How Digital Engagement Can Save the Future of the NHS
Author: Will Rea, Regional Head for Digital Engagement at Arkadin
To become a doctor in the UK, one has to first obtain a degree from a medical school which accreditation is recognised by the British General Medical Council (GMC). Doctors can’t work in the UK NHS, hospitals, surgeries and clinics unless they hold a licence to practice (granted by the GMC). There’re over 308,000 doctors registered with the GMC and you can use their search portal to find out information about doctors’ fitness to practice history.
With the burgeoning UK population, doctors and nurses are increasingly under pressure to deliver care to patients and spend more time at hospitals. This led to a comprehensive report authored by Dr Jamie Mawhinney of Guy’s and Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, who said:
“… the majority of middle-grade doctors in England are not confident in the role that they should play in a major incident… Our results in fact show that registrar doctors are less confident in responding to the major incident plan than previously. In order to improve confidence amongst staff I believe it will be necessary to increase training. Specifically, we believe that all doctors should receive education on their hospital’s major incident plan at all trust inductions, as well as an abbreviated version of their own particular role.”
Furthermore, the Digital Health publication reported that 40% of the NHS organisations are using slow and unreliable internet supplied through copper lines. This is while Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in a press interview back in July 2019 said:
“I wanted to embed the tech vision which I have seen so successfully in other parts of government and embed that for the long term and that’s why I wanted to start an institution that is part of the NHS, to be able to ensure that mission will always have a home.”
Maybe the GMC and the NHS England need to reintroduce Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine to the Faculty of Medicine across British universities and test the knowledge of doctors seeking work in the UK hospitals and healthcare clinics.
Digital Poverty at the NHS
According to the latest figures released by the NHS England, the total number of A&E attendances in July 2019 increased by 4% (2,266,913) compared to the same month last year. The NHS admitted that “this is the highest number of attendances since the collection began.” This is perhaps the reason for the Prime Minister to choose Facebook Live to directly communicate the extra £1.8bn cash injection into the NHS with the British public.
Furthermore, the King’s Fund published in their latest quarterly monitoring report that financial directors have “little or no” confidence that physical outpatient appointments will be reduced as a direct result of lack of capital funding for digital technology.
Evidently, the NHS is long due an upgrade to its digital services and rolling out video consultation with patients, as the legacy system can’t cope with the demand and the speed of care required.
Digitalised Health and Social Care System for the UK
The Secretary of State is responsible for the overall financial control and oversight of NHS delivery and performance. When Matt Hancock was appointed as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, shared his vision and aspirations for the NHS on the Public Health Matters’ Blog:
“When we think about staying healthy, it’s often within the narrow bandwidth of eating well, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking. These are important issues for us all to address of course, but there’s so much more to it than smoothies, park runs and vaping. It’s why, when I became Health Secretary, I made it one of my big three priorities alongside advancing health technology and doing much more to support our amazing health and social care workforce. My new Prevention vision, launched this week, is radical and ambitious…”
The Ultimate Solution to the Digital Poverty at the NHS
Deployment of digital engagement solutions will help the NHS and its trusts across the country to manage the needs of patients for healthcare more efficiently and cost effectively. Some patients don’t need to attend A&E and hospitals, at least at the early stages of consultations and in some cases during follow-up appointments.
Furthermore, NHS and the GMC can adopt digital engagement solutions to provide doctors and nurses with additional educational and knowledge assessment services and as a result to evaluate healthcare quality assurance and guarantee patients’ safety.
The NHS needs highly experienced and confident doctors and nurses to save lives and maintain the global reputation of British healthcare. Patients’ pathway and digital notes can be managed systematically and confidentially. This can only be achieved through adoption of the latest collaboration and digital engagement technologies that enable hospital doctors and nurses to deliver care in the right place.
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