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What is the biggest problem facing the NHS today?

Discussion in 'Medical School Interviews' started by dcglim, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. dcglim

    dcglim New Member

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    This is a great question that has come up at interview many times in the past. It tests the candidates knowledge in Medicine & indirectly asseses their interest.

    "What is the biggest problem facing the NHS today?"

    Suggestions from everybody welcome. I'll contribute my comments as we go along.
     
  2. chilledmocha

    chilledmocha New Member

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    Well, this is quite similar to the one stephy1202 started, isn't it? And that one is still active. The only difference is that one asks how do you solve the problems while this one simply asks you to judge which the biggest one. But this one is like a subset of the other's content.
     
  3. Summer Daisy

    Summer Daisy New Member

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    My -- slightly tentative as I haven't properly thought this through and it *is* nearly midnight -- answer is probably the media's point of view towards the NHS. Issues about expensive treatments (for example the Herceptin argument) are blown out of proportion in the media, biased towards the sympathies of public opinion. Constant articles complaining about the rate of doctors pay keep appearing (call me biased, but have you SEEN what footballers get paid these days?!?!)

    That'll do for now, I'm sleepy haha
     
  4. rjm

    rjm New Member

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    European Working Time Directive
     
  5. yeliab_cram

    yeliab_cram New Member

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    The Government using the NHS as a political ping pong ball.
     
  6. Dr Noodle

    Dr Noodle New Member

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    That's always been a problem in a lot of places. But you're right, it's probably the biggest problem.
     
  7. Prolific

    Prolific New Member

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    Excessive government intervention is the biggest problem in my opinion. Ever since labour won the general election in 1997, in no small part due to what they said they'd do with the NHS, it has become something of a political trend for parties to win/lose elections based on their plans for the NHS.

    And theres a saying; 'a week is a long time in politics', but in healthcare it seems it really isn't! So the government implement plans hoping to see results within weeks/months when really they need to wait years/decades to see the full effects. Because they don't see results quick enough they then assume something is wrong and make more changes without letting their original plans bed in properly. Then throw in the media's love of reporting problems in the NHS, the global problems of modern healthcare in developed countries like antibiotic resistance (MRSA), combating inherantly unhealthy populations due to alcoholism, obesity and smoking and you end up with a real tangled mess!

    Examples of this are NICE, modernising GP working hours, the removal and restructuring of SHO and consultant training positions without creating adequate places etc.
     
  8. Pammy

    Pammy New Member

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    The thing is these problems are worse in England than anywhere else in Europe!
     
  9. Keeno

    Keeno New Member

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    The fact the government only has a 5 year term just encourages that. Instead of making significant changes they think 'what can we do in the short term to win votes at the next election'. At the same time though who will actually believe that all the parties can reach a consensus on say a 10 or 15 year plan?
     
  10. yeliab_cram

    yeliab_cram New Member

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    Nobody. It has to be taken out of the political process and given a board of directors to manage it in the long term who report back to the governing party. Much like the BBC is run.
     
  11. Dr Noodle

    Dr Noodle New Member

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    Here here! I'm liking that idea. Let's start a new party.The Let the NHS be Run by Non-Governmental Bodies party.
     
  12. dcglim

    dcglim New Member

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    That is a very good point. Many patients' individual experience of the NHS has been positive. In fact, recent surveys by the Healthcare Commission show that 90% of patients rate their NHS experience as Good or Excellent. However, the media's coverage of the NHS is largely negative with faliures being given the spotlight.

    Bad news sells! However, this has a negative effect on the morale of staff. I believe the media have a duty to report in a balanced & fair manner.
     
  13. Dr.Funk

    Dr.Funk New Member

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    May I ask what NICE is?

    I feel (based on very little experience and not much consideration of the matter) that the problems are largely down to a circle of issues being reported in the media which the government then has to be seen to be acting on immediately resulting in quick decisions being made that have not been thought through. For example the targets for patients waiting in A/E are expressed in times, not quality of care, staff seen etc. I think their needs to be a big shift from quantitative to qualitative measurement of progress if the NHS is to advance.
     
  14. anoushka

    anoushka New Member

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    From my own research....


    NICE stands for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
    It is the organisation that decides whether certain treatments should be used by the NHS or not, main factor being cost effectiveness.
    It was created to stop the postcode lottery of treatments in various parts of England and Wales however it has not been without controversy. Firstly, it may conflict with existing guidelines and may not be best for the individual patient. I also know that it has been criticized for making decisions too slowly and relying too much on evidence based medicine. Two of the most controversial decisions it has made have been over Herceptin and Glivic.


    Please correct me if I'm wrong about anything
    (International student here)
     
  15. Dr.Funk

    Dr.Funk New Member

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    Thanks thats much appreciated, I will read up on it :)
     

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