NHS has been under scrutiny since a couple of months. The government helpline service for the people of Britain causes big trouble to patients, by keeping them waiting for a long time. Statistics suggest that the mean waiting time has increased from 5.9 weeks in 2015 to 6.6 weeks in this year. There are patients who were kept waiting for as long as 18 weeks. This is bizarre as the health of patients that need immediate attention can deteriorate over the waiting period and may even lead to loss of life.
As per the numbers, April 2016 witnessed 3.603 million patients in the waiting queue as opposed to 3.023 million in April 2015. Also, there were 302,908 people waiting for more than 18 weeks in April 2016 which was around 201,424 in April 2015. This is an alarming number and suggests a 50% increase in the waiting list that stretches over 18 weeks. As per the Department of Health, this is a big blow on the patient’s rights. According to the rules, ‘patients have a right to start consultant led treatment within 18 weeks of referral’ (see the official report by NHS England). They can also request NHS for an alternative provider who can start their treatment at the earliest. NHS needs to comply with their request and give them appropriate support.
Main cause of NHS failure:
As the number of people asking for treatment increases by manifolds, the facilities and staff seems limited. The trust cannot manage an increased demand of services and becomes financially week. NHS providers in England declared a deficit of £2.45 billion in this fiscal year.
It is also facing the recession of British economy as suggested by the Chief Executive of NHS England, “the number of patients that waited longer than 4 hours on a trolley bed in 2015/16 has increased by 26.3% when compared to 2014/15”. This has put NHS into big trouble as more and more people are losing faith in its services.
Eventual result – shift towards health insurance:
As people face long waiting queues for an uncertain period, they cannot take chance and are becoming aware of the benefits of health insurance. An eventual result of NHS failure seems to be the rise in number of health insurance policies. Experts foresee an increase in the number of insurance takers so as to deal with finances required for getting treated by a private doctor. Hence, the health insurance industry is expected to face the positive effects of the NHS failure.
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