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'Deeply worrying' waits for hospital beds

'Deeply worrying' waits for hospital beds | Media summaries | Scoop.it

More than one in 10 patients in England face long delays for a hospital bed after emergency admission. BBC analysis of NHS figures showed nearly 475,000 patients waited for more than four hours for a bed on a ward in 2015-16 - almost a five-fold increase since 2010-11. Hospitals reported using side rooms and corridors to cope with the growing number of "trolley waits". NHS bosses acknowledged problems, blaming "growing demand" on the system.

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Terminally ill children ‘should write bucket lists’

Terminally ill children ‘should write bucket lists’ | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Dying children should be encouraged to create a list of goals to achieve before they die, health officials have said. Doctors, nurses and care workers developing care plans for terminally ill children will be responsible for helping them to compile a so-called bucket list of ambitions, social activities and academic goals, according to new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

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Organ donors saved 30% more lives in Wales under opt-out system

Organ donors saved 30% more lives in Wales under opt-out system | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The number of transplanted organs from donors has risen by a third in Wales since plans were unveiled for an opt-out system. A change to the process a year ago means adults automatically become donors after their death – unless they have chosen to opt out beforehand. And the number of life-saving donor organs has jumped from 120 in the 11 months from December, 2013, to 160 in the 11 months after December, 2015.

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Winter crisis fears for NHS according to British Medical Association poll

Winter crisis fears for NHS according to British Medical Association poll | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Four in five doctors claim the NHS will struggle to cope this winter. A British Medical Association poll found 78 per cent believe the health service is at greater risk of buckling compared to previous years. 'Bed-blocking' reached record levels in September, and hospitals missed a raft of key targets. NHS figures reveal A&E targets were missed for the 14th month in a row. Just 90.6 per cent of casualty patients were dealt with in four hours, under the aimed-for 95 per cent. And 68.3 per cent of the most urgent 999 calls got a response in eight minutes, against a 75 per cent target.

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UK pushes ahead with sugar tax

UK pushes ahead with sugar tax | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The UK government has published draft legislation for a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, which is set to begin from April 2018. There will be two bands - one for soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml and a higher one for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml. Ministers hope it will help tackle the nation's obesity problem. Many companies have already begun cutting the amount of sugar in their drinks. Pure fruit juices will be exempt - but health officials stress people should limit consumption of these beverages to no more than 150ml per day.

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HIV 'game-changer' now on NHS

HIV 'game-changer' now on NHS | Media summaries | Scoop.it

A drug that dramatically reduces the risk of being infected with HIV will now be given to patients by the NHS in England. The health service lost a court battle in the summer after arguing responsibility for paying for it should fall to local authorities not the NHS. Now at least 10,000 people will be given the "Prep" drug in a three-year-long clinical trial. NHS England says this will help them understand how to offer it more widely.

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Sick children moved as NHS intensive care units run out of beds

Sick children moved as NHS intensive care units run out of beds | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Seriously sick children are having to be transported long distances to receive intensive care this weekend because of a lack of beds in major cities. In England, 85% of beds available in paediatric intensive care units were full on Friday night. But some units in cities including London and Leicester have been forced to declare themselves as “at capacity”. Planned operations are, in some cases, being delayed to prepare for any possible emergencies, as the system shows signs of serious strain as winter starts to bite. The director of communications at NHS England, Simon Enright, tweeted: “It is true that the NHS is very busy at the moment – record demand.”

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NHS crowdfunding helps hospital to expand spinal unit

NHS crowdfunding helps hospital to expand spinal unit | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The expansion of the UK’s leading hospital for spinal injuries has begun following the success of the first NHS crowdfunded campaign. The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital’s charity raised in excess of £400,000 from 638 donors after asking for funding to expand a unit. Its 34-bed Spinal Cord Injury Centre treats more than 2,000 patients a year.

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Make HIV tests routine for millions, GPs told

Make HIV tests routine for millions, GPs told | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Millions of people should be tested for HIV whenever they see a GP or go to hospital, according to NHS guidance that aims to make checks routine in urban areas. Hospitals in places where HIV is common should test everyone they admit in an attempt to identify more than 13,000 people who do not know that they have the infection, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has recommended.

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English outpatient cancellations at record high of 7.68m in 2015

English outpatient cancellations at record high of 7.68m in 2015 | Media summaries | Scoop.it


Hospitals are cancelling record numbers of outpatient appointments, which doctors say illustrates the unprecedented strain on the NHS. Hospitals in England cancelled 7.68m outpatient appointments last year, almost three times more than the 2.76m they called off a decade earlier. Cancellations have also increased over that time as a proportion of all outpatient appointments, from 4.6% in 2005-06, to 6.8% in 2015-16 – which is a 48% jump.

