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Ever-present in the news, the NHS at a glance would appear to have been knocking at death’s door for years now. Week after week, newspapers and broadcast journalism reiterates the same cries of woe, whilst mutters of underfunding and unfair contacts spread like wildfire amongst the staff that make up the backbone of our medical services.
Going on the aforementioned alone, you could be forgiven for questioning which has more aches and pains, the patients or the service. However, the latest figures paint a picture that would seem to imply that the NHS does not have one foot quite in the grave just yet.
According to research recently compiled by the Commonwealth Fund, the UK in fact sits atop an international comparison of the health services of 9 leading countries. Outranking nations such as France and Germany as of 2014, the NHS was found to be the best in categories such as efficiency, safe, coordinated and effective care, and at focusing on a patient’s specific needs.
All this has been achieved over the last decade during which time the quantity of operations rose by 45%. Whilst doctor, nurse, and GP jobs are more in demand than ever, recruitment at a management level has stalled in comparison. Last year’s figure of 30,952 clocked in as the second lowest number since 2009, accounting for just 2.35% of the NHS’s total employees.
Furthermore, as life expectancy on average continues to rise, funding has accompanied this change in demographics. Between 2015-16, the health service’s net expenditure reached £117.23 billion, compared to £75.82 billion a decade ago. Spread out across more than 14,000 locations and providing treatment to nearly 1 million people a day, the NHS needs all the hands it can get.