YouGov survey reveals lack of investment in NHS facilities is scuppering plans to resume services
NHS buildings and the need for more-modern spaces are impacting on frontline patient care and efforts to clear the backlog of tests, treatments, and consultations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to healthcare workers quizzed in a survey by YouGov.
Four in 10 – 40% – of healthcare professionals say the premises they work in are constraining the services that can be provided to patients, while a third (34%) say their premises are holding back progress on tackling the backlog of care.
The survey, commissioned by Assura, quizzed more than 1,000 healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, midwives, ambulance workers, public health staff, and people in NHS facilities and maintenance roles.
And it also found that the vast majority (84%) of those surveyed say fit-for-purpose premises will be important, or essential, in delivering effective hybrid primary care to patients – care delivered through both face-to-face and remote appointments.
Health professionals want to see investment in physical infrastructure now to support both the recovery and evolution of primary care as it seeks to work at scale
In addition, one in five (19%) said they believed premises were hindering recruitment to the service they work in.
It comes as a BMA’s Support Your Surgery campaign calls for more investment into areas such as GP premises across the country, and as new research published in the British Journal of General Practice highlights the impact of GP recruitment challenges in areas of highest healthcare need.
Assura chief executive, Jonathan Murphy, said: “In our survey last year, healthcare workers told us how their premises had often made the never-before-seen challenge of COVID even more difficult to deal with, and what they thought community healthcare premises of the future will need to deliver to help the NHS do its job.
“We’re already putting their ideas into bricks and mortar on the ground, but the clear message this year is that this can’t happen fast enough.
“Health professionals want to see investment in physical infrastructure now to support both the recovery and evolution of primary care as it seeks to work at scale, to play its full part in emerging Integrated Care Systems and – most importantly – to make sure patients are getting the care they need, when they need it, where they need it.”
We’re already putting their ideas into bricks and mortar on the ground, but the clear message this year is that this can’t happen fast enough
Participants in the research were also asked for examples of how they saw the premises they work in constraining efforts to clear the backlog of care. Answers given included:
But there were also some positive impacts, with one respondent telling researchers: “We have a new building with many rooms allowing us to take on more trainee GPs, meaning more patient appointments.”