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

The Top 5 Challenges Facing The NHS

Five of the key challenges currently facing the NHS are:

  1. Insufficient funding
  2. Staff shortages
  3. The backlog
  4. An ageing population
  5. Evolving healthcare needs

Some of these challenges are linked and feed into each other, causing further problems. For example, chronic staff shortages contribute to the NHS backlog, and the UK’s ageing population leads to evolving healthcare needs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also exacerbated many NHS problems.

See our State of the NHS guide and The BMA: An NHS under pressure for more information about challenges currently facing the NHS.


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How Can NHS Problems Be Resolved?

Economically, the NHS has always been a battleground.

To address chronic staff shortages, the NHS has called for the government to double the number of Medical School places by 2030. There are also requests to double the number of adult nursing places by the end of the decade and to train thousands of new Doctors on-the-job as apprentices.

In addition to training more staff, increased funding could enable measures to improve NHS staff retention rates, such as pay rises and improvements to working conditions.

When it comes to the UK’s ageing population, an increase in social care spending would give more elderly people access to the care they need. This would reduce issues such as bed blocking in hospitals and A&E visits that could have been avoided.

Will NHS Challenges Come Up In My Medical School Interview?

Current NHS issues are a common topic for discussion at Medical School interviews – and you could be asked about recent news affecting the NHS.

For example, you might be asked about:

Make sure you familiarise yourself with NHS hot topics and practice interview questions to prepare.


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