Should National Health Service (NHS) be privatized
This essay will seek to answer the question whether; “The NHS should be privatized.”
Privatization is transferring a service from public to private ownership and control. In this paper,
the focus will be economic and social consequences of privatizing NHS. In the economic
perspective, the paper will evaluate whether privatizing NHS will remove ineffectiveness and
money wastage in NHS as some people think NHS is not cost effective. It will also look at
prioritization of money as the potential problem resulting from privatizing NHS. In social
perspective, quality of care and eventual accountability of NHS will be evaluated. My opinion of
this topic is that NHS should not be privatized as this will lead to the poor provision of care
services, prioritize profits and make it hard for the society to hold NHS accountable.
The essay will start by looking economic implications of privatizing NHS. Thereafter, it
will cover social implications of privatizing NHS before finally drawing a conclusion on whether
NHS should be privatized or not.
Privatization of NHS
In economic view of effects of privatizing NHS, this will remove cost ineffectiveness and
wastage of millions of pounds per year that is seen in NHS. A review by NHS in 2015 in
spending discovered that there was the high waste, including hospital spending of £10,000 per
month. This was attributed to the fact that many holidays were given to the staff and managers
regularly spending £1.50 a time on soluble drugs for treating the liver problems when non-
soluble drugs could be obtained for 2p each (Haldenby, 2016, pp. 1-3). While this supports the
idea that NHS is inefficient and not cost effective, I do not agree with this argument. I believe
NHS is efficient and a cost effective provider of health services. NHS is ranked among the best
healthcare services in the developed world. It is also ranked among the least healthcare
expenditure per capita. When economic costs and clinical benefits of health systems were
compared across eighteen Western States between a period of 1979 to 2005, results indicated
that NHS was one of the most cost-effective health systems that significantly reduced mortality
rates (Pollock, 2014).
Economically, privatizing NHS will make profits to be prioritized. The behavior for
private companies is that they run for shareholders and unavoidably put profit margins before
patients. Because private hospitals prioritize profits, they normally overcharge patients than
public hospitals (Salmon, 2017, p. 44). A patient can die while at a private hospital for not
having enough funds to cater for his/her treatment. According to Pollock (2014), privatizing
NHS also will impede quality including increasing hospitalization rates and mortality.
In line with the above discussion, privatizing NHS will not remove ineffectiveness and
money wastage as other people claim since NHS itself is a cost effective health organization. The
organization has played a crucial role in reducing mortality rates in a most cost effective way.
Privatizing NHS will make profits a priority which may treatments less affordable for many
Having looked economic implications for privatizing NHS, this leads us to ask what will
be the social consequences for making NHS a private health system. Privatizing NHS will imply
that the society obtains better patient choice and has somebody to hold accountable in case a
patient receives poor treatment (Salmon, 2017, pp. 13-15). Since there are other private
companies providing similar services, a patient can hold a hospitable accountable if the hospital
violates his/her health rights. According to Haldenby (2016, p. 3), competition puts patients at
the heart of NHS because this gives patients more choice. A patient will not know how much to
pay for services costs when he/she chooses it as he/she will not be paying for it. Therefore,
his/her decision will depend on the quality and not price encouraging more services to provide
the best care which is an advantage to the society.
While privatizing NHS will lead to better patient choice and the best care, this might not
always be true since this will lead to the provision of worst services to the society. Private
hospitals reward shareholders. They thus, prioritize profits and might cut corners, or underinvest
in the society’s public services. Private hospitals also have commercially confident contracts, and
this means that they do not share information with others. Consequently, it becomes difficult for
them to partner with others, a move which could have provided better health services to the
society (Pollock, 2014). It is also not possible to hold private hospitals accountable because a
private company is not democratically accountable to a patient, a practice that denies a patient
the “voice” (Pollock & Leys, 2005, pp. 71-72).
Looking the implications for privatizing NHS from the society perspective, as much as
there being arguments that this will lead to better patient choice and holding private hospitals
accountable in case of health malpractices, this is not always the case. Privatizing NHS will
result in the provision of poor health services to the society and make it hard for the society to
hold NHS accountable.
This paper evaluated economic and social implications of the move to privatize NHS. As
covered in the paper, this move makes profits a priority at the expense of patients’ health. As
other people believe that the move will remove ineffectiveness and money wastage in NHS, this
is not true because NHS has been cost effective in its operations. Due to profits being a priority
for private hospitals, the result is the provision of poor health services to the society. Just the way
academy schools are less accountable to parents; it is difficult to hold private companies
accountable because they are not democratically accountable to patients. For instance, Atos (a
private company) attempted to silence disability campaigners instead of taking a move to
respond to their complaints about work capability assessments (Salmon, 2017, p. 83). Private
hospitals are no longer better than public hospitals as some people think. With the discussion
done in this paper, I recommend that NHS should not be privatized.
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Haldenby, A., 2016. Delivering the 2015 spending review objective of successful NHS
partnerships with the private sector. [Online]
Available at: http://www.reform.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Delivering- the-2015- Spending-
Review-objective- of-successful- NHS-partnerships- with-the- private-sector.pdf
[Accessed 23 September 2016].
Pollock, A., 2014. Privatisation of the NHS. [Online]
Available at: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Privatisation-of- the-NHS- %7C-
[Accessed 22 September 2016].
Pollock, A. & Leys, C., 2005. NHS plc: the privatisation of our health care. London; New York:
Salmon, H., 2017. Ideas for britain. London: Matador.