UK reveals plan to boost ailing health service
Inflation and rising energy prices exacerbate the problems of the long-underfunded service.
The UK government announced Thursday measures to shore up the crisis-hit NHS state-funded health service, including recruiting volunteers and retired staff and giving pharmacists a larger role.
While many used to admire the institution, NHS is creaking, as it struggles to schedule general outpatient appointments and operations on time, as well as to dispatch ambulances quickly.
During her campaign to lead the Conservative Party, new Prime Minister Liz Truss emphasized the importance of the NHS, as well as boosting economic growth and assisting people in dealing with rising energy prices.
Health Minister Therese Coffey presented lawmakers with a "Plan for Patients" that aims to improve access to care, particularly in the winter, by reducing wait times for non-urgent appointments with general practitioners to less than two weeks and offering same-day appointments in emergencies.
Other measures include making it easier to hire medical support staff, modernizing the phone system for scheduling appointments, and allowing pharmacists to sell some medications without a prescription.
She also announced the establishment of a $500 million fund to expand access to in-home care and free up hospital beds. Care staff recruitment will be boosted as a result of Brexit.
It is worth noting that inflation and rising energy prices exacerbate the problems of the long-underfunded service.
The UK government spends approximately $215 billion per year on health and social care. In England alone, the NHS employs 1.2 million full-time workers.