Patients suffering from any form of ailment expect to be given the same quality of care no matter where they live. However, in a recent study conducted by the NHS, discrepancies in the level of service provided to patients were found across NHS facilities.
The purpose of the report, titled ‘The NHS Atlas of Variation’, is to “assess the value of the healthcare provided to individuals as well as populations” and to push for the re-investment into higher-value healthcare as a whole.
The study looked at service performance in over 200 areas of the UK, and its results were deeply concerning. The report indicates that there are distinct differences in the attention given to patients with diabetes, a lifelong condition that affects just over 6% of people in the UK, a figure that has doubled since 1996.
In the worst-performing areas, only 42% of patients receive the right diabetes checks, compared to 72% in the best performing locations. Not only this, but one in 10 patients suffering from diabetes in the worst-performing areas have to undergo foot amputation, which is four times the rate of the best performing places in the UK. However, this was not the only worrying statistic that the NHS Atlas found.
In some of the worst-performing areas, it was found that just over one in three patients who suffer a stroke are admitted to a stroke unit within four hours of arrival at their nearest hospital. The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, which occurs when there is an obstruction in the blood vessels; meaning blood cannot reach the brain.
One NHS approved treatment for this kind of stroke is tissue plasminogen activator, known as alteplase, which is administered through an IV in the patient's arm. If the patient receives a dose of tPA within 3-4 hours, it can significantly increase his or her chance of recovery. Therefore, it’s crucial that a person who has suffered a stroke is seen to immediately and taken to a stroke unit where they can be given the care and attention they need.
When it came to cancer, a life-threatening condition that also requires early action, only 30% of patients in the worst-performing areas were diagnosed with cancer in its early stages, compared to 56% in the best. Cancerous cells in the body can reproduce at an uncontrollable rate, so with the help of an early diagnosis, measures can be taken to stop the cancer spreading to the entire body before it’s too late.
Professor Julia Verne, a consultant in Public Health with over 20 years experience in the NHS stressed the importance of tackling these discrepancies:
“It’s really important for us to tackle this unwarranted variation because patients lives are being put at risk. If we can iron them out, then more patients will survive and have a better quality of life.”
Making your clinical negligence claim
Whilst in the majority of cases the National Health Service provide a high level of care to individuals when they need it most. In some extremely unfortunate circumstances, the level of care expected is not acceptable, known as medical negligence, and failings are made whereby the patient in question suffers due to these failures.
If you feel as though you have sustained a personal injury as a result of medical negligence, Sheldon Davidson Solicitors' team of Manchester Personal Injury Lawyers will handle all aspects of your claim, ensuring you are awarded the maximum compensation available to you.
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