The NHS is facing a ‘major financial crisis’ according to recent studies carried out by the Nuffield Trust. NHS and foundation trusts were over £100m in deficit in 2013-2014, compared with a staggering surplus of £383m the previous year, Nuffield research found. This cut – a record 8.4% – signals a drop from £168.40 a year to £156.45 in spending per patient.
Andy McKeon, the report’s co-author, says that the NHS has ‘risen to the challenge’ of living within its means over the past three years, but that now it has reached a critical ‘tipping point’.
Family doctor Clare Gerada voices the fears of many when she claims that whilst the ‘front door of the NHS’ is the local GP’s surgery, ‘if that gives, the rest of the NHS will give very rapidly.’
She goes on to say that, ‘some of us are routinely working 11-hour days with up to 60 patient contacts in a single day and this is not safe or sustainable.
‘You do not want a tired GP seeing you. You do not want a tired GP any more than you want a tired pilot or a tired surgeon.’
Patients Association CEO Katherine Murphy added that these comments correspond closely with what patients are also concerned about at the moment: ‘they are finding it harder to access GPs both in and out of hours.
The solution, Murphy believes, is moving care out of the hospitals and back into the community, ‘but if we are going to achieve that we have to stop throwing money at hospitals and invest in GPs so they can provide quality care.’
- Just 8.4% of the NHS budget – the lowest figure on record – is now allocated to general practices, a drop from 10.3% in 2005
- Doctors’ surgeries account for 90% of all patient contact
- 70% of doctors polled believed that surgeries will not exist in a decade’s time due to funding cuts
- More than eight out of ten family doctors have claimed that they worry they will overlook serious issues with their patients due to overworking. , 29% of GPs said they worried “a great deal”, while 55% said they worried “a fair amount”.
- 90% of GPs do not believe that their practice has the right resources to provide their patients with consistently top quality care
- The DoH claims that the Government is committed to upping the number of trainee GPs from 40% of all newly qualified doctors leaving med school to 50% by the year 2020
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