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To what extent is the centrally planned system of running the NHS effective in its allocation of resources? (12 marks)

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Introduction

To what extent is the centrally planned system of running the NHS effective in its allocation of resources? (12 marks) A centrally planned system is where one specific group manages the whole system. It is similar to a centrally planned economy, where the government or a council would run the whole economy. In these systems, the government controls all major sectors of the group, and distribute the income between each of the smaller services. The state sets targets and make decisions on what is to be produced, and then allocate the resources accordingly. The concept of planned economies are mainly a trait of Communist states, with such examples as the Soviet Union and China. The nature of Communism meant that the government controlled all aspects of the production of a country, and so naturally would lead to a centrally planned economy. With any economic system, there are advantages and disadvantages both. ...read more.

Middle

An example of this would be in the Soviet Union, where people would queue for hours to buy basics such as bread. Another disadvantage is that by using a planned economy, it leads to planners favouring one line of production over another, and this in turn means another sector will be neglected. They cannot possibly prioritise and determine which goods are needed better than the market can. In terms of the NHS specifically, it is run by the Department of Health, which in turn oversees 10 Strategic Health Authorities, these run all the NHS operations in their respective areas. Nearly all the staff is employed directly by the NHS itself, but professions such as GPs and dentists are not employees of the NHS, but instead contract themselves out. All the above advantages and disadvantages of the centrally planned economies still applies to the NHS, but on a smaller scale. ...read more.

Conclusion

The centrally planned system of the NHS is no longer "centrally planned" when they create smaller departments for different areas. In this way, resources are no longer used to their full capability, and that it no longer works efficiently. However, many would argue that the NHS is one of the greatest successes of the United Kingdom, and that other countries should follow in its steps, such as the USA. It treats roughly 1 million patients every 36 hours, providing free treatment for any who come to it for help. Considering the size of the NHS and what it has to achieve, some would say that it is effective in its allocation of resources. In conclusion, while the NHS does have its fair share of criticisms, I believe that to call it a centrally planned system is not fully correct, but that considering the size and scale of what is asked of it, and what it has achieved so far, it is very effective in the allocation of the available resources. ...read more.

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