Free NHS services “unsustainable" by 2015

Free NHS services “unsustainable" by 2015

Rising pressures on the NHS are thought to be making the service “unsustainable”, with senior officials warning that in the future, free at the point of use services could be abolished.

A freeze in spending, coupled with increased pressures from epidemics such as obesity, diabetes and the ageing population means that the NHS is facing a period of rapid change. The political parties are being warned that if radical plans for change are not created before the 2015 election, that free services may no longer be available.

"Treasury funding for the service will be at best level in real terms," officials said. "Given that demand continues to rise, drugs cost more, and NHS inflation is higher than general inflation, the NHS is facing a funding gap estimated at up to £30 billion by 2020."

In order that the NHS can still provide positive outcomes going forward, it is thought that a shift in care must take place to move away from acute hospital settings, and back out into the community. People should also be given the tools and support to self-manage their condition. There is also the need for closer links between the NHS and social care services for the elderly and adults with long-term health needs, the latter predominantly provided by local authorities.

Department of Health spokesperson said: "We know we are facing challenging times. Our priority is to deliver better care and a more sustainable NHS. That is why we have set out bold and radical steps to transform the way out-of-hospital care is delivered. Through more proactive primary care and better integration of health and social care, people will be better supported in their homes and get the treatment they need in the best place for them.

Original Source The Independent

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