Transforming Healthcare: Collaborative Solutions for a Growing Crisis

PHL Synaptik, a pivotal sector of the PHL Group and a reputable insourcing provider, is at the forefront of innovative strategies aimed at mitigating the escalating challenges associated with extended waiting times in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Emerging Challenges in Waiting Times

The pervasive issue of extended waiting times in the NHS has captured significant public and media attention, reflecting its expansive impact and the urgency required for effective solutions.

It’s undeniable that the National Health Service (NHS) is confronting one of its most pressing challenges: escalating wait times for treatments. To provide some perspective:

As reported by the British Medical Association1 in October 2023:

  • An estimated 7.77 million individuals were awaiting treatment in September 2023, marking an uptick from the preceding month.
  • Nearly 3.25 million of these patients had been waiting for over 18 weeks.
  • Around 397,000 had been on the waitlist for over a year — a staggering increase of 321 times since August 2019, pre-pandemic.
  • The median wait time has risen to 14.5 weeks, a notable jump from the 8-week median in August 2019.
  • This isn’t a challenge unique to one region. Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales echo similar concerns. It is an overarching UK crisis showing no signs of abating.

Contributing Factors to the Escalating Crisis

The root of the wait time problem can be distilled into a basic equation: the demand for healthcare significantly outpaces its supply. The NHS is grappling with pronounced challenges related to the recruitment and retention of essential healthcare personnel. Several factors contribute to this imbalance:

  • Workforce Shortages: As of March 2023, data from Statistica2 reported 8,549 doctor vacancies and 40,096 nursing vacancies, with an additional 63,853 other roles unoccupied.
  • Professional Burnout: The continuous strain of the pandemic has led many clinicians to either truncate their working hours or leave the NHS altogether, thereby widening the staffing gap.
  • Aging Population: An article from the BBC3 in January 2023 spotlighted the challenge of an aging population. Over half of those aged 65 and above grapple with two or more health ailments, leading to a lion’s share of hospital admissions. Additionally, there’s the intertwined issue of elderly individuals needing social care intervention, further pressuring the hospital system.

Consequentially, an unsustainable gap in essential healthcare provisions has emerged, exacerbated by the demographic pressures of an ageing population necessitating complex and multifaceted healthcare interventions.

Embracing Transformation: The Imperative for a Radical Shift in Strategy

Waiting lists are not going away any time soon and recent insights from a BBC investigation4 have illuminated a concerning trend – a significant portion of patients are not just on one, but multiple waiting lists, some managing the daunting task of navigating up to five.

This phenomenon is more than a logistical inconvenience; it represents a systemic failure that inflicts profound stress and suffering on patients. It’s a problem deeply entrenched in the current healthcare framework, one that demands immediate and innovative solutions. Acknowledging this, recent polling data5 has unveiled that 71% of British adults now advocate for the integration of independent healthcare providers into the existing system, provided that care remains accessible and wait times are effectively reduced.

Insourcing is not merely a transient solution; it represents a strategic pivot in healthcare management. It allows for the expansion of clinical capacity while enabling the NHS to maintain control over capacity planning. This approach ensures that patient care is streamlined within their own trust, enhancing both service efficiency and patient experience.

The need for a strategic transformation in our approach to healthcare is becoming increasingly evident. As dedicated professionals in this field, we are uniquely positioned to champion and introduce innovative solutions. The way we address the issue of waiting lists calls for thoughtful reconsideration. The solution requires a more dynamic, responsive, and patient-focused strategy. The adoption of practices such as insourcing is not merely an alternative but an essential step towards fostering a healthcare system that is both more resilient and efficient, ensuring we continue to meet the evolving needs of our patients.

The PHL Synaptik Solution: A Paradigm of Collaborative Excellence

Addressing these wait times necessitates a collective and innovative approach. PHL Synaptik, the insourcing arm of the PHL Group, offers a bespoke range of services tailored to clients’ individual needs. PHL Synaptik’s strategies encompass a rich array of services designed to align with the distinctive needs of healthcare institutions, fostering an environment of flexibility and continual service enhancement.

Flexible Operations: Our services are not limited to traditional working hours. By leveraging clinical facilities during evenings, weekends, and weekdays, we ensure uninterrupted, high-calibre service.

Vast Expertise: With a decade in the industry, Synaptik boasts a rich history of delivering top-tier services, from the point of contact to detailed service delivery reports.

Extensive Healthcare Network: PHL Synaptik is equipped with over 1,500 healthcare professionals spanning more than 20 specialties. Whether it’s consultants, nurses, physiotherapists, or radiographers, we’re committed to ensuring prompt and suitable care for patients.

Sustainable Solutions: We recognise the multifaceted nature of healthcare demands. Synaptik’s mission is to foster tight-knit collaborations with our clients, devising immediate and sustainable strategies that drive long-term success.

By understanding the current landscape and providing tailored solutions, PHL Synaptik aims to play a pivotal role in helping our clients.


Sarah Reddie

Managing Director

PHL Synaptik

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