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Survey reveals views on the future of healthcare

Nearly half of the UK population expects to have to pay for some NHS services in the future, according to a recent survey commissioned by life sciences company, Bayer.

The Populus survey into current attitudes to healthcare highlighted a widespread pessimistic view among the public that not all NHS services would continue to be free after Brexit, with 47 per cent of respondents believing that some NHS services would be charged for in the future. 

On the plus side, the survey found that three quarters (75 per cent) of responsdents are happy to use self-testing or self-monitoring kits at home, indicating a willingness to engage in self care and embrace new technology as a means of reducing burdens on the NHS.

More than half said they would only see a doctor if self-testing devices indicated a problem or showed that they required a prescription, while 44 per cent would access healthcare information online in the first incidence.

However, the study also showed that there remains work to be done to champion other self care resources such as community pharmacies. Only nine per cent of survey respondents said that they would visit their pharmacist as their first port of call to address health concerns, while just seven per cent would call an NHS helpline.

In addition, respondents showed overwhelming support for innovations and personalised treatments such as gene-editing techniques (81 per cent) that could prevent diseases from developing by enabling the faulty part of the gene to be removed.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Alexander Moscho, CEO of Bayer UK/I, said that pressure on the NHS could be reduced if the NHS worked more closely with developers of medicines to enable them to share specialist knowledge, skills and research, as well as finding more appropriate ways of funding – cross-silos and beyond annual budgets:

“The new era of personalised medicines brings both opportunities to save or prolong lives, and challenges such as the increased need for training. We can help with training and education in new and improved treatments.

"We can jointly develop more appropriate approaches to funding, considering that medicines bring value beyond the NHS drugs’ budget and beyond the annual budget cycles. We can also work together to help people to live healthier lives; such as facilitiating earlier diagnosis as well as better knowledge of and access to available therapies – on the same level as other European countries."

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