Discuss the ethical, political and practice implications on accountability in nursing as a result of the current economic climate and recent cuts in health care spending.

Essay by havefun1University, Bachelor'sC+, April 2013

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National Health Service (NHS) came into existence in 1948, with the assumption, that everybody, regardless of wealth should receive valuable healthcare. Since then, it became the greatest publicly funded health service in the world, however the main principal of equal access to health care for all patients remains unchanged (NHS, 2011). The NHS is funded centrally by the government, who provides the budget from national taxation. Budget is then split and administered separately in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Department of Health (DH) is responsible for the NHS and the head of DH reports to the prime minister (NHS, 2011). NHS provides health care to more than 62m patients, employs more than 1.7 people and has a budget of roughly 106 billion pounds. However, due to current economic climate, NHS aims to make efficiency savings of 20 billion pounds by the year 2014 (RCN, 2010a). As a result, in November 2011, 56,056 posts were lost or at risk across the UK (RCN, 2012).

Increasing life expectancy, aging society, advances in medicine and expanding public expectations, result in continuous increase in care volume to be delivered (RCN, 2010b). It is important to understand how all these changes will affect nursing profession, as its nurses who will be required to adapt to the continuing alterations within healthcare system.

This essay aims to analyse and critically apprise evidence from a variety of sources in relation to accountability. All evidence will relate to the current economic climate and proposed cuts in healthcare spending. Professional, ethical and practice implications in relation to advocacy in nursing will be discussed. There are many areas that could be explored within the topic, such as whistle blowing, guidelines or decision making, however this piece of work will focus on staffing levels, skill mix and staff training. Accountability...