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


Chancellor's new money for adult social care is crumbs from the table (The Guardian: 31 October 2018)

On the face of it, this year’s budget was good news for social care. The chancellor recognised the immediate pressures facing local authorities and has announced £650m new grant funding for 2019-20 and another £45m this year for the disabled facilities grant.

But closer scrutiny of the detail paints a different picture. The £240m previously announced to help relieve NHS winter pressures this year will be repeated next year, with a further £410m to bring the total up to £650m. But this sum is expected to cover children’s social care as well, requiring councils to exercise the judgment of Solomon in prioritising the intense demands on services for disabled people, older people and children and families.

The amount available purely for adult social care next year is just £240m, falling way short of the £2.3bn estimated by the Association of Directors of Social Services as the minimum requirement for next year. Even this amount could be imperilled in the event of a chaotic no-deal exit from the EU.

So Philip Hammond’s declaration that austerity was “finally coming to an end” invites, for adult social care, the riposte “but not just yet”....read more


Chancellor’s budget boost to NHS frontline conceals £1bn cut (The Guardian: 30 October 2018)

Public health services and the education and training of nurses and doctors will be cut by £1bn next year as part of the government’s plan to boost the NHS’s budget by £20bn by 2023, it has emerged.

A leading expert in NHS finances warned ministers that their strategy of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” is a false economy that risks worsening already serious understaffing in England’s health service.

Prof Anita Charlesworth, director of economics and research at the Health Foundation, identified the £1bn loss of funding that will affect those two areas in 2019-20, as well as NHS capital investment, which the health service uses to refurbish its estate, build new premises and buy equipment....read more


NHS Digital paid management consultants £1.2m for advice on GP IT overhaul (Pulse: 30 October 2018)

NHS Digital has paid management consultants £1.2m to assist with its overhaul of GP IT systems, due next year.

McKinsey & Company was paid to carry out ‘strategy, engagement and procurement’ work on NHS Digital’s plans to launch a new GP IT systems framework in the summer.

The plans were announced in August with the launch of a contract tender worth £450m and could see GP practices forced to switch patient record IT providers.

GP leaders described the expenditure as 'extraordinary and unwarranted', adding that it is a 'kick in the teeth to frontline NHS workers' struggling with limited NHS resources....read more


Budget pledges on health and social care dismissed as 'sticking plaster' (The Guardian: 30 October 2018)

experts have said the chancellor’s £20.5bn boost for the NHS in England by 2023 will leave the service still struggling to cope with rising demand for treatment.

The pressure on already overloaded A&E and GP services will continue because Philip Hammond only gave an extra £650m to prop up crumbling social care services, it was claimed.

Theresa May has promised the £20.5bn increase in NHS funding over the next five years will yield major improvements in cancer and mental health care. But doubts were raised about how much progress to expect.

“After a financial squeeze of many years, much of this new money will be needed just to get the basics back on track – keeping up with rising need, addressing sliding [treatment] waiting times and fixing the worrying backlog of buildings needing repair,” said Prof John Appleby, the chief economist of the Nuffield Trust, a health thinktank.


Health, NHS and older people’s organisations said the £650m was enough only to “stave off total collapse” of social care services and amounted to “a sticking plaster” given the scale of unmet need....read more


Acute trust agrees Care UK deal for all elective orthopaedics (HSJ: 25 October 2018)

A hospital trust will move its entire elective orthopaedic service to a private company’s facility after agreeing an 18 month partnership.

Surgeons and anaesthetists at University Hospitals Plymouth Trust will move to a facility run by Care UK to operate on around 200 patients per month, in a bid to free up  space during winter. They will remain trust employees but be managed jointly by Care UK.

The trust hopes the partnership with the company will “virtually eliminate” year long waits for orthopaedic patients, and improve its referral-to-treatment performance in the 18 week pathway by 3.5 per cent – both by the end of March next year....read more


NHS trusts fear this winter could be ‘more difficult than the last’ (The Guardian: 22 October 2018)

There are “clear warning signs” that the coming winter could be even tougher than the last for NHS trusts, staff and patients, a report has warned.

