Government must cut patient demand for NHS to survive

The government must reduce public demands on services or the NHS may not survive, the chairman of the Conservative Medical Society has warned.

Dr Charlson: growing patient demands on NHS services was the ‘real issue’
Dr Charlson: growing patient demands on NHS services was the ‘real issue’

Talking to GP, Dr Paul Charlson said the NHS should look to reduce patient expectations on services, rather than focusing on slimming down the supply side of the NHS.

He also called for the government to be more explicit about what services are available on the NHS and for whom it would provide treatment.

Dr Charlson said that growing patient demands on NHS services was the ‘real issue’ that needs to be addressed. 

He warned that the supply side in the NHS ‘can only be made so lean’ and said focus should instead move towards changing patients’ ‘health seeking behaviours’. 

Dr Charlson said: ‘The elephant in the room is why the cost of healthcare has gone up and why people are consulting GPs more.

‘Part of it is because patients have better access to information. But, part is of it also to do with people demanding care they want, but don’t actually need and clinicians are often too scared to say no.’   He suggested that patients need incentives to use services more effectively, such as through the use of personal budgets.

Dr Charlson said that he was ‘unsure how the NHS would survive’ if the demand side of NHS was not tackled. He also said co-payments, where patients pay for extra treatment in addition to the services provided to them on the NHS, could also be used as a way of saving money in the NHS.

Editor's blog: No GP rationing but is this hello to patient budgets and co-payments?

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Advance decisions to refuse treatment - what GPs need to know

Advance decisions to refuse treatment - what GPs need to know

A recent case has underlined the need for GPs to communicate a patient’s known wishes...

Law changed to allow physios and paramedics to administer vaccines during pandemic

Law changed to allow physios and paramedics to administer vaccines during pandemic

A wider range of healthcare workers will be allowed to administer flu and potential...

Medicines shortages drive up GP workload as prescribing costs surge £158m

Medicines shortages drive up GP workload as prescribing costs surge £158m

Medicines shortages in England are continuing to drive up GP workload during the...

Arrhythmias - red flag symptoms

Arrhythmias - red flag symptoms

Dr Pipin Singh provides an overview of red flag symptoms in patients with arrhythmias.

How have GP practices fared under CQC inspections?

How have GP practices fared under CQC inspections?

The latest annual report from the CQC sets out ratings for all of the sectors it...

CQC flags concern over GP access despite 2m face-to-face appointments last week

CQC flags concern over GP access despite 2m face-to-face appointments last week

The CQC plans to 'follow up' concerns about access to face-to-face GP services, warning...