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The National Health Service at 60 banner image
Tuesday 09:00 - 09:45,
1- 29 July 2008
Branwen Jeffreys investigates some of the dilemmas that face the NHS, as it attempts to balance pragmatism and principle. Listen again or have your say by following the programme links below.
Two expert advocates each champion a growing area of healthcare. The burden on the families and carers of dementia patients is intense; in the case of mental health, the potential cost to society is huge, with estimates that as many as one in four of the population will face mental health issues at some point in their lives. Alzheimer's patients and their families are challenging NICE's ruling about drug treatments in court while mental health advocates are calling for wider provision of effective but costly talking therapies over traditional drug treatments.

Dementia or mental health - which should take priority? Have your say.
To what degree should patients be held responsible for conditions which are caused by their lifestyles? Should smokers be forced to quit before they are treated for unrelated routine procedures? Taxpayers who smoke, drink or have a BMI over 30 could argue that they’ve funded the NHS throughout their lives and that they shouldn’t be denied treatment. Is one of the founding principles of the NHS at risk if treatment becomes conditional on changing our lifestyles?

Should smokers, drinkers or the obese receive free health care? Have your say.
In the last decade the NHS in England has used the private sector on an unprecedented scale while in the rest of the UK the NHS has eschewed private involvement. Critics say that private sector involvement drives down standards in a bid to maximise profits whereas supporters claim that commerical instinct has brought much-needed efficiency, competition and a focus on treating patients as consumers. Should the NHS be wary of private sector involvement or should it be more fully embraced?

Should the NHS make use of the private sector? Have your say.
The idea of a health service free to all at the point of delivery, paid for out of general taxation has been the cornerstone of the NHS for 60 years. We're spending more than ever before but the expectations of healthcare and the costs of providing it are continually rising. Can these be met out of taxation, or will patients who can afford it increasingly top-up their care? How much longer can the founding principles of the NHS remain intact?

How should the NHS be funded? Have your say

Meet the presenter: Branwen Jeffreys

Branwen JeffeysBranwen has been a BBC health specialist for the last four years, with a particular interest in public health issues, NHS policy and ethics.  "It’s the powerful emotional impact of poor health that even now draws me into the stories of the people I meet. That’s what makes the job constantly surprising and compelling. It might be in a courtroom, where a complex life or death decision is being debated, or just listening to someone talking about how illness has changed their perspective."
Nurse - Still from an archive film about NHSA series of clips marks the start of the NHS and follows its progress. The site features documents from the BBC's written archives which illustrate some common health concerns of the time and give some insight into the BBC's role in publicising the new service.
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