Health care is a principle of enormous importance to a healthy society, and providing health care to all, free at the point of delivery, is enshrined in our National Health Service. A continuing desire to uphold that principle is something that is close to the heart of the nation.
By the end of this decade, NHS spending is expected to approach 10 per cent of UK GDP (0.3 per cent of world GDP, over £100bn, or over £4,500 per household). Public finances are so weakened that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning that NHS reform must be a priority for any new government.
The New Statesman and Pfizer Policy Forum round table provides a platform for constructive debate on this issue, with participants looking at the shared challenges facing the UK and US health systems and their areas of relative strength or weakness.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the King’s Fund, sets the scene for the debate by assessing the challenges currently facing the NHS.