In amongst the numerous massive issues facing our new look government is the current state of the NHS and its future prospects. This was neatly highlighted by a report from the King’s Fund, a well respected organisation with an interest in healthcare. They are quite rightly concerned about the state of the current and future finances of the NHS in England and I am sure this will be reflected throughout the rest of the UK. According to a Univadis news story, Staff cuts needed to balance NHS books, says charity a possible way to bring budgets under control is not surprisingly to cut the numbers of staff.
However, with an ever rising patient demand that looks like increasing year on year, something will have to give. Maybe we won’t have a 7 day fully working week or certain targets will have to be relaxed. However, will the public (or staff trade unions) tolerate further cuts to an already hard pressed NHS or will such potential cuts compromise basic patient care and acceptable safety levels?
Throw into the equation possible future shortages of trained healthcare staff such as nurses and doctors and it does not look good for the NHS. However, all is not doom and gloom, no government will allow the NHS to disintegrate, simply because they will not be voted back into power at the next election. So the government is going to have to make some really tough decisions on how much funding they can realistically provide the NHS whilst trying to balance public and healthcare professional expectations. It is going to be a tough time for the new administration trying to perform this difficult juggling act (and I have a fair degree of sympathy for them) but if they don’t get it right, it could lead to their demise the next time they meet the ballot box.
Dr Harry Brown, editor-in-chief Univadis