The NHS is one of the most popular love-to-hate UK institutions.
As a general rule, most people do realise how lucky they are to be part of a nation that grants free healthcare, but that certainly does not mean that people cannot comment on what they see as problems within that infrastructure.
What’s Happening Now?
Almost everyone has a view or opinion on the way the NHS is run and now that the NHS shake-up is over, these opinions are being expressed more readily in the news. More pervasive than the shake-up, though, is the news of the debt that the NHS as a whole is in at present and this news has lead to some fascinating insights from professionals and the general public.
Most people have some story about attending several appointments they see as unnecessary or being sent to the wrong ward or department. While, on the surface, these stories attest to the idea that the NHS is wasteful, they do not take into account that, on the whole, whatever experience they have had might save money.
That is, at least save more money than the previous incarnation of the process. The NHS is ever-evolving and a string of money saving experts and consultants have been called in over recent years to change the services people are provided. The truth is that, though money is being saved, it is clearly not enough and the huge debt the NHS faces is growing regardless of the plans that have been put in place.
According to a number of media sources, there are plenty of NHS hospitals and health boards currently facing insurmountable debts. This may sound scary but it is possible to change human thinking and see this as a turning point. The NHS is no longer in a position to bring in consultants to provide a stop-gap approach to saving some money here and there. What is required is a completely radical rethink.
One of the best things to come from this is the idea of centralising many services. Ensuring that the right patients appropriately attend the right hospital or place of care at the right time could save the NHS billions and that is only the start of what central services can offer.
At present, more than 10% of patients attending day surgeries are turned away because they are not suitably prepared for the procedure, having not followed the directions given to them. A central system that allows these patients to be contacted and reminded of what is required would save these wasted appointments while simultaneously cutting down waiting lists.
While many services need to be centralised, some should also be better dispersed. Social care is a vital step towards reducing healthcare costs and, with an ageing population, an infrastructure that allows more care in the community is vital. Many hospitals are being used inappropriately to care for conditions that could be managed in the community at a fraction of the cost.
This being said, centralisation and redeployment are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be done to help the NHS through this crisis. There are a number of steps that can be taken to aid the ailing service but what must be realised first is that this crisis is merely a stepping stone and should be used as a catalyst to provide a better service in the future.
This guest post has been written by IVA Experts who keep a close eye on all the financial news and issues throughout the world.