The King’s Fund has recently published a report that has revealed that waiting room times have increased since June 2010. The Guardian, reporting on this, comments that most of the arguments put forward for NHS reform become irrelevant when the bottom line is that patients are being told to wait for an operation.
“All the arguments about governance structures, control of purse strings and even the private sector’s role pale into insignificance when the waiting lists start to become longer again” (Guardian)
This report has focused debate back to the NHS reforms and the reasoning behind them. It is accepted that the Health service was going to undergo change whoever won the election last year however the Coalition Government has come under attack,
“The government has aggravated the consequences of parsimony, first by initiating wild “reforms” of the English service, and then by pressing the pause button when its dubious revolution is already under way”(Guardian)
It is clear that there is a long journey ahead for the Coalition Government with regards to NHS reforms. Change needs to occur but what shape this change needs to take is unclear.
Whilst we welcome the time for full engagment in the reforms which are taking place, the upheaval caused by the changes have already begun to affect patient outcomes. Whilst the changes are taking place, healthcare professionals will need to work hard to ensure that focus is not lost on the main aim of the NHS, to treat people as quickly as possible to allow them to return to their normal lives.
Whatever decisions are finally made on the revision to the health bill, it is important that these are carried out quickly, to allow the focus of clinicians and managers to return to big question – how to make the NHS more efficient, so that it can deal with the increasing demand on NHS services.