NHS concern hits highest level in 14 years

Brexit, healthcare
Half of British citizens believe the NHS is one of the most ‘important issues’ facing Britain

New survey shows increasing concern over NHS struggles and the impact of Brexit

[London, UK] A new Ipsos MORI survey shows public concern regarding the NHS has reached the highest level in 14 years.

Nearly half of British citizens believe NHS challenges represent one of the most ‘important issues’ that Britain faces at the moment, although Brexit remains the top concern.

Respondents were asked to choose which area they believe poses the most significant threat to the current state of the social, political and economic context, with 27% choosing Brexit and 17% the NHS.

Speaking in an interview for BJ-HC earlier this year, Andrew Haldenby, Director of the Reform think-tank, revealed we do not have enough information at the moment to make accurate presumptions in connection to Brexit and its impact on the future of the NHS and the progress of digitisation:

“I think it is far too early to tell. I think it’s far, far, far too early to tell. We don’t even know the economic impact of Brexit. We’ve already seen that Brexit will damage the economy and it hasn’t had any impact at all as far as anybody knows.

“If I stuck my neck out, I would say it will have less impact than many people would think, but it is certainly too early to tell,” Haldenby added.

On another hand, Dr Saif Abed, founder of AbedGraham, thinks the NHS has a defined agenda to increase digital maturity, a process ‘unlikely to be derailed’ by Brexit.

“However, given the financial uncertainties associated with Brexit, more than ever will there be greater scrutiny of the business cases associated with each and every IT investment. Both healthcare organisations and suppliers will need to work together to develop robust plans to demonstrate clinically and organisationally tangible ROIs (Return on Investment),” Dr Abed added.

Need for ‘change’

In a heavily anticipated Brexit speech presented in January, Prime Minister Theresa May argued that that June 23rd, the day of the referendum, was not a symbol of Britain choosing to ‘step back from the world’.

“I want Britain to be what we have the potential, talent and ambition to be. A great, global trading nation that is respected around the world and strong, confident and united at home,” May said.

In an interview for HIMSS Insights, Elisabetta Zanon, NHS European Office Director, stated that the biggest concern regarding Brexit and the NHS will be the impact on the ‘regulatory processes for health technologies’, along with access to the European single market.

Meanwhile, Jane Dwelly, HIMSS UK Director of Strategy, argued in an article for BJ-HC that Brexit and the election of Donald Trump represent a signal that people everywhere are dissatisfied with the current system:

“There is an impatient mood and a demand that cultural changes happen to let innovation solve existing problems in the NHS and make a true difference,” Dwelly added.