What do Londoners think of the way the NHS is being run?


Over seven million of us live and work here, so you might think that running a public service such as, say, the London Underground is very difficult to do. The NHS is no exception, but all patients in the capital will expect to receive a decent standard of care at the very least. People’s attitudes to the NHS tend to vary greatly, but recently, Londoners were given the opportunity to say what they think.

A survey conducted amongst Londoners by First4Lawyers showed that feelings are mixed about the services on offer and the way in which the NHS is run. 44% of patients in the capital said that their doctors didn’t listen to them, while an overwhelming 67% said that they believe that the NHS actually wasted money.

Vigilant culture

In light of a glut of scandals relating to substandard healthcare, new, improved hospital inspections are expected to be carried out at regular intervals. The new inspections are expected to try and be more vigilant, especially if there are any signs of corners being cut or if there are any examples of patients’ needs being neglected in any way.

A big part of trying to avoid a repeat of what has happened in the past in places like Stafford could see doctors actually listen more to their patients. This could help to improve doctor-patient relations as well as to help simplify the care which they receive, but is this enough for some dissatisfied at the perceived poor standards of NHS care?

Getting what you pay for?

62% of people surveyed in London said that if they could afford it, they would pay for private healthcare. Meanwhile, 31% of Londoners revealed that they had experienced poor treatment at the hands of NHS doctors and nurses. This suggests that there is plenty of room for improvement in the standard of care, especially in preventing misdiagnosis and accidents during surgery.

Misdiagnosis is an expensive problem for many hospitals. As well as dismissing a serious problem as something that can be treated easily as in this case of a 55-year-old grandmother dying from cervical cancer mistaken for the menopause, it can be expensive. Serious or fatal incidents which can be attributed to misdiagnosis can be costly in a financial sense too.

An extra cost

Medical negligence represents a hefty expense for the NHS in London. In the capital alone, medical negligence pay-outs are estimated to cost a whopping £470,000 per day, which suggests that either cases of negligence are more common that they may seem or the magnitude of each case is so great that the money needed to repair the damaged caused is significant for some instances.

One possible cause of medical negligence could be overworked members of staff. 44% of London residents said that poor care was probably caused by staff working more hours than are necessary, which may lead to tiredness and regular lapses in concentration. Hiring more staff seems like an obvious solution, but that is unlikely to happen as a result of governmental austerity measures.

What to do?

It’s clear to see that many of the NHS’s problems are caused by money and the way in which it’s being used. Whether it’s being wasted or slashed from key departments such as nursing, being more frugal and putting what’s there towards frontline services seems like the thing to do. Changing doctors’ attitudes towards patients might be useful too.

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1 Response
  1. Emma

    Its very easy for us all to get caught up in our day to day lives and forget that many around the world are not as lucky as we are to have any access to health care, let alone free access to some of the best healthcare in the world.

    Unquestionably there needs to be some sort of watchdog that ensures that money is spent well and standards remain high. But the onus also lies on each and every one of us. Would you work to the best of your potential and feel highly motivated if every day at work all you heard was complaints, in the national media all you read is what a bad job the NHS is doing? If I were a nurse, doctor, health care assistant, cook, cleaner, receptionist at a hospital this would not inspire me to want to go to work, let alone work hard once I am there…and yet every day these people give everything they have to try to save our lives.

    Mistakes happen, don’t they in all professions? Do you think that a doctor goes to work hoping that they will misdiagnose a disease, or work for hours on a dying child just to see it is not enough? We need to remember how lucky we are to have the opportunity to even be misdiagnosed, to many they would die in their village without having ever been seen by a medical professional – the sad thing is these people die of pneumonia and diarrhea, not cancer or heart failure.

    Perspective is a wonderful thing.