Are the pressures on the NHS affecting our health?

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A topic that’s so often in the headlines, the management of the NHS by our government, the apparent lack of funding, the seemingly never ending pile of problems with our beloved national health service leads many of us to despair. No matter where you sit politically, most of us want to preserve our national treasure, which so constantly seems to be coming under threat.

Recent findings though seem to show that this concern for resources is bleeding over into our own health. A study by UK solicitors Your Legal Friend has shown that 80% of people would wait up to one month before chasing up an expected follow up appointment with their healthcare provider.

Even more so than that, 9% said they would wait until they were contacted; potentially falling victim to clerical errors or human mistakes that lead to healthcare providers failing to call patients in for follow ups.

Why will people wait so long? It’s possible that it’s linked to the 86% of brits admitting their awareness of the pressured that are being publicised about the NHS, these pressures are things like budget cuts or lack of investment. Over a quarter of those surveyed also stated that they wouldn’t complain in they received a substandard level of care from their healthcare provider.

Could it be a generational gap? Of those surveyed, 46% of those aged between 16 and 24 stated that they would be ‘impatient’ if staff pressures were to result in a substandard level of care for themselves of their family member, whereas the over 55s had just 35% who agreed.

With the NHS celebrating its 70th birthday this year, more eyes have been turned toward the health service than ever before. The Brexit referendum saw former foreign secretary Boris Johnson pledge £350million a week into the National Health Service, if we were to pull out of the EU (a claim which has since been shown to be ambitious at best). As public anxieties about the health service mount, will we see more people in declining health as they attempt to save our NHS?

It’s difficult to tell, but it is important that people use the NHS properly. while refraining from going to A&E for non-emergent maladies, or using the pharmacy rather than the doctors can help the NHS save some money, failing to follow up on appointments may actually cost them more in the long run, as worsened conditions, left untreated, become more difficult to treat.

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