The NHS is in danger of a sharp decline in its services around its 70th birthday next year, with the risk of the quality of care becoming precarious, the health service’s regulator has warned.
The Care Quality Commission said staff shortages, rising demand and increasing numbers of patients with preventable illnesses meant services were straining at the seams.
An increase in the number of older people who are frail, many with dementia and have multiple long-term conditions, was placing unprecedented pressure on the system, it added.
Examples of pressure in the system include the fact 2.5 million people spent longer than four hours in A&E in 2016-17, up from 1.8 million the previous year. Hospital bed occupancy reached record levels of 91.4% this year.
Behan said the NHS was in need of modernisation and it had been created almost 70 years ago when the big issues were diseases such as TB and polio.
“Today, the NHS and social care are dealing with obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancers, dementia. All of which are driven less by those diseases of the middle of the last century and more by lifestyle choices.”
He continued: “We are living longer but are not living healthier so I think what we are signalling is that the system now and into the future has got to deal with those increased numbers of older people who are going to have more than one condition.”
Full story in The Guardian, 10 October 2017