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Healthcare Community Life

​Myths on Public Sector working

Working in the NHS can be challenging work, but it is the most rewarding career you can do. People are often put off a career in this sector because they’re concerned that there is lower pay, it’s less efficient than the private sector and there isn’t enough variety if you aren’t medically minded.

These concerns are all unnecessary and this blog will work through some of the most popular myths about public sector work to put you straight.

#1 The NHS would be more efficient if it was privatised

Over the past few years, the privatisation of the NHS has been discussed with more and more frequency, with many believing that the organisation would be more efficient if it was privately funded.

Businesses have a number of aims and targets to meet, but fundamentally, no business is able to survive if it doesn’t make a profit. Privatising the NHS would make it into a business and this means that despite its best intentions, the organisation would always have to be financially profitable. The danger of this lies when there is a treatment that is too expensive, or a lifesaving machine that the business couldn’t afford, which would result in patients being deprived of essential care.

At the moment, the NHS system works because it is available to the public, funded by the public and employs the public. This balance of mutual dependency could be compromised if a business held more power.

The other argument about the NHS being more efficient if it was privatised lies in the funding itself. The idea being that with more money, the performance of the NHS would increase.

However, in the USA where the health system is privatised, they spent $7,000 per person for their healthcare. Meanwhile, in the UK, the NHS spends around half that per person but still produces the same results in terms of life expectancy at birth.

There have been a number of studies comparing the benefits of privatising the health system in terms of performance, but there is simply not enough evidence to show that the extra finances improve patient care.

#2 NHS staff are underpaid and undervalued

Whether you work in the private or public sector, there will always be a sense that the incredible work you do every single day is not sufficiently rewarded, but the government do all they can.

In terms of pay, those working in the public sector received on average between a 7.7% and 8.7% higher wage than their private sector counterparts. Similarly, those in the NHS are typically there for a much longer period of time and earn rewards and competitive pensions through their dedication to this public organisation. Whatever your age, working in such an extensive public sector means that there are plenty of opportunities for promotion and career progression.

In the private sector, there is always a risk that the company who is running the operations could run out of funds, which means your job is much more vulnerable than it would be in the publicly funded NHS.

#3 It’s only doctors and nurses in the NHS

While the great work that Doctors and Nurses do every single day is not in question, the NHS could not function without the essential contribution of Non-Medical Non-Clinical staff.

Each NHS hospital or centre is a multi-million pound organisation which requires skilled managers, financial advisers and lawyers to ensure that policies are met and that the focus remains on improving its performance.

Every patient has to be fed, the beds have to be cleaned and the upmost cleanliness must be kept throughout every NHS hospital.

In such a large organisation as the NHS, there are online systems to maintain, patients, staff, appointments and safety protocols that all must be sorted to ensure the smooth running of the hospital; a service which spends £2bn every week on guaranteeing excellent service to every single person.

#4 There’s too many managers

The work that managers do often goes unnoticed, but that is because the work they do is behind the scenes ensuring that everything on the ‘front line’ of the organisation runs efficiently.

Although the work that they do results in higher quality of care and satisfied patients, these managers only account for 1.2% of the NHS budget and there has been a reduction in their number over the last few years.

There is the misconception that the majority of people in these managerial positions within the NHS are older and male, but the majority of these managers (60%) are actually women.

NHS managers and senior administrators are essential to the smooth running of the organisation as they oversee the systems and are responsible for training each new recruit to meet the NHS standards.

Fundamentally, with greater job security, higher pay and the opportunity to fulfil an essential role, there is no need to listen to the speculation about a career in the NHS, just jump right in and apply.

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