Privatization of National Health Service

Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・Harvard ・6 Sources

The Beveridge paper, published in 1942, outlined crucial questions required for the introduction of a new welfare state in the United Kingdom (Underwood 1942, p. 21). The program, which included the creation of the National Insurance system (NIS) and the National Health Service, was adopted by the labor administration in 1948. (NHS). The establishment of these policies was fueled by the ideology that the government had a responsibility to protect people's welfare, with a focus on residents with social needs such as pensions, scholarships, and other benefits (Greener 2009, p. 15). The latest figures reveal extraordinary growth in global healthcare, which is also noticeable in the United Kingdom (Cohen 2008, p. 6). For example, the total expenditure on healthcare in 1973 was £3, 3634 million both in public and the private sectors of healthcare. However, the figure almost had a 40-fold increase in 2005 depicting an enormous rise in healthcare spending (Cohen 2008, p. 10). The abnormal trends illustrate that the resources available are unlikely to meet the needs of healthcare in attempts to maximize on the quality of delivery. This healthcare issue is central in defining the privatization of NHS. This research paper will critically evaluate privatization of NHS through an argumentative approach that will register greater economic and social impacts.

Economic Factors

The transfer of NHS to the hands of the private sector will probably increase the level of efficiency in healthcare. This feature will emanate from improved management of the healthcare services and resources. Arguably, the private sector is driven by the need to accumulate profit at minimum reduced costs in its operation. The objective of making a profit in the private setting also concern rewarding of investors and stakeholders. This will translate to both monetary and service delivery goals. Contrary, organizations that are run by the government have no provisions for sharing profits with the stakeholders, and thus there is no motivation for working hard to realize better goals. A counter argument holds that transferring NHS to private is likely to bring a monopoly in the economy which will create inefficiencies. Also, the profit driven motive is likely to outlive other corporations in the economy, leaving the privatized NHS to be the sole provider of healthcare and therefore create domination. Such monopoly has high chances of escalating the cost as well as deteriorate the service delivery in healthcare (Wheeler 2013, p. 17).

Besides, managers are likely to formulate strategic management plans that target to achieve financial goals that are majorly time-bound to please the stakeholders and not patients. However, private organizations are profit oriented and hence are more concerned with the long term sustainable strategies. As such, a move to privatize NHS in the UK will streamline the care delivery in the long run and this affirms that reduction in expenditure (Peedell 2011, p. 10). Equally, the pledge of the UK government in 2015 to reduce hospital admissions by 3% was believed that it would save the nation 500 million pounds (Peedell 2011, p. 19). On the contrary, this failed to be the case upon audit by House of Commons Public Accounts Committee

Social Factors

Privatization of the NHS sector will continue to impact in the eradication of vast political interference and interim objectives in NHS management. Government agencies formulate inappropriate decisions that are determined to fulfill self-interest. All the actions are influenced by political ideologies creating poor managers contrary to the requirements of business ethics and economic competence (Wheeler 2013, p. 23). For example, public managers could opt to increase the wage rates or employ surplus employees in efforts to please the electorate. This only provides strain and excessive burden to healthcare. Refuting this argument could be based on the idea that the government signifies the interests of people at economic principles and ethics expense. Again, citizens hold its government for accountability of misappropriations and disastrous events which could occur in the public sector.

Transferring NHS to the private sector will thus make the public to lose its power of holding the healthcare providers accountable for their actions. The government is therefore legally obliged to provide essential services to its people despite the hard economic times. NHS in the public sector will discharge its duties regardless of profits or losses which are not presented in the private sector. Nevertheless, the provision of the private sector to reward well-performing employees and stakeholders by prioritization on revenue generation counters refutation. Apparently, many governments is influenced by elections, and people who want to be reelected into office develop tendencies of having “interim plans and projects considering the immediate social needs of the society” (Maarse 2006, p.6). However, this is not the case in the private sector, and hence privatization of NHS will solely be guided by business ethics. Here, vital decisions made in the organization will be based on economic principles. Management decisions made in the private sector on economic basis will not have an influence on the healthcare industry sector.


Studies have displayed more support for the need to privatize NHS. Debates on the move of privatization argue that there will be efficiency in the service delivery as well as a result in economic benefit. Also, projects will be implemented in priority strategy. Indeed, the delivery of quality healthcare to the patients is facilitated by appropriate management healthcare industry. Privatization will ensure that these factors are met, while at the same time capitalize on efficiency to make huge profits. A focus on attaining health economics is grounded on the most coherent and practical means of assigning resources to the healthcare service. In cases where the demands of healthcare do not meet the needs, the setting of priorities is a significant factor that impacts on the social aspect. Besides, using economics in the private sector permits the provision of the framework which accounts for wide strategic policy decision to achieve the target patient outcome (Cohen 2008, p. 18). Appropriate recommendation is that NHS should be prioritized to realize efficiency in service delivery.

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Cohen, D. (2008). Health studies. In: Naidoo. J and Wills, J health Economics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. P321-344

Greener, I. (2009) ‘Managing in the NHS’, Chapter 6 in Healthcare in the UK. Understanding continuity and change. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 137-161.

Peedell, C. (2011). Further Privatisation is inevitable under the proposed NHS reforms.British Medical Journal. 342 (7), p1-2.

Powell, M (2008) “Welfare State Reforms in the United Kingdom” In welfare state transformations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. P17-32

Maarse, H. (2006). The Privatisation of Health Care in European eight-Country Analysis.Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.31 (5), p981-1014.

Underwood, E. (1942). The beveridge report and the health services.Public Health, 56, pp.89-92.

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