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KEN Livingstone, the Labour candidate to be Mayor of London and a noted opponent of NHS privatisation, uses private healthcare services, City A.M. has learned.


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Tracking the changes in the NHS
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10 charts that show why the NHS is in trouble

10 charts that show why the NHS is in trouble | nhswatch | Scoop.it

The sheer scale of the NHS can take the breath away. Every 24 hours it sees one million patients, and with 1.7 million staff it's the fifth biggest employer in the world.

This vast enterprise absorbs eye-watering amounts of money.

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I'm Danish, and I just almost died in a shocking NHS hospital

I'm Danish, and I just almost died in a shocking NHS hospital | nhswatch | Scoop.it

I recently experienced NHS hospital care for the first time.

I had abdominal pain which had been getting worse and worse over a couple of days. I could barely walk and had a high fever. I guess growing up in the Wild West of Jutland – with a dad who has heroically redeemed himself from paralysis – I've always been taught to endure life’s minor pains and toughen up (“Is your ankle sprained? OK, but if you can walk we don't need to go to the A&E.”) This time, though, my mum, who was visiting from Denmark, thought I looked so bad I had to go.

It was Saturday night around 2am, so I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking my shaky walk was perfectly normal. What wasn't normal, however, was my fainting the minute I stepped inside the A&E. I fainted flat into the doctor's arms (I guess this could have been romantic if the ambience had matched his chivalry). After a series of fainting incidents in a wheelchair and on the floor, I got upgraded to a bed on the hospital aisle, and a nurse offered me some intravenous goodies (don’t mind if I do.)

My blood pressure started to drop, and my mum - who has worked in a GP’s office for 35 years - got increasingly worried. She marched the site to catch hold of a doctor. In what seemed forever, but presumably was an hour later, a really sweet, really young, really busy gynaecologist came to look at my tummy.

My mum – convinced that I had appendicitis – made sure to mention to the doctor that her appendix is oddly placed, just in case I had inherited...


Mike McNamara's insight:
Sadly one of a number of cases like this are occurring across the NHS
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Brexit could drive 4,000 EU-trained doctors out of NHS, BMA warns | GPonline

Brexit could drive 4,000 EU-trained doctors out of NHS, BMA warns | GPonline | nhswatch | Scoop.it

BMA leaders warned that an exodus of European doctors from the NHS on this scale could threaten the future of the health service.

The BMA survey, which gauged the opinion of almost 1,200 doctors trained in the European Economic Area (EEA) who work in the UK, found that 42% are now considering leaving following the referendum vote, while a further 23% are unsure.

EEA doctors said the outcome had significantly impacted on their morale, with the average self-reported rating for ‘feeling appreciated by the UK government’ dropping from seven out of 10 to less than four out of 10 after the referendum.

Around 10,000 doctors who work in the NHS – totalling around 6.6% of the UK medical workforce – qualified in the EEA, alongside ‘many more’ working in public health and academic medicine.
Brexit NHS impact

Around 1,296 GPs working in England qualified in the EEA, with more than one in 10 in some CCG areas from the region.

EEA doctors also said they felt more despondent about working in the UK following the result, with the average rating for ‘commitment to working in the UK’ dropping from nine out of 10 to six out of 10.

The BMA has insisted that the government ensures any future immigration system is flexible enough to allow doctors to continue to be employed, in order to maintain the long-term stability of the NHS.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: ‘While thousands of overseas and EU doctors work across the UK to provide the best possible care for patients, many from the EU are left feeling unwelcome and uncertain about whether they and their families will have the right to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

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British pensioners living in EU 'face healthcare limbo after Brexit'

British pensioners living in EU 'face healthcare limbo after Brexit' | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Hundreds of thousands of elderly British people living in EU countries could find themselves in a “very difficult situation” if they fall ill after Brexit.

The lack of reciprocal healthcare agreements between the UK and EU countries such as Spain, which is home to more than 100,000 British pensioners, risks leaving patients who cannot afford private treatment in limbo, heard the Health Select Committee.

UK citizens who have lived abroad for many years are not eligible for NHS care, so they would not be able to return temporarily to Britain for treatment, said Jean McHale, professor of health law at the University of Birmingham.
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Article 50 is actually reversible, says Brexit treaty clause author
Britain will face 'very hefty bill' for Brexit, EU chief Juncker warns
Scotland cannot stay in EU 'under any circumstances'

“They could indeed find themselves in a very, very difficult situation,” she said. “It will need to be sorted out, otherwise there will be practical problems.”

