How our Private & Public Healthcare have Improved

nhs edinburgh hospital

The Scottish healthcare system is one that many outside of Scotland don’t take much note of. In their eyes, our entire system is based on the NHS and prior to its creation, the interest seems to wane.

Those of us living here, however, are well aware of the differences in place. Our healthcare system has seen women gaining medical training before any other UK country, the introduction of the National Health Service and ongoing improvements that give our healthcare a position as ‘one to follow’.

With a local and international policy that allows European citizens free healthcare and Scottish citizens abroad lower rates on anything from hip replacement to hair transplant cost, our healthcare system is one to take note of. Here, we’re looking into how our private and public healthcare systems have improved over the years to be as strong as they are today.

Leading Innovation – Women In Medicine

The battle for the admission of women into medical education was first fought right here in Edinburgh in 1869 at Edinburgh University, earning Scotland as one of the leading countries in the feminism battle over the years.

Sophia Jex-Blake was a student who already held an impressive education, but upon her attempt to gain admission to the University on a medical degree, she was initially refused due to her being a ‘lone female student. As we’ve learned from feminism over the years, women never give up and so as you might expect, she came marching back with a group of female students looking to enrol.

This was accepted, though the admission to the medical degree was not, leading the students to have to work out their own education. What followed was further hurdles with graduation and while Jex-Blake did finally gain her medical degree in Switzerland, her actions alone started a shockwave across the country.

Before The NHS

Before the NHS, Scottish healthcare could certainly have used some improvement though we had free healthcare, even then! Voluntary hospitals were one way that the poor or those without the funds for private treatment could get the help they needed, but the staff at these hospitals weren’t paid.

Municipal hospitals were another alternative, though these tended to be run by authorities rather than volunteers, though both had one thing in common – they carried a stigma. Regardless, this healthcare was available for free, and those who were in desperate need would travel along regardless.

Demand grew, however, and waiting lists certainly grew with it and so new wings and appeals were put into play in an attempt to raise the funds for these additions.

The money was made and while it took a long time to reach agreements and build the wing, this was just one example of how Scotland was fighting hard to provide its people with the healthcare they needed – other developments included the addition of hundreds of new hospital beds, new wings and infirmaries and more.

Even as the NHS was introduced, the authorities that put these additions into play were able to keep some of their control and continue to provide the unique healthcare that Scotland had grown so used to.

Today’s Healthcare

healthcareDuring a time of uncertainty and turmoil around the NHS in particular, Scotland has had a huge part to play in regulating and improving our healthcare system and the other UK countries could certainly take a leaf out of our book.

With a focus on improving the safety and care for patients, the systems in place have been steadfast, offering citizens peace of mind that they’re in good hands despite financial pressures.

One of the biggest differences between our healthcare here in Scotland and that of England, Ireland or Wales is the fact that we’ve stuck with processes when they work. Without a ‘constant change’ within our healthcare system, there’s been limited room for downfalls or risks – could this be the answer to a steady system?

Healthcare in Scotland has always been some of the best in the UK and while the pressures of financial strain, Brexit and other ongoing issues have our NHS under threat, precedence suggests that we’re built to roll with the punches. What do you think?

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