Leading academic warns of 'care squeeze' in NHS
Posted on 27/04/2010
Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, Head of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery at King’s, warns in the British Medical Journal of a ‘care squeeze’ in the NHS for government following next week’s general election.
In the opinion piece, published in the BMJ on 24 April, Professor Rafferty comments on the key challenges faced by the NHS whatever the outcome on 6 May. In Professor Rafferty’s view the main challenge for the NHS will be ‘building on the track record of success-access and speed and moving towards quick, convenient as well as high quality care.’ She comments on a ‘care quake’ looming with an ageing population combined with an equally ageing healthcare workforce.
Professor Rafferty said: ‘The country faces a care squeeze as much as an economic squeeze and we have to innovate our way out of it. This demands creativity, ingenuity and innovation on a scale we have never seen before. The care continuum is as much about scaling up the capacity of citizens to care for themselves as retooling the healthcare workforce, redeveloping and redeploying it into new roles in integrated care and poly-systems.’
Professor Rafferty has taken a role in a number of policy reviews of the nursing profession and was part of the PMs Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in England, which delivered their recommendations to Gordon Brown on 2 March.
Speaking at the time of the launch she commented that: ‘The provision of high quality, convenient care is one of the greatest challenges of our times. We need a well educated workforce to retool the professions to meet the challenges of tomorrow. We cannot do this alone but need the support of patients, pressure groups other professions, policy makers and politicians to turn recommendations into reality.’
But Professor Rafferty’s feels that the key challenge is that of an ageing population. Writing in the BMJ she says: ‘Keeping older people out of hospital, and looking after them well at home presents some of the most complex clinical and organisational challenges of our times. Political will is the first step; forensic focus and investment need to follow.’