NHS underfunding – how can we relieve the pressure?

New figures have again highlighted how the current “sticking plaster” approach to NHS underfunding is not working.
In a major report, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that merely to maintain provision at current levels, spending on healthcare will have to rise by an average 3.3 per cent a year above inflation over the next 15 years.
In order to get the NHS back on track with currently missed targets, funding increases of 4 per cent a year above inflation would be required – with 5 per cent increases in the short-run to address current crises.
The IFS said that would require taxes to rise by between 1.6 and 2.6 per cent of GDP, the equivalent of between £1,200 and £2,000 per household.
After the Bawa-Garba case earlier this year there are already fears that doctors will retreat from the front line as overwork and the risk of negligence cases make safer specialisms preferable to acute medicine.
Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba made an error which led to a child’s death. The doctor was under extreme pressure, covering for an absent registrar while overseeing six wards on four floors, on a relentlessly demanding twelve-hour shift. It was her first day back after maternity leave and she had had no induction training. The nursing rota was understaffed and the IT system was down for hours, meaning blood test results were critically delayed. Her consultant wasn’t present. All the evidence given testified to her being a committed, above-average doctor, and yet she was struck-off and thrown out of the profession.
I have every sympathy for NHS staff on the receiving end of funding cuts and shortages. The NHS was never meant to cope with such high numbers of patients and radical changes need to be made in order to save it.  All professionals are open to claims if we fall below the standard required of society, lawyers included.
What is increasingly clear is that the NHS is no longer fit for purpose, due to the high number of people using it.
We are following the USA and becoming a more litigious society.   If hospital negligence results in injury, people are entitled to take action.   We cannot take away those rights away.
The time has come for radical change to the whole system.    A sticking plaster approach will not work any longer.
One potential solution is to means test those who use the service and rely on private medical care to assist the NHS.  I also believe employers can do more to provide staff with access to private healthcare and help relieve the pressure.
Hilary Meredith