IAN HART: It's January, so time for another NHS crisis?
It appears it's almost that time of the year when the media reports that the NHS is in crisis.
This year, the ante has been upped with the International Red Cross claiming it’s now a potential human rights issue.
Clearly very worrying for the general public, and perhaps a little confusing for all those of us who’ve paid National Insurance contributions from the day of our first wage packet.
I speak as I find: for me the NHS is great organisation.
Unfortunately, at the end of last year, I was ill, and the care and attention I received from my GP and everyone at the surgery was superb and second to none.
I know this is echoed by a number of close friends who have had, or are still receiving, cancer treatment in the past 18 months, and my children, who have both experienced hospital stays for procedures as well as emergency treatment in A&E.
Our NHS staff provide some of the best care available in the world but with this supposed crisis is now the time from a drastic rethink in how we run the health service?
If they charged a minimal £10 to see your GP, refundable if further treatment is required, would it weed out some of the people who it could be argued are wasting valuable doctors’ hours?
Or what if they charged people to attend A&E, again with a refund for a legitimate visit, would that get rid of the drunks and the time wasters?
Without wishing to be accused of being elitist, this would of course have to be means tested, like the prescription system, and anyone who couldn’t pay wouldn’t have to.
From first-hand experience, and in my day-to-day working life, I know how good and efficient the NHS is.
Yes, there are problems, but nothing that some ground-breaking legislation couldn’t sort out.
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