All eyes have been on the NHS in recent months as it celebrated its seventieth birthday. Politicians spent much of 2018 venerating its founding principles — public, universal, free at the point of use — as consensus ideals across the political spectrum.
This is a substantial departure from the reality of the NHS today, a public institution marketised, privatised, and subject to cuts that threaten its future. In its seventieth anniversary year the NHS was forced to delay around 55,000 operations and employ consultants to turn away patients from A&E that were deemed non-emergency. In many hospitals, ambulances waited outside A&E departments at full capacity, and corridors were lined with patients on hospital trolleys, reflecting the 15,000 beds cut in the last six years.