It has been proven time and time again that the NHS is facing issues due to the increasing number of patients every year. The government healthcare facility is unable to fill in the gaps between the number of people coming for treatments and those that get out after being treated. The major issue with this is the lack of funding with the NHS as well as the rising demand for healthcare.
In addition, it has been noted that the UK hospitals are cancelling a huge number of outpatient appointments, which is a major contributing factor to the strain on the NHS. There is a tsunami of patients which the NHS faces everyday and given the limited facilities, a decline in its services is natural. As per records, collectively there was cancellation of 7.6m outpatient appointments in the hospitals of England.
When we compare this number with what it used to be a decade ago, it was observed that only 2.76m people got their appointments cancelled. This shows a stark difference and can be blamed on the increasing number of patients that need healthcare facilities. NHS Digital confirmed that in its latest annual report the demand for healthcare has increase by manifolds.
It reported that contrary to 60.6m appointments in 2006, there were 113.3m appointments in 2015. The figures suggest that people that need healthcare facilities have almost doubled in the past decade. Andrew Goddard, the registrar of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) expressed his views on the topic by saying that “The rising rate of outpatient appointments is another sign of an NHS under stress.”
He added that “While most appointments are postponed rather than just cancelled, the extra waiting time can cause anxiety in patients and delay in getting the right treatment.” RCP collected evidences which proved that inadequate funding and increasing number of patients is putting additional strain on the NHS.
Along with this, it was observed that people have become more aware about healthcare as the number of people not turning up for appointments has also reduced by a considerable percentage. Statistics suggest that it has fallen from 8.3% in 2005-06 to 6.6% in 2015. Number of patient who attended appointments in 2015 was 89.44m out of the 113.3m. This was 78.9% of those who took appointment and had fallen down from the 82.6% found a decade ago.
It was also observed that more number of women were attending outpatient appointments than men. In 2015, nearly 51.7m women attended healthcare facility when compared to 37.6 million men. Clarifying the NHS side, a Department of Health spokesperson said: “The number of cancelled outpatient appointments remains very low given that the NHS is seeing millions more people every year. In fact, in 2015/16 the NHS treated 9.6 million more people as outpatients compared to 2009/10.”
The new UK government has been facing pressure for creating more funds for the NHS and the Prime Minister Theresa May has declared that 3.8 billion extra would be given to the NHS to meet up with the demands of healthcare services. A point to note here is that it is important that everyone should have healthcare insurance so as to cope up with their healthcare bills should they decide go private.
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