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Serco wins £600m contract to manage Barts hospitals

Serco has landed a £600m contract to manage facilities for Barts Health NHS Trust in London, the largest deal the company has won since 2014 and a sign that its recovery is on track. In a trading statement issued ahead of its investor day on Thursday, the public sector outsourcer said first-half performance had been boosted by currency movements and one-off factors such as contracts running longer than expected. It expects to report full-year revenue of about £3bn and underlying trading profit of at least £80m, in line with forecasts made in August. Serco added that given its low margins and the sensitivity of its profits to small changes in revenues or costs, the range of outcomes for 2017 profit was significantly wider.

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A&E and maternity wards could close if spending on agency doctors is not slashed

A&E and maternity wards could close if spending on agency doctors is not slashed | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Hospital departments such as Accident & Emergency departments and maternity could be forced to close if they do not slash spending on agency doctors, the head of the NHS has suggested. Simon Stevens said the NHS needed to take drastic action to tackle “rip-off” spending on locus doctors. The chief executive said any service spending rates of more than £150,000 a year per agency medic could face closure because it was “unsustainable” to keep such services open.

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UK has 'first sexually transmitted Zika'

UK has 'first sexually transmitted Zika' | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The first likely case of sexual transmission of the Zika virus in the UK has been reported by the authorities. The woman has made a full recovery, and it is thought she had been infected by her partner, who had recently visited a Zika-hit country. Mostly spread by mosquitoes, Zika can linger in semen for months. Cases of sexual spread have been reported in other countries and experts said the UK case was "not unexpected".

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NHS pays £430,000 salaries to stand-in bosses

NHS pays £430,000 salaries to stand-in bosses | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Hospitals have been ordered to end “eye-wateringly high” payments to stand-in bosses after a watchdog found that salaries of more than £400,000 have become routine. Some temporary staff could avoid tax on their NHS pay under arrangements described by regulators as deeply unpalatable. Costly employees are not monitored properly and hospitals have little idea whether they are any good, according to NHS Improvement, the financial regulator. The warnings come in a letter to hospital leaders, seen by The Times. Jim Mackey, chief executive of the regulator, said that “unacceptable” payments must be replaced by promotion of hospitals’ own staff or secondments from elsewhere in the health service.

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Doctors missing heart attack signs in pregnant women, report warns

Doctors missing heart attack signs in pregnant women, report warns | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Too many pregnant women are dying from heart attacks and heart problems because doctors do not expect younger mothers-to-be to suffer, according to a new report. Experts warned that expectant women should be alert to the symptoms of heart problems - which are the leading causes of death in pregnancy or immediately after giving birth. Investigators found that in some cases, patients received sub-standard NHS care even though they were showing clear signs of suffering a heart attack or heart failure.

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NHS whistleblowers 'gagged and blacklisted', says petition group

NHS whistleblowers 'gagged and blacklisted', says petition group | Media summaries | Scoop.it

NHS whistleblowers face being “fired, gagged and blacklisted” while disclosures go uninvestigated owing to the healthcare regulator’s lack of powers and resources, a group of doctors, staff and patients has warned. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was criticised for being “low value” by the group, which has called for radical change in how the health service is regulated. In a letter to the Times, the group, which has exposed huge failings, said the CQC had failed to detect poor care and governance since it replaced the Healthcare Commission in 2009. It cited an example where an inspection of a foundation trust cost £273,900 but failed to spot hundreds of uninvestigated deaths. 

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Obese jobseekers face a stretch in slimming club

Obese jobseekers face a stretch in slimming club | Media summaries | Scoop.it

New benefits claimants should be subject to a health test and sent to slimming clubs if their weight is preventing them from getting a job, a government review has concluded. Overweight jobseekers should be encouraged to shed pounds because there is evidence that some employers discriminate against obese applicants, the report by Professor Dame Carol Black recommends. Jobcentre staff also need better training in helping claimants to admit and seek treatment for drug and alcohol addictions.

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NHS spending £1 billion on four drugs as bill soars

NHS spending £1 billion on four drugs as bill soars | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The amount of money that the NHS spends on drugs has surged by nearly 30 per cent in five years, with four treatments now costing the health service more than a billion pounds. The NHS drug bill rose by 8 per cent to £16.8 billion in the past year alone, up from £13 billion in 2011, latest figures show. Of the thousands of drugs prescribed to patients each year, about £2 billion was spent on ten “blockbuster” drugs, equivalent to more than 10 per cent of the total drugs budget.

