The NHS already does more and more each year – like any other organisation, the health service finds ways of becoming more efficient all the time.
But today’s NHS faces a double challenge – responding to rapidly increasingly demands today, but also looking further ahead to a time when health needs are far greater than they are now.
Here are a few examples:
The long-term trend locally is for the number of people going to A&E to rise by 2% a year, every year. That means that pressure is rising, all the time.
Although more than one-third of local GP appointments take place on the same day that the patient contacts the surgery, people still report problems seeing a docor when they need to. Demand is outstripping supply - since 2008 the number of GP consultations nationally has risen from 300m to 340m, and the average person now sees a GP six times a year – double the number from a decade ago.
These existing pressures mean that local services are already facing a huge challenge to keep up with demand.
About 80% of people arriving at A&E at QA will be seen, treated, discharged or admitted within the four-hour standard – well below the 95% national target.
Although all GP practices offer a form of ‘same-day’ access, many people find it hard to get routine appointments – many people say they wait weeks to see a GP for non-urgent matters.
The overall number of people waiting for a planned, routine operation locally is rising, and the number of urgent (within two weeks) referrals for people with suspected cancer is also rising.
We often hear that the NHS needs to change to be ready for the greater pressures of the future, but actually those pressures are already with us, here and now.
So how should the local NHS respond? Tell us: “Your Big Health Conversation – talk to us”