HOT TOPICS · Dec 21, 2018
NHS hot topics for interview: NHS structure
It may seem obvious that the NHS is the ‘National Health Service’ but it has become such a large and complex organisation, doing so many different things, that it is important that you understand something about its history and how it came to be in its current state. This is very relevant as the majority of UK medical school graduates will end up working in the NHS for maybe up to 40 years after they qualify. Therefore, it’s worthwhile knowing how it operates, as it can be asked as an interview question. After all, if you were to go into a job interview with a company, that company would most likely expect you to have a bit of knowledge about who they were and how they work.
In addition to knowing how the NHS is structured and works, the General Medical Council (GMC) are also keen that medical school applicants know about the NHS core values and Duties of a Doctor. These sorts of topics will appear regularly on theMSAG blog and will be invaluable resources as you prepare your application to medical school. You can read our blog post on antibiotic resistance here and you can also practice your interview answers at one of our mock MMI circuits.
Over the course of this blog article, we will cover the following topics:
- Why was the NHS set up?
- How is the NHS structured today?
- Who runs the NHS?
- Current challenges in the NHS
1. Why was the NHS set up?
2. How is the NHS structured today?
3. Who runs the NHS?
In 2009, the last Labour government implemented the NHS Constitution, which sets access to free healthcare at the point of use in law, but also the values and behaviours required of staff, and the rights and responsibilities of both staff and patients. Some universities may ask questions on this, so be sure to be aware of where it has come from, and read its content before your interview. Look out for some of our future blogs about the NHS Constitution and the General Medical Council’s Duties of a Doctor.
4. Current challenges to the NHS
As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the NHS is at severe risk of being left worse off as a result. Currently, European doctors, nurses and other professionals can come and work in the NHS as easily as anyone in the United Kingdom. About 15% of hospital consultants completed their medical degrees in Europe, and 4% of junior doctors are European graduates. A BMA survey found in February 2017 that 12,000 doctors could leave the UK as a result of Brexit. There are also problems relating to Doctor shortages as fewer Doctors are entering specialist training after their foundation years (make sure look out for a future post on the recent junior doctor contract).
On the demand for healthcare side, there is a gathering storm for the NHS, which includes;
- Rising demand from older more poorly patients who may have multiple long-term conditions. Along with a rise in lifestyle diseases such as diabetes which has lead to longer waiting times as well as missed targets in A&E departments
- Rising costs as new technologies, drugs and facilities become more expensive, as well as, the need for more staff to treat patients
- Greater expectations of care from patients, where they expect to be able to direct their own care, as well as have access to the latest technologies and techniques, some of which may not be permitted in the UK, or even developed enough to be used widely
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We hope that this was a helpful overview of this NHS issue and you feel more confident tackling it if it comes up as a question. Don't hesitate to send us any questions or comments by email at email@example.com. Good luck in your interview!
Dr Paul Grant
Dr Paul Grant is a Health Technology Consultant and Consultant Endocrinologist. He went to Guy’s & St.Thomas’ Hospitals Medical Schools. He has experience sitting on interview panels and MMI Circuits. He has been recognized for Quality in Healthcare Travelling Fellowship and Publication of The Gestational Diabetes Survival Guide.
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