NHS needs extra cash and overhaul
Health bosses reported recently that drastic changes to services and extra money are needed if the NHS in England is not to suffer. A five-year plan for the NHS – unveiled by six national bodies – once again highlighted an annual £30bn shortfall which would open up in the next Parliament. It said changes, such as GP practices offering hospital services, would help to plug a large chunk of the gap but the NHS would still need above-inflation rises of 1.5% over the coming years. That works out at an extra £8bn a year above inflation by 2020.
The current budget stands at £100bn a year, but all the political parties have already started talking about what they would do in the next Parliament.
Ideas include large GP practices employing hospital doctors to provide extra services, including diagnostics, chemotherapy and hospital outpatient appointments and hospitals being encouraged to open their own surgeries in areas where GP services are under strain. Hospitals might also be encouraged to provide care direct to care homes to prevent emergency admissions and large specialist hospitals could open franchises at smaller sites as Moorfields Eye Hospital has done in London.
Employers and councils are also being encouraged to play their parts by finding ways of encouraging people to become healthier whether by incentivising healthy behaviour or limiting the opening of junk food outlets and the sale of cheap high-strength alcohol.
Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “This is an issue that will affect us all in due course unless the system changes and/or the funds are found. A lack of funds will result in more mistakes and more litigation, which in turn will result in funds being diverted from providing the necessary level of healthcare and support for the ever increasing and ageing population. It will no doubt be the subject of much debate in the months leading up to the election next May.”
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