The National Health Service in the UK
The National Health Service (NHS) was the first universal healthcare system developed after the Second World War and was founded ‘in place of fear’. After the trauma of the war years, people demanded a new set of arrangements across a number of public services and the NHS was designed to provide essentially free care, at the point of need, irrespective of age, health, race, religion, social status or the ability to pay—from ‘cradle to the grave’.
With increasing life expectancy, evolving technology, chronic illnesses and increasing patient expectations, healthcare is facing a crisis in providing a high quality, safe, effective and efficient healthcare within a restricted and often limited financial envelope.
The issue we now face is will the NHS, designed 70 years ago, still be fit to tackle the challenges we face ahead? Moreover what do we need to do to make sure the NHS is fit for purpose for the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years?
This chapter explores the challenges facing the NHS and ways in which these challenges may be overcome. The principles that underpin this process can be applied to most healthcare models globally.
KeywordsThe National Health Service Healthcare Challenges to healthcare
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