Success Of Public Health System In UK
Health system can be define as putting all the resources both material and human resources, institutions, management as well as finances together to deliver health services to the population in order to treat, prevent and improve health (Skolnik 2012). The United Kingdom National Health Service which turns 70 recently is said to be one the greatest achievement in the country as far as history is concerned (Duncan and Jowit 2018). The United Kingdom provides free healthcare to all those residents in the country at the point of need through the National Healthcare System (NHS) (Boyle 2011) and (Duncan and Jowit 2018). Before the birth of National Health Service (NHS) in 1946, only wealthy people were able to afford healthcare and the poor can only get free health Care through Charity or teaching hospitals (Greengross 1999). In the Victorian Era, there were outbreaks of Typhoid, Cholera, Influenza, Tuberculosis and Smallpox which as results killed many people. London became polluted because of inadequate sanitation. Edwin Chadwick (1842) then published a report on the sanitation condition notably emphasising on the link between disease, poverty and low life expectancy. His findings prompted the then Government to recognise the need of public health approach, and this, as a result, brought the birth of public health. Another key person who was a significant influenced to initiate National Health Insurance Act in 1911 was David Lloyd George. He proposed that small amount should be taking from employee’s wage and in return they receive free healthcare or treatment (ref). However, during Second World War in 1942, William Beverage wrote a report entitled “Social Insurance and Allied Services” to help the population as a reward for their lost and sacrificed during the War the report identifies five “Giant Evils”: Squalor, Ignorance, Want, Idleness and Disease (Beverage 1942). The government acted upon the Beverage report by initiating some polices to deal with those five “Giant Evils”. The government-built houses with flushing to toilet facilities to overcome Squalor. Free education was introduced to eradicate ignorance. The Benefit was also introduced to alleviate poverty. Labour exchange, now called jobcentre plus to overcome idleness, and finally, National Health Service (NHS) was added to deal with diseases. This historical event justified that global public health can be simply define as the discipline that address health at a population level without the use of clinical approach such as physician therapy or occupational therapy who deals with individuals levels whilst public health deals with a group of people which include sick and healthy people in the community as well as global (Skolnik 2012, Hunter et al 2010 and Last 1926)
The current health system is said to be socialised Medicare, which means free at the point of need and is funded by the government through taxation and insurance contributors. The delivery of service is funded in different ways, and it involves of national health England, national health Scotland, national health Wales and national service health Northern Ireland (Boyle 2011). General practitioners are the first point of contact whenever medical attention is needed, then refer patients to secondary care which are provided by special doctor’s consultants, Nurses and other healthcare professionals if there is a need (Boyle2011). Pharmaceuticals care also play a major part in the National health system in the United Kingdom by dispensing medicals based on prescription from the doctors and other health care professionals. Further, Social care, however, is responsible for 152 councils with adult social care which has been shifted from residential to a community, where the provision of care has been a transition from the public sector to private and voluntary organisation with financing aspect been a mixture of local authorities and private, popularly known as “out-of-pocket model”(Boyle2011). Mental Health System since its foundation in 1948 was like asylum detention system where people with mental problem received any forms of treatments compared to today system where primary care and community-based service assisted by specialist patients care with person centre care being a paramount goal. However, 1997 saw some significant reforms in the National Health system, with the introduction of the National Institute for Health and Clinical excellence with responsibility of assessing and providing guidance on medical treatments and procedures. Care Quality Commission was also introduced to regulate care providers and monitor the delivery of service to ensure the quality of care is being given to service users through regular inspection. To conclude, the health system remains free, and people with special needs get privileges. For example, people who are aged 60 or over get free sight tests, free prescription, breast screening program to women 50 up to70 and care and Disable children Acts enshrined access and empowerment to service users. (Boyle 2011).
The distribution of health and disease in the United Kingdom in recent years has been improved immensely compared to previous few decades. Many indicators show substantial reductions in infant mortality rate and mortality rate from the dominant diseases such as Cancer, Respiratory, Digestive and Cardiovascular diseases (Last 1926). Life expectancy at birth has been rising 5.1 years representing women and 6.9 years for men, exceeding 82.1 years and 78.0 years respectively. Besides, healthy life expectancy at birth for females has increased by 1.8 years from 68.9 to 70.7 between 1995 and 2006, while, men rose by 2.4 years from 68.9 to 70.7 over the same period. This means that the gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy indicate the absent of good health an individuals might expected to live.
In conclusion, improvements of health on the population in the United Kingdom is mostly not because of the introduction of free National Health service rather than by improving socioeconomic and education since most diseases were due to factors like ignorance, want, squalor, poverty and idleness. The exiting such factors in the developing countries justified the reason why there is huge gap in terms of life expectancy between developed and developing countries (Last 1926).