January 8, 2018

Kings Fund – A Winter’s (Sorry) Tale & Digital Solutions

Digital Health

With increasingly unmet pressures on the NHS straining resources this winter, new digital solutions offer a way to improve effective self-care across morbidities and a myriad of complex co-meds solutions.

The Kings Fund has published a review of NHS performance over January and February 2017 canvassed by an online survey of NHS Finance Directors and Clinical Commissioning group (CCG) finance leads.

The survey highlights that performance against the 4 hour A&E waiting time ‘fell sharply’. In some areas performance times even fell below those seen before a 4 hour target was introduced.

Yet, the survey notes that ‘it is also clear that the deterioration over winter was not due to any lack of effort by NHS providers, commissioners and their staff….more than 70 per cent of trusts increased the number of staff and/or opened more beds and more than half suspended some elective care.’

So what are the most telling strains on performance?

‘Trust finance directors point to a number of causes of the difficulties in A&E. Eighty per cent noted rising numbers of patients with complex conditions or who are more acutely ill. Such patients are more likely to need admission to a hospital bed. Finance directors also identified delayed transfers of care as an issue – which means hospitals have fewer empty beds.’

The implication is clear, that as we live increasingly longer and manage complex conditions and multiple co-med treatment plans, we all need to play our part in managing our own health as responsibly as we can.

In it’s summary, ‘Using information and technology to transform health and care’ NHS Digital Notes ‘the NHS and social care services are facing rising expectations and escalating demand from an aging population. Digital solutions and the better use of data and information have a critical role to play in meeting these challenges, improving services and transforming the way citizens manage their own health and care.’

You can read the full report Kings Fund report here:

Dr Scott Crae MRCVS
CMO, Talking Medicines