They include pressures across all hospital activity, higher levels of staff vacancies and a more tired and pressured workforce, according to the body which represents trusts. It voiced concern over the “weaker state” of social care, even when accounting for the recent announcement of £240m extra funding, and “more fragile” primary care.

Last winter, corridors were overflowing with patients and non-urgent operations were postponed as staff worked to clear the backlog. The pressure continued well into January, with A&E units diverting patients to other hospitals and thousands of patients being looked after by ambulance crews for at least half an hour before they could be handed over to nurses.

The report by NHS Providers says the challenges this winter are likely to be even more severe than the last, when the problems were compounded by cold weather and the worst flu strain in seven years....read more


Ten NHS trusts ‘wasted £235m to hire private ambulances’ (The Guardian: 21 October 2018)

England’s NHS trusts have spent almost a quarter of a billion pounds on private ambulance services in the last three years as emergency 999 calls and sickness rates among health service paramedics rise.

According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, South Central Ambulance Service spent almost £69m on private providers; South East Coast Ambulance Service spent more than £35m; and North West Ambulance Service spent almost £30m. In total, the 10 trusts spent £235m on private ambulances over the period.

The GMB union estimates the same trusts spent about £146m on private ambulances between 2011 and 2013. “The fact ambulance trusts spent almost a quarter of a billion pounds on private ambulance services in just three years is a disgrace,” said Rachel Harrison, GMB national officer....read more


Dying children face ‘postcode lottery’ with inconsistent quality of end-of-life care, MPs warn (The Independent: 21 October 2018)

Dying children face “unjustified health inequality” in palliative care due to inconsistency in the quality of services, MPs have warned.

Around 40,000 babies, children and young people in England have chronic illnesses but the quality of care has been criticised as “patchy”, according to an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). 

The group’s report warned end-of-life care depended on a postcode lottery and called on the government to meet its commitment to providing personalised care for vulnerable children....read more


Council strips contract from NHS trusts and hands it to Virgin after High Court row (NHE: 18 October 2018)

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has awarded a controversial £104m healthcare contract to Virgin Care for the second time after a hearing in the High Court ordered a re-evaluation of the decision.

The contract to run LCC’s Healthy Child Programme ‘0 to 19’ was originally awarded to the private company, but two Lancashire foundation trusts contested the decision and, following a High Court hearing in April, a judge set aside the decision.

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith ordered a full reassessment of the bids after it was ruled that Lancashire CC hadn’t followed the evaluation and procurement process correctly.

But now, following a re-evaluation of the bids, Virgin Care has once again been chosen as the preferred bidder for the contract, a move heavily criticised by unions....read more


Trusts using HCAs in place of nurses (HSJ: 18 October 2018)

NHS trusts recruited a higher percentage of healthcare assistants than nurses over a two year period, new research has revealed.

HCA numbers increased by 6.5 per cent between December 2015 and December 2017, whereas nursing numbers in hospital trusts increased by just 0.5 per cent, from 270,725 to 272,476, according to analysis by BPP University School of Nursing.

The research, which comprised of data from 195 trusts, highlighted that HCAs now account for three in 10 care roles in the NHS.

Research has shown a link between a higher proportion of healthcare assistants versus registered nurses and a rise in patient mortality....read more


People in mental health crisis neglected by NHS, MPs warn (The Guardian: 16 October 2018)

Growing numbers of people who experience a mental health crisis are having to visit A&E or are detained for their own safety because NHS services to help them are deteriorating, MPs and peers have warned.

The 700,000 people in England with severe mental health problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder also face increased delays to get treatment, they said.

“Those who are the sickest often wait the longest to get help,” said a report published on Tuesday by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on mental health. Delays make people feel they are “hopeless, and like nothing can help”, it said....read more


STPs to create new five year plans (HSJ: 16 October 2018)

Health economies have been told to create five-year plans by autumn 2019, to set out how they will improve services and achieve financial sustainability.

In a letter to local leaders today, NHS England and NHS Improvement said “sustainability and transformation partnerships” and “integrated care systems” will be expected to develop and agree their plans during the first half of 2019-20....read more


Thousands of terminal breast cancer patients 'abandoned' due to NHS nurse shortage (Independent: 14 October 2018)

Thousands of terminal breast cancer patients are being left “abandoned” amid a shortage of specialist nurses, Breast Cancer Care has said.

