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Future Quality Of Care In Today’s Spotlight

Doctor speaking to elderly patient
10th October 2013

The quality of Britain’s healthcare always creates passionate debate and has certainly been high on the news agenda at this year’s party political conferences.

What is abundantly clear is that dedication and commitment to public healthcare, set in place 65 years ago as the cornerstones of the NHS, are still guiding ideals in hospital wards and surgeries across Britain today.

However, frequent press coverage of frustration with the lack of access to NHS services, increased pressure on budgets, the burden of administration and the impact upon levels of medical care can only serve to undermine public confidence. It appears that the number of people suffering due to poor medical practice is rising, and concern is also growing among the medical and legal communities over the variable care that the NHS now seems to deliver.  

Rising demand for services

The present outlook appears, increasingly, a cause for concern. The NHS states that GPs see over one million people every working day, the average patient visits their doctor just over five times a year and the demand for services across the system, including general practice and wider primary care, continues to rise.

According to NHS own estimates, the number of patients with multiple, long term conditions is set to grow to nearly 3 million in 2018, and the number of people aged 65 or older likely to require care is predicted to rise by over 60 per cent to around 16 million by 2030.

If the future level of NHS care is to remain world class, it’s vital the everyday challenges faced by doctors and their patients are understood.  A properly functioning NHS in the decades to come will need to be take into account the stresses of an ageing population, funding pressures and the increased patient expectation that medical advancement will create.  

British Health Report

To help inform the debate, Your Legal Friend commissioned the British Health Report, aimed at gaining a clearer insight into how doctors and patients feel about the UK healthcare system. According to the Report findings, 35 per cent of people feel they have experienced poor care from medical professionals and 44 per cent of doctors believe patient care and its scope of services will decline in the next five years. Most shocking of all, 28 per cent of doctors say they cannot see a future for the NHS.

Patients at the heart of the issue

Your Legal Friend is not alone in advocating “placing patients at the heart of the issue”, yet the increasing focus on targets,  bureaucracy and administration creates the impression of achieving the exact opposite.

These are indeed, difficult times for the health service. Not least for the overworked doctors, nurses and their hospital teams whose abilities and powers of resilience continue to be tested, sometimes leading to unforeseen situations beyond their control.

We have come to rely upon our medical professionals to perform the miraculous despite of the pressures they increasingly face. The real miracle is that for the vast majority of the time these constant challenges are met without error or mishap. However, while we recognise and applaud these efforts, patients should not be afraid to speak out if they have been the unfortunate recipient of a negative experience or medical outcome.

Click here to download the British Health Report in full."