UK health service – the impossible conundrum

The UK’s flagship and beloved National Health Service (NHS) is in chaos with junior doctors on strike and now nurses voting to down tools on April 30th, leaving A&E and intensive care departments under-staffed. Rounds of applause during the pandemic have been replaced by a disgruntled stamping of feet out the door.

  Finding a solution to the entirely free NHS is not easy. France pays for its (probably) superior health service with eye-wateringly high levels of general taxation plus a dual system with mandatory private insurance paying for a portion of patient costs. Any suggestions in the UK of moving from a free health service to a more continental system evokes yowls of outrage and doom-laden hints about ending up down the impossibly expensive, over-commercialised USA road.

  The NHS was set up on 5 July 1948 with a caring Cancer Sun square Neptune, plus an enduring and resistant to change Saturn Pluto in Leo; and a liberally minded Moon, Venus, Uranus, Mercury in Gemini opposition Jupiter square Mars in Virgo. That latter Mutable T Square onto Mars hints at an overly scattered outfit, going in all directions at once. But lacking focus and needing a firm hand on organization.

  The Solar Arc Sun was conjunct the Mars during the crisis of the pandemic – and an undermining transiting Neptune has been trailing round Jupiter, Mars recently and continues on to square Venus, Uranus, Mercury between now and 2025. Solar Arc Neptune is also heading for a panicky-failure square to the NHS Mars in 2024 and the other Venus, Uranus, Mercury 2026 to 2028.  Neptune can be healing, or undermining or indecisive so it may be that the old British muddle-along-somehow approach stays in place. There will be a few jolts from tr Uranus square the Saturn come this June onwards for a few months with the status quo being challenged but whether that leads to a breakthrough is questionable. Tr Saturn in Pisces won’t help into 2025 throwing up more setbacks. and a dose of hard reality.

  The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) 27 March 2016, has a devastated and confused tr Pluto opposition Neptune this year and next which might suggest they have reached the end of their tether. With tr Uranus square the Uranus exactly over the proposed strike dates – as they stage a rebellion.  2025 looks bleak for them with tr Neptune Saturn in Aries square the Pluto and then moving to conjunct the Son and square Saturn.

  Their relationship chart with the NHS suggests a long-drawn out and miserable struggle with tr Pluto opposition the composite Saturn now and throughout 2024. With more disruptions through 2024 as tr Uranus is conjunct the composite Sun.

  The NHS does boost the UK’s reputation with its Cancer Sun conjunct the UK Midheaven. But the NHS North Node is also conjunct the UK’s 8th house Mars in Taurus – so money is the stumbling block.

36 thoughts on “UK health service – the impossible conundrum

  1. Thx so much for this detailed post on our NHS.

    One question though ?

    How does the Jr doctors chart look with that of the NHS? They are aggrieved and seem on the brink. The future of NHS is tied to theirs’.


  2. Very interesting and very depressing article all at the same time. Personally the poor governance from the Eton-mess craziness, the RCN, Consultants,Doctors and managers have all made poor decisions even if well meaning. Just look at the shear pain and misery they have inflicted on the brave dedicated and loyal staff. An example is the bullying report and the near unanimous vote against the RCN handling of this. Seems it is not a very caring profession after all.

    Pluto seems to be breaking down these old organisations one by one, the status quo is no longer able to be maintained and the birth of a new world is coming. the Conservative party is now so tarnished by al that it has done over the past 13 years it will likely split and rebrand itself because it’s run out of excuses and will then be able to blame itself to try and prevent a total loss of power. This may explain Marjorie’s prediction for the Labour Party.

  3. This discussion is really fascinating. The astrology elucidated by Hugh and Helen and others here explains completely why I felt the way I did in the brief period in my youth when I worked for the NHS. I loved the interaction with the patients who were mostly lovely people. What made me choose another career was the feeling I had of working in an open prison. Maybe because of all the emphasis in Gemini which chimed with my 12th house South Node. But also the implicit authoritarianism.
    I was pleasantly surprised when I came to the Netherlands and found all the hospital buldings to be modern and mostly efficiently run, and where doctors told you what they thought and then asked if you agreed with their proposed course of treatment!

