The National Health Service was formed in mid-1948 after the desperation of the civilian during and after World War II. This body was formed to address health issues in the public interest. Its establishment was driven by the Ministry of Health minister during that time on 5 July 1948. The service has over the years improved healthcare services and transformed the lives of millions of Britain citizens. Charged with the responsibility of delivering quality healthcare in Britain, NHS has been able to spread social justice in British society. However, several factors are influencing the NHS in modern Britain (National Health Service 2012).
Factors influencing the NHS in modern Britain
Social factors deeply influence the NHS. Though there has been an improvement in healthcare in the last eight years, in the United Kingdom, the benefit to best off individuals has been significantly greater than the benefits to the worst off in society. This presents issues of social health inequality and social justice as a whole. The widening of the inequality gap and injustice in the healthcare sector, in Britain, has generated pressure on NHS to draw-up health policy to reduce health inequalities and social injustices (BBC, 2012).
Human resources factors are also an important issue that is influencing NHS in modern Britain. NHS human capital is one of the most highly qualified human personnel in Britain. The majority of NHS employees are females constituting almost seventy-eight percent of the total workforce. Furthermore, almost half of the total NHS employees are nurses. From these statistics, it is acceptable to say that the capacity of NHS performance is dependent on female employees. However, women have low representation in senior management positions as compared to their male counterparts (Department of Health, 2004). This goes against the expectation that women should form a bulk of NHS leadership and management (Miller, 2007).
The health services in Britain are also influenced by a shortage of nurses and excessive workload. The nursing workforce majorly consists of an aging population of nurses who are set to retire in the next ten years. This situation is further worsened by low pay and newly qualified nurses who are not employed due to a lack of nursing jobs. These scenarios have placed the state of NHS at stake and are greatly affecting the provision of healthcare services in Britain (Carayon & Gurses, 2008).
Demographic changes and changes in life expectancy have had a significant influence on the health services in Britain today. Recent periods have witnessed an increase in chronic disease and a drop in life expectancy, in the United Kingdom. Additionally, the number of an aging population has significantly increased over the years. These factors have placed immense pressure on NHS to devote substantial resources to healthcare services as a means of meeting public expectations (Wanless, 2002).
Technology has been a critical influencing factor to NHS in Britain in the modern days. Technology has been vital in the provision of flexible healthcare services to patients in Britain. NHS is compelled to initiate technology in the provision of health services to meet consumer needs for better healthcare services. This has influenced technological innovation through substantial research and development to develop new healthcare technologies (Liddel, Adshead & Burgess, 2008).
NHS has transformed the healthcare sector in Britain since its formation more than sixty years ago. To continue offering quality healthcare services to consumers, NHS has had to consider several factors. Social, technological, demographic, and human resources factors have played a vital role in influencing NHS in modern Britain.
BBC 2012, Social factors key to ill health, Web.
Carayon, P & Gurses, P A 2008, Nursing Workload and Patient Safety—A Human Factors Engineering Perspective. In Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook of Nurse, Ed. R. G. Hughes, pp. 203-213, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Rockville, MD.
Department of Health 2004, Staff in the NHS 2004, report, Government Statistical Service, London.
Liddel, A., Adshead, S & Burgess, E 2008, Technology in the NHS: Transforming the patient’s experience of care, King’s Fund, London.
Miller, K 2007, “Policy and organizational implications of gender imbalance in the NHS”, Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 21 no. 4/5, pp.432 – 447.
National Health Service 2012, National Health Service. Web.
Wanless, D 2002, Securing Our Future Health: Taking a long-term view. Final report.