The NHS is broken: We need to change how our healthcare system works and join the 21st century
The NHS is broken. The NHS workforce know this. When will politicians accept it? COVID-19 placed significant stress on the NHS. However, COVID-19 did not break the NHS. It was the final straw that broke an already creaking service. Before COVID-19, the NHS operated at greater than full capacity with no resilience in the system. This was evident every winter. To continue treating COVID-19, we created hospital capacity by cancelling elective work, increasing waiting times and creating a ‘pandemic’ of future elective care. This cannot be addressed unless the NHS changes its working practices. Emergency medicine consultants face these problems daily. Departments are overcapacity, patients face long waits at triage, for medical assessment and hospital beds. More presentations are due to chronic disease or as a direct consequence of delayed procedures. The demographics of our population has changed, reflected in increasing frailty and comorbidities in an ageing population.