The charity released figures showing almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of NHS trusts across the UK do not provide dedicated nurses.

It said there had only been a 7 per cent increase in trusts providing crucial nursing support in the two years since it last investigated the issue.....read more


Brexit: most doctors and nurses now think NHS will get worse (The Guardian: 13 October 2018)

A clear majority of the UK’s doctors and nurses think that the NHS will deteriorate after Brexit, with the result being longer waiting times and staff shortages, according to a new poll of medical professionals.

The survey by YouGov also suggests that opposition to Brexit has grown among doctors and nurses, with 75% saying they would now vote to remain in the EU, up from 66% who said they voted that way in 2016.

About 64% of those polled said they thought the NHS would get worse after Brexit, compared with just 7% who thought it would get better, while 57% said that the overall quality of care provided by the NHS would go down...read more


NHS hospitals warn of lack of preparation for winter as figures reveal next year will be 'tougher than ever' (The Independent: 11 October 2018)

The NHS is set to face an “even tougher winter” than the record-breaking crisis it weathered less than 10 months ago, as hospital bosses warn of staff and funding shortages.

Despite the government claiming the health service was “better prepared than ever” last year, ambulance queues tripled, there were fewer beds available and doctors wrote to Theresa May warning of patients “dying prematurely” in corridors.

Hospital leaders said the major issues of workforce, funding and social care remain unresolved, and figures released on Thursday show how an unprecedented summer heatwave has left no time to tackle the significant backlog in operations....read more

NHS watchdog warns good healthcare is becoming more of a postcode lottery (The Guardian: 11 October 2018)

Patients in England are increasingly being subjected to “care injustice” in which they can access either no or poor quality hospital, mental health and social care services, the NHS watchdog has warned.

Access to good care is more and more of a lottery depending on where people live, with some areas providing only services that have been deemed substandard, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

“Some people can easily access good care, while others cannot access the services they need, experience ‘disjointed’ care or only have access to providers with poor services,” the CQC’s annual report says....read more


Child mental health services will not meet demand, NAO warns (The Guardian: 9 October 2018)

Mental health services for children and young people will fall well short of meeting a growing demand for help, despite pledges by ministers to increase funding, a report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office said even if current plans to spend an extra £1.4bn on the sector were delivered, there would be “significant unmet need” because of staff shortages, poor data and a lack of spending controls on NHS clinical commissioning groups.

At present, one-quarter of young people who required mental health services were able to access help from the NHS, the report said. The Department of Health and Social Care hopes to increase the proportion to 35% – estimated to be equivalent to treating an additional 70,000 children and young people per year between 2015-16 and 2020-21....read more


Body parts scandal: firm stripped of NHS contracts (The Guardian: 9 October 2018)

Healthcare Environment Services (HES) has been stripped of NHS contracts after hundreds of tonnes of waste from hospitals, including human body parts, were allowed to pile up at its facilities, the health minister has announced.

In a statement to parliament, Stephen Barclay said the watchdog NHS Improvement (NHSI) concluded that HES “had failed to demonstrate that they were operating within their contractual limits. Consequently, 15 NHS Trusts served termination notices to HES formally to terminate their contracts at 4pm on Sunday,” he said.

New arrangements have been made with the outsourcing firm Mitie to “step in and replace this service” and “NHS services continue to operate as normal”, Barclay told MPs...read more


Fraud in the NHS could have paid for 40,000 nurses (The Times: 8 October 2018)

Fraud costs the NHS £1.29 billion every year, according to the health service’s anti-corruption watchdog.

The money would be enough to pay for more than 40,000 staff nurses or buy more than 5,000 frontline ambulances, the NHS Counter Fraud Authority said in its annual report.

The organisation was established on November 1 last year. The new figure is higher than the £1.25 billion identified at its launch. The estimated total loss includes £341.7 million from fraud by patients and £94.2 million by staff

[…] Simon Hughes, the authority’s interim chairman, said: “Ensuring public money pays for services the public needs and doesn’t line the pockets of criminals means we all benefit from securing NHS resources.”...read more


Advert for GP access smartphone app banned by watchdog (The Guardian: 3 October 2018)

A watchdog has banned adverts for a smartphone app that promises to let patients “see an NHS GP in minutes for free”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told the private health firm Babylon Health not to advertise its GP at Hand service, which has been endorsed by the health secretary, until it corrects factual errors used in its promotion.

