Can the NHS Offer Internationally High Standards?

13th September 2013

Channel 4 News was privy to previously unpublished figures that showed – even after significant improvements made to the system over the last decade – death rates in England’s hospitals are still below standard, and indeed 45 percent higher than that of America.

While the incidence of patient death in NHS hospitals does not necessarily correlate with that of medical negligence, in our experience there will always be things which can be improved upon and, tragically, deaths which might otherwise have been prevented.

Health systems differ widely between countries and concern surrounding the figures should not be interpreted as merely the need to compete or lead globally. Rather, the comparison serves to illustrate the challenge facing our national provider to deliver quality care for all.

Perhaps the most alarming fact to emerge is that conditions like pneumonia and septicaemia are far more likely to be fatal in the UK than in the US. These conditions most often concern elderly patients, highlighting a need to address known problems with UK aged care.

In a move welcomed by the team at Fletchers, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has introduced new guidelines targeting NHS staff looking to raise formal concerns about standards of patient care. While this does not address wider pressing issues such as hospital overcrowding, inadequate staffing levels and excessive hours worked, as well as the need for vital ongoing training and monitoring of healthcare professionals, it is a positive step toward a more transparent NHS; a culture of care.

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