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The state of NHS care in England

14 November 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 20


John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, discusses the Care Quality Commission's annual assessment of health care and social care in England

The Care Quality Commission's (CQC) (2019) annual report on the state of health and social care is to be welcomed as it gives a true, unabashed account of health and social care in England. There are commonalities in the trends and challenges found each year in the reports. The NHS is stretched and is finding it difficult to meet current demands. This should come as no surprise. Ever since the NHS was founded in 1948, it has been short of resources and the demand for services has always outstripped supply. The population of England is also getting older and presenting to health services with more multiple, complex conditions. There are also acute healthcare service workforce challenges.

The NHS is used today for more health conditions than it was originally designed for. People today approach GPs for advice on lifestyle matters such as stress, work balance, and diet, not necessarily because they are suffering from some physical disease. Our expectations of the NHS are high, but it cannot deliver the treatment and care to satisfy everyone. There is an infinite demand for finite resources and sometimes difficult healthcare resource allocation decisions must be made.

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