Pavilion Health Today
Supporting healthcare professionals to deliver the best patient care

Next government urged to ‘relaunch’ NHS amid ‘national health and care emergency’

A panel of experts is calling on the government to ‘relaunch’ the NHS with a renewed plan to ensure the health service remains free at the point of use.

A panel of experts is calling on the government to ‘relaunch’ the NHS with a renewed plan to ensure the health service remains free at the point of use.

The BMJ Commission on the Future of the NHS calls on the newly elected government to recognise the “existential threat to the NHS” by declaring a ‘national health and care emergency.’

The commission was established to identify the key challenges and priorities to ensure the next government rebuilds a high-quality health service which remains free for all at the point of care.

Kamran Abbasi, The BMJ’s editor in chief says this core principle “has never been so under threat”, with some voicing doubts about the model of the health service. However, the commission says with the right plan in place, it is possible for the NHS to provide high quality care for all, regardless of ability to pay.

An ageing population has put added strain on the health service

Kamran Abbasi and commission co-chairs Victor Adebowale, Parveen Kumar, and Liam Smeeth say while the NHS is as relevant today as when it was founded in the 1940s, an ageing population has generated new challenges for the health service.

Life expectancy has improved drastically in the last few decades, from 70 years for women and 66 years for men in 1948, to 83 years and 79 years respectively.

This has placed greater strain on the NHS, the experts say, and with staff burnt out from working in poor environments and more than 100,000 vacancies, morale is low and many patients are struggling to access the high quality care they deserve.

The commission says the pandemic highlighted that the NHS had “little or no spare capacity following a decade of health policies and austerity measures.”

As the NHS attempts to recover from the pandemic, health leaders face new challenges as they struggle to recruit and retain staff due to ongoing pay disputes and the ‘alienation’ of international staff.

NHS ranks low on clinical outcomes

The commission highlights that while the NHS is cost effective and provides equitable access, it ranks low on clinical outcomes.

“The health service is in crisis, stretched beyond breaking point,” the experts say, but they believe it is possible to restore the NHS to a health service which works for all.

To do this, they are calling on the next government to recommit to the founding principles of the NHS (including its ongoing funding through general taxation) and launching an urgent review to agree a long-term vision and plan for the NHS.

They want to see the next government commit to:

  • An urgent, robust, values based response
  • New thinking but old values
  • Hearing the voices of healthcare professionals and patients
  • Recognising health inequalities
  • Prioritising healthcare, people and the planet.

Above all, the experts want the next government to “recommit to the founding principles of the NHS, to put the health and wellbeing of our population first, and to revive the spirit of Aneurin Bevan and a nation that came together in the hope of creating a better, fairer, healthier world.”

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read more ...

Privacy & Cookies Policy