NHS must reduce patient demand 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: lower expectations (Photograph: Pete Hill)
Dr Charlson: lower expectations (Photograph: Pete Hill)

Dr Paul Charlson said the NHS should reduce patients' expectations on services, rather than focus 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 growing patient demands on NHS services was the 'real issue'. He warned that the supply side in the NHS 'can only be made so lean' and said focus should move to changing patients' 'health-seeking behaviours'.

He added: '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 also to do with people demanding the care they want, but don't actually need and clinicians are often too scared to say "no".'

Dr Charlson suggested that patients need incentives to use services more effectively, such as through the use of personal budgets.

He added that he was 'unsure how the NHS would survive' if the demand side of NHS was not tackled.

Dr Charlson said he personally thought that co-payments, where patients pay for extra treatment in addition to the services provided to them on the NHS, could save money.

He used the example of GPs increasing levels of generic prescribing but allowing patients to use co-payments if they want branded drugs.

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

GMC to restart fitness to practise cases and PLAB tests within weeks

GMC to restart fitness to practise cases and PLAB tests within weeks

Fitness to practise cases paused during the coronavirus pandemic will restart this...

NHS England confirms plan to add practice managers to £20,000 golden hello scheme

NHS England confirms plan to add practice managers to £20,000 golden hello scheme

NHS England hopes to extend the £20,000 golden hello scheme for first-time partners...

COVID-19 risk assessments could devastate fragile GP workforce in parts of England

COVID-19 risk assessments could devastate fragile GP workforce in parts of England

COVID-19 risk assessments could devastate the threadbare primary care workforce in...

GP trainees still paying thousands for NHS levy Boris Johnson promised to scrap

GP trainees still paying thousands for NHS levy Boris Johnson promised to scrap

GP trainees are among overseas NHS staff continuing to face demands for thousands...

GP fear surge of avoidable illness as patients skip routine vaccinations in pandemic

GP fear surge of avoidable illness as patients skip routine vaccinations in pandemic

Patients have been urged not to skip routine vaccination amid concerns the COVID-19...

GPs plan drive-through flu clinics amid COVID-19 safety fears

GPs plan drive-through flu clinics amid COVID-19 safety fears

GP practices are planning drive-through flu clinics to maximise uptake of jabs during...