Alastair Stewart: Tax payers cannot afford the unlimited financial appetite of the NHS

The scale and duration of the pandemic seems to have posed intractable problems.

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From its inception, the NHS has faced crises but survived.

Successive Governments have fiddled with the structure and the funding model, yet it has survived

The brief remains constant: cradle to grave care, free at the point of delivery.But Covid has conjured up something different.

The scale and duration of the pandemic seems to have posed intractable problems.

And now the Institute of Fiscal Studies wants that unless something happens waiting lists could get to 13 million: 1 in 5 of the population.It has hardly been starved of cash and yet the problems persist.

My own view is that the prescription does, indeed, need to be radical.

The model is no longer fit for purpose and the nation, the tax payers, cannot afford the unlimited financial appetite of the NHS.

First, as soon as is possible, a root and branch examination needs to take place of what the NHS can and cannot, should and should not, do.

Second, Ministers need to accelerate the long promised but never delivered merger of health and social care: both are in crisis and both need urgent treatment.

Third, the financial model needs re-examining: there is a greater role for private insurance for those who can afford it to make free more tax payer cash and capacity available t this who have no such choice.

It requires thinking outside of the box and it needs open and honest thinking from the political classes. One lives in hope….