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Should schools teach pupils how to use the NHS appropriately?

Austerity, new technology and the ageing population are all putting increasing demands on the NHS. Should educating young people about appropriate use of the health services and taking responsibility for self management of health be part of the national curriculum? Would this help relieve some of the pressure?

This issue will BMA debated at the 2014 Annual Representative meeting [Motion 206] 

3 replies

  • Yes, along with education on how to use the internet wisely. We seem to be in a situation where people have more information than ever before but conversely, less knowledge and resilience. Internet search engines respond to the search terms people put in, which alarmingly often ranks the scariest least likely differential highest, and concludes with 'go see your doc'. Unsustainable.

  • In reply to Tyra Mary Smyth:

    Couldn't agree more! Let's teach children with relevant examples how to critically appraise health information. Teach them about the way the NHS works and how best to access it. Let's also teach them to be looking out for their own health and a bit of basic medicine, so they can understand how to stay well.

  • In reply to Jason Holdcroft:

    There are many facets to this debate. The government is intent on pushing the solutions to the problems of the modern day NHS crisis into the hands of the doctors who work within it. The problems are more fundamental than this. Not only should children be taught how to access and utilise the NHS appropriately, additionally immigrants need to be taught how the system works as it is more than likely it is very different to anything that they are used to, but first and foremost the majority of British born lifelong citizens need to know how the modern day system works. This can only be achieved by a nationwide, long-running public education campaign, the likes of which I have never experienced in over 20 years of general practice. The money that is poured into re-inventing the wheel every time we have a new political party in power is shocking. It is about time it is put to really good use - teach people how to use the excellent system we have before we are all too ground down to continue within it and it crumbles irrevocably.