The future of the NHS as a Universal Healthcare provider
Stuart Nyemecz, district manager, regional public sector at EMC, argues that a fundamental shift to data-driven medicine, not incremental spending cuts, is needed to sustain the NHS’ future as a universal healthcare provider
Last week’s news headlines revealed how the NHS faces a funding gap of up to £2bn for the next financial year, which is 2% of the total budget, and needs to make £20bn of savings this parliament. It was also revealed the Royal College of Nursing will be debating whether patients should be charged £10 to see their GP at their annual conference.
These proposed changes to the NHS don’t address the core areas where costs are escalating and don’t tackle the underlying pressures facing patient care. The Department of Health estimates that long term chronic conditions cost 70% of the total amount spent on health and social care by the NHS, approximately £65 billion. If we keep looking to cut costs or generate revenue to try and solve the funding gap, it is only a matter of time before the underlying principle of free Universal Care comes under serious threat.
Dramatic action is needed to help reduce the deficit and lessen the increasing burden on the NHS. Data can now be used to create a more predictive, personalised healthcare model, moving us from an illness to a wellness approach. Informatics can help to identify the factors that put patients at high risk of developing a condition and help tackle it before it strikes, and monitoring patients using data can also dramatically improve care management.
The NHS is an incredible national asset and was declared the world’s best healthcare system by a panel of experts last week. However, embracing bio-informatics and data-driven healthcare is vital in supporting a broader strategic transformation of the NHS and will be necessary to ensure it remains world’s best universal healthcare provider in the future.