how political ideologies have affected the NHS
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An Ideological analysis of Public Service provision in the U.K FDA Public Servicing Louise Birchley The following will be found in this essay; how the liberal democratic, the socialist and the 'New Right' perspectives would describe the public service provision in Britain. Also information about what their ideal provision would be will be included. Social policy will be explained and defined, and examples of policy and practice that effects public service provisions will be included, in particular how political ideologies have influenced the NHS. A definition of the word 'ideology' is 'an orientation that characterises the thinking of a group or nation' this definition, in simple terms means a set of ideas that are dominant within a group or nation. An ideology is an organised collection of ideas. The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer change in society through a normative thought process. Social policy was developed in the early part of the 20th century, it was aimed at people who were professionally involved in the administration of welfare. Welfare refers to 'well being' it also refers to the services that are provided to protect people in different conditions including sickness, old age and childhood. Social policy is particularly concerned with the welfare state and social services; it is also concerned with the economic and social conditions which shape the development of welfare.
Margaret Thatcher's theme was 'the NHS is safe with US' More recently when the labour government was ran by Tony Blair he went further that Thatcher would have dared but has bought hope to the NHS, at the time of writing it was agreed that the NHS was in crisis with the long waiting lists for certain operations and the shortage of beds within hospitals. NHS direct was introduced and this is where patients with minor problems can be given advice over phone, often saving them a visit to the doctor's surgery or hospital. Part of the new labour ideology is that anything that is to be built is to be built with private money. Like for example in Coventry, instead of improving the two hospitals that already existed it was decided that they were both to be demolished and a new one would be built using private finance which the government would then lease from the private company, although this entailed big staff cuts and the hospital was very difficult to access, the government insisted it was the best way to go. Less controversial was the recent budget that Gordon Brown announced when he was chancellor, he stated that funding for the NHS would be doubled and this would be paid for by an increase of 1p in the pound added on to national insurance.
The 'New Right' criticise the NHS by stating that it has shown inflexibility and inability to adopt advanced methods of treatment. They also state that the NHS suffers from major problems in medical emigration. The 'New Right's ideal provision would be that the NHS should become privatised and people should pay for their treatment. Just like people nowadays have to pay for their eye tests and their dental treatment. Their ideal provision would make sure that all NHS services would come with a charge and this would have an affect on the poor as they would suffer from ill health as they would not be able to pay for their health services. Overall the conservative party and the liberal democrats have had a great influence on the public services and the NHS in particular. The liberal democrats want all NHS services to be free and currently the majority of them are, where as the conservatives believe that people should pay for their treatment, currently it is only eye tests dental and prescriptions that carry a charge. The 'New Right' has had an influence on how much money is spent on NHS each year because they have bought the yearly expenditure down. By charging people for certain treatment the NHS is making money which means more money can be spent improving the quality of the healthcare. www.bath.ac.uk/~hssbpn/Political-Ideologies-2002.
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