“Sexual health and district nursing services are under particularly severe strain”by Anna Charles / March 23, 2017 / Leave a comment
There is not a health system in the world where decisions about resource allocation do not have to be made. Where resources are finite—which is the case in all health systems but particularly publicly funded systems such as the NHS—decisions on how to prioritise, allocate or, to use more emotive language, “ration” resources are inevitable. The unprecedented financial and operational pressures facing the NHS mean these decisions are becoming more frequent and more difficult. At The King’s Fund, we have looked at how different services have responded to financial pressures, and found that sexual health and district nursing services are under particularly severe strain.
Sometimes, decisions about the care patients are entitled to are taken explicitly by central government and NHS national bodies. These are often published in policy documents and are usually easy to recognise, for example, decisions taken on the funding of drugs and new technologies by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). But there are also many decisions taken at a local level by NHS organisations and doctors that can be much less explicit and harder to identify.
There are a number of ways NHS organisations can respond when their budgets are not sufficient to cover the cost of the care they are providing. Recently, many NHS trusts have gone into deficit; hospitals and other NHS providers accrued a deficit of £900m at the end of the third…