“The Department of Health estimates that the NHS must make efficiency savings of up to £20 billion over the next four years”.
Discuss this statement in the context of recent reforms and legislative change affecting the NHS and rationing decisions.
The question focuses on the financial constraints that have been imposed upon the NHS and the potential effects on patient care and rationing of treatment. You may want to begin your answer with a brief description of the inception of the NHS with recognition that at that time it was a unique healthcare service that aimed to offer healthcare for all that was free at the point of delivery. However, over the last 65 years or so, the socio-political and demographic landscape has changed considerably, imposing numerous strains upon the system.
Two issues that you might wish to consider which have been instrumental in this change are demographic change as well as advances in medical technology. There is an increasing proportion of older persons and the total population has increased considerably over the last half century. People are also living longer. Advances in medical technology mean that options for investigation and treatment are getting more plentiful, sophisticated and costly. The NHS has a finite budget and how can it be expected to cope with this increasing demand?
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