It?”

In pursuit of the perfect NHS.

“I have recently asked a friend what a perfect NHS would look like. Here’s how she put it :

If the NHS budget were to be quadrupled,
The number of doctors and nurses doubled,

If our hospitals were not so crippled,
And the drug budget were tripled,

Surgery could be had at short notice
Physiotherapy available as a poultice,

A GP appointment within an hour of a cough,
Free prescriptions of all medicinal stuff.

A modern hospital in every hamlet and dale
Specialist services for criminals in Jail,

MRI scans for everyone on demand,
BUPA style medicals would be grand

My own GP twenty four seven,
No strange doctors would ne heaven.

Breakfast lunch and dinner on an FP10,
Free transport to hospital for young men

If nurses could mend cars and fix phones,
Consultants remove furniture, not just gall stones.

This rhyme had to be curtailed before it became inappropriate. But no doubt we all have an idea of what a perfect NHS should look like. A famous evangelist once said: “If you ever find a perfect church, you must not join it; because the moment you join it, it ceases to be perfect”. By the same token, our perfect NHS must not come into being, because as soon as we join it, it will cease to be perfect.

Sadly therefore, the perfect NHS is a cake we can not eat, because we just simply can not afford it. Alas we have to make do with the dream. One thing is sure, the more realistic our expectations, the more likely we are to realise our dream. What we can, however, aspire to is a better NHS. The government is not cutting the NHS budget. Good news. However, a better NHS will not just depend on a budget of a certain size. It will depend on changed attitudes, the exact opposite of the sentiments expressed in my friend’s rhyme.


  1. It’s not only doctor’s that know the game is up with the NHS just as it is with the welfare state. These two monster bureaucracies now swallow almost 70% of all the income this country generates. That is not sustainable. my betting is if you made it the responsibility of a hospital of generating it’s own income they would become more efficient and would automatically stop treating patients for free, as would GP’s.

    The state as a whole appears to have lost sight of the fact they they do not generate money, businesses and people who work for those businesses do. It’s our money they are happy to spend on things we don’t want them to. Ask someone in this country that has paid tax for twenty plus years whether they think it’s their responsibility to ensure the rest of the world has free healthcare and all the other things the state provides for free and you will find your answer.

    The NHS isn’t a freebie to be abused by all and sundry and it isn’t a satisfactory situation for the NHS to absolve itself of any responsibility to spend taxpayers money and not provide proper stewardship of those funds.

    People who want to use the NHS for vanity purposes should be made to pay. People who use the NHS as a contraceptive device should be made to pay. No migrants should be treated without first producing evidence they can pay for it, as I have to when I travel abroad.

    Until the government lose the attitude that they have cart blanche to spend our money as they see fit to massage their ego’s and their liberal sensibilities, nothing will change. The government includes all those publicly funded services that are there to provide for those that pay for it through their taxes. The NHS isn’t free. If it was, why do I pay tax.


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