2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organisation, who are continually working to improve health and wellbeing globally. It is World Health Day on Saturday 7th April and this year’s theme is “Health for all”. They have an ongoing campaign to promote Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
We are very lucky in the UK to have a comprehensive national health and social care service, free to all at the point of need. Not every country is so lucky. According to World Health Organisation, half of the world lacks access to essential health services but World Health Organisation believe that UHC is not only feasible, it is necessary to improve health across the world. They also make the point that it is not sustainable to provide free coverage for all possible health interventions, regardless of the cost.
World Health Organisation emphasise the need to consider activities with wider public health impact to benefit the population on a larger scale. So the health and social care budget needs to be carefully managed and appropriately directed to make the best use of available resources.
Click here to go to the World Health Organisation website or read a summary of the key messages below:
What can I do?
World Health Organisation recommend that everyone gets involved with a conversation about UHC with the aim of healthcare being available for all.
Our NHS is a shining example of a country making healthcare and social services available to all free at the point of need. The NHS supports General Practice in addition to numerous specialist services. Many of us are familiar with hospital based specialities and social services, but how many of us are aware of the work of the Public Health service?
Public health coordinates activities and interventions that positively impact health for large populations in the UK, such as adding fluoride to water and organising vaccination programmes. Much of this is in the background and brings us benefits that we generally now take for granted. However, the costs of running the NHS continue to escalate as more medicines and interventions become available and our expectations from healthcare rise. We now expect not only to be treated when we are ill, but also to be monitored before we become unwell. We may turn to a GP for guidance before embarking on a new sport or fitness programme, or require a letter to support an application to run a marathon or hire a car abroad. These things were not predicted when the NHS was first set up to provide social health care for those in need. The 21st Century NHS has to carefully manage its precious resources in order to be fair to everyone.
At Pinches Medical & Wellbeing we provide a high end Primary Care option for patients who choose to pay for elements of their healthcare and we work with the NHS to ensure continuity of care. Our vision is to look after our patients for the long term, by providing proactive attention to wellbeing and preventive healthcare in addition to being there for people when they become unwell. In doing this we hope to alleviate some of the burden on the NHS and support this great national institution.
World Health Day key messages
- Universal health coverage is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
- No one should have to choose between good health and other life necessities.
- UHC is key to people’s and nations’ health and well-being.
- UHC is feasible. Some countries have made great progress. Their challenge is to maintain coverage to meet people’s expectations.
- All countries will approach UHC in different ways: there is no one size fits all. But every country can do something to advance UHC.
- Making health services truly universal requires a shift from designing health systems around diseases and institutions towards health services designed around and for people.
- Everyone can play a part in the path to UHC, by taking part in a UHC conversation.
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