As debate intensifies about the future of the UK’s Accident & Emergency departments, KPMG’s head of healthcare argues that care effectiveness must be prioritised ahead of convenience if the NHS is to be able to continue providing a quality service for patients. He also argues that Commissioners must be trusted to do their job.
Andrew Hine says: “It’s very easy to suggest that the closure of walk-in clinics puts patient health at risk, but it’s an argument which fails to acknowledge the difficult tasks faced by Commissioners of healthcare every day. Commissioners are first and foremost clinicians, who have to decide how to make best use of limited financial resources. What matters most to them – and matters always – is the best course of treatment at the most appropriate time and getting the most care possible from every pound available.
“Walk-in departments were created to provide care for those struggling to get appointments with their GP and to relieve pressure on stretched A&E departments. However, if convenience is costing more without resulting in better care it is in the patients’ interests to redirect resources. Commissioners must be judged by how they prioritise good care. And what is popular is not always good.
“Since the inception of the NHS we have been fortunate to witness many revolutionary approaches to healthcare but, whilst medicine has developed, the underlying care models have remained largely unchanged. Perhaps that is why the reaction to walk-in closures has been so intense, but just because they represented a change, does not make them right. Instead, healthcare providers must find ways to utilise the current workforce in a smarter, more efficient way. It may be that care pathways need to be examined and changed, or it may be that the patients need to be better educated about when to visit their GP.”
Andrew Hine’s comments come in the wake of research conducted amongst 1,000 patients in England and Wales. Undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of KPMG it found that 64 percent insist they ‘want to see my GP’. The research also revealed that 76 percent think that GPs should help their local A&E department by providing more out-of-hours care. At the same time, 43 percent also argue that the public needs to be better educated about when to visit A&E departments, accepting patients have a role to ease the burden.
Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
020 7311 5271 (t), 07917 384 576 (m) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.