Journal of Healthcare Management

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March/April 2023 - Volume 68 - Issue 2

  • Eric Ford, PhD, MPH
  • 1096-9012
  • 1944-7396
  • 6 issues per year
  • 2.306

​​​​​From the March/April 2023 Issue...

Few events offer a greater public spectacle than the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Invariably, the host nation pulls out all the stops to one-up the preceding site's showmanship. Well, almost always. In an unusual twist, the 2012 London Olympics' organizers decided they would strive to stay within budget and emphasize things uniquely British to differentiate their show. To that end, they paid homage to one of their nation's proudest institutions, which is also famously budget oriented, the National Health Service (NHS).

British pride in the NHS is not unfounded. As the world's largest government-run healthcare system, it spends less per capita than most of Europe and far less than the United States. The health status of its population has been as good or better than most comparable countries for some time.

However, the system's long-term “frugality," coupled with the strains of an aging, sicker population, and the COVID-19 pandemic, is stretching the NHS's capacity to the breaking point. Many of the NHS's trusts (i.e., local hospitals and health systems) are at or beyond operating capacity, and many patients must wait protracted periods to receive services. Strains on the system became readily apparent in February 2023 when thousands of nurses and paramedics went on strike over pay and working conditions. Does the NHS's recent experience serve as a cautionary tale for countries that fail to invest adequately in their healthcare infrastructure and workforce?

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