It criticised Babylon for not making clear in the adverts that patients signing up to GP at Hand first had to deregister from their existing family doctor, a move that GP leaders warned would prove damaging....read more


Contract extended over 'integrated provider court case' (HSJ: 2 October 2018)

A community provider’s contract has been extended by four months, pending a court dispute over an integrated care deal.

Central Surrey Health, a social enterprise providing community services in the county, is taking Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group to court, claiming it breached a contract by continuing with an integration project in which the partners had fallen out.

CSH was one of five members of the Integrated Dorking, Epsom and East Elmbridge Alliance, which comprised of the company, three GP federations and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust.

The alliance was awarded a £100m contract in February, with the hospital trust the formal holder of the contract, but CSH has since said it has been “marginalised” out of the agreement....read more


Over 750 practices across UK could close as GPs leave profession, warns RCGP (Pulse: 28 September 2018)

Over 750 practices could close within the next five years because they are relying on GPs approaching retirement, the RCGP has warned.

The college fears that this would have a ‘catastrophic impact’ on general practice and patient care, with more than 2.5m patients in England being forced to change practices if these closures occur.

The RCGP chair called for promises such as 5,000 extra GPs to be fulfilled, as well as an additional £2.5bn a year for GPs in the NHS long-term-plan.

The analysis, published by the college today, found that 762 practices across the UK are relying on a workforce where three-quarters of GPs are aged over 55 and therefore approaching retirement age....read more


Child mental health services ‘not fit for purpose’, says top psychiatrist (Pulse: 24 September 2018)

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) services across England are so overstretched that they are not fit for purpose, a leading psychiatrist has warned.

This comes as children and adolescents are being turned away from CAMHS services until they are so ill they attempt suicide, reports the BBC.

Meanwhile, A&Es are forced to pick up the slack from under-delivering mental health support services.

Speaking to BBC's Panorama for a programme due to air this evening, Dr Jon Goldin, vice chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Faculty, said: 'I have colleagues working all over the country who are extremely dedicated, extremely committed doing excellent work. The trouble is the services are very stretched, we’re not meeting the need so in that sense it’s not fit for purpose.'...read more


Outstanding FT cites 'unrealistic' funding challenge after baby death (HSJ: 26 September 2018)

Inadequate funding and unsafe staffing at an outstanding trust contributed to the death of a baby girl last winter, a coroner has found.

In a report to prevent future deaths, a coroner found an intensive neonatal unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital was not safely staffed when caring for a prematurely born baby, Kiarah Faith Adora Allen, in February this year.

The hospital is run by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Foundation Trust, which is rated outstanding and lead by Sarah-Jane Marsh, who also chairs NHS England’s maternity transformation programme.

Responding to the report, the trust’s chief nursing officer Michelle McLoughlin told HSJ it was an “unrealistic challenge” to meet safe neonatal staffing levels with the “given the funding available to deliver the service and the supply of neonatal nurses”....read more


Bed pressures exacerbate radiology safety risks says HSIB (HSJ: 26 September 2018)

Patients with undiagnosed cancer are being discharged from hospital before crucial radiology scans are completed because of demands to free up hospital beds, it has emerged.

According to the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, demands on hospitals to reduce the length of stay for inpatients means some are being sent home days and weeks before requested scans are reported back.

In other cases poor and variable communication and IT systems mean vital radiology scans such as X-rays, CTs and MRI scans are not being picked up and acted on....read more


Virgin Care set to lose children's service contract to NHS consortium (HSJ: 25 September 2018)

Virgin Care is likely to lose a children’s contract worth hundreds of millions of pounds as commissioners are set to name an NHS consortium as preferred bidders.

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon and South Devon and Torbay clinical commissioning groups’ joint procurement team recommended to their governing bodies that Devon Children and Families Alliance be the preferred bidder for community health and wellbeing services across the county.

The alliance comprises the six main providers in the county: Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust, Devon Partnership Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter FT, University Hospitals Plymouth Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, and Livewell Southwest (a community interest company).

