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U.K. Doctors Must Change View of National Health Service

60th anniversary of Britain's public health system marked by call to action

FRIDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- As the U.K.'s National Health Service reaches its 60th anniversary, its doctors should revise their vision of the organization from one primarily based on the employee/employer relationship to grapple with the true scale of the challenges that the NHS faces, according to an opinion piece published in the June 28 issue of The Lancet.

Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, writes that the creation of the NHS coincides with the establishment of the World Health Organization and the first Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that this triple anniversary is marked by an imminent threat to one of the core values of the NHS, the right to health care free of charge, according to need.

Professional self-absorption by U.K. doctors has distracted them from the true scale of the threat to the NHS, Horton writes. He highlights availability and accessibility of health care as two of the core goals of the NHS, as well as patient choice and service quality.

"The birth of the NHS 60 years ago came at a historical moment that coincided (not accidentally) with the affirmation of the right to health," Horton writes. "The U.K. has tremendous comparative advantages for rapidly improving the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health care, nationally and globally. Modest changes to the governance of the NHS could protect and advance these founding principles."

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