Currently, there is news of the NHS going through one of the worst phases in the recent times. Just three months ago, news regarding US President Trump’s criticism of the NHS was published in the New York Times.
In fact, a 2015 news article in The Independent reported that the UK had one of the worst healthcare systems in the developed world and the blame was all on severely limited funding from the NHS. Moreover, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noted that NHS funding had remained static between 2009 and 2013.
At this point, it is important to keep in mind that the annual growth health spending in the UK is a mere 1.2 percent, which is “considerably less” than what one would expect in a developed nation.
Having read all of this criticism, one should think of the possible factors that have contributed to the ailing NHS and what is possibly its worst performance ever. Before you jump to any conclusions, it is critically important that you learn the factors that monitor NHS. After all, it’s not the NHS that is solely responsible for this condition.
For this reason, you should learn how the NHS is monitored. This article looks at the bodies that monitor NHS and how they might be responsible for the current bad health of the NHS.
A Quick Overview of the NHS and Its Role in UK Healthcare Services
The NHS (National Health Service) is the national healthcare system for the UK. It was established in 1948, in the aftermath of the Second World War. One of the core principles of the NHS is to provide healthcare irrespective of their wealth. In addition, it aims to meet the healthcare needs of every citizen of the nation based on clinical needs rather the patients’ ability to pay.
NHS-funded services include – primary care, in-patient care, long-term healthcare, ophthalmology, and dentistry. It provides either free or subsidized services depending on the type of the care.
It employs over 1.3 million staff and has a budget of over £90 billion. The major sources of funding are taxes and national insurance contributions.
The Department of Health, headed by the Secretary of State for Health, oversees the NHS. In fact, the Department of Health spends a big chunk of its budget in running the NHS. During the period between 2013 and 2014, the Department of Health spent most of its £110 billion budget on the NHS.
What Is NHS Commissioning?
According to the NHS England, “Commissioning is the process of planning, agreeing and monitoring services.” In simple words, commissioning is the act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty. This means the NHS commissioning body grants authority to NHS organizations based on the scope of their services.
The commissioning body develops frameworks for the commissioning groups, tools to support their policies, provides opportunities to address their needs, supports the struggling clinical commissioning groups (CCG), and promotes their autonomy.
Which Bodies Monitor the NHS?
The NHS and its bodies are monitored and inspected by the following organizations.
● Audit Commission
The Audit Commission was active from 1 April 1983 and 31 March 2015. Now, the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd, National Audit Office, Financial Reporting Council and Cabinet Office have replaced it.
The major functions of the Audit Commission include:
- Manage the contracts.
- Exercise statutory powers to appoint auditors.
- Set and determine fees.
- Arrange housing benefit subsidy certification.
● Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission aims to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.
The major functions of the Care Quality Commission include:
- Registration of care providers.
- Monitoring, inspection and rating services.
- Taking action to protect people who use services.
- Publishing independent views on major quality issues in health and social care.
- Protection of the rights of vulnerable people, including those restricted under the Mental Health Act.
- Listen to and act on your experiences.
- Involving the public and people who receive care
- Collaboration with other organizations and public groups.
● The National Patient Safety Agency
The NPSA is a partner organization that collaborates with the Department of Health. Therefore, it is also called an arm’s length body (ALB) of the Department of Health.
The major functions of the NPSA include:
- Identification of the risks to the patients who receive NHS care.
- Reduction of the risks
- Take national initiatives to improve patient safety.
● The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is an executive agency that regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. The Department of Health and Social Care sponsors it.
The major functions of the MHRA include:
- Ensuring that medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion meet applicable standards of safety, quality, and efficacy
- Ensuring that the supply chain for medicines, medical devices, and blood components is safe and secure
- Promoting international standardization and harmonization to assure the effectiveness and safety of biological medicines
- Helping to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the risks and benefits of medicines, medical devices, and blood components, leading to safer and more effective use
- Supporting innovation and research and development that’s beneficial to public health
- Influencing UK, EU and international regulatory frameworks so that they’re risk-proportionate and effective at protecting public health
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