We shouldn’t be complaining about paying ‘an extra penny for the NHS’, given how much it costs us over the course of our lives, says Eleanor Bradford.

Half a million Scottish taxpayers who earn £43,663 will pay “an extra penny for the NHS”.

This makes Scotland the highest taxed region in the UK, and will add around £1,600 to my own tax bill, which is a huge risk given inflation. energy, and my five-year-old breakdown. the loan rate will end. It’s a perfect storm for bank balance sheets.

However, I wrote in a previous column about the NHS treatment I received for skin cancer last year. As my consultant explained, the type of treatment I received on the NHS was “gold star” standard.

The same procedure for the same period at a private hospital cost thousands of pounds more with an additional £1,600 tax bill. So, as much as I want to complain, I feel like I got my money’s worth in the NHS this year.

And, the demographics of NHS patients really frustrates me.

The NHS costs more as we get older

Children, who do not pay taxes, often have terrible accidents, which sometimes cause accidents and emergency attendance but, in addition, they do not use the NHS very much. According to the King’s Fund, the average cost of minor injuries resulting from an A&E visit is £77.

Young adults, who generally pay lower taxes, are healthy but careless. They fall off bicycles and horses and have car accidents, but otherwise rarely use the NHS. Fixing a broken bone or two costs our health service somewhere between £2,000 and £7,000, plus an ambulance trip of around £300.

In our 30s we are healthy, but we have a habit of giving birth. Each of these puts the NHS at £7,000.

Then come our forties and fifties, when abuse begins to take its toll on our bodies. Cancer, heart disease, stroke and other life-related diseases are starting to bite.

We may need regular NHS care as we get older (Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson)

The average cost of an uncomplicated graft is over £9,000, excluding all care and medication. Cancer patients on the latest immunotherapies cost up to £100,000 per person per year. Now we are really starting to get into a bad equation with the NHS.

And, when we reach our sixties and seventies, we are very busy, with many diseases and conditions ruining our lives. Most of us spend most of our pension on ill health, with healthcare costs far exceeding the average taxpayer’s allowance of around £2,000.

Tax increases are proportional to supply and demand

We pay more in income tax, of course. If there were no millions from the general tax, it would have been bankrupt a long time ago. But, this gives you a rough idea of ​​how much balance tips are for us as we get older.

A failing NHS will easily spend £1 billion which will raise taxes, without improving outcomes.

And, because we think of the NHS as “free”, we rarely mention how much grief and pain we are in.

I had to bite my tongue at a family gathering when an in-law said they “never used the NHS” but went on to list chronic conditions (arthritis, gout, joint pain- bones), all that is needed. multiple GP visits, pharmacy appointments and regular prescriptions.

It’s easy to forget that ‘free’ treatments and medicines are paid for somewhere along the line (Photo: Kostikova Natalia / Shutterstock)

The Scottish Government’s increase in income tax is often described as a tax on the rich, but there are other ways of looking at it. Most of us earn more money as we get older, before retirement. Therefore, it can also be said to be an annual tax. As a policy, it matches supply and demand, and rates accordingly.

However, an inefficient NHS will easily spend £1 billion which will raise taxes, without improving outcomes. Rising costs of energy, food and wages are hitting the NHS, as well as the cost of new and better medicines, such as these immunosuppressants.

However, there is still an insistence on preserving the small maternity centers used in rural areas, and the network of general hospitals, rather than specialized clinics. All of this is an expensive way to produce bad results.

A radical reform is needed

Radical reform is long overdue, to reshape the NHS infrastructure and reflect lower birth rates and an aging population.

By raising taxes, the Scottish Government has shown it is prepared to take unpopular decisions

We need to prepare to go to big hospitals that attract specialists, because they understand the process of interesting cases and get the best results for patients. We need to stop thinking that shorter trips are important.

Crucially, when NHS managers make these arguments, often in the face of local opposition, they need political support. This involves seeing long-term benefits beyond short-term electoral victories.

NHS Grampian says staff and patients are calling for a new hospital to be built in Elgin, in partnership with Dr Gray's.  Photo: Jason Hedges / DC Thomson
Campaigners have been fighting to bring back consultant-led maternity care at Dr Gray’s hospital in Elgin for some time (Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson)

By raising taxes, the Scottish Government has shown that it is willing to take unpopular decisions. Compliance is needed now, so that additional funding does not end up in a black hole of outdated inefficiencies.

My NHS treatment was fantastic, but my three month appointment took 12 months to arrive. I don’t mind the consequences, but I’ll be happy if the extra tax bill means the next patient gets their next appointment. I will be fired if I do nothing but keep the lights on.


Eleanor Bradford is a former BBC Scotland health reporter and works in communications in the education sector

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