  4. There isn’t actually a UK NHS but separate NHS in Scotland, Wales ( though more linked to England) and Northern Ireland. Scotlands NHS is the best performing in the UK despite the falsehoods promoted by the English press.
    There are no strikes, nurses , doctors or teachers in Scotland where the government is less intransigent than the Westminster one about public services. So it’s not all about money but dogma
    People are rightly worried about changing the NHS funding model as it WILL be the US funded model chosen. The Tories have been and always will be about fleecing the general public to make money for their friends. If there is no profit in it they have zero interest in it

    • Absolutely. Scotland is better in most ways than UK as a whole.
      Scottish police are arresting a number of SNP political figures involved in corruption, even if belatedly. The Met hardly does/did.

      • I would be careful.what you say as its an ongoing investigation
        No one has been charged with anything.
        But yes if the police were as ready to investigate people at Westminster as they appear to be in Scotland maybe the country would be billions of pounds better off.

        • Oh give me a break. I am trying really hard to show some compassion since it is no fun to discover your idols have feet of clay – even if more dispassionate observers managed to see the gaping flaws some years back.
          But twisting this imbroglio round to BUT ENGLAND is WORSE – is pathetic and no excuse whatsoever.

          • When Westminster politicians are harassed and subject to one tenth of the intense scrutiny given to the Scottish government I will shut up . Not before.

  5. Thank you Marjorie for the charts and write up. However, looking at the NHS Chart I see NHS as far too big and powerful. If Doctors and Nurses are striking, then in one respect, they have decided their power and pay is greater than the patient’s need. The NHS Chart may have a caring Cancer Sun, yet it’s mind Mercury is actually in Gemini, conjunct Uranus and the MC , which actually indicates, a need to go against the norm and have as much 10th power as they can. Uranus is often portrayed as the higher intellect to Mercury. It is not surprising that the NHS is constantly demanding innovative treatments and technology now and has always pushed for more research money throughout its existence. Ironically, to my mind, this NHS Chart would be more suitable to AI treatment than caring for the people. As the Sun is not in orb with any of the other 10th House planets – which could be interpreted as the initial birth of the NHS bring out of touch with what is has become. The stellium in Gemini may be communication and a love from the people, yet I am not sure it us the NHS as a body love; as given there is a Pluto/Saturn conjunction in the 11th house, the house of groups, it is more about power with Departments and authority. Which is what the NHS has become, powerful Department Groups all vying for money. Marjorie mentions money being a stumbling block at the moment, yet with a South Node in a 2nd Scorpio, trining it’s Sun and the North Node in Taurus sextile its Sun. The NHS is digging it’s claws in ( all very Cancer) to command as much money as it wants from the people and the country. It always will as the Scorpio South Node feels entitled to use politics/money to get what it wants. Interestingly Pluto sits in the nodal midpoint. Uranus also rules the media, it no coincidence that media always talks up the NHS and presents it around the World as the envy of the world. Yet Gemini is communication on a daily basis, it does not mean it is working, just being portrayed as if it is.

    • The Saturn and Pluto in Leo certainly would indicate that the NHS most dominating concern is is own power and authority. The situation is not helped by the fact that its natal Saturn is exactly conjunct the rather unfortunate fixed star Algenubi which has been described as follows

      “20°42 Leo – Ras Elased Aust (Algenubi): Cruel, heartless, bold, bombastic, brutish, destructive, artistic appreciation. power of expression, spiritual gifts, leadership. Neutral; Saturn/ Mars”

      It is not really the placement one would want for a nations health service.

