The NHS needs to be fixed so as to not ‘normalise’ the currently ‘unacceptable’ state of health and care, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have said.
In a new report, the Colleges, which includes the RCGP, also says general practice needs to be ‘revitalised’.
The report gives examples of unacceptable healthcare, such as access to paediatric urology specialists in Northern Ireland being so difficult that one 13 year old boy waited so long for an appointment he actually passed the age of 18 before he was seen.
He then had to join another queue to see an adult urology specialist.
The report lists issues which need addressing, including ‘improving patient access across all settings’.
It said there is an ‘immediate and pressing problem’ with patient access to services, adding that ‘work on tackling waiting lists is underway but access remains a critical issue’.
Another issue is ‘grasping the digital agenda’, as an absence of information sharing between primary and secondary care thanks to ‘different and incompatible systems’ is ‘completely unacceptable in 2022’.
Also on the list is ‘revitalising primary care’, as while there is ‘recognition of [the] pressures’, ‘we need a new and ambitious plan’, as recently set out by the RCGP.
The report also reiterated suggestions made by the Fuller Stocktake, such as reviewing and investing in practice premises.
The report concluded: ‘We need to be clear that unless we do all these things, we will only continue to normalise the unacceptable which will result in irreparable damage to the institution we cherish and the quality of care we deliver. And that is not acceptable.’
The chair of the academy, Professor Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘We can no longer stand by while others seek to normalise the unacceptable when it comes to health and care.’