The contract is worth £166m over seven years, with the potential to extend for three years....read more


Health visitors struggling with ‘dangerously high’ caseloads (The Guardian: 23 September 2018)

Health visitors are struggling to care for families properly because they have “dangerously high” workloads in which some are looking after as many as 829 children, a study shows.

Falling numbers of health visitors mean that in most parts of England they are now looking after more – often many more – under-fives than the recommended maximum 250.

The findings have prompted warnings that health visitors are so busy that they may fail to spot child abuse, domestic violence and postnatal depression and have too little time to help mothers bond with their babies....read more


Eight trusts tender £2bn pathology contract amid network shake-up (HSJ: 20 September 2018)

An NHS pathology contract worth more than £2bn has been put on the market with the aim of linking eight trusts’ laboratory services.

Bidders will compete to provide the full range of pathology disciplines for the trusts, whose locations range from south east London to the Sussex coast. The procurement could lead to the formation of one of the larger pathology networks in the NHS.  

However, one trust in the region is not part of the procurement because it is considering a solution that keeps its pathology provision within the NHS.

It comes a year after NHS Improvement told all acute trusts to form pathology networks in a bid to release £200m of savings by 2021....read more


CCGs asked to pump extra £2m into wheelchair contract (HSJ: 18 September 2018)

Clinical commissioning groups in Kent are being asked to find at least an extra £2m for a service which is leaving people waiting months for wheelchairs. 

Millbrook Healthcare has run wheelchair services across the eight CCGs since April 2017 after winning a contract worth £6.2m a year. 

But since it took over, waiting times have soared and there are now 3,353 patients waiting, of which 2,180 have been waiting for more than 18 weeks. When it took over, 1,256 patients were waiting with approximately 40 per cent waiting more than 18 weeks....read more


Plans to close three acute stroke units revealed (HSJ: 17 September 2018)

Under the preferred option, set out by commissioners, Medway Foundation Trust will lose its stroke services with three HASUs at Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, Maidstone Hospital and the William Harvey Hospital In Ashford.

The Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Hospital in Margate had already been expected to lose services, leaving just one unit in East Kent. But Medway FT had hoped to retain stroke services at the expense of Dartford and Gravesham Trust – which is closer to HASUs in London.

The preferred option was announced last night after a workshop involving representatives from all 10 affected clinical commissioning groups – including NHS Bexley and NHS High Weald Lewes Havens. Five options were put out for public consultation earlier this year....read more


Mental health patients sent 300 miles from home due to lack of beds (The Guardian: 17 September 2018)

Patients with serious mental health problems are being sent more than 300 miles away from their home areas because of widespread bed shortages across the NHS, figures show.

Adults in mental health crises were sent as far as 307 miles from home last year, where they were denied easy access to family and friends for many months – a situation NHS chiefs have admitted reduces chances of recovery.

Dorset Healthcare University mental health trust sent patients to a Priory mental health hospital in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, 246 miles from the south coast, because of a lack of beds. The year before it had sent patients even further afield to a Priory unit in Durham, 325 miles away.

Last year, Lancashire Care NHS foundation trust had to place patients 299 miles away in a mental health unit in the village of Ticehurst in East Sussex, while people from Norfolk ended up being cared for at Arbury Court in Warrington, 239 miles away....read more


Ambulance trust to send occupied vehicles to new emergency calls (The Guardian: 16 September 2018)

A struggling ambulance trust hopes to improve response times by sending ambulances already occupied by patients to new emergencies, it has emerged.

The East of England ambulance services trust, which has some of the worst emergency response times of any ambulance trust in England, has defended the new policy is “absolutely right” in rare circumstances.

But staff and MPs described the trust’s policy of diverting ambulances with a stable patient inside to attend life-threatening calls as “crazy” and “dangerous”, warning first responders could be forced to choose between the welfare of different patients.

The policy was adopted by the trust, which serves Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, last month as part of efforts to improve response times to category one calls, which relate to life-threatening injuries or illnesses....read more


CCG to tender billion pound community services contract (HSJ: 17 September 2018)

A community services contract, worth £1.7bn, is set to be procured by commissioners in the South West of England

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group has said it intends to procure a seven to 10 year community services contract worth between £120 and £170m per year.

