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Doctors and patients are concerned about the current level of patient care offered by the NHS, according to a British Health Report commissioned by Your Legal Friend, a leading law firm, to ask doctors and patients their views on patient care, reform and experience of the British healthcare system.
The report found that nearly half of doctors (44%) believe that patient care within the NHS will decline in the next five years and staggeringly over a quarter (28%) are very concerned and cannot see a future for the NHS.
Jeremy Hunt's ministry has also been heavily criticised by the medical profession with nearly three quarters (72%) of doctors questioning his ability as Health Secretary. 49% believe Hunt does not properly understand the needs of the NHS. This is a further blow to Hunt after The British Medical Association's annual conference passed a motion of no confidence in the Health minister in June of this year.
Dr Chris Steele MBE, resident doctor, ITV's This Morning commented 'These are worrying times for the NHS, as doctors express considerable doubt about whether the system actually works. Our medical professionals do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances but The British Health Report corroborates my view that they are feeling hampered by government reforms . Furthermore patients don't seem to be receiving the basic level of care they deserve. The last thing any doctor wants is to see their patients suffer unnecessarily and we must address problems in the current system so that patient care is placed front and centre at all time.'
Nearly one in five doctors (17%) cited NHS cuts as their number one professional concern. The same numbers were most concerned that they had too much paperwork. Doctors spend more hours a week on surgery administration and management meetings (17 hours a week) than home visits (seven hours a week). If a doctor is working the legal limit of 48 hours a week, administration is taking up a least a third (35%) of their time.
Unsurprisingly therefore, access to doctors is revealed as a primary concern of patients. Three quarters (71%) of Britons delay going to the doctors with over half (52%) doing so because it takes too long to get an appointment. This is hardly surprising as one in five have waited a week or more for an appointment.
Doctors support this criticism: a quarter stated patients have delayed seeing them because of appointment waiting times and worryingly over half (55%) said they had witnessed these delays having a negative impact on patients' recovery.
Sara Stanger, Solicitor at Your Legal Friend said, "Patients are generally very trusting of the medical profession and when the trust is broken the consequences can be devastating. The British Health Report has shown us that patient trust in the NHS is at an all-time low and the level of care that doctors can give is evidently at risk. As standards in the NHS slip, including your own GP surgery, there is a risk of careless work being carried out at all levels of the medical profession and we need to ensure that patients are not putting themselves at risk when they access medical treatment."
The British Health Report was launched by Your Legal Friend in conjunction with Watermelon Research conducted an online survey of 400 doctors and 1000 consumers between 14 and 21 August 2013.
Your Legal Friend
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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4 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266548>
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