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18.08.2022 | Insight

HCPs share frustrations on access and funding issues plaguing the NHS

By Francesca Gan

The NHS is the second-largest single payer healthcare system in the world, coming only under Brazil, and has long been heralded as one of the best healthcare systems. The NHS is frequently held in comparison to large private healthcare systems such as in the US, and the benefits of better patient access to diagnosis and treatment cannot be overlooked. 

CREATION.co analysed the conversations of UK healthcare professionals over the course of 2022 to discover healthcare professionals’ (HCPs’) needs and opinions, in relation to NHS funding. Since the beginning of 2022, CREATION.co has identified 1,332 posts by 964 HCPs discussing issues surrounding NHS funding.

Privatisation of the NHS unwanted by HCPs

A graph showing discussions about how private healthcare drives conversation about NHS funding 2022

The most significant driver of conversation was discussion surrounding private healthcare and the privatisation of the NHS. This was directed by frustrations around waiting times in the NHS, as expressed by a well received tweet by GP Dr. Neena Jha, which has accumulated more than 2,000 retweets and 7,500 likes, in which she shared her observation of patients having to turn to private healthcare due to the extended suffering they have to endure:

In discussing the private healthcare issues, HCPs shared their views on the seeming shift towards privatisation of the NHS, which were overwhelmingly negative, stemming from concerns for their own and their patients’ ability to afford private healthcare.

A bar chart showing the sentiment of HCPS towards privatisation pf the NHS

Scottish nurse Gillian MacArthur responded to a tweet highlighting that healthcare in Scotland is not free but comes at the expense of higher taxes, stating that she’d rather have higher tax than pay £40 per consultation under private healthcare:

Pharmacist Lisa Jamieson shared a thread on her experience with the ‘broken’ NHS system while expressing that NHS privatisation is not the answer because of cost and access issues:

HCPs highlight mental health treatment access issues

HCPs also discussed access issues for specific diseases, one key area being mental health treatment. 22 UK HCPs shared Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan’s tweet discussing the difficult geographical access patients face in obtaining mental health treatment, calling it a ‘postcode lottery of service provision’. 

HCPs also commented on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), also known as ‘Talking therapies’, an NHS programme aimed at treating and managing mental health issues characterised by evidenced-based psychological therapies, routine outcome monitoring, and regular and outcomes focused supervision. HCPs were largely negative about this programme, citing its inferiority to traditional counselling which has longer term benefits.  

HCP concern about access to COVID-19 antivirals

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has had a strong impact on funding discussions among HCP online. In particular, HCPs were vocal about patient access to COVID-19 antivirals through the NHS. Several HCPs retweeted Guardian journalist Frances Ryan’s tweet sharing an article that highlighted the struggle for cancer patients who are seriously ill due to their inability to obtain COVID-19 antiviral drugs. 

Professor of Primary Care and Public Health, Professor Azeem Majeed, directed a critical tweet towards the NHS suggesting there is the potential for health inequalities to worsen if those who are poor or in minority groups struggle to access COVID-19 antivirals: 

Continue to monitor the NHS funding conversation

The NHS has proven over time that its renown worldwide as one of the best healthcare systems is deserved, but growing talks about privatisation and the struggles caused by lack of funding has not escaped HCPs’ online discussions. As the UK government continues to discuss the future of the NHS, it is inevitable that HCPs will be increasingly vocal about funding and access issues plaguing the NHS. CREATION.co will closely monitor the conversation to uncover HCPs’ views. To keep up to date with how this and HCP online conversation impacts healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry, sign up to our monthly eJournal.

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Meet the Author

Francesca Gan

Fran analyses the unprompted online conversations of healthcare professionals to produce actionable insights for clients. Her background in legal research provides a solid foundation in critical thinking and enables a well rounded approach to her data research.

Fran has a keen interest in netball and is a big follower of the New Zealand domestic netball league. She is also a lover of board games and card games, especially ones that involve shouting!

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