Many pensioners living abroad may have no choice but to return permanently to Britain after the country leaves the EU, campaigners have warned.

Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was “absolutely essential” a system is put in place after Brexit for UK pensioners living in other EU states.

“A lot of these people are there on very low incomes, they are aged, and so they’re likely to have health problems in the future,” he said.
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NHS set to cut spinal injections for back pain sufferers in latest cutbacks

NHS set to cut spinal injections for back pain sufferers in latest cutbacks | nhswatch | Scoop.it
SOUTH Essex clinical commissioning groups are proposing to cut a range of health services, including spinal injections for back pain sufferers.

Castle Point, Rochford and Southend clinical commissioning groups want to restrict services for spinal injections, removal of male breast tissue caused by gynaecomastia and a treatment for astigmatism - an eye condition that causes blurred or distorted vision.

NHS Southend Clinical Commisssioning Group chairman Dr José Garcia Lobera said: “The NHS Five Year Forward View outlines three key areas for change that are needed if the NHS is going to be sustainable now and in the future, which are health and wellbeing, quality of care and NHS finance and efficiency. We must therefore ensure treatments and procedures provided locally are based on good clinical evidence and value. This has led us to suggest some changes to our service restriction policy and we want local people to have a look at these proposed changes and let us know what they think.”

The groups say despite the embarrassment that can be caused by the condition, there is little evidence removal of enlarged male breast tissue leads to better mental and physical health,

In addition they claim there is little evidence spinal steroid injections help back pain.

Patients who undergo cataract surgery who also have astigmatism will not routinely have Toric lenses fitted instead of the normal artificial lenses generally used. These lenses deal with astigmatism as well as replacing the cloudy natural lens affected by cataracts.

If the proposals are adopted people wanting treatment for these conditions would have to apply for special funding.

Dr Tom Nutt, chief executive of Healthwatch Essex, said: “It’s right that clincial commissioning groups ensure that treatments and procedures are based on good clinical evidence. But just as importantly is the need to gather the experience of those impacted by these treatments.
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Residents urged to fight to protect health services in major shake-up and save lives

Residents urged to fight to protect health services in major shake-up and save lives | nhswatch | Scoop.it
RESIDENTS are today being urged to have their say on a major health shake up to help save lives in Dorset.

Health campaigners are calling on local people to have their say on the future of health services in the county as a consultation on the Clinical Services Review enters its final week.

People in Weymouth and Portland in particular – an area where hospital beds are set to be lost and the amount of GP surgeries reduced – are being called on to take part as there has been a low response rate from the borough.

The consultation ends a week today.

It comes amid serious concerns raised about the ability of the ambulance service to be able to cope ahead of the shake-up.

It is claimed that lives could be put at risk as the already stretched 999 service, which has had its budget slashed, struggles to cope with measures implemented as part of the Clinical Services Review.

Some patients, including young children, would have to travel longer distances to hospitals in Dorset as part of the review.

The Echo has recently highlighted cases where patients, including elderly people, have had to wait long periods for an ambulance.
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Government support `crucial´ for plans to `transform´ NHS

Government support `crucial´ for plans to `transform´ NHS | nhswatch | Scoop.it

The Government must throw its weight behind plans that could lead to the closure of NHS hospitals and some services, a think tank has said.

The King’s Fund said controversial sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), which aim to save cash but will lead to some cuts, offer the best hope of making progress in the NHS.

But Chris Ham, the think tank’s chief executive, said the aim of cutting hospital beds, which many of the plans set out, is not realistic at a time when hospitals are already running at full capacity.

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NHS England sets out IT requirements for personalised care

NHS England sets out IT requirements for personalised care | nhswatch | Scoop.it
NHS England is inviting tech companies to set out how they meet a number of requirements to improve personalisation in healthcare through IT.

The request follows the publication of NHS England’s IT requirements for personalised care, which outlines he requirements of IT solutions that could support the rollout of NHS England’s personalisation agenda.

It seeks responses from suppliers who can support the national Integrated Personal Commissioning programme – a joint initiative between NHS England and the Local Government Association.

The paper also focuses on the role of Personal Health Budgets (PHBs). Every Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in England has a legal duty to offer PHBs and the Government has set an expectation that at least 50,000-100,000 people will have a PHB by 2021.

The work is intended to help local CCGs assess the most appropriate IT solutions for their area.

Suppliers are invited to respond by Friday 7 April 2017 and more information on how to respond can be found on the NHS England website.
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Recognition for Barrow's maternity care following dramatic transformation

Recognition for Barrow's maternity care following dramatic transformation | nhswatch | Scoop.it

A FAILING maternity service which had to be rebuilt "brick by brick" to make it safe for mothers and babies has been held up as a blueprint for other hospitals to follow by a health watchdog.

