Finances and staff shortages are top concerns for the NHS

Exclusive survey reveals increasing worries about the ability of the NHS to cope.

LONDON, UK - (HealthTech Wire / News) - Healthcare managers and professionals registered for this year’s UK Health Show say that the top challenges facing the NHS today are “finances/need for efficiency savings” (81%) and “staff shortages” (72%).

The survey of almost 600 registrants to the UK Health Show, which takes place at Olympia London on 27 September, shows that those working for and with the NHS continue to rate the overall performance of the service as good (84%) rather than poor (15%), but a clear majority expect the NHS’ performance to deteriorate over the next few years (55% expect it to get worse vs. 22% who expect it to improve).

The findings come at the end of a summer that has seen increasing concern about where the NHS will find the workforce that it needs. In June, The Health Foundation warned that the Brexit vote had led to a sharp drop in the number of EU nurses registering to practise in the UK (in April this year, the figure was down to 46 from 1,304 in July last year).

Professor Ian Cumming, the chief executive of Health Education England, at a conference earlier this year also drew attention to the large number of staff who leave NHS early in their careers. He urged the NHS to focus on “retention, retention, retention” to make the most of the increased numbers of staff in training. Meanwhile, unions have been calling for an end to the NHS pay cap, to improve morale in the health service.

Despite the NHS recently being rated by the Commonwealth Fund as the best healthcare system out of 11 comparator systems, those attending the UK Health Show appear less convinced – just 2% say they would describe the NHS’s performance as “excellent”.

The challenges facing the NHS are complex – the survey respondents also highlight “patient and public expectations and demands” (57%) and the “integration of health and social care services” (52%) as major sector challenges.

Alexander Rushton, UK Health Show Event Director said: “The UK Health Show has established itself as the leading one day event where managers and senior professionals working in and with the NHS can come together to better understand the challenges facing the NHS, learn from their peers and meet the widest range of solution providers in one place.

“This year the show will provide lots of opportunities for colleagues to discuss and develop ways to overcome financial, workforce and wider service integration issues – all hot topics according to our visitors.”

The UK Health Show has four core themes around technology, cyber security, procurement and commissioning.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation and the chair of the Brexit Health Alliance will speak at the show. Earlier this year, Dickson argued that “while there is much concern within the NHS about funding [the] more immediate and intractable obstacle to creating an effective health and care system that is fit for purpose is workforce.”

The role of technology in healthcare efficiency is also a core element of the UK Health Show and is seen as an increasingly important opportunity by the sector. The survey found that more than nine in ten (94%) believe digital transformation is important to help the NHS make its efficiency savings and a similar proportion (87%) expect that the NHS will make more use of digital technology in the near future.

Alexander Rushton said: “There is almost universal belief in the importance and potential of the role digital technology in improving the NHS, yet our own research reveals only a quarter of those working in and for the NHS believes the NHS currently makes effective use of this technology. The UK Health Show has more than 140 speakers and special content sessions, and over 150 suppliers, specifically designed to support NHS organisations to reach their digital potential”.

The UK Health Show expects to bring together over 4,000 NHS and healthcare leaders and senior professionals in the largest one-day healthcare conference and exhibition in the UK. The event will deliver over 50 hours of conference and seminar content from 140+ speakers across 15 themed theatres and give attendees the opportunity to meet with at least 150 suppliers and partners to the NHS on the exhibition show floor.

About the survey

The survey was conducted among those who had registered for the UK Health Show by 25 August, and was completed by 574 respondents. Respondents work in the healthcare sector, with the majority for NHS organisations.

Journalists – register for UK Health Show

Journalists can register for a free press pass using the media online registration form. Following registration, you will be sent an automatic confirmation email. Badges will be available to collect at the venue.  

An onsite Press Office will be available at the conference and exhibition for the exclusive use of journalists providing internet access as well as space to meet interviewees. Highland Marketing, the UK Health Show’s PR partner, will provide support to journalists before and during the event.  

Media contacts

Myriam McLoughlin, Highland Marketing on behalf of GovNet 

+44 (0)1877 339922 

UK Health Show

The UK Health Show is the leading free-to-attend gathering of NHS, primary care, independent sector, local authorities and private providers who want to over-come the challenges of digital transformation and health and social care integration to create a long-term, sustainable healthcare system that delivers the best possible patient outcomes.

Grand Hall
Olympia, London
W14 8UX
United Kingdom
UK Health Show

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