In the past years, the NHS has been facing issues that later on became a crisis. Hospital patients have had their appointments canceled more than 10 times in a row, and the waiting lists are ever-growing, with about 5 million people expected to be in it by 2021.
Not only that; patients in emergency wards are reported to wait over 12 hours before being tended to, and the sick elderly wait too long before being admitted to hospital wards. These alarming turn of events in the NHS can put many sick people at risk of not receiving urgent healthcare, which can worsen their conditions, ending up with costlier treatments.
That said, let’s explore the issues the NHS and its patients face, and what patients can do to receive proper healthcare despite the crisis.
Daily Telegraph investigated NHS’s issue of canceling vital medical appointments. They found that many canceled appointments are those of the elderly, and worse, the cancellations occur repeatedly, with some notices only being given the night before. The investigation also discovered that there are patients who have been left to wait years to see a doctor in a hospital due to their NHS slots being canceled repeatedly.
Five patients are found to have experienced over 10 cancelations in a row, and as a result, they have been waiting to receive healthcare since 2014.
Meanwhile, the Freedom of Information disclosures revealed that there are currently 4.4 million patients in NHS’s waiting lists. Seeing that this figure is expected to shoot up to 5 million next year, as mentioned, it seems that the problem will only get worse.
Because of this crisis, alternatives are being made available to the public, such as booking appointments to a London medical diagnostic clinic, instead. Such facilities allow for same-day appointments, so patients no longer have to endure the year-long delays of the NHS.
Bed and Staff Shortage
NHS hospitals have declared “black alerts,” an admission that they are unable to bear the growing demand. Most hospitals are reported to be unable to see emergency-ward patients within four hours because of bed and staff shortage. However, the previous Prime Minister Theresa May had denied in 2018 that the NHS was experiencing a crisis. According to the politician, the NHS was better prepared for that winter than ever before, and that they had put extra funding for it. But people’s personal accounts about NHS have contradicted her statement.
The personal accounts included a situation at a hospital in southwestern London, where the waiting room looked more like an airport than a hospital because of the large volume of people sprawled about. People complained that there was no real system or order and that they’ve been waiting for more than five hours. Other people reported that they were turned away because their cases weren’t deemed urgent enough.
These situations have put NHS under so much pressure, leading to many resignations and the staff shortage.
Alternatives to NHS
As mentioned, people may instead book appointments in private medical diagnostic clinics. They can also choose to have comprehensive health insurance, which would allow them to choose the grade of the hospital they’d like to receive healthcare from. For example, NHS private rooms or exclusive private healthcare centers.
Another option is the budget policy. Having this plan enables one to have access to private healthcare facilities that have relatively shorter waiting times compared to NHS.
Basically, private healthcare is indicated to be the best solution to avoiding excruciatingly long waiting times. Thankfully, healthcare insurance policies are there to help people with the costs. If you’re one of those patients who’s been stuck in NHS’s waiting list for a while now, explore your alternative options as soon as possible, and receive the healthcare that you deserve.