Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Public health or research—money matters

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 12 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1607

Re: Public health or research—money matters

In this editorial, Cat Chatfield claims that the NHS is ‘unaffordable’. However, the authority cited in support of this assertion says nothing of the sort; it is, rather, an argument for the importance of universal health coverage in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, any assertion about ‘affordability’ should be dismissed as mere rhetoric unless it seriously considers the revenue side of the equation as well as the expenditure side – something that authors in medicine and the health sciences almost never do. As just one example, if the massive increase in unearned wealth associated with rising property prices were to be taxed more effectively, the NHS might be regarded as eminently affordable – a point now conceded even by The Economist (see

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 April 2018
Ted Schrecker
Professor of Global Health Policy
Newcastle University
Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK