Idiot question

How can we help the NHS to nurture social solidarity while retaining the essentials of our cherished free society?

Yes, I know, this is some sub-editor, not (Sir) Michael White.

But it\’s an idiot question all the same. The function of the NHS, as with any other health care system, is to aid in preventing those diseases which can be prevented, treat those that are treatable and palliate those that are neither.

We can still then have the arguments about efficiency (how well does the system do these things) and equity (does everyone get equal access) but there\’s no room for us to wibble about \”social solidarity\” at all.

We might come up with different structures depending upon our extant prejudices about the desirability of efficiency or equity, but that\’s very different from thinking that the health service is one of those things that either can or should make us love our neighbour.

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