NHS at 60 – A picture of health?

In the week where Britain’s National Health Service has been celebrating its diamond jubilee, Bhavika Hira, operations manager of B2B International’s medical market research division, reflects on the divergence of public opinion over this national institution.

A few years ago I turned up at my GP’s surgery in time for my 3.30pm appointment, only to be told by the receptionist that she was unable to let me through to the doctor for the time-being since her computer, which showed the names of everyone who had booked an appointment, had just crashed.

On another occasion, when the printer printing out my prescription jammed, my GP told me in frustration that: “all the extra NHS funding that the public is forever hearing about goes into computers, not into more doctors or better patient facilities”. Yet, few people would argue that, in general, computers and advances in technology do not benefit our lives tremendously.

Some colleagues of mine have recently moved from the UK to America to work in the B2B International USA office. The United States offers some of the best healthcare facilities in the world, but not everyone can benefit from them. Without adequate medical insurance in the US, you will struggle to even get seen by a doctor. So, do we in Britain, who all have the right to receive ‘free at the point of delivery’ healthcare, actually just take our National Health Service for granted?

This week the NHS has been celebrating its 60th birthday. Since its conception in 1948, the NHS has continually found itself in the headlines. The media makes dramas out of it and politicians come to blows over it. Yet, fundamentally and crucially, we should not forget that the British public relies on it.

The NHS treats one million patients every 36 hours and employs 1.5 million staff. Once a pioneer its field, the NHS now comes in for criticism on a regular basis – from the cleanliness of hospitals, to the salary of GPs, to the length of hospital waiting lists. Yet we shouldn’t forget that there has been a huge amount to celebrate since 1948: DNA discovery, transplant surgery and test-tube babies to name but a few.

My medical market research team is immersed in the NHS. We speak to doctors and other healthcare specialists all day, every day. By doing this, we get a wide range of views on a whole array of different disease areas and different aspects of our healthcare system. But that’s the fascinating thing about what we do – we are always discovering interesting and relevant information, and most people have a something to say, whether good or bad.

To find out more about our medical market research services, visit our Healthcare Market Research page.

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