The Kings Fund has published ‘Understanding NHS financial pressures. How are they affecting patient care?’
Image source: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/
Financial pressures on the NHS are severe and show no sign of easing. However, we know relatively little about their impact on patient care.
This study sought to investigate the impact of financial pressures in four very different areas of the health service: genito-urinary medicine (GUM), district nursing, elective hip replacement and neonatal services. The research used data analysis and interviews to explore different experiences across the system.
The researchers found that GUM and district nursing services were under particular strain. Both access to services and quality of patient care have been affected in ways that are difficult to detect with currently available metrics.
Within elective hip replacement services, activity has increased in recent years and patients remain happy with the outcome of their operations, but the latest data shows that average waiting times for treatment are starting to rise. Neonatal services appear to have largely maintained quality and access despite a number of longstanding pressures, although there is variation between units.
The findings create a challenge to the direction of travel set out in the NHS five year forward view of strengthening community-based services and focusing on prevention.
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