By Lucette Davies

While today many people are joining with all sorts of jubilee festivities can we remember another British institution, the NHS? Our NHS can be considered one of Britain’s greatest achievements and one that is so in need of our attention.

There are a number of myths circulating about the NHS. And unless we challenge these false beliefs I am afraid we will lose our access to quality healthcare entirely. So I wanted to use this column to discuss some of these myths that I have heard local people talk about.

The NHS is still there, it is still free, so I am not worried – Our healthcare service is still referred to as the NHS but it has been completely rearranged. This is why we have 6.4m on waiting lists, crumbling hospitals, an exhausted and demoralized workforce, limited access to GPs and many services no longer available.

If any government tried to end the NHS the people would never allow it – Our NHS has been repeatedly damaged by successive governments since it began in 1948. But since the Coalition government the rate of destruction has escalated. By keeping that NHS logo and chipping away under the surface many are being hoodwinked into believing it is safe.

It doesn’t matter who provides the care as long as it is free at the point of need – Actually it does matter. By introducing private healthcare providers into the NHS we have made the service inefficient. We have also destroyed any continuity of care and doctor/patient relationships. When a private healthcare provider is paid to deliver care 20 % of the fee goes towards their profit. When the NHS delivers care 100% of the fee is spent on care.

Britain can’t afford the NHS – over the last few years, governments have wasted tax payer’s money in a scandalous manner. Including by the introduction of private healthcare providers into our NHS. Other examples include, the opening of Nightingale hospitals which were barely used but cost over £500m. And, £38bn spent on a test and trace system that did more harm than good. However, if as a nation we invested in improving public health then there would be a £2-4 boost to the economy for every £1 spent. The truth is we can’t afford to not have the NHS.

An American style system would be better – We are rapidly heading towards having an American style system so if we don’t act quickly we may find out the hard way that this is a myth. The American’s have one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world and one of the least efficient. They have more people going bankrupt from healthcare costs than anywhere else in the developed world. And these are people who thought they were covered by insurance policies. Like all insurance firms, when people try to claim they start finding reasons not to pay.

Our NHS may not be perfect but it could give us the best healthcare system possible. It must be reinstated as a publicly owned and publicly provided healthcare system that is paid for by taxation and free at the point of need. Anything else is just a waste of money.

Politicians are elected to represent our interests not those of big business as is happening now. We need to remind them of that fact.