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Patients wary of NHS ability to provide long-term care

Wednesday 21st August 2013

Patients across the UK fear for their long-term care and believe that it will only be secure if health and social care is paid for through a combination of State and family funding.

Yet, with many families unable to bear the cost of long-term care needs, a significant proportion also argue that taxes should rise to meet the health needs of the UK’s ageing population.

KPMG questioned 1,000 patients about the future of the NHS and found just 12% saying they were "very confident" that it could meet their long-term healthcare needs.  Instead, many suggest that they want to be looked after by a combination of paid professional staff and family members (69%) with some accepting that nursing care homes ‘will provide the best support in my latter years’ (45%).

Many of those questioned also acknowledged that the current model of care needs to be refinanced if long-term care needs are to be met. Some 54%, for example, argue that taxes should rise to pay for healthcare and a similar proportion (55 percent) even suggest that other public services, such as defence or education, should be cut so that healthcare costs can be met.

Andrew Hine, UK head of health at KPMG, said: “Few, if any, societies have truly faced up to the magnitude of the crisis of long-term care.

"All too often the debate over finance seems to overshadow the scale and gravity of the wider challenge which is – and always should be – delivery of quality care for patients.

"Funding is, of course, a critical issue but with the strain on the public purse set to continue for some time, attention must be given to how care can be redesigned so that care improves and how private and voluntary bodies can work together with government to ensure patient needs come first."

KPMG’s survey also sought to explore why patients are concerned about the prospects for their long-term care.  The majority of those questioned (74%) suggested that teams of healthcare workers change to frequently to have a positive effect. Almost 4 out of 5 respondents (79%) went further, claiming that, too often, "quality of life" is mistaken for "quality of care".

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George Bailey

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