Physicians warn about acute hospital care
Acute hospital care is "on brink of collapse" according to a new report from the Royal College of Physicians.
But the Government has said that NHS has enough resources to cope with the strain.
The report “Hospitals on the Edge” reveals that 10% of physicians would not recommend a family member or friend to go for treatment in NHS hospitals. Four out of ten remain unsure on whether they would recommend NHS hospital care.
The doctors argue that the acute care in hospitals is under threat due to the huge demand at a time when resources are scarce. One sign of strain is that the number of beds is decreasing as the emergency admission numbers are increasing. The number of beds has decreased by over 30% in the past 25 years, despite the 37% increase in emergency admissions.
Another problem highlighted by the report is the NHS's failure to deal with an aging population. Around 65% of people being admitted into hospital are now people over 65 years old, with an increasing number suffering from frailty or dementia. However, the report finds that hospitals are often not equipped to deal with these problems.
Sir Richard Thompson, president of the RCP, said, “This is no way to run a health service. Excellent care must be available to patients at all times of the day and night."
Tim Evans, professor of intensive care medicine at the Royal Brompton in London and a lead member of the RCPs Hospital Commission pointed out that these urgent issues need addressing if the NHS is to continue to provide top level service.
He said, "It is increasingly clear our hospitals are struggling to cope with the challenge of an ageing population who increasingly present to our hospitals with multiple, complex diseases. We must act now to make the drastic changes required to provide the care they deserve."
However, Dr. Dan Poulter, the Health Minister rejected the claims made by the RCP study. In a statement issued by the Department of the Health, the Minister said: "It is completely wrong to suggest that the NHS cannot cope.”
“The NHS only uses approximately 85 per cent of the beds it has available, and more and more patients are being treated out of hospital, in the community or at home,” he added.