  6. I apologise for not being able to offer astrology on the nhs; however, from my own perspective and having two relatives that work in the nhs, with one being a theatre nurse, I have heard the words shockingly wasteful numerous times in conversation. I am also aware of the health tourism from non uk or non eu countries, travelling from abroad to access A&e for urgent treatment costing millions annually. I understand the many millions this costs to the uk tax payer can not be compared to the £2b annual costs. Nonetheless, the nhs will have to be tackled at many fronts from waste, health tourism, retaining doctors and nurses, mis-management; tackling abuse of the system such as missed appointments etc. Why the pm scrapped a charging plan for missed appointments, I do not know; missed appointments cost millions. Apologies for the rant and I’m sure I’ve missed many many elements.

    • The French system works perfectly simply. At the end of treatment the receptionist asks for the Carte Vitale (State health card) and asks if you have insurance which is not mandatory. Many older ex-pats don’t take out insurance. It then all goes into the system. You pay upfront and the state portion is refunded into your bank account. For those below a certain income level they don’t pay upfront.
      The non-UK patients problem would be sorted if the vaporous horrors about identity cards was overcome which is ludicrous in this day and age given that you need proof of residence for almost everything, most often with photograph – drivers licence etc.
      Missed appointments might be paid for simply in the same way that other payments are extracted – and there would be many fewer of them.

      • The proposed voter photo ID that will be required for voting in the UK this year may be a way of softening people up? We certainly do need ID cards, and considering the huge amount of information people give away all the time online, I cannot understand the resistance. It is symbolic I suppose.

        Re the terrible waste in the NHS – I see they are now offering to take back disability equipment at last. In 2019 this wasn’t the case where I live. I was helping clear the home of someone who had a lot of equipment, it was so hard to know what to do with it all. I was so shocked. Some of the items had barely been touched.

        Re Pat Cullen of the RCN – I cannot find a birth date, only the year 1965. If this is correct, then her natal Neptune in Scorpio begins the year at 19 degrees, goes back to 17, and ends the year at 21 Scorpio. It therefore aspects the Venus in Taurus square Uranus in Aquarius shown here in the RCN chart. She would also have Saturn in Pisces – for some of that year it opposed the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo – signs associated with nursing and healthcare.

  7. “The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) 27 March 2016, has a devastated and confused tr Pluto opposition Neptune this year…”

    The RCN members rejected the offer with a weak mandate 54-46. Only 61% members voted. Which means only around 33% rejected the offer.

    I am wondering even within the RCN if there is a split or trouble brewing and that could very well explain the confusion?

    Also last time when Uranus was at 18 taurus – 7th July 2022, Boris Johnson resigned. It will again hit the Conservative Party Sun in the first week of May. Wonder what’s in stored for them this time?

  8. My personal belief is that nobody should be allowed to strike, for any reason. You sign a contract, you honour it by turning up and doing your job. Medical staff, especially, should be banned from striking. What right have they got to put people’s lives and health in jeopardy? So mucb for the ‘caring profession’. The nhs is not an organisation I have ever had time for because my personal situation is one that I have never had a good experience with it in relation to my family or me. The staff have always been rude and/or grumpy, the doctors have a god complex and frequently a family member was given the wrong medication.

    Counter that with the medical treatment I received recently in Denmark. The service was outstanding, the medical staff were superb, kind, courteous people and nothing was too much trouble, the wrong medication was never given and the whole system runs like clockwork. It is funded properly by taxation. Everyone in Denmark, regardless of what job you have, pays at leadt 35% tax and if anybody in Denmark grumbles at how much tax they pay, other Danes look at them like they have two heads. Danes expect a certain level of service and they know it has to be paid for so they don’t mind being taxed.

    If only the Brits had the same attitude.

    Oh, in case anyone is wondering, I am British.

    • I cannot decide whether your comment is more arrogant or ignorant. Strike action is often the only measure of the working people that is paid attention to by the ones who should be taking care of them. Strikes are used to put pressure on professional or political governing bodies to make changes because of employee grievances and major inequalities. It is a necessity and never fun for the ones who are forced to stop working. Without strike a lot of historical changes would have never happened, democracy would have never developed anywhere in the world. Just think of Lech Walesa or the Welsh miners and the long term and wide consequences of their action.

