The National Health Service ( Nhs )

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1.0 Introduction The National Health Service (NHS) was started in 1948 by Aneurin Bevan, the minister of health at the time. It was based on three core principles that still underpin the NHS today. It was set up to ensure that everyone could have access to healthcare, despite their financial circumstances (NHS 2013a). Although the NHS has achieved what it set out to do, it is now in major financial difficulty, with debt that could reach £1bn by the end of 2014 (Campbell 2014). Diseases that are age related, or that result from lifestyle choices, cost the NHS billions of pounds each year. Therefore, basing access to treatment on lifestyle and age could be one option to save money. 2.0 NHS treatments and entitlement Residents of the UK have the right to receive NHS services without having to pay for them. Currently the only exceptions are prescriptions (in England) and dental treatment, where entitlement is based on age and income. 3.0 Reasons for basing entitlement on age and lifestyle: 3.1 Cost Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet and lack of physical exercise have many diseases associated with them. In 2006-07, patients with these diseases cost the NHS a combined total of £18.4bn (Scarborough et al. 2011). If the NHS limited treatment to these groups of people, it would be able to invest this money into other areas of need. This could lead to improved facilities for people who become ill through no fault of their own. 3.1.1 Smokers
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