The UK is reluctantly looking at a new NHS tax

By Catherine Sturman
Increased ageing populations, escalating healthcare costs and growing delays in patient care have all led to the very possibility of the implementation...

Increased ageing populations, escalating healthcare costs and growing delays in patient care have all led to the very possibility of the implementation of a new healthcare based tax in the United Kingdom.

A recent report, 'Health and Social Care: Delivering a Secure Funding Future', has stressed the need for a new NHS and social care tax, as well as the need for a new Office for Budget Responsibility for Health. The tax would replace traditional National Insurance Contributions, a scheme devised after the Second World War to support community services.

After facing the worst winter crisis in years, placing significant pressures on acute services, the proposed tax has gained support by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the Patients Association. It has also received the backing of a number of politicians, who reluctantly acknowledge that the service is under financial strain, with limited options as to how to resolve the issue without losing the trust of the public.

It has been stated that the NHS is in dire need of funding, with a gap of up to £4bn in 2018-2019, a chasm which is set to widen further through rising demands. Described as “woefully inadequate,” it illustrates how limited funds will lead to the decrease in exceptional patient delivery.

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In a 10-member panel, with feedback from NHS England, RCN and RCGP, Professor Clare Gerada stated that citizens over aged 65 should no longer be exempt from National Insurance Contributions and provide further financial support at this critical stage. "Old age is now between 85 and 95, so old age has significantly moved,” she said.

However, the President of the United States, Donald Trump has also put forward his strong view of the UK’s National Health Service. Upon hearing of current protests surrounding the possible privatisation of the UK's healthcare services, he said:  "The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!"

UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK public have all responded to condemn the US leaders claims, where healthcare coverage is only available for those who can afford it. Since coming into office, Trump has attempted to strip Obamacare and the healthcare advantages it grants to low-income families, but has yet to win the respect of the US public in doing so.


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