      • The govt don’t go o to the wards totreat patients, dr’s and nurses do so it is not the govt’s fault people are not being treated. If you want a better health service, pay for it.

      • Thatcher put a stop to strikes in the 80s and good for her! It was about time someone stood up to them. She wasn’t going to be kowtowed by anyone like that! We could do with more like her today.

    • @a brit abroad surely your question should be directed at the government- What right have they to put people’s lives at risk by deliberately underfunding the health service? NHS staff are people too and are under intolerable pressure every day working in an NHS where a and e delays, ambulance late arrivals etc. are already causing hundreds of unnecessary deaths. I , personally could not passively accept this . I understand that the system is not perfect and that you have personally suffered but I have come across few bits who would be unhappy to pay extra taxes that were specifically ringfenced for the NHS. No I am not an NHS employee, but my family is very dependant on the NHS at the moment.
      Sorry for the lack of astrology.

    • All workers have a right to withdraw their labour. In the private sector most industrial action is designed to punish corporate employers by restricting their flow of income and impacting their profits. This objective rarely applies in the public sector strikes where the aim of the action is normally to impose inconvenience on the general public who fund the service provided. The problem is that the latter have virtually no means of impacting the outcome of the dispute apart from at election time as they play little or no role in the process. One other difference is that public sector workers enjoy much more secure employment terms and better pensions than their private sector counterparts.

      With regard to the NHS the matter becomes more difficult as any action is likely to cause not just cost or inconvenience but potentially distress, pain, illness and death. This particularly becomes a problem when a strike denudes A&E and Intensive Care Units of trained medical staff which makes immediate loss of life much more likely. The question then becomes at what point does legitimate industrial action simply become demanding money with menaces of physical harm. There is a point where a duty of care must apply to all parties.

      I understand that the NHS staff are poorly rewarded and overworked in certain areas particularly in A&E departments. However, it is also a massive organisation with a huge budget and a million plus employees doing a vast range of activities some of which are more critical than others. As an ex Union official I have been involved in a few pay negotiations in the private sector over the years and there is nearly always a trade off involved. The settlements nearly always ended up as a trade off between money, jobs and pensions. Sooner or later that choice is probably going to face NHS staff. So regardless of the outcome of the current dispute I think they might want to consider the long term consequences of their action as the NHS is not going to receive infinite funding from the government. This is being highlighted by the fact that both Conservative and Labour leaders have hinted at greater private sector involvement in future health care, a process that would see staff transferred under a TUPE to that sector. As someone who underwent that process in the 1990s I can assure staff that the power that they currently possess from national collective bargaining will dissolve over night. Private sector employers will pay more money to those they consider essential but any staff in other areas may see their jobs go and their terms and condition deteriorate. There will be winners and losers

      Ultimately one of the biggest failures of the NHS is that the consumers in the form of patients have zero choice about where their money is spent or choice in where they are treated. They normally are just treated as the product or bargaining chip over which governments and staff carry out their negotiations and disputes. This failing has existed since the organisation was founded and has never been effectively resolved.

      • To add some atrology I think the NHS Saturn in the NHS Leo is potentially a rather authoritarian egotistical placing where an organisation puts itself and its own needs above the people it serves. I think when the progressed Saturn moves not Virgo in 2025 that attitude will be forced to change.

    • @ a Britabroad … Yes, the Healthcare system in Denmark is usually ranked number one in the world. All permanent residents are entitled to a national health insurance card ,ID of course makes sense, and most examinations and treatments, but not all, are free of charge.

      But your comment is not very well thought out because nurses in Denmark are also the second highest paid in the world after Luxemburg. And therein lies the problem because the UK pays their nurses poorly and their care workers even worse.
      Given the worst inflation in Britain in four decades. plus the self inflicted economic downturn caused by Brexit plus the lies by Johnson and his conservative cronies that Brexit would fix the funding for the NHS, does not justify the conservative government claim to simply claim that “the NHS doesn’t have money”. I’m sure the decision to strike wasn’t taken lightly but it is the last resort to grab the attention of the government to sit down and negotiate.

