The government’s ambitious plans to provide online access to medical records and to suck up and store all patient data are unachievable, an official review has concluded.
In a damning assessment, the Major Projects Authority said both care.data – a plan to link and store all patient data in a single database – and NHS Choices – the website supposed to allow users to log in and access medical services – had “major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable”.
In the case of care.data, which was supposed to restart this summer after a series of blunders exposed serious issues relating to patient confidentiality, the authority said the project’s scope had not been defined, there was no senior officer responsible for it, and it needed to “reconstitute [a] programme board with a clear role and responsibilities”.
Mike McNamara's insight:
What a sad (and expensive) tale this has become... Read the full report to find out why.
David Cameron’s dream of seven-day NHS services is under threat from big staff shortages and could lead to workers quitting in protest if allowances for unsocial hours are cut, the government’s independent pay advisers have warned.
Setting out his “25-year vision for the NHS” in London, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, warned that the cost of week-round services would be prohibitive without changes to existing premium payments for unsocial hours and shift work. Not counting overtime, these payments cost £1.8bn a year in England.
But the NHS pay review body, which recommends pay for non-medical staff, said the current payment system should not be abandoned without a wider review of health service salaries.
The warnings delighted health unions, which had been horrified by Hunt’s plans to introduce radical changes to pay and shift patterns. Hunt was also attacked by senior doctors over his threat to force them to work weekends, unless they do so by agreement within six weeks. The British Medical Association condemned the move as “a wholesale attack on doctors”, and there was speculation that consultants could consider taking industrial action in protest.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has given NHS consultants an ultimatum: agree to work weekends within six weeks, or a seven-day contract and cuts to overtime pay will be imposed from April 2017, he said in a speech at the King’s Fund in London.
The British Medical Association (BMA) called Hunt’s plans a “wholesale attack on doctors” and said that the government was attempting to distract from its lack of investment in emergency care.
The head of the BMA, Dr Mark Porter, told the BBC that doctors supported an improved, seven-day NHS service, but other factors were to blame, including a lack of resources.
We asked NHS medical staff what they think of Jeremy Hunt’s comments, and the reality of imposing seven-day weeks on consultants.
The era of a nurse diligently making the rounds with a thermometer may be coming to an end after a British hospital began trialling new technology which monitors vital signs remotely.
St James’s University Hospital, in Leeds, has become the first to ask patients to wear a lightweight wireless patch which checks heart rate, respiration and temperature.
The patch takes readings every two minutes and sends the data wirelessly to hospital IT systems. If the readings exceed pre-set thresholds, alerts are issued to nurses on handheld devices who can then respond immediately.
The initial trial will take place on 100 patients recovering from bowel surgery who are at significant risk of problems.
It is hoped the early warning system will help nurses spot any deterioration quickly to before life threatening complications emerge. It could also reduce the need for more expensive treatments and shorten hospital stays.
A wheelchair campaign group led by Tanni Grey-Thompson is launching a charter on Monday calling for an improvement in wheelchair provision.
The Wheelchair Leadership Alliance, set up earlier this year, will present a 10-point document in parliament to politicians, providers and manufacturers, urging them to commit to the development of an effective NHS wheelchair service. The alliance says that delays in service cause waste and harm to wheelchair users.
Lady Grey-Thompson, an 11-time Paralympic gold medal winner, said: “For too long wheelchair services have been inadequate and it is time that wheelchair users are listened to and provided a proper service, rather than being marginalised.”
The big decisions on financing the NHS over the next few years are likely to come in the autumn with the departmental spending review.
Beyond a restatement of the commitment to an extra £8bn in 2020, the chancellor's Budget is likely to focus on welfare spending rather than the protected departments like health.
But, for what will be one of the most important domestic policy decisions made by this government, detailed analysis of the financial needs of the NHS in England is under way.
Department of Health and Treasury officials are poring over projections for health demand. They need to be sure that the £8bn identified by NHS chiefs is realistic. That figure was reached after assuming highly ambitious efficiency savings of £22bn by 2020. Ministers want to be assured that figure is achievable.
Never before in its history has the NHS come under finer scrutiny. A perfect storm of the deficit and austerity measures, our aging and swelling population and increased media scrutiny is putting huge pressure on a service that is often taken for granted, but is one of the greatest achievements in modern society.
The NHS hasn’t changed in its outlook much since its conception in 1948 – after all, the drivers are the same, but the world is a very different place. Fortunately, not all of these changes have been to the NHS’ detriment.
Technological innovation and increased understanding of how you can utilise information to improve and streamline care and services are now key weapons in the NHS armament, and their role in a future NHS transformed by current fiscal concerns will be central.