Failing standards within the maternity unit at Barrow's Furness General Hospital was found to have led to the deaths of 11 babies and a mother over a nine year period.

But the dramatic transformation of services for pregnant women and babies at the Dalton Lane site has been applauded as having outstanding elements during the latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Standards of care within the unit between 2004 and 2013 were described as being unreognisable from modern day midwifery within the Morecambe Bay Investigation, by patient safety expert Dr Bill Kirkup.

The women tasked with turning around FGH's maternity care, director of midwifery Sascha Wells, has now spoken of the challenge she faced upon her arrival at the dysfunctional maternity ward in 2011 - as well as her joy at the achievements by staff in the years since.

In an interview with the Evening Mail, Ms Wells said: "If the unit had been a commercial business we would have closed the doors and shut it down.

"There were no firm foundations, no robust governance processes, the unit was very inward looking with no established expectations.

"It was also under resourced in terms of staff. "We literally had to rebuild from the ground up."

Since the publication of the Morecambe Bay Investigation, by Dr Bill Kirkup, in March 2015 work to dramatically improve standards of care within FGH's maternity unit have been ongoing - all while under the intense scrutiny of the CQC.

There has been several waves of recruitment into midwifery roles, job descriptions have been standardised across the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust and a governance structure is in place.

Staff now spend time on larger units within the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust to expand their experience and clinical skills.

And parents from across Furness are now heavily involved in writing job descriptions for new midwives as well as in helping to shortlist candidates and sitting on interview panels - a system noted by the CQC as outstanding practice.

Ms Wells said: "Working with the families and having them come on board to help us shape the service we are now providing to women has been a huge step and really helped change the course of things.

"The legacy of their work is having an impact on families now and into the future. It's amazing to have our work recognised by the inspectors. It's been a long and challenging journey but I'm incredibly proud of what we have all achieved."

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NHS IN CRISIS: ‘Stroke patients will have to travel further to fewer hospitals in future’

NHS IN CRISIS: ‘Stroke patients will have to travel further to fewer hospitals in future’ | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Many of the plans to shake up services in the NHS and change the way of working talk about having specialised services - but campaigners fear this may mean patients travelling further to fewer hospitals.

A large number of the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans allude to having more specialist services to treat things such as stroke - something that hasn’t escaped the attention of The Stroke Association.

Esmee Russell, head of policy and influencing at The Stroke Association, said: “We have picked up on the fact that a lot of the STPs are using these plans to push forward on reorganisation of acute stroke care.

“Reorganisation of acute stroke care has been happening for a while. “It has happened successfully in London and Manchester and other areas are now looking to do it.

“A ‘hyper stroke unit’ is when stroke care is reorganised into one huge centre where there is all the equipment and expertise to treat stroke and it is staffed 24/7.

“The evidence from London and Manchester shows that when people are treated at these hyper stroke units, they spend less time in hospital and are less likely to die as a result of the stroke.

This improves lives but it also saves the NHS money at the same time.”

Ms Russell says although the Stroke Association is backing health leaders across the country to continue with the reorganisation of stroke care, they want to make sure it is done properly.

She explains: “We would like everyone to be a maximum of 45 minutes away from one of these hyper stroke units.

“We also want to ensure the units are well staffed by having enough consultants with stroke expertise and that they meet the standards around scanning which is that every patient should be scanned within one hour of arrival at the unit.

“They also need to be able to provide treatments for stroke such as thrombolysis - which is a drug injected into individuals which breaks up the clot.

“The aim is to have 90 per cent of appropriate patients thrombolysed within 45 minutes of arrival to the unit as the treatment has to be given within four hours of the onset of symptoms of a stroke.”

Although many people fear travelling further for treatment will have a negative impact on recovery, Ms Russell says people are much likely to recover from stroke if they receive the specialist care they need.”

She says: “Evidence shows people are more likely to receive this in hyper stroke units even if it means travelling a bit further.

“If the hyper stroke units are run as they should be, they will be more efficient when it comes to scanning patients and giving the treatment patients need in time.”

The concerns The Stroke Association has around the STP plans are more around post acute stroke care and making sure patients get the support they need after a stroke.

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Government urged to stop property tax hikes for 1,249 NHS hospitals

Government urged to stop property tax hikes for 1,249 NHS hospitals | nhswatch | Scoop.it

The government is under growing pressure to stop a sharp increase in business rates for hospitals that threatens to increase the strain on the NHS.

