Headlines: June 17th, 1998

The fifty year old National Health Service, has been found to be more cost-effective to the nation than if health provision were in the hands of private enterprise.

A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research reviews possible funding options for the NHS. It concludes that taxpayers get better quality healthcare and value for money from the NHS, and would lose out if the private sector were allowed to gain ground.

The report, by Professor Cam Donaldson of the University of Aberdeen, shows that the cost of health care for a family of four in the NHS has been estimated as ?2,090 per year. The equivalent in the private sector is ?8,060.

And a comparison of length of stay, cases treated per bed and occupancy rate with health services in the US and Canada has shown that the UK is using its resources more efficiently than either of the other countries. It also has better outcomes than many other European Countries who spend considerably more on health.

Health Secretary Frank Dobson said: “Fifty years after it was founded, this country’s National Health Service is proof positive that a tax-based system can work, and is both fairer and more efficient than any of the alternatives.”

Why a National Health Service?’ by Cam Donaldson, is published by the Institute for Public Policy Research and available from Central Books: 0181 986 5488 (7pounds, 50).