The Welsh Government is planning to simplify the way trainee GPs are employed in Wales.
Until now, doctors undergoing placements have been employed by the surgery they are working in, which has resulted in a several changes has meant that doctors can change employers a number of times during their training.
There’s a fact that’s common knowledge among those of us who work in the NHS. We pretend it doesn’t exist, deny it to each other even, and would certainly never admit it to patients.
The dirty little secret is simple; if you are a patient who makes a complaint, or causes a fuss on the ward, you’ll probably receive better care from those employed to look after you.
Everyone would surely agree that this isn’t fair. Unfortunately it seems that as soon as a patient complains, or utters even a word of discontent, there is immediate commotion; a state of complete panic setting in among the ward staff. Suddenly consultants who haven’t been seen outside of their offices for months appear on the ward, stern faced and on the hunt for someone to blame. How dare one of their patients have cause for complaint. And who is the junior doctor responsible for this?
The authors of a major report on changes to NHS hospitals failed to declare that a lobbying network for the private healthcare industry was on its advisory panel, new documents suggest.
The Dalton review, a government-commissioned report which last year concluded that private companies could oversee management of NHS hospitals, was advised by a panel of experts that included Jim Easton, the managing director of private health firm Care UK.
The report claimed panel members were advising “in a personal capacity, rather than as representatives of their organisations”. But documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal Easton was in fact representing the NHS Partners Network, the UK’s primary lobbying group for the private healthcare sector.
When asked by the Guardian about his role, Easton, a senior civil servant at the Department of Health until 2012, denied that he had breached rules preventing him from lobbying the government for two years.
The government favours the idea of charging patients who miss NHS appointments to ensure people take greater responsibility for the use of precious resources, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said.
But in an appearance on BBC1’s Question Time, he admitted that imposing such charges would be difficult to enforce.
Hunt said the government had taken a first step towards introducing greater responsibility for the use of resources by introducing measures to ensure that patients who miss appointments are told how much NHS money they have wasted.
However, it emerged that the health secretary misspoke as no announcement had been made and ministers and officials at the Department of Health were in fact still working on the plan.
A junior doctor’s damning open letter to the Prime Minister highlighting NHS workers’ low pay and long hours has been shared online more than 100,000 times, after the Government announced plans to push for seven-day services.
Ministers are clamping down on lawyers who overcharge the NHS in clinical negligence cases – earning in some cases 10 times what their client receives in compensation – by setting a cap on their fees.
As part of a Department of Health plan to save the NHS up to £80m a year, legal costs for claims up to £100,000 would be fixed. The lawyer’s fee would reflect a percentage of the compensation received by the patient.
Ben Gummer, the health minister, is pushing through the changes in a bid to reduce the legal fees bill paid out over clinical negligence claims, which amounted to £259m in 2013-14. Currently, there is no limit on legal fees even if the compensation claim is small, meaning lawyers can claim extortionate fees for low-cost cases.
In one case, a source at the Department of Health said, a lawyer pocketed £175,000 while the patient received just £11,800 in damages. In another, the legal bill was more than £80,000 while the patient only received £1,000, although the legal bill was later reduced to less than £5,000 by the courts after a successful challenge by NHS Litigation Authority.
It employs 1.3 million people, more than the population of Newcastle, Bristol and Liverpool combined; and its total annual budget of £115 billion is almost as high as New Zealand’s entire gross domestic product.
With warnings that it may experience a £22 billion shortfall by 2020, the finances of the NHS have never been under greater scrutiny. Now, an investigation by The Telegraph paints the most authoritative picture yet of where tax payers’ cash – equivalent to £2,000 per person – goes.
Sheila is 82 years old. She has lived in the same house, in the same village all her life. She never married, has one distant relative she doesn't speak to, and rarely comes to the surgery. She always drives herself to her appointments. She never forgets to come. In the last few years, Sheila's health has become more complicated. She had raised blood pressure on a routine check. The blood tests showed she was diabetic. Her blood sugar control was erratic.
A concerned neighbour rang the surgery a month ago - Sheila was unwell. She had a cough which hadn't gone, and now looked ill. They brought her into the surgery, and she was admitted straight away. The diagnosis was bronchopneumonia, complicated by poor diabetic control. She stayed in hospital for 10 days; a long time in an era of rapid discharges and bed pressures. She was discharged home on insulin to improve her diabetic control. A fax was sent to the district nurses to go and deliver the necessary equipment the next day.
Children suffering from the rare, life-shortening disease face a 16-week wait while Nice conducts a cost-effective analysis Children with the rare, life-shortening disease Morquio syndrome will not get a new drug that their families and friends...
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