The CCG has published a prior information notice signalling its intentions to procure the contract from 2020-21. Currently, community services across the three areas are run by three separate social enterprises.

The notice, published on 10 September, said the final scope of the contract is yet to be determined but may include all adult community services, worth £120m per year, and children’s community health services and adolescent community health services – worth £50m.

If children’s community services are included the procurement would need to be conducted jointly with NHS England and the local authority....read more


NHS mental health crisis worsens as 2,000 staff quit per month (The Guardian: 15 September 2018)

Thousands of nurses, therapists and psychiatrists are quitting NHS mental health services, raising serious doubts about ministerial pledges to dramatically expand the workforce.

Two thousand mental health staff a month are leaving their posts in the NHS in England, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The news comes as services are already seriously understaffed and struggling to cope with a surge in patients seeking help for anxiety, depression and other disorders.

A total of 23,686 mental health staff left the NHS between June 2017 and the end of May this year, health minister Jackie Doyle-Price told Labour MP Paula Sherriff last week. That is the equivalent of one in eight of the sector’s whole workforce. One in 10 mental health posts were unfilled at the end of June, Doyle-Price also told Sherriff, the shadow mental health minister. While 187,215 whole-time-equivalent staff work in the sector, the total should be 209,233....read more


Tory cuts leave alcohol addiction services at breaking point warns Labour, as figures show record low in treatment (The Independent: 13 September 2018)

Cuts to council budgets for addiction services have led to lowest number of people receiving treatment for alcohol dependency in a decade despite people in need continuing to grow, data from the Labour Party shows.

Research by the House of Commons Library estimates the number of alcohol dependent adults in England has risen steadily since 2011 and more than 600,000 adults needed support as of 2016-17. 

However the number of people in alcohol treatment has fallen more than 12 per cent since 2013, when damaging NHS reforms introduced by Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley shifted public health responsibility to councils....read more


Major GP provider partners with Push Doctor app (HSJ: 11 September 2018)

One of the largest GP partnerships in England has brought on Push Doctor to provide its patients with online consultations

Modality Partnership, which serves around 400,000 patients, has announced it is partnering with Push Doctor, a digital GP app provider, to offer online consultations to nearly a quarter of its patients. 

Push Doctor will provide online consultations, under a pilot basis, to more than 99,000 patients across six Modality practices. Following this, depending on the success of the pilot, the provider hopes to roll the service out to all of its patients.

If the pilot is successful it will exceed the number of NHS patients who are served by another online consultation provider, GP at Hand....read more


NHS vacancies a 'national emergency' (BBC News: 11 September 2018)

The shortage of NHS staff in England has started worsening again, official figures show.

One in 11 posts is vacant with the situation particularly bad among the nursing workforce.

Experts described the situation as at risk of becoming a "national emergency" given the rising demands on the NHS.

It comes after sustained efforts by ministers and NHS bosses to tackle the shortages, including a new pay deal and recruitment and retention campaigns....read more


Amount of NHS land in England earmarked for sale soars, figures show (The Guardian: 10 September 2018)

Ministers have been accused of “selling off the NHS family silver” after figures revealed that the amount of health service land being earmarked for sale to private developers is soaring.

The NHS is seeking buyers for 718 different plots of land or buildings it owns across England, prompting fears that underfunding has forced cash-strapped NHS trusts to dispose of vital assets.

The total of 718 sites represents a 72% rise on the 418 plots the NHS deemed as surplus to requirements two years ago. 

The number of sites on the market that NHS bosses say are currently being used for clinical or medical purposes is also rising fast, from 117 last year to 140 – almost one in five of the total....read more


Patients dying on NHS waiting lists 'surges by 10,000' (Pulse: 3 September 2018)

The number of patients dying while waiting for treatment has increased by over 10,000, according to reports.

A freedom of information request to NHS Trusts, carried out by the Express, revealed that the number of patients dying while on a waiting list rose from 18,876 in 2012/13 to 29,553 in 2017/18.

The information request also saw that across dozens of NHS Trusts, there was an increase of more than 50%.

But this number could be higher, as only half (67 of 135) of the NHS Trusts responded, the paper reported....read more








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