Fat with bureaucrats, Britain's NHS is enormous and expensive

Note the maths: 1.5 million employees but only 525,000 doctors and nurses. And even the doctors and nurses are constantly doing paperwork. And Australian public health systems are in some cases worse

It was always going to be expensive to create a healthcare system for all that was free at the point of service, but not even the NHS founding fathers could have realised what an economic colossus it would eventually become.

In 1948 the service had a budget of £437million, about £9billion today. Each year since, this figure has climbed by more than the rate of inflation, last year the budget topping £100billion — more than £1,500 for every man, woman and child in the country. Sixty per cent of this goes on staff and 20 per cent on drugs.

The NHS, with its 1.5million employees, has become the largest employer in the world after Wal-Mart, Indian Railways and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

There are 90,000 hospital doctors as well as 35,000 GPs who operate in 10,000 practices seeing about 140 patients each a week. There are 400,000 nurses and 16,000 ambulance paramedics.

A million patients are seen every 36 hours. Accounting for, roughly, 18 per cent of all government spending.


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