The Future of the NHS 

Facing Challenges

We thought we’d take a detour and look at the status of the NHS and its future.

The NHS has been a world leader in accessible healthcare for all and continues to do a great job despite the number of people it serves.

But, the NHS is not without its problems, and it’ll need help and support to adapt for the future.

Will the NHS adapt to the changing face of technology, and the increasing demands that it faces?

What will the NHS have to do to remain one of the most important health services in the world?

Being medical negligence solicitors from London we understand how difficult the demands placed on the NHS are. It faces many challenges to ensure a sustainable future.

 

The Next 10 Years

The NHS has been a recognisable and valuable aspect of our culture since its inception 70 years ago. Undoubtedly, it has been subject to increased strain in the past few years.

Reports emerge about the stress doctors face, the antisocial and impractical hours, and pay rates that don’t seem to justify being in such a position of responsibility.

The point is, it’s unlikely the NHS can continue in its current capacity without significant change.

The next 10 years will certainly be crucial in shaping an NHS that can continue to offer superb levels of healthcare for everyone.

Some have predicted that a future NHS clinic or hospital will more closely resemble a supermarket, rather than what we currently understand as a hospital.

Technology may move more towards emphasising self-care, an interesting possibility for sure. Lower costs as a result may be the key to reducing the costs of services and allowing the funds to be distributed elsewhere.

This could be one key solution in working around the current pressures the NHS faces.

 

Another Technological Boom

Technology grows exponentially, and the current shift is unprecedented. Now, AI is no longer a futuristic theory but it becoming a reality.

The AI boom will undoubtedly cause a radical shift in medical technology.

Machines will be able to diagnose quicker and more accurately than humans, and perhaps even understand the best treatments, prescriptions and follow-up appointments.

It’s possible that a lot of medicine will become “self-service”.

You’ll have some sort of scanner rigged up to a powerful computer, that will almost instantly churn out a report on your health and what the next steps are.

It might seem scary, but this might be one of the ways that allows the NHS to flourish and keep its nation healthy.

This paints a rather different picture of healthcare compared with what we currently know, and this shift may begin within the next decade.

Twenty Years from Now

A report by the Policy Innovation Research Unit explored various strategic options for the future of the NHS. You can have a look here on NHS Futures: Twenty-Thirty.

This involved a number of prominent clinicians, academics and various others to strategise and think about the future.  Some key questions that will shape the future of the NHS are:

  1. Will new technology continue to develop incrementally, or will a radical shift occur?
  2. Will individuals be motivated to take more individual responsibility for their health, or will the overarching approach to healthcare remain dominated by large suppliers.

As explored earlier, it would be naive to think that technology isn’t about to undergo a seismic shift, given the rise in computing power and particularly the increase in artificial intelligence. Computers have become powerful enough to the point where AI speculation is no longer just theory, but fast becoming reality.

 

There are a few main scenarios presented as possible directions that the NHS may go down: 

– This is the option explored above, where an emphasis on self-diagnosis among the general public means greater reliability on machines and computers to diagnose, prescribe and treat. One challenge here is that with such a large population, it may be difficult for many to come around to this idea. Even if its proven that this method is more effective and more efficient than traditional practices, it’ll likely take significant time and energy to implement. For those who can’t access the newer technology as it crops up, traditional services will need to maintain their standards of care.

– If the NHS is slow to adopt this rapid shift in technology, patients may insist on going to private niche healthcare suppliers instead. This might lead to a fragmented health service, but similarly, may allow a more incremental approach to change.

– If the NHS is slow to adopt this rapid shift in technology, patients may insist on going to private niche healthcare suppliers instead. This might lead to a fragmented health service, but similarly, may allow a more incremental approach to change.

– This is the option explored above, where an emphasis on self-diagnosis among the general public means greater reliability on machines and computers to diagnose, prescribe and treat. One challenge here is that with such a large population, it may be difficult for many to come around to this idea. Even if its proven that this method is more effective and more efficient than traditional practices, it’ll likely take significant time and energy to implement. For those who can’t access the newer technology as it crops up, traditional services will need to maintain their standards of care.

The NHS and Medical Negligence

Medical negligence cases are an unfortunate side effect of the vast demand of healthcare. The drive to reduce mistakes and ensure patients health needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s thinking as the NHS adapts over the years.

Where solutions are found that can reduce the potential for errors, they should be adopted as soon as possible. This’ll reduce the number of cases and allow the NHS to focus on the bigger picture – more accessible, reliable healthcare for all.

 

As you can see, the subtleties in public attitude, rate of technological increase and NHS funds will have a major bearing on the future direction of the NHS. Time will tell how it best adapts to these new challenges.

This was a slight deviation from our usual content, but we think it’s important that everyone understands the NHS is an ever-changing entity and the next two decades might define its future. If you think you might have a claim against the NHS, get in contact now. Our no win no fee guarantee means our best interests are your best interests.

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