The UK's Healthcare Industry: Issues and Priorities
<p>It’s no secret that there are worsening shortages within healthcare staffing across the globe. One country at the forefront of staffing shortages is the United Kingdom, where the pandemic and Brexit have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the healthcare industry to contend with. The NHS faces many issues and is currently in dire <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/21/end-nhs-staff-shortages-now-boris-johnson-told" target="_blank">need of 90,000 staff</a>. There’s an urgent need for the healthcare industry to prioritize hiring international professionals and deploy them to fill these vacancies quickly to avoid a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/15/nhs-could-be-short-of-350000-staff-by-2030" target="_blank">projected shortfall of 350,000 vacancies by 2030</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the onset of the pandemic, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/blogs/what-action-is-required-to-make-nhs-workforce-shortages-a-thing-of-the-past" target="_blank">40% of the overall staffing shortage was in nursing</a>. But the deficit has now spread across all healthcare disciplines, from <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/nhs-catch-22-scenario-could-lead-to-doctor-shortage/" target="_blank">doctors</a> and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://dentistry.co.uk/2021/06/04/is-there-a-recruitment-crisis-in-dentistry/" target="_blank">dentistry</a> to <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-workforce/workforce/mental-health-workforce-report" target="_blank">mental health</a> workers and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.homecare.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1650891/Staff-sof-burnout-amongst-care-workers-and-nhs" target="_blank">care home</a> staff.&nbsp;</p> <p>The UK’s new health secretary, Sajid Javid, will have a steep learning curve in his new role and says that it, “<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-57627708" target="_blank">will be my most immediate priority to see that we can return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible</a>.&#8221;</p> <p>To successfully supply the shortage and get the UK out of this pandemic, the UK’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care needs to address the following four issues as a priority: &nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Curb The Staffing Shortage</h2> <p>The CEO of the NHS, Simon Stevens, is due to stand down at the end of July 2021. Javid must <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/" target="_blank">carry out Stevens’ long-term plan</a> by appointing a strong CEO to fulfill previous promises. These include backing the healthcare workforce, making better use of data and digital technology, tackling health inequalities, filling staffing shortages, improving NHS funding, and getting the most out of taxpayers&#8217; investment. <a href="https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/the-nhs-long-term-plan-summary.pdf">None of these promises can be fulfilled</a> without the correct manpower in place and many of the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/f2ace7d9-59ce-406c-9db6-a844e6806e05" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">current NHS staff are burnt out</a> or on the verge of burnout from the pressure of the pandemic coupled with staffing shortages. Javid’s previous experience as home secretary and chancellor sets high expectations to deliver an appropriate investment plan for staff training, local and international recruitment and retention.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. A Patient Safe Future</h2> <p>Ultimately, there is nothing more important than <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.trueprofile.io/partner/resources/5-lessons-2020-taught-healthcare-recruitment" target="_blank">patient safety</a>, which is the governing purpose of health care. However, avoidable harm to patients remains a persistent and major problem. This includes patients’ lives, data and privacy, and these concerns should be seen as a strategic priority for Javid.&nbsp;</p> <p><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/ddme-psl/content/A-Blueprint-for-Action-240619.pdf?mtime=20190701143409" target="_blank">Thousands of deaths occur in the UK annually due to unsafe care</a> from unqualified or insufficiently trained healthcare staff. This also costs the health service billions of pounds annually and causes long-term suffering for families of the casualties. Tying in with staff recruitment and training, only fully <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.trueprofile.io/partner/resources/scaling-your-healthcare-workforce-quickly-in-response-to-covid-19" target="_blank">qualified, verified individuals must be hired</a> to ensure that this statistic is non-existent going forward. Standards should be set up and adhered to and the UK fully expects Javid to fulfill this in his new role. Response and mitigation should be second to a preventative patient safety action plan. In addition, the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/The-economics-of-patient-safety-March-2017.pdf" target="_blank">financial impact of safety failure to hospitals is approximately 15% of their total expenditure.</a></p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="535" src="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2021/07/shutterstock_529259797-1024x535.jpg" alt="there is nothing more important than patient safety" class="wp-image-12033" srcset="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2021/07/shutterstock_529259797-1024x535.jpg 1024w, https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2021/07/shutterstock_529259797-300x157.jpg 300w, https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2021/07/shutterstock_529259797-768x401.jpg 768w, https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2021/07/shutterstock_529259797.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /><figcaption>Thousands of deaths occur in the UK annually due to unsafe care from unqualified or insufficiently trained healthcare staff</figcaption></figure> <h2>3. Integrated Care Systems and Telehealth</h2> <p>During a pandemic, the ability to bridge the gap between individuals and the specific care and support they need is crucial. This can be achieved by updating the traditional delivery of care through <a href="https://www.trueprofile.io/partner/resources/the-rise-of-telemedicine-in-2020" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">embracing telemedicine services</a> to reduce disjointed care and increase access to services and professionals when and how individuals need them. This fast-access care through cutting-edge technologies allows delivery to transcend physical boundaries. Teaming up with telehealth providers can create a simple and modern space for inclusive and collaborative healthcare delivery. However, effective telehealth delivery can only be achieved through appropriate data privacy measures, with only <a href="https://www.trueprofile.io/partner/resources/the-true-value-of-verification-in-the-telemedicine-industry" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">qualified staff using these tools to deliver teleservices</a>. In addition, <a href="https://www.trueprofile.io/partner/resources/how-trueprofile-io-uses-blockchain-technology" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">blockchain technology</a> can be implemented here to improve the patient experience, reduce red tape and drive sector transformation. A digital transformation plan, including digital and data literacy training and investment, should be in place to make this a reality.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Care Delivery Backlog</h2> <p>The number of NHS patients waiting for consultations, diagnoses, routine treatment and surgery is increasing. There are currently <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-nhs-hospital-waiting-lists-could-reach-13-million-in-coming-months-sajid-javid-warns-12353339" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">more than five million people waiting</a>, the highest record ever. Even worse, these figures are set to double by the end of the year. The priority list mentioned above will have a major impact on whether this challenge is met in reducing the waiting list and time, significantly.&nbsp;</p> <p>Javid’s list of priorities exceeds what we’ve discussed above. But if the health secretary can achieve success in these umbrella priorities, the outcomes will trickle down to the smaller issues, making a (positive) dent in the UK’s healthcare system.&nbsp;</p> <h3>TrueProfile.io is committed to helping you source the best international healthcare professionals for your organization. We have access to over 150,000 verified healthcare professionals ready to be hired. If you need to bridge the gaps in your current healthcare workforce; </h3> <ul><li>reach out to us at <a href="mailto:businesspartner@trueprofile.io" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">businesspartner@trueprofile.io</a> or</li><li>try <a href="https://lp.trueprofile.io/recruit-medical-staff-free-trial/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">TrueProfile.io Recruiting</a> FREE for 7 days.</li></ul> <p></p>