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Top NHS doctor says ‘NHS in danger’ and a drink a day may protect against heart failure



The Guardian leads on comments from NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh that the NHS ‘cannot cope’ with the ageing population without ‘massive changes’ to the way it is run.

According to the article, Sir Bruce said there needs to be an ‘unprecedented shift of resources and care into GP surgeries’, to ‘help the NHS withstand the twin pressures of rising demand and tight budgets’.

Otherwise, he warned, the NHS will become unaffordable and its status as an entirely taxpayer-funded service would be challenged.

Sir Bruce said: ‘If not, we will get to a place where the NHS becomes unaffordable and we will have to make some very difficult decisions which will get to the very heart of the principle of the NHS and its values.

‘This will open up a whole series of discussions about whether the NHS is fit for purpose, whether it’s affordable, and whether the compact with the citizen of free healthcare for all is sustainable in the longer term.’

The tax-funded model is already coming under challenge from UKIP leader Nigel Farage, according to another report in the Guardian.

Mr Farage hinted in a BBC interview that he believes there needs to be a bigger role for private medical insurance, the paper says.

Asked about previous comments that the ‘numbers would not add up’ as long as the NHS is funded solely through taxation, Farage said: ‘There is no question that healthcare provision is going to have to be very much greater in 10 years than it is today, with an ageing population, and we’re going to have to find ways to do it.’

Meanwhile scientists say that having one alcoholic drink a day protects middle-aged people against developing heart failure, the Telegraph reports.

According to Harvard University researchers, middle-aged men who have up to seven drinks a week are 20% less likely to develop heart failure later in life than teetotallers.

Professor Scott Solomon, author of the study, said: ‘These findings suggest drinking alcohol in moderation does not contribute to an increased risk of heart failure and may even be protective.’