What Is ACTUALLY Going On With The NHS?!

Profile photo of Siobhan Bowater
27 April 2016

So different news websites and papers are confusing the heck out of the UK public as to what is actually going on with the NHS in 2016. We see on a regular basis that Junior Doctors are striking, the masses are hatin’ on Jeremy Hunt (The Minister for Health), and reports show that the NHS is continuing to be sold off to private businesses. 

To put it simply, the NHS is in a bit of a crisis.

Let’s go back to the start, shall we?

5th June 1948, the NHS is birthed into the beautiful city of Manchester; the first NHS hospital to open is Park Hospital, otherwise known as Trafford General Hospital in the modern world. It was the first time that every aspect of healthcare (doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, opticians etc) was brought together to provide the best health care and services they could provide for free. By free I mean that the NHS is available to anyone, and is financed and run from taxation.

Over the years, the NHS has had its ups and downs; the DNA structure was revealed, the smoking/cancer link was found (shock!), polio vaccinations, maternity care became more established, its had its technicalities with technology, we have doctors from all over the world providing care for the UK public. Which leads us to where we were up to not long ago.

By natural causes, you may have noted that we have pretty much overpopulated the whole planet, and the UK, we are pretty overpopulated ourselves. Key statistics show that in England, the NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours; spanning from maternity, chemotherapy, end-of-life care, emergency services, long-term conditions, the list goes on forever. So bearing in mind, that over 1million people are treated every 36 hours; the NHS employs more than 1.5million people, which places it in the top 5 of the entire world’s workforce! It’s along the same lines as Walmart, US Department of Defence, Chinese People’s Liberation Army and McDonalds. (Ironic, considering McDonalds does cause a lot of the patients problems for the NHS.)

The NHS is something England prides itself on, we are actually famous for it as a country. The service takes care of roughly 54.3million of us Brits in the UK. That’s a lot of people for 150,273 doctors, 40,584 GPs, 314,966 nurses and health visitors, 18,862 Ambulance response staff, and 111,127 hospital and community health service staff to do their best to take care of.

In terms of budget, NHS funding comes from taxation directly, however there was a slight transformation in 2013, with regards to where the money is coming from and where it goes to.


What has caused the ‘madness’?

Basically because of poor strategy decision making and a LOT of cuts, this means the pressure is on for emergency care. The transformation in 2013 has meant that NHS Direct (a nurse-led telephone info line, providing callers with health advice 24hours a day, 365 days a year) this meant that more people were less informed about what they would use the NHS for, hence why you might see these posters a lot on your travels. It has meant that the true expertise of the NHS has now been lost because of the constant sending away of people who turn up to A&E with a cold. Also, letting go of a big portion of district nurses has had a huge affect too, numbers decreasing from 12,000 in 2005, to just 5,500 today.

In many hospitals, pretty much all, ALL beds are fully occupied, making the process of A&E longer, meaning waiting times have had to lengthen. The emergency care system is at the moment, quite confusing, and in ways like a jigsaw puzzle, people struggle to get an appointment with their GP, meaning they will head to the hospital, to be then turned away. Another problem, is the ‘exit block’; meaning when patients cannot be discharged from hospital because of the lack of free and available beds, certain periods of time this is worse for, e.g. Christmas.

As much as you may see/read/hear things about the critical A&E department, the demand for GPs is often ignored. As much as I struggled to get an appointment for my bad case of tonsilitis last week, even though my GP is directly opposite my house, I couldn’t be that mad at them because after researching what struggle the doctors and nurses in there are going through. There are currently 1.3million GP consultations every day; GPs are seeing 120,000 more patients each day than they did 5 years ago. Funding for GPs has fallen to an appalling all time low; 8% of the NHS budget, they cannot cope with the ever-lasting growing demand. It is just too much.

Providing that the winter we have just had, meant that the NHS received £700million additional funding from the Government to help with the pressure. However, questions have been raised as to where exactly this money has gone, reports were filed by GPs and emergency medicine doctors that it had not reached them effectively… (strange huh?)

There is also the matter of the ageing population; the sheer volume of ill, elderly people that often have more complex existing medical conditions that use the NHS, has meant that this year alone, norovirus levels have risen, and the number of beds available have significantly lowered.

From this information, it is clear that the NHS is not receiving the resources it is so desperate for. However, medic professionals have said that more money will not help, as the current system needs to now be redesigned from scratch. Recruitment for more workers also need to be in place; with a huge number of people in the first place needing healthcare, and the ageing population


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