NHS pressures causing avoidable harm to 500 patients a year - report (The Guardian: 19 December 2018)

Patients in England are being harmed because doctors and nurses are too busy to enforce directives designed to improve safety, a scathing report by the NHS regulator has found.

People in hospital are exposed to increased risk, including during surgery, because safety alerts are not being implemented by staff struggling with “unmanageable” workloads, the Care Quality Commission said.

The findings come from a review of patient safety in England ordered last year by the then health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and undertaken by the CQC.

About 500 people a year are suffering avoidable harm as a result of “never events” – serious lapses in patient safety that can cause injuries or even death and should be completely avoidable. They include surgeons operating on the wrong part of a patient’s body and swabs being left inside someone during their procedure....read more


One in 10 NHS commissioning groups 'failing or at risk' five years after Lansley reforms, NAO finds (The Independent: 18 December 2018)

More than one in 10 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are failing or at risk, five years after they were established during Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley’s overhaul of the health service, auditors have found.

CCGs were established to put GPs and those with clinical experience of their local health system in charge of funding decisions, but increasing numbers are over budget and struggling to recruit senior staff, the National Audit Office (NAO) found.

As of October 2018, 24 of 207 CCGs in England are subject to enforced recovery plans from NHS England because of issues with their financial management or performance.  “We should be concerned that too many CCGs are failing to function effectively and that increasing numbers are overspending against their budgets,” said Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
“Like previous changes to NHS commissioning, CCGs are going through more change and the NHS is crying out for stability.”...read more

Private consultants paid at least £26m in NHS shake-up (The Guardian: 17 December 2018)

Private consultants have been paid at least £26m as part of the reorganisation of the NHS, in what the doctors’ union described as an “unacceptable” transfer of money away from patient care.

They include some of the world’s biggest consultancy companies, which have been tasked with projects looking at such things as “reviewing demand and capacity” and “supporting sustainability”.

The figures were obtained by the British Medical Association (BMA) after a series of freedom of information (FOI) requests, which also revealed that more than 550 new non-clinical jobs have been created across the country to drive through the changes....read more


NHS waiting lists for lung and bowel treatments double since Conservative-led government came to power, analysis shows (The Independent: 12 December 2018)

NHS waiting lists for patients in “excruciating pain” or with life-threatening conditions including lung cancers and bowel disease have doubled since the Tories came to power in 2010, analysis shows.

As the health service faces unprecedented budget squeezes and more than 100,000 jobs are unfilled, the overall waiting list has ballooned from 2.6 million in 2011 to 4 million this year.

Specialist treatment has been worst affected, with patients awaiting treatment for lung diseases – the UK’s third biggest killer – up by 128 per cent since September 2011 to almost 100,000....read more

NHS needs 10,000 extra hospital beds this winter to keep patients safe, BMA warns (The Independent: 6 December 2018)

The NHS has been warned it needs 10,000 additional hospital beds this winter in order to keep patients safe. 

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the approaching winter period "could be the worst on record" for emergency departments, which are predicted to see an increase in patients and longer waiting times. 

New analysis from the doctors' union suggests between January and March next year, the total number of emergency hospital admissions will rise to more than 1.6 million from 1.5 million this year.
The number of A&E patients waiting over four hours at major emergency departments could increase to over one million, the BMA said, while the number of patients waiting for beds for four hours of more will rise from 226,000 to 238,000. In the worst-case scenario it could rise to more than 300,000. Meanwhile, its analysis of bed occupancy found that last winter occupancy peaked at 95 per cent....read more


Theresa May's £3.5bn for out-of-hospital care revolution not enough to deliver significant changes, experts warn (The Independent: 21 November 2018)

An additional £3.5bn announced by Theresa May to kick-start a revolution in out-of-hospital care is not the “major boost” she is claiming, experts have said.

The “historic” new investment comes from the £20.5bn-a-year the prime minister announced for the NHS in the summer and health economists estimate it will “simply allow GPs and community services to keep up with demand”.

While the commitment was cautiously welcomed by nursing and GP leaders, they say years of underinvestment have seen an exodus of staff from services now expected to take on new roles....read more


Mental health: One in four young women struggling (BBC News: 22 November 2018)

Nearly one in four young women has a mental illness, with emotional problems such as depression and anxiety the most common, figures for England show.

The official NHS report found young women aged 17 to 19 were twice as likely as young men to have problems, with 23.9% reporting a disorder.

Problems are less common in younger age groups, but are rising, albeit slowly.

