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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Long live the NHS

31st May 2006

In the week of the 60th anniversary of the second reading of the NHS Bill, we would like to take the opportunity to state our belief that the United Kingdom is fortunate to have one of the fairest health systems in the world where no one need fear becoming bankrupt because of their need to fund their healthcare, says James Johnson, Chair of the British Medical Association, and 11 other signatories in a letter to The Times.

It has dedicated staff who are driven by a passion for patient care and has been transforming itself into a 21st-century healthcare system of which we can all be proud.

The continued commitment of funding through tax ensures equity for patients but also makes economic sense because it is the cheapest way of collecting money, they say. If a system is unaffordable through tax it is not affordable through any other funding system. International experience shows there is no necessary link between how systems perform and how they are funded. Any move to a health insurance system to charge patients for their care would increase bureaucracy and would leave those who need the most care with the greatest financial burden.

We are not complacent, they say. The NHS will need to respond to the tide of rising expectations and need by improving efficiency and responsiveness. They conclude; with the dedication and commitment of staff we believe that the NHS can continue its transformation and be a model for other countries.

James Johnson et al

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