It’s a good idea to be aware of the current challenges facing the NHS. This guide outlines some of the key things you need to know – with key resources to help you stay up-to-date on these hot topics.

Key NHS Challenges

Some of the key challenges currently facing the NHS are:

  • An ageing population
  • A growing population
  • Evolving healthcare needs, such as the increase in cases of obesity and diabetes, or antibiotic resistance.
  • Medical advancements save lots of lives every year but push up costs considerably. It is estimated that progress in medical technology costs the NHS at least an extra £10bn a year.
  • Closure of local services due to centralisation drives
  • An increase in reliance on privatised services

The Nuffield Trust (from this report) estimates that the ageing and growing population alone could mean we need another 17,000 hospital beds by 2022 — and that’s just hospital beds. The number of doctors, nurses, other staff and equipment all have to meet demand.


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How are the Challenges Facing the NHS Being Met?

Economically, the NHS has always been a battleground, as governments fight to secure the future of the NHS whilst being cost-efficient.

One of the solutions is to move patient care out of hospitals and into clinics in GP surgeries and in the community. But this takes a toll on hospital incomes, driving more and more of them into debt. Some hospital trusts have even been put into administration over the last few years.

Centralisation of services is one way the government tried to redress funding issues. But this means closing some local services like A&E and maternity units.

Will This Come Up In My Interview?

Current NHS issues are a common topic at Medical School interviews – and you will often be asked your opinion on current news affecting the NHS. For example, you might be asked about:

Make sure you read our hot topics section to learn about these issues and more.


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