Changes to the business rates system mean that the 1,249 NHS hospitals liable for the property tax will see their bills increasing by £322m, or 21%, over the next five years from April.

However, a growing number of politicians are calling for the government to reconsider the tax hike for hospitals, including making them eligible for the same 80% discount that charities enjoy.

Some private healthcare providers, such as Nuffield Health, already enjoy an 80% discount because they are registered as charities. Furthermore, the business rates that the 581 private hospitals do pay will not increase as much as it will for hospitals.
NHS hospitals in England face £322m tax bill increase from April
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The rateable value of private hospitals has increased by 9.6% in the last revaluation while NHS hospitals have seen a 19.8% rise, according to research by the property consultant CVS.

The cross-party group of politicians who have already expressed concern about the tax rise for hospitals include Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, Royston Smith, Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, and Annie Wells, Conservative and Unionist MSP for Glasgow.

The hospitals facing the most severe increases include the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, which will see its business rates bill more than double, from £2.8m a year to £6.9m.

McCabe has posted a series of written questions to Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, asking whether the NHS would be provided with extra funding to cover the additional costs and whether he had done an assessment of the potential impact of the tax hike on the services offered by hospitals and GPs.

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Maternity units across England facing the axe

Maternity units across England facing the axe | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Eleven maternity and neonatal units across England are reportedly facing either being axed or merged under plans to transform obstetrics care in the NHS .

Proposals to remodel the health service in order to plug a £22 billion hole by 2021 reveals major changes across toe maternity services.

Now hospitals in Lancashire and South Cumbria, West Yorkshire and Harrogate, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Birmingham and Solihull, Milton Keynes, Dorset, Coventry and Warwickshire are being marked to shut or to move substantial distances.

A week ago the Royal College of Midwives’ annual report said maternity services across Britain could already reach “crisis point”, as more than a third of midwives are nearing retirement age.

The report said that more student midwives are needed to be trained as a “matter of urgency”.

Tthe PM came under fire after FOUR times refusing to say whether she opposed the proposed transfer of consultant-led maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, some 40 miles away.

Theresa May was visiting a primary school on a campaigning trip to the Copeland constituency ahead of next week’s by election.

The Tory by-election candidate, Trudy Harrison, gave birth to her four daughters in Whitehaven and is against the plans.

Asked if she opposed the plans, Mrs May said: “Trudy Harrison does indeed know the importance of these services. She is opposed to the downgrading of these services.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Patients should be reassured that we are actively ensuring we continue to have enough midwives in the NHS — already there are over 2,100 more since 2010, with 6,300 more in training.

“The way we model midwife training places actually takes into account projected retirement rates. We have also invested millions of pounds in staff training and new equipment to help the NHS become one of the safest places in the world to have a baby.”

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NHS to be hit by crippling business rates rise, analysis finds

NHS to be hit by crippling business rates rise, analysis finds | nhswatch | Scoop.it

NHS hospitals and GP surgeries in England and Wales face a £635 million hike in their business rates over the next five years, it emerged as health authorities threatened legal action.

A new analysis found that health authorities, many of which are already struggling to cope with huge financial pressure, will see their business rates will rise by an average of a third by 2021.

Some of the country's biggest hospitals will see their business rates double amid warnings that they will have to find further savings to fill black holes in their budgets.

Theresa May is already being urged to reconsider "penal and unfair" rises in business rates amid warnings that some firms face being hit with a huge rise in their bills.
"They will struggle to absorb an extra hit like this - the NHS is already in severe financial difficulties"Sally Gainsbury, Nuffield Trust think tank

Ministers will on Wednesday face calls to end anomalies in the tax system which see high street shops pay higher rates on small premises than online giants do for vast warehouses.

The new rates, which take effect in April and represent the first change in almost a decade, will see companies paying rates which have been calculated to take into account the rise in property prices since 2008.

It means many businesses in the South East will face soaring rates while others in areas where High Street rental prices have fallen will benefit.

The Institute of Directors urged the Government to "level the playing field" to help smaller businesses after an analysis by business rates specialists CVS suggested that the business rate bill for Amazon's nine distribution centres will fall by 1.3 per cent.

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NHS 'rapped' over leaks of A&E data - BBC News

NHS 'rapped' over leaks of A&E data - BBC News | nhswatch | Scoop.it

NHS leaders in England have been asked by the statistics watchdog to rethink current policies that delay publishing official data on accident and emergency waiting times.

This follows two separate leaks to BBC News of A&E data for January, which suggested the worst performance by hospitals since records began.

