Working in the healthcare industry: How it’s evolved
SummaryWorking in the healthcare industry: How it’s evolved
When the NHS was founded back in July 1948, the dream was that Britain could provide healthcare for everyone at no cost to the patient. This belief is still at the forefront of the NHS with the central principles that the health service will be available to all and financed entirely from taxation.
This model has worked well, but shortages of healthcare staff and increasing numbers of people who require medical care going up, mean the healthcare system often receives negative press. The Royal College of Nursing says that England is in need of at least 20,000 extra nursing staff this year, meaning at present there are 8.8 nurses per 1000 people across the UK. These figures are slightly lower for midwives, general practitioners and doctors but still worryingly high.
Despite recruitment shortages, the healthcare system still does a marvellous job here in the UK, we have just had to adapt. Due to the fact that the human population has got so high, it has led to an evolution in terms of care and provisions in general. Everything is created for ease of use, fast results and quick disposal, so that doctors and nurses can move through their patients quickly and safely.
For example; temperatures used to be taken with mercury thermometers but this is now all digital with disposable plastic mouthpieces, making it a much faster and safer process.
Sometimes fast patient turnaround is a positive outcome because it means more people can be treated. However, it also means that nurses and doctors aren’t able to connect with patients like they used to. While technology is helping more patients get the care they need, it also means they’re missing out on contact time and emotional support.
Nowadays, equipment is either made to last a really long time, or it is entirely disposable. Several years ago we were living in a throw away society but in more recent years the economical impact has become more important than ever with the shortage of land disposal space.
At one end of the scale we have larger equipment which has been made lightweight and easier to manoeuvre; such as hospital beds with castor wheels – to learn more about these new solutions click here – or 3D printers to create prosthetics and valves for hearts. Smaller equipment, everything from syringes to needles, have also been made disposable for efficiency and hygienic reasons.
So what does the future of the healthcare industry hold? It seems that we are edging closer to a digital approach. With the lack of recruitment and staff, drug companies are researching what they’re calling wearables (think Fitbits and Apple watches) and taking things a step further with implantables, which could pick up everything from disease to administering drugs to individuals.
After looking into this, The Guardian suggested that the main selling point for implantables is that they create faster and more accurate results on patients. However, this devalues the doctors and reduces patient to clinician contact, while promoting the ethos that eventually the ‘machines’ are going to take over. Yet, in this world where it’s becoming a struggle finding people willing to take up positions as nurses and doctors, does it leave us with much choice but to turn to digital solutions?