As I have said in previous articles, it is clear that the NHS is in crisis, and in desperate need of change. Having already explored some of the primary reasons as to why the NHS is struggling, I thought it would be interesting to reflect upon possible changes that could help overcome the major problems. I conducted some research, and combined what I found with some of my own knowledge, so here is a summary of methods which could be used to benefit the NHS:
- Sharply increase tax on alcohol – when you consider the drinking culture in this country, it is hardly surprising that as many as 3 out of 10 patients admitted to A&E are there as a result of alcohol. Unfortunately, not only does this cause disruption, but also uses up valuable resources and staff time, which is frustrating when at least some of these cases could be prevented if people took more responsibility when they drink. Increasing the tax on alcohol may encourage people to drink less, and the money produced by this tax could be used to benefit the NHS (eg. paying for drunk tanks)
- Charge patients who miss scheduled appointments – as many as 20% of all scheduled appointments are not used, either because patients fail to turn up, or because they are cancelled too late for them to be filled with another patient. Again, this wastes time and money. Introducing a fine for missing appointments may encourage patients to attend them, and will raise money that can be used for the benefit of the NHS
- Create a competitive market for GPs – by forcing GP surgeries to compete with each other for patients, there is an incentive for them to improve their quality of care, and to stay open longer (which would benefit A&E departments – patients can attend their GP rather than A&E which would reduce pressure in hospitals)
- Use resources available more efficiently, and centralise key services – by introducing more flexible staffing rotas, pressure on NHS staff will be relaxed a little, which overall will result in staff being able to provide better quality of care without having to employ more staff. Also, introducing a single electronic catalogue through which hospitals from all over the country can order their supplies will create competition for suppliers, driving down the cost.
Given that there is currently a ban placed on non-urgent operations in order to free up staff and hospital beds, it is clear that the need for change is becoming ever more apparent. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before necessary changes are implemented, so that the NHS can continue to serve the country as it has for so many years already.
Thanks for reading!