World Health Organization. 2020 International year of the nurse and the midwife toolkit. 2020. (accessed 19 February 2020)

Challenges and celebrations

12 March 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 5

The ever-evolving healthcare needs of a growing and ageing population have led to new challenges for staff working in frontline health services. Examples of these challenges include increasing obesity, diabetes and antibiotic resistance, to name but a few. Medical advances continue to improve patients' lives, enabling people to live well for longer. However, in turn, the cost of care increases each year, especially as medical technology advances. Closure of local services continues, owing to centralisation, and commercialisation of the health sector has led to an increase in the availability of privatised services. All this is against a backdrop of increasing patient and public expectations and increasing litigation costs. And the NHS has fewer trained front-line staff and increasing staff vacancies, influencing staff resilience and retention.

In addition, it remains to be seen what impact Brexit will have, and there are concerns about medicine and consumables shortages as a result of a threatened free trade agreement with Europe. The current situation with the new coronavirus and the lockdown of China and its reduced economic output may also contribute to medical supply chain shortages, depending on how quickly the outbreak is controlled.

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