One of my most firmly held beliefs is that healthcare should be provided to all, on the basis of need and free at the point of use. It should be provided completely equally, without prejudice or favour. I'm extremely grateful that I live in UK, where we have a nationalised system of healthcare. This fervent belief in our system has sometimes baffled my friends and colleagues, so at a point in time where the system as it stands may be radically altered in the near future I felt it was the right time to try and go back over why our system is great and what the real benefits of the NHS to society are.
Firstly. This is a debate about healthcare systems. Not health care providers. I am firmly of the belief that NHS hospitals would continue to do their best to save lives whomsoever footed the bill and however the patients were taxed. Similarly, no doctor that I have met wants to turn a patient away. Hospitals, doctors and nurses, by and large, will operate independently of the healthcare system. Pharmaceuticals will be procured and produced whether insurers or the state pays for them. Thus, the reasons for or against a given healthcare system must be about the effects it has upon the rest of your life, and the access to those hospitals, doctors, and nurses.
What the NHS is about: Fear, Equality and Trust
Contrary to popular belief, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom (hereafter, the NHS) is not about the efficient provision of healthcare. It's about fear: with the NHS, you do not have to fear falling ill, you do not have to fear how you will pay. It's about equality: it's there for everyone, David Cameron's son was given NHS care, even Rupert Murdoch would be treated in A&E if he broke his leg, all the way down in wealth to people who are given free prescriptions because they're on income support. It's about trust: trust between doctor and patient and trust between citizens and the state.