The NHS is broken. It needs serious attention, or even scrapping. At the moment everyone loses out, as my own story demonstrates.
I have told my tale on my own blog, but to summarize, some years ago I was forced to pay for private medical care even though I was on low pay, as I could not afford to take time off work. The care cost less than £500, but I could not really afford it (my credit was good, luckily for me).
However a far more general point can be drawn from this if we consider the idea that I might not have had that credit, had I been forced to take nine weeks extra off work.
Obviously my loss and gain account would be somewhat balanced. I would have been able to work a little, and might have been able to claim some benefits. I would have had far more spare time, which might have been valuable. However during that time I would have been in pain, and would have had no money, so the enjoyment of my enforced holiday would have been limited.
The companies I was working for would of course have lost out. One would probably have had to pay me some sick pay, although I am not sure I was entitled. In any case the company would have had the management problem and expense of covering my workload. I was also very difficult to replace directly, so the clients would have suffered significantly worse service, and potentially lost time and additional expense (they could ill afford). The other role I had would probably not have been covered, and some of the work cancelled. New employees were hard to find at that time.
Ironically the government would have lost out more than I would, far more than the cost of my private treatment. As stated I think I would have been entitled to benefits. I would not have been paying tax on money I was not earning. My second role put a lot of money into the Treasury, the government earned more than I did for that work, and much of it would have been cancelled. They would then have had to pay for my NHS care.
So I would have lost out; my employers and clients, and their clients, would have lost out; the government would have lost out. Lose - lose - lose. I worked all this out yesterday while debating the NHS on another blog. It must happen in many more cases than my own, and is the clearest sign I have seen that the NHS is not fit for purpose, and the NHS is a drain on our economy far greater than its bloated cost.