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National Health Service

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Introduction

Health is one of the most  precious things in human life and must be protected from diseases that might harm or damage it in any way. Taking care of our health and that of others in our society in order to ensure safety of all members is considered to be a very complicated issue. Every member of our society should take full responsibility of their own  health .  

The National Health Service faces a lot of challenges on how to raise money to take care of the growing need of health care in the United Kingdom today. Statistics shows that the population of the United Kingdom  is tremendously growing, with that of older people experiencing health complications getting higher and higher. Instead, the number of people under the age of 16 is getting lower; this has a great impact on decreasing the number of people whose contribution to the healthcare through paying taxes saves the NHS and allows providing the best care for all the members of the society (BBC News 2005).

With the little amount the government gets from taxpayers, National Health Service strains to cater for the health care needs in the country including diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases which are often caused by lifestyle choices of individuals. In this regard, there is a need for re-evaluation of the right to free National Health Service treatment.

National Health Service Operation

The NHS, which stands for the National Health Service, was established in 1948 . The main aim of this system  is to provide the best healthcare to everyone in the United Kingdom. It derives its funds from taxes paid by citizens. Staticstics has shown that 15.8% of all UK taxes paid are spent on the NHS. It is the largest funded public healthcare service worldwide.

The UK government collects taxes in two ways: from salaries and goods. One quarter of salary of every worker in the UK goes to the government as tax, and 20% of every good bought re collected as tax which is known as Value Added Tax (VAT).

People have been encouraged to pay taxes so as to support the growing need of health services. The question on whether to continue spending a lot of money on health related cases or diseases which are normally a result of the lifestyle of people. One major way of reducing the increasing costs of health care services is to stop treating diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases which come as a result of individual lifestyles such as overeating and cigarette smoking.

Another way for the NHS is to limit the number of health services provided to the public. It is important that the NHS puts more money in investigating the main causes of illnesses and unhealthy lifestyles and tries to prevent them by sensitizing and educate people on healthy ways of living than using a lot of money treating them. While controlling what people eat may be difficult, other habits such as drinking of alcohol and smoking can easily be controlled by the government.

Health Conditions

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease which comes as a result of high amount of sugar in the blood. Though it cannot be treated, it can be controlled by regulating blood glucose levels to keep them within the normal range and controlling the symptoms to prevent the development of health problems later in life. The department of health services in the UK has set out standards for  the NHS to follow in order to treat people with type 2 diabtes. One of these standards is to raise public awareness of the risk factors of type 2 diabetes and provide advice and support to people at risk of type 2 diabetes to help them reduce the risks.

Type2 diabtes is prevented through lifestyle modification (NHS 2009). This can be done by eating healthy balanced diet, doing regular exercises, and loosing weight for those who are obese. By following these guidelines, people can achieve normal blood glucose levels without the need to seek for treatement provided by the NHS. However, this may not be the case for some people. Type2 diabetes tends to get worse over time in some people and exercising or eating healthy balanced diet may not be enough. In this case, medication is required. The NHS must therefore spend money to buy medicine that controls the symptoms.  

According to Sky News (2012), diabetes and its complications currently account for 10% of all the money spent by NHS. This is approximately £9.8 billion per year. This is considered to be very high. Instead of spending such a huge amount of money on a disease which could have been prevented by healthy lifestyle, NHS should change their strategy and spend little amount on educating people on how they can live a healthy lifestyle including going for annual health care checks. It should thereafter not treat those who fail to heed the teaching and contact the disease.

Obesity

Obesity is a medical condition which is charictarised by excess body fat to the extent that it may have an adverse  effects on health reducing life expectancy. It is caused by eating too much junk food which contains a lot of fats. The NHS treatment for obesity aims at weight loss in order to improve the quality of our own life. This can be done  by taking regular exercises and eating a healthy balanced diet (The NHS Choices 2010). Exercising helps in burning excess fats from the body and, therefore, making the body healthy.

The media also plays an important role is promoting unhealthy lifestyles . Food advertisements nowadays have a great impact on what people might choose to eat. Many fast food advertisements are aimed at children. This increases the rate of junk food intake consequently increasing cases of diabetes. In England, more than 30% of hospital admissions are obesity related (Fox & MacKinnon 2004). In this regard, the government should control food advertising and restrict the sale of unhealthy food.

The cost of treating obesity-related cases by NHS is estimated to be about 4.2 billion pounds per year. This is huge money used to treat a disease which can be prevented by following a healthy living lifestyle.  By doing exercises and regulating amount of fats consumed, the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses by NHS will be reduced, and the number of  surgeries that cost the NHS billions of pounds will also become less.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is caused by smoking. Smoking is a habit or practice when people inhale a substance called tobacco. According to BBC News Health (2012), smoking accounted for about one out of five reported deaths in 2005. Treating diseases related to smoking costs the NHS more than 5 billion a year (Oliver 2009).

Smoking is considered to be a bad habit as it increases the chances of people developing heart and lung diseases such as lung cancer and also increases the risk of developing another type of cancer. Medical studies have found that men who smoked everyday die 10 years younger than those who never smoked. In addition, smoking puts other people’s health at risk via inhaling the smoke coming from a cigarette smoked by someone else; that is also known as passive smoking. In this regard, women who share their houses with smoking partners are more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smoking women who live with non-smokig partners.

To reduce the amount of money spent on treating lung cancer and other smoking-related cases, the NHS should raise public awareness with regard to smoking by providing smoking cessation clinics in every area in the country and asking patients to make regualr visits to their clinics to get advice and enroll patients in a stop smoking clinic. A doctor, for example, may prescribe nicotine patches, gum, and other medication to control smoking and try to reduce the urge to smoke as much as possible.

Overally, the NHS should put more emphasis on prevention of illnesses rather than curing them. Currently, about 4% of the NHS budget is spent on schemes designed to prevent illeneses, a fraction which is small compared with the amount it spends on treating cases which would have been prevented through living a healthy lifestyles. It should also offer rewards to people who try their best to quit smoking. This encourages them to live healthy lifestyles.

Moreover, the government should introduce a very strict legilation which will stop people from having bad habits that might badly affect their health and try to prevent people from practising them. It should also not treat people who put their lives at risk by living unhealthy lifestyles through smoking, avoiding exercises, and eating junk food. This will make them be keen and strict with their lives.

Conclusion

People get diseases such as diabetes, lung cancer, and obesity due to the lifestyles they live; some of which are caused by over-smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, eating junk food, and not exercising. Instead of the NHS spending a lot of money on treating such diseases, it should embark on educating people on healthy ways of leaving and let those who contact it use their cash for treatment. This way, the public will be very serious with their lives and will live healthily. 

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