This question is usually a conversation stopper...and an argument starter!
I have seen people passionately arguing as to how the NHS is a beacon to the rest of the world, looking after its own people. In total contrast, these days you could reframe this question and easily get people to even agree with you to abolish the NHS. Should the NHS be privatised?
I have read paragraphs and essays on this topic and come out with my own view, unchanged. Ultimately most of us are sold out on what we want because we have strong views on finances and ethics that are not easily swayed. Equally, hypothetical questions as these are generic questions that could be interpreted whichever way you want.
What does privatisation mean? Virgin taking over NHS hospital with a clean reception area where the beautiful receptionists beckon you towards the MRI scanner to get scanned for a better life? Or is it that same old district hospital where you pay twenty pounds at the entrance to get treated for your urinary infection while waiting on the same old trolley? Or is it where you pay £40 to read the latest glossy "garden magazine" while waiting with an elite group of people dressed in suits with the air conditioner blowing a sweet wisp of scent and the DAB radio saying sweet nothings while you wait to have a tooth removed? Oh, Sorry, you are already doing it? Ok, So which one is it? Did you know that foundation trusts are already privatised organisations in a sense? the independent sector treatment centres? the NHS hospital at Hinchinbrooke? All of our GPs?
I could rant more, but for the sake of this session, let me summarise my thoughts on how the voting is likely to go.
So should the NHS be privatised?
If you voted YES:
I suspect you are
2. Free of disease
3. Working and earning a reasonable salary
4. Working in the NHS
5. Not contributed to NHS pension for more than 2 years
6. Believe that private companies run everything more efficiently
7. Recognise that patient care will be costly, but will be more timely and effective
If you Voted NO:
I suspect you are:
1. Middle aged to Older
2. Have a chronic disease
3. Living in fear of an exotic illness that you cant fund hitting you any time around...now
4. Working in the NHS or likely never worked at all!
5. Contributed to NHS pension for more than 5 years
6. Paranoid about the intentions of private companies
7. Fear that patients will suffer more (than they currently do) post privatisation
So the real outcome of any voting exercise will revolve around what YOU want out of the NHS rather than what the patients will get out of it. It is "all about me". So who are you really?