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Patient Care Worsened Despite Investment

It has recently been reported that over half of NHS hospitals say that patient care in their area has worsened in 2017 and waiting time targets have deteriorated slightly despite the fact that there has been investment and major drives to improve performance.

King’s Fund think-tank carried out a quarterly NHS monitoring analysis and one third of NHS Trusts finance directors responded. It is concerning that only 6% of areas thought that services had improved in the last 12 months.  Furthermore, it is reported that the NHS continues to miss its 18 week “referral-to-treatment” target.  In August 89.7% of patients on waiting lists had been waiting up to 18 weeks compared to 90.6% last year. 

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund said that findings show that “…NHS funding pressures are now having a real impact on the people using its services.  This is happening despite Herculean efforts of staff and NHS leaders working to maintain standards of care under huge pressure.” 

This news also comes as it has been announced that the number of nurses in the UK has fallen for the first time in 4 years as EU trained nurses look to leave in the wake of Brexit. Recent figures released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council shows that between October 2016 and September 2017 35,363 nurses left the NHS in comparison to just 27,786 new nurses that joined the profession in the same period.  Indeed, more than 4,000 nurses left the profession between October 2016 and September 2017 compared to 2,435 nurses who gave up their license to practice before the EU referendum. 

These figures are particularly concerning given the findings of King’s Fund think-tank that patient care has already worsened in the last year and that the NHS generally is struggling to fill vacancies and respond to an increasing rise in demand for its services.  

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