By Katie FoslienRead moreThe world is changing fast, and many doctors are struggling to keep up.
A new survey by the NHS Trusts Association has found that nearly half of British doctors have stopped taking their blood pressure medications.
The report, released this week, found that a third of doctors are planning to stop their medication within a year, and a quarter of them are planning a month or more off taking their medication.
A quarter of British people will miss out on a full month of their medications.
“The pressures on doctors’ incomes are becoming increasingly acute,” said Dr Paul Williams, president of the NHS trusts association.
“We see the effects of the economic downturn on the way we provide for our patients, and in turn our doctors, so the results of the survey are not surprising.”
While many of the doctors surveyed reported taking their medications for a range of reasons, there was a clear consensus on the effects that they had on their patients.
The survey found that those who took their medication for heart disease were more likely to experience a fall in their blood pressures than those who didn’t.
“As the pressure continues to rise, it becomes increasingly likely that we will have to change our prescribing of medication to avoid potentially dangerous side effects, such as the potential for complications in patients,” said Professor Richard Lloyd, from the University of Birmingham.
This was particularly true for people who were taking diuretics, which can cause water retention in the body.
“While there is evidence that diuretic medication can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, it is not clear that this can be the only way to prevent this adverse effect,” Professor Lloyd said.
The NHS Trust Survey, conducted by the University and the Medical Research Council, is the first of its kind.
It also found that most doctors are seeing a decline in the number of people with serious conditions, such the chronic condition of Parkinson’s disease, and the decline in people who are at high risk of developing chronic conditions.
“Although there are many factors which can contribute to this decline, one of the main drivers is the number and severity of conditions we are treating,” said Prof Lloyd.
“It’s important to recognise that we are facing an unprecedented number of chronic conditions, and we need to be mindful of the effect on the people who suffer most.”
The survey also found a clear gap in the quality of care across different groups of people.
Those who had hypertension were much more likely than those with diabetes to report taking their medicines for a wide range of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and other chronic conditions like cancer.
People who had diabetes, or those with high blood pressure who were in need of urgent treatment, were more than twice as likely to have their blood tests taken by a doctor who wasn’t their GP.
“It’s clear that we need more people taking their medicine for a variety of reasons,” said Mr Williams.
“People are not being treated properly, and that is why we need the NHS to work with the NHS trust to make sure they get the best possible care.”
The poll also found widespread dissatisfaction with how NHS England has been managing its care for the poor.
“Over half of people surveyed said they felt that NHS England is not doing enough to ensure that people with conditions are receiving the care they need,” said Ms Fosloien.
“They say the NHS is doing too little to address the challenges facing people with chronic conditions.”