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Hospitals battle leap in child eating disorders

Hospitals battle leap in child eating disorders | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The number of children and young people with eating disorders who require hospital treatment has jumped by a third since 2011, new figures reveal. More than 1,500 young people were hospitalised for eating disorders last year, leaving specialist services struggling to cope. Waiting lists can be up to six months and even longer for therapy such as individual counselling. There is also a shortage of specialist beds. Mark Austin, the ITV News presenter, last week highlighted the issue after revealing that his teenage daughter had become dangerously ill with anorexia and depression.

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Toughen up to save us from superbugs

Toughen up to save us from superbugs | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Patients must stop turning to the GP when they have a bug and rediscover old-fashioned “resilience”, the chief medical officer has said. Professor Dame Sally Davies said the kind of stoicism that existed before the NHS was now needed to fight deadly superbugs. She urged the sick to tough out even infections that confine them to bed for several days. “Demanding” patients had become the biggest obstacle to cutting overuse of antibiotics in routine GP consultations, she said.

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Cases of norovirus are 40% higher than this time last year

Cases of norovirus are 40% higher than this time last year | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The number of Britons being struck down by the winter vomiting bug is 40 per cent higher than this time last year, official figures show. There have been 1,495 confirmed cases of norovirus since July, compared to 1,379 during the same period in 2015. Figures from Public Health England also show that there were 22 outbreaks in hospitals last week compared to just two this time last year.

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Drinking too much water when ill can be harmful, finds study

Drinking too much water when ill can be harmful, finds study | Media summaries | Scoop.it

The common advice to drink plenty of water when ill is based on scant evidence and can actively harm chances of recovery, doctors have warned. Medics at King’s College hospital NHS foundation trust, in London, raised the alarm after they treated a patient with hyponatremia – abnormally low sodium – from drinking too much water to help with a recurring urinary tract infection. In the case highlighted, a 59-year-old woman consumed several litres of water based on medical advice she recalled from previous similar episodes to “flush out her system”. She became progressively shaky, muddled, vomited several times and had significant speech difficulties.

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National screening programme for Alzheimer's disease on horizon as drugs due by 2025

National screening programme for Alzheimer's disease on horizon as drugs due by 2025 | Media summaries | Scoop.it

A national screening programme to pick up Alzheimer’s disease is on the horizon, experts have said, after insisting that drugs to fight dementia will be ready within 10 years. Scientists who are working on treatments said medicine would be available in time to meet a pledge made by David Cameron to slow down or cure Alzheimer’s by 2025. And once drugs were able to treat the disease, a programme to find those at most risk will almost certainly follow, experts told a briefing in London.

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Jeremy Hunt says doctors should be put in charge of hospitals

Jeremy Hunt says doctors should be put in charge of hospitals | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Doctors and nurses should be put in charge of hospitals, the Health Secretary said in an attack on the 'manager class' that has taken over the NHS. Jeremy Hunt admitted creating non-clinical hospital managers in the 1980s may have been 'a historic mistake', and announced a wave of reforms to train doctors in management skills. Speaking at the NHS Providers conference in Birmingham, he said only 34 per cent of NHS chief executives have a clinical background.

NHS Confederation's insight:

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said:

“We welcome Mr Hunt's focus on leadership and our workforce. Employers across the NHS are committed to improving the working environment for their people and recognise the importance of providing rewarding careers supported by greater flexibility and effective team-working. The opportunities to develop apprenticeship routes into our largest profession, nursing, are particularly welcome.

“We look forward to continued support from national organisations to ensure the talents of our workforce are utilised to the maximum benefit of the patients they care for.

"NHS Employers will continue to support NHS organisations by sharing practical examples of good practice including those related to staff engagement, healthy workplaces, retention and diversity.”

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Junior doctors' sleep deprivation poses threat to patients, says GMC

Junior doctors' sleep deprivation poses threat to patients, says GMC | Media summaries | Scoop.it

Trainee doctors in the NHS are often so sleep-deprived that they are in danger of harming patients, the medical profession’s regulator has said. Increasingly heavy workloads and widespread staff shortages mean the UK’s 54,000 junior doctors are being left to look after wards of patients without proper experience, according to the General Medical Council’s biggest annual survey of trainee medics’ experiences. One in four doctors below the level of consultant say their schedule leaves them sleep-deprived and 43% describe their workloads as heavy or very heavy. Those with the most intense schedules are much more likely to encounter patient safety being put at risk, the survey found.

NHS Confederation's insight:

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said:

“The health and safety of staff and thereby their patients is paramount. Many of the issues highlighted in this report will be mitigated by the new 2016 contract of employment for doctors in training.

“The new contract sets out improved requirements on working hours and adequate rest periods, while the new independent Guardian of safe working hours will play a vital role in enforcing them. 

“At the same time  employers and Health Education England continue to make improvements to the quality of training on offer.”

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