Ahead of the party conference season, the Kings Fund provide an excellent summary of the unprecedented financial and operational challenges within health and social care and shine a light on the priorities facing the government.
It is no surprise that rising demands on our healthcare services is highlighted as impacting on NHS finances and performance with the NHS treating more patients every day than ever before. This obvious mismatch between funding and actual demand has massive implications with many areas struggling to safely and effectively maintain standards of care. It has been suggested that radical measures are needed to reduce the deficit yet at the same time this has massive implications for those we care for. This is exacerbated by reports that access to services is being restricted within many areas with the Kings Fund emphasising that GUM and district nursing services are under particular pressure. Nevertheless, it is difficult to detect the impact of this on the quality of patient care with the metrics which are currently available.
Our aging population across society individuals living with multiple comorbidities means that moving forward, fundamental changes are required. There will be a need to transform services in ways that address the needs of the service user thereby integrating primary and secondary care and joining the dots with the wider health and care system. Will this be possible? In line with the zeitgeist captured with the NHS Five Year Forward View we hope so.
The implications of the challenges facing our health care system certainly extend beyond those who use our services and this is acknowledged by the Kings Fund here who recognise the negative affect this is having on staff morale.
Honest, soul searching discussions about funding and reforms are needed to ensure that the services provided deliver otherwise a cascade of further deterioration may follow.
The full publication is available to read online here.