Doctors and patients are ‘concerned' about the current level of patient care offered by the NHS, according to a British Health Report.
The report, commissioned by law firm Your Legal Friend, found nearly half of doctors (44%) believe that patient care within the NHS will decline in the next five years and over a quarter (28%) are very concerned and cannot see a future for the NHS.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has also been heavily criticised by the medical profession with nearly three quarters (72%) of doctors questioning his ability as Health Secretary.
Almost half (49%) believe Hunt does not properly understand the needs of the NHS.
This is a further blow to Hunt after The British Medical Association's annual conference passed a motion of no confidence in the Health minister in June of this year, the report's author said.
Nearly one in five doctors (17%) cited NHS cuts as their number one professional concern. The same numbers were most concerned that they had too much paperwork.
Doctors spend more hours a week on surgery administration and management meetings (17 hours a week) than home visits (seven hours a week). If a doctor is working the legal limit of 48 hours a week,administration is taking up a least a third (35%) of their time.
Access to doctors was also revealed as a primary concern of patients. Three quarters (71%) of Britons delay going to the doctors with over half (52%) doing so because it takes too long to get an appointment. One in five said they have waited a week or more for an appointment.
Doctors support this criticism: a quarter stated patients have delayed seeing them because of appointment waiting times and over half (55%) said they had witnessed these delays having a negative impact on patients' recovery.
Dr Chris Steele MBE said: "These are worrying times for the NHS, as doctors express considerable doubt about whether the system actually works. Our medical professionals do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances but The British Health Report corroborates my view that they are feeling hampered by government reforms .
"Furthermore patients don't seem to be receiving the basic level of care they deserve. The last thing any doctor wants is to see their patients suffer unnecessarily and we must address problems in the current system so that patient care is placed front and centre at all time.'
Sara Stanger, Solicitor at Your Legal Friend said, "Patients are generally very trusting of the medical profession and when the trust is broken the consequences can be devastating.
"The British Health Report has shown us that patient trust in the NHS is at an all-time low and the level of care that doctors can give is evidently at risk. As standards in the NHS slip, including in GP surgeries, there is a risk of careless work being carried out at all levels of the medical profession and we need to ensure that patients are not putting themselves at risk when they access medical treatment."
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