Comments on the £10-a-month NHS fee
Stuart Nyemecz, district manager, regional public sector at EMC comments on the proposed NHS ‘membership charge’
The news of the £10-a-month NHS “membership charge” that Lord Warner has proposed is misplacing the emphasis on required changes within the NHS. Pumping more money into the system without making fundamental efficiency changes and developing a plan to spend it wisely, could lead to further wastage of critical funds.
Dramatic action is certainly needed to help reduce the £30bn-a-year gap by 2020, however there are other, more effective ways of dealing with this deficiency. One way is by driving better patient care through the application of technology and the data insights afforded by it. Technology has taken huge leaps forward and has the ability to support a stronger health service in the UK and the system should be developed to capitalise on this.
Using data, real change can be created, namely how we are able to predict and tackle health problems across the population, particularly around chronic diseases. This is vital for reducing paperwork, improving patient management and the patient experience within the NHS as it copes with an aging population. Bio-informatics and data-driven healthcare should take more of a role in supporting a broader strategic transformation of the NHS, turning it into a predictive care body that tackles disease before it strikes.
Digitising patient records and making them available across the NHS will help with long term goals of cutting costs and predicting pathways to better health. It is these changes that should be considered ahead of charging patients a monthly fee.