  9. The NHS strikes will run from 30 April to 1st May 2023. Over those dates Uranus will be at 18 Taurus exactly opposing the NHS Chiron. The Moon representing the people will tracking through Virgo and the NHS natal 6th House making a conjunction with the NHS natal Mars at 23 Virgo. The Moon will also be transiting the 3rd House of the Royal College of Nursing 27 March 2017 chart and opposing its natal Mercury and Chiron. These are not great aspects for an industrial action that is going to impact A&E and intensive care services putting lives at risk. With Mercury and Chiron involved communications are likely to breakdown as emotions override reason with lots of old wounds and grudges reopened.

    • I notice that the strike dates also see transiting Uranus at 18 Taurus exactly square the Royal College of Nursing Uranus at 18 Aquarius . This probably accounts for the institutions unusually rebellious stance.

    • Apparently the Junior Doctors may also be joining the May strike. Their trade body is the BMA which has a chart dated 9 July 1832. Amazingly it has Uranus at 17 Aquarius which ties in with the RCN chart. The BMA Chiron is exactly conjunct the RCN Venus perhaps indicating the enduring but sometimes painful relationship between Doctors and Nurses both personally and professionally.

      • The problem with the NHS is that it is an open purse. The NHS has asked for an increase injection of millions of pounds from the Government this year, without factoring in these pay rises – how long can a country afford an exponential cost?

      • Those RCN and BMA degrees seem sensitive. The RCN initially voted for strike action on 10th November 2022. Tr Saturn was 18 Aquarius – progress versus tradition or status quo? There had been a Lunar Eclipse at 16 Taurus on the 8th November, conjunct Uranus, 16 Taurus – maybe emphasising money and practical matters. Jupiter was 29 Pisces, rolling over the NHS descendant – partners and open enemies, and squaring the Mercury Uranus for expanded disruption. The BMA 1832 also has Jupiter in late Pisces – I had a date of 19th July from the National Institutes of Health website. Jupiter 28 Pisces. Not sure which date to use.
        Once again, it seems the Uranus-Mars-Nodes conjunction in Taurus last summer is making itself noticed.

        • You are right. The correct BMA date is 19 July 1832. The date I gave was from the Wikipedia summary for the institution and is incorrect. Oddly the body of the Wiki article does cite the right date so I guess it is simply a typo . The revised chart has the same 17 Aquarius Uranus so that is not altered.

          • Thanks Hugh. Amazing how they all connect, and a good test of the astrology for these organisations. So, on we go…..

  10. -France pays for its (probably) superior health service with eye-wateringly high levels of general taxation plus a dual system with mandatory private insurance paying for a portion of patient costs-

    Very unfortunate because NHS used to be known as a good healthcare system but free for all seems unsustainable.

    When my mother lived in France, I found the French healthcare system a huge disappointment, and as she got older, we were glad to move her back to the Netherlands for long-term care which is known to be outstanding. She was able to move into a private room with private bath and kitchenette at a Vegetarian nursing home with on-site medical staff incl. 24 hr nursing care, vegetarian meals and daily activities. Her out of pocket expenses were 900 Euros per month plus the cost for medical insurance.

    Healthcare is not free in the Netherlands and the system is divided up in two components, long-term care and health insurance. While Dutch residents are automatically insured by the government for long-term care, everyone who lives or works in the country is required to take out the basic private healthcare insurance package. While the government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of the healthcare system in the Netherlands, it is NOT in charge of its management.

    From personal experience the biggest problem with the French system, is that is government run and mired in bureaucracy and the baseline single-payer system restricts access to the most innovative medicines while also struggling to fully adopt generics as an alternative to control costs.
    While France usually ranks somewhere in the top 15 of the world, depending on which site you look at, it ranks 25th in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation The Dutch health care system ranks #3 in innovation only slightly behind first-ranked Switzerland and second-ranked Germany and France ranks second-to-last in Fiscal Sustainability like its pension problems.

