If demand for health care is nearly unlimited and cannot be rationed by price, it must be rationed in some other way. The NHS rations through shortages – of staff – and waiting lists. Additional rationing is achieved by those who “do not want to bother the doctor”, often at cost to their health, while large numbers go private, so creating the two-tier health system Bevan hoped to avoid – though he did not use an NHS GP but rather Sir Daniel Davies, physician to George VI.
You may realise my personification of the NHS, referring to it as she and her. Why? Well, the narrative of the NHS is the narrative of all of us. How many of us were born in an NHS hospital? How many of our lives and our family’s lives has she saved? The NHS is more than a set of buildings or a mere organisation; she is every one of us. A living, breathing establishment made up of 1.5 million dedicated workers, 66.6m patients. She is ours, and we are hers.