Philips Future Health Index report reveals clash between HCPs and patients over vision for NHS

Report reveals UK patients see NHS as its ‘cure’; clinicians see healthy living as the cure

An international report published today by Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA) reveals that UK patients want better access to healthcare when needed, but don’t see a role in helping to ease the burden on the NHS by living healthily. Despite the pressure lifestyle related conditions are placing on the NHS (the number of hospital visits by heart failure patients increased by 36 per cent between 2004/5 and 2014/15; and the cost of Type 2 diabetes to the NHS is £8.8bn²), one in five people aren’t actively managing their own health (20 per cent).

This could explain why HCPs want a greater focus on healthy living and prevention. 78 per cent say patients have access to the information and resources need to live healthily, but there needs to be a bigger drive for people to look after themselves. Nearly half of health HCPs say their patients are uninterested in actively managing their health and 51 per cent say their patients think they know a lot about healthy living, but actually don’t.

“Those of us who live in the UK, are so fortunate to be able to rely on the NHS in times of need. We pay for it with our taxes but it is there for us when we get sick. However, sometimes we forget how lucky we are, and we can take it for granted. To keep the NHS truly sustainable in the long run patients need to take more responsibility for their own health and preventing ill health. This means knowing when to go to the GP or self-manage, knowing how to reduce their chances of getting long term conditions such as heart disease by healthy living, but also learning how best to manage long term conditions such as diabetes – to stop the acute emergencies that we see far too often in A&E,” commented Doctor Rob Galloway, A&E consultant.

According to the Philips Future Health Index report published today, patients want the government to prioritize making sure people have access to healthcare services when they need them (53 per cent). However, the Index does show that, overall, the UK rates access to care more highly than many of its counterparts in the other 12 countries included in the survey. Where the UK should improve is in the adoption of integrated healthcare – the perceived state of functional integration and interoperability between systems. This contrasts with the UK results which show the importance HCPs place on integration and how it is key to improving the health of the population:

  • 77 per cent of HCPs strongly agree that integrated healthcare can improve the health of the population when they use it for preventing medical conditions from forming
  • 90 per cent of HCPs say it is important to them that the health system in the UK is integrated

“There needs to be a radical rethink of how we provide and manage healthcare in the UK and how we, as individuals, manage our own health. This is one of the most exciting times in healthcare history – we can bring together proven medical practice and emerging technologies to address the most pressing health challenges. This is happening in pockets around the UK but, overall, the UK is lagging behind. The medical technology industry is working to help the NHS speed adoption and integration but we need people to realise that everyone has a role to play in helping to relieve the enormous burden facing the NHS,” says Neil Mesher, CEO at Philips UK and Ireland.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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