    Sadly the American healthcare system, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, ranks dead last among high income countries because of accelerated spending, worsening outcomes and access.

    • I mentioned France since it is the only European dual state/private insurance system I am familiar with. When I lived there I was refunded for a portion of dental treatment without asking. A friend with kidney cancer had a kidney removed at no cost whatsoever not even on insurance and daily nurse visits on his return home for a month.
      I gather it is creaking. The paperwork for covid vaxx was ludicrous first time round and cut back dramatically the second since they realized they would not cope with the scale. Some of the bloated bureaucratic system works well though no doubt adds to the costs.
      Having said that I live now in the UK out in the country and the local GP practice works efficiently and provides good service. Depends where you live and cities are less good.

      • Dear Marjorie. Just got to say this. You at the doctors… Next patient Marjorie Orr, Doctor to Marjorie, well Marjorie tell me what’s wrong with you? Marjorie, isn’t that your job? I could go on but I just thought the thorny subject of the NHS needed some brevity.
        Saturn in Pisces last time coincided with Fund Holding in general practice, getting rid of nhs cleaners, the rise of mrsa etc as a consequence and Saturn and Neptune in Aries surely means looking after your own health (self) more, worldwide but especially In the western world. Better diets , exercise etc.

  11. Just as the Greeks have had to learn to accept fiscal responsibiltiy and the French are now getting a hard lesson in the same in the matter of state pensions so the British will one day have to face up to the reality of what a ‘free at the point of delivery’ healthcare system actually costs. The ageing population in Europe generally is only adding to the cost of pensions and healthcare. Even with the dual funding system we have here in the Netherlands (similar to the French system) healthcare has come under severe strain due to spiraling costs and the difficulty of finding and retaining personnel. A great many nursing staff and carers left the field after the pandemic due to burn out and feeling unappreciated by a government which had promised pay improvements that were then not delivered (or awarded by the mangement to themselves).

    • @SuHu
      Dutch system not totally the same as the French or British which are government run with its problems like in France mired in bureaucracy. See above …. My mom passed in 2019 so that was post covid. I agree with your other points for sure.

      • The Department of Health and Social Care budget was £180 billion in 2022-23. It accounted for about 20% of all government spending. The NHS in England employs over a million people. Approximately one in 30 of all British employees works for the organisation and there is on average one member of NHS staff for every 65 people in the U.K. NHS staff levels increased by 3.8% in 2021. The organisation employs more people than all other government departments and all the armed forces combined. The bare figures suggest it receives a huge amount of money and employs a staggering number of people yet appears always to be in a state of permanent crisis.

        The current problems probably can be traced back to to the NHS Trust reforms of the of 2001 with the first cracks becoming manifest in 2005 when the NHS progressed Uranus moved from Gemini into Cancer where it currently sits at 0 degrees. In November-December 2023 Neptune will conjoin the NHS progressed Moon in Pisces and oppose the progressed Sun in Virgo. Soon after Neptune and then Saturn will be squaring the NHS natal conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Uranus at 27-28 Gemini. The big hit will probably occur when Neptune and Saturn conjoin at 0 Aries in 2026 squaring the NHS Progressed Uranus.

        All this upheaval is also impacting the U.K. 1801 chart whose progressed Uranus at 29 Virgo will be opposed by both Saturn and Neptune forming a T square with the NHS progressed Uranus.

        One point to note that the NHS progressed Saturn is currently at 29 Leo. This indicates lessons that need to be learned right now and responsibilities that must be honoured. In 2025 the progressed Saturn will move to Virgo which is associated with the 6th House of health. It is possible that this will see the imposition of restrictions and more discipline to the NHS with perhaps a great deal more scrutiny by perfectionist Virgo about how and where the money is spent.

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