In children aged five to 15, one in nine had a disorder, up from one in 10 when the review was done 13 years ago....read more


Dozens of NHS trusts fail key targets on waiting times for a year (The Independent: 20 November 2018)

Nearly one in five NHS hospital services has failed to hit any key national waiting-time targets in the past year, analysis shows.

Some 29 hospital trusts and boards out of 157 had not hit a single target for 12 months running, an investigation by the BBC found.

The figures will almost certainly reignite rows over NHS funding and the use of private contractors by the health service. But health department chiefs said they were putting more money into the service and treating more people in response to rising demand.
The analysis focused on waiting-time targets for three key areas – accident and emergency, cancer and routine operations....read more

Boost NHS funds for northern England, academics demand (The Guardian: 20 November 2018)

The north of England deserves a greater slice of NHS funding to help it close the health gap between the region and the south and boost productivity, according to academics from six universities.

The so-called “northern powerhouse” area, which covers 16 million people, should receive a disproportionate share of the £20.5bn extra a year the NHS has been promised by 2023, they argue.

Increasing health spending per head in the region by as little as 1% could reduce the high rates of illness and early death seen in many parts of the north of England, the experts say in a report published on Tuesday.

Putting more NHS resources into health in northern England would inject as much as £13.2bn into the economy because it would cut sick leave and boost output, says the report from the Northern Health Science Alliance of universities, NHS trusts and local councils in the area....read more


UK cancer and children’s wards being hit by closures (The Guardian: 18 November 2018)

Growing numbers of hospital units that provide cancer care and children’s services are among those being forced to shut because the NHS’s deepening staffing crisis means it has too few doctors and nurses to operate them safely.

The closures are leading to patients having to travel further to receive care as NHS bosses increasingly decide to centralise services in fewer hospitals in response to gaps in rotas.

The trend prompted the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to warn that “skeleton staffing” means patients are suffering....read more


NHS ‘could be short of 350,000 staff by 2030’ (The Guardian: 15 November 2018)

The staffing crisis in the NHS is deepening so fast that the service could be short of 350,000 key personnel by 2030, health experts have warned.

Staff shortages are set to become so serious that they force patients to wait longer for treatment, hit the quality of care offered and mean some of the NHS’s £20.5bn funding boost never gets spent.

The warning comes from an analysis of the NHS’s increasingly visible lack of doctors, nurses and other staff drawn up by three leading health thinktanks. The situation is so serious that the NHS is reaching a tipping point, they claim....read more


BMA: Capita failed to deliver over 47,000 cervical cancer screening letters (Pulse: 14 November 2018)

The BMA has urged NHS England to end Capita’s contract for GP back office services, after it failed to deliver correspondence relating to cervical cancer screening to 47,700 women.

The BMA has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens after becoming aware of the issue, which it said mainly relates to appointment invitations or reminder letters, but does include some screening results.

The GP Committee called Capita’s running of services ‘nothing short of shambolic’ and said it is ‘frankly appalling’ that the private company’s ‘gross error’ may have put patients at risk....read more


Fall in number of NHS psychiatrists treating children in England (The Guardian: 8 November 2018)

The number of NHS psychiatrists treating troubled children and young people is falling, despite a surge in demand among under-18s who need urgent mental health care.

NHS workforce statistics show that the number of full-time equivalent psychiatrists working in child and adolescent mental health services in England fell to 942 in July – its second lowest number on record, down from 970 in January this year .

The drop has occurred despite high-profile pledges, made by Theresa May and NHS chiefs, to expand and improve the mental healthcare under-18s receive, and to put more money into it.

The 942 psychiatrists who were employed in England in July represented the second lowest figure since NHS Digital began keeping records in 2009, and only seven more than the record low of 935 working in July 2017....read more


Elderly 'at risk' as home care regulator warns over Allied Healthcare (The Guardian: 5 November 2018)

England’s care regulator has warned that one of the country’s largest home care providers, private equity-owned Allied Healthcare, could stop operating at the end of the month.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has written to 84 local authorities telling them as many as 9,300 elderly and vulnerable people are at risk of losing their home care services after 30 November. The CQC has written to the local authorities across England telling them there is a “credible risk” that Allied may have to cease services when a loan payment becomes due at the end of the month.

Allied, the largest provider of domiciliary care in the UK, is owned by German private equity investor Aurelius. About 13,000 people receive care from Allied across the UK, including Wales and Scotland. Allied is also a major provider to the National Health Service....read more






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