Wake up call issued to UK’s ‘sick care society’

Report reveals UK patients see NHS as its ‘cure’; Medics see healthy living as the cure

June 6, 2016

  • 40 per cent of UK patients say they aren’t actively managing their health, yet 53 per cent believe that making sure people have access to healthcare services when they need them should be a top priority for the UK government
  • 78 per cent of healthcare professionals (HCPs) believe their patients need to take a more active role in managing their health, but haven’t done so
  • A fifth of HCPs (21 per cent) agree there are some patients who should be forced to use connected technology to help them manage their health
London, United Kingdom – An international report published today by Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA) reveals that UK patients want the government to prioritize access to healthcare when needed, but don’t see their role in helping to ease the burden on the NHS by living healthily. Despite the pressure lifestyle-related conditions are placing on the NHS (the number of hospital visits by heart failure patients increased by 36 per cent between 2004/5 and 2014/15¹; and the cost of Type 2 diabetes to the NHS is £8.8bn²), two in five patients say they aren’t actively managing their own health (40 per cent).
This could explain why HCPs want a greater focus on healthy living and prevention. 78 per cent say patients have access to the information and resources needed to live healthily, but agree there needs to be a bigger drive for people to look after themselves. Nearly half of HCPs (47 per cent) say their patients are regularly uninterested in actively managing their health and 51 per cent say their patients regularly think they know a lot about healthy living, but actually don’t.
“For those of us who live in the UK, we are fortunate to be able to rely on the NHS in times of need. We pay for it with our taxes, but it is there for us when we get sick. However, we can take it for granted. To keep the NHS truly sustainable in the long run, patients need to take more responsibility for their own health and preventing ill health. This means knowing when to go to the GP or self-manage, knowing how to reduce their chances of getting long term conditions such as heart disease by healthy living, but also learning how best to manage long term conditions such as diabetes – to stop the acute emergencies that we see far too often in A&E,” commented Doctor Rob Galloway, A&E consultant on seeing the report results.
According to the Philips Future Health Index report published today, a majority of patients believe the government should prioritize making sure people have access to healthcare services when they need them (53 per cent). However, the Index does show that, overall, the UK rates current levels of access to various aspects of healthcare more highly than many of its counterparts in the other 12 countries included in the study. Where the UK falls down is in the current level of integrated healthcare – the perceived state of functional integration and interoperability between systems. The UK results show the importance HCPs place on integration and how it is key to improving the health of the population:
  • 90 per cent of HCPs say it is important to them that the health system in the UK is integrated
  • 93 per cent of HCPs think integration would positively impact the health of the UK population
  • 77 per cent of HCPs agree that an integrated healthcare system can improve the health of the population when they use it for preventing medical conditions from forming
“There needs to be a radical rethink of how we provide and manage healthcare in the UK and how we, as individuals, manage our own health. We’re not experiencing the healthcare we could, because we live in a ‘sick care society’. This is one of the most exciting times in healthcare history - we can bring together proven medical practice and emerging technologies to address the most pressing health challenges. This is happening in pockets around the UK but, overall, the UK is lagging behind. The medical technology industry is working to help the NHS speed adoption and integration but we need people to realise that everyone has a role to play in helping to relieve the enormous burden facing the NHS and that means taking better care of ourselves,” says Neil Mesher, CEO at Philips UK and Ireland.

SUPPORTING CASE STUDY: How Philips health technology helped reduce emergency hospital admissions in the UK’s unhealthiest city


What? A three year study, implemented by Liverpool CCG in partnership with Royal Philips, to help patients with chronic conditions use technology to manage their conditions at home. The study provides evidence that health technology and better integration could significantly reduce pressure on acute care if rolled out nationally.


Background: A city with a health problem, in Liverpool over half of adults are obese and 30 per cent of the population are currently living with one or more long term conditions, and are at a higher risk of repeat emergency admissions to hospital – sometimes in situations that could have been avoided. The large scale supported self-care programme was rolled-out across the city amongst 1,808⁴ people living with long-term conditions, including diabetes, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It sought to improve patient independence and emotional well-being using innovative tele-monitoring equipment alongside the support of a clinical hub and a structured programme of case management (monitoring, education and coaching for people living with varying levels of chronic conditions).


Outcome? The programme led to a reduction in emergency admissions by 22 to 32 per cent for patients with above average risk, and 90 per cent of the study patients reported feeling more in control of their condition and that they had gained confidence and/or felt better able to cope – demonstrating what is possible when people are empowered to manage their own health.


To read the Future Health Index report in its entirety, and to access local market data in-depth, please visit:


¹ British Heart Foundation, 2016

² The Cost of Diabetes Report 2014, Diabetes UK

³ Routes to Diagnosis - NCIN Data Briefing,

⁴ The report details the findings of an initial cohort of 1,808 study participants, although more than 2,500 have to-date received support and self-care coaching through the programme.

For further information, please contact:

Barbara Neate, email, + 44 (0) 7771 814 788

Jon Falcone, email, + 44 (0) 7711 462 865

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. The company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips’ wholly owned subsidiary Philips Lighting is the global leader in lighting products, systems and services. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2015 sales of EUR 24.2 billion and employs approximately 105,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at

About the Future Health Index

Philips undertook original research to understand the perception towards connected care technology and the role it plays in the future of healthcare. The study, which will be run annually, included both quantitative surveys and qualitative in-depth interviews. These were conducted from February-April, 2016 in 13 countries. The survey was fielded from February 24, 2016 to April 8, 2016 in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, UAE, U.K. and U.S. in the native language of each country. A combination of online, face-to-face (computer-assisted) and phone (computer-assisted) interviewing was used to reach a total sample of:

  • 2,659 healthcare professionals (defined as those who work in healthcare as a doctor, surgeon, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or nurse across a variety of specializations)
  • 25,355 adult patients (defined as those 18 years old or older who have visited a healthcare professional in the last three months)
  • About 200 healthcare professionals and 2,000 patients were surveyed in each country (with the exception of UAE, where 1,000 patients were surveyed).


At the 95% confidence level, the margin of error is +/- 2.2 percentage points for the UK sample of patients and an estimated +/- 6.9 percentage points for the UK sample of healthcare professionals.


To provide context around the quantitative data, the survey was supplemented with 30-45 minute in-depth interviews conducted in partnership with Schlesinger and IPSOS from March 7-April 11, 2016. The following audiences were interviewed in-person or over the phone: healthcare professionals (20 per market in all 13 markets); insurance professionals (8-10 per market in China, France, Japan, The Netherlands, UK, US); and public policymakers (8-10 per market in China, France, Japan, The Netherlands, UK, US). Secondary research was also conducted, gathering information from third party data and case studies to further validate the primary research results.


The Future Health Index (FHI) is calculated by combining the quantitative survey responses from patients and healthcare professionals equally on questions about access to the healthcare system, their country’s current state of health integration and adoption of connected care technology and. The Index ranges from 0 to 100 points, and is the average of three sub-indices: access (across the health continuum); integration (of health system); and adoption (of connected care technology). Each of the three sub-indices range from 0 to 100 points, and each are weighted equally in the final FHI score. The three sub-indices scores are based on a series of question groupings (or components) that draw from a distinct theme in the questionnaire.