Can We Save The NHS?            

The National Health Service has a long and distinguished history, as anyone who benefits from its services can attest. It serves millions of people every year and is seen around the world as an exemplar of best practice. But something is wrong and change is needed as it is in danger of failing the people it is there to help.


Longer life expectancy, an ageing population, more complex care and increasing health costs are all placing additional demands on the health service and, unfortunately, the situation is likely to get worse.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, a lack of exercise and the excessive consumption of sugary and fatty foods are putting extra pressures on the service and those who work in it.

Technology too is causing change to people’s lifestyles and how the health service responds to and manages patients in hospitals and within the community.

Staff, unions, patients and a myriad of other voices have repeatedly raised concerns as pressure in many areas reach critical levels.

The Problems

Patient waiting times are getting longer and people’s health and in some case lives are in danger, as services struggle with excessive demands from patients and unrealistic expectations from the public.

Staff shortages in general and a shortage of doctors in particular are increasing, as workloads climb beyond reasonable limits and new entrants question whether or not they should remain in a work environment where people are undervalued and overworked.

Recruitment problems and a steady growth in demand for services are creating unmanageable pressures in a service that is chronically under funded.

Levels of dissatisfaction within and about the health service are increasingly worrying, as they not only affect staff working in the service but also those thinking of making it their career.

Finance and budgets are unpredictable and need to be managed in a way that deals with the reality of excessive demand and the likelihood that such demand will continue in the future.

The Solutions

Forward planning is essential to ensure the correct resources are in place to enable managers to anticipate and respond to peak periods of demand by allocating staff and other resources.

Workforce planning and staff training are crucial not only to retain existing staff but also to attract new recruits and ensure the long-term success of the service.

Realistic budgets and realistic budget cycles coupled with back-up contingency budgets to ensure the delivery of services during busy times are necessary for proper long-term planning.

Strong leadership is required at all levels within the service and within the community to ensure expectation levels are managed and local and national voices are listened to as part of the decision-making process.

SO, the National Health Service has served us well over many decades but is now at a critical point, as action is needed to ensure a successful future.