NHS England and the regulator NHS Improvement have been told by the UK Statistics Authority to review the practice of publishing the data six weeks after collecting it.

Their leaders have been asked to "to determine how you could reduce the time lag in publication".

The call for a review comes in a letter from Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation at the authority, to those who chair the organisations.

The two leaks of A&E statistics to BBC News came from management information collected by NHS Improvement.

The second leak - relating to the full month of January - suggested that from a total of more than 1.4 million attendances at A&E:

82% of patients in A&E - rather than the target 95% - were transferred, admitted or discharged within four hours
More than 60,000 people waited between four and 12 hours in A&E for a hospital bed, after a decision to admit, known as a "trolley wait"
More than 780 people waited for more than 12 hours for a bed

At the time the leaked data, obtained by BBC reporter Faye Kirkland, was dismissed as incomplete by NHS sources.

Mr Humpherson described the leaks of management information as "a disorderly release of data", which had created "a confused picture".

But, in what amounts to a rap over the knuckles, he goes on to urge the NHS organisations to "undertake the appropriate reviews of how this management information is used and shared".

Embarrassingly for NHS leaders, the Statistics Authority chief criticises the publication policy for A&E attendance stats.
Policy change

In the summer of 2015, NHS England announced it would stop publishing this data weekly and would shift to a monthly cycle to "standardise reporting arrangements" with other information such as cancer waiting times and ambulance response times.

This was criticised at the time as a reduction in timely information flow from hospitals, especially during winter months.

Mr Humpherson notes that the monthly publication policy creates a six-week lag for A&E data, which "leaves the system vulnerable to leaks because management information circulates around the NHS system for operational purposes well in advance of the publication of the statistics".

He has called on the NHS bodies to review the "timeliness" of the official performance data by the end of April and talks of the importance of "maintaining trust".

In effect, the statistics watchdog is saying that if the information is available to NHS managers in January, it should also be made available to the media and the public rather than held until March for publication.

It amounts to a warning to NHS England that leaks are inevitable under the current arrangements.

A spokesperson for NHS England said: "UKSA has approached the NHS following a leak of unvalidated NHS improvement material to the BBC ahead of its official publication, and NHS Improvement is now considering with other national bodies how best to ensure timely official publication while ensuring this doesn't happen again."

This will no doubt create headaches for NHS chiefs who have tried hard to justify the adoption of monthly rather than weekly data releases.

Their case was weakened when the Scottish government opted to move to a weekly A&E publication schedule just as NHS England was going in the opposite direction.

And the case has certainly been weakened even further by the UK Statistics Authority's intervention and what amounts to a clarion call for transparency.

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Health Column: Time to protest as Government is turning blind eye to NHS problems

Health Column: Time to protest as Government is turning blind eye to NHS problems | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Media attention in the last 10 days, especially from the Sheffield Telegraph’s sister papers, has highlighted the leadership vacuum.

The funding crisis is as real as the ‘black alerts’ for hospital admissions issued for much of December and January

Jeremy Hunt and his ministerial team have been depicted by columnists and cartoonists as asleep on the job – with Hunt sunning himself on a deckchair probably awaiting helicopter rescue by a healthcare multinational if the ship sinks too low.

Hammond and May are steadfastly looking in the opposite direction. Have bucks ever been passed so fast?

The funding crisis is as real as the ‘black alerts’ for hospital admissions issued for much of December and January.

Last year, thanks to a windfall and a major fudge, the Department of Health managed to avoid being called out by the Treasury as a defaulter over NHS Trusts’ £2.45 billion deficit.

This year the reserve is at full stretch. Next year there is no extra funding. The year end deficit projection is currently £280 million worse than three months ago. Capital funds have been raided, meaning that less is spent on essential maintenance, let alone touted service transformations.

Hospital bed numbers, already less than in other countries, continue to shrink. Pressure from the underfunding of social care will continue. The Department of Health announced this month that it was jettisoning 500 of 1,800 staff.

Ambitious so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) gloss over the impact of financial ceilings; label locally based services unsustainable, not just because of staff shortages, but because they have to cater for Hunt’s unrealistic commitment to a seven-day NHS; substitute cheaper staff for experienced clinicians; and talk up the role of non-hospital care.

Even locally it’s hard to know who is in charge. Despite some advances in wider partnership, South Yorkshire CCGs, Councils and NHS Trusts seem to be squabbling over their rights in the STP (5CCGs) and Working Together (8 CCGs) conglomerations, each anxious about being ganged up on and losing resources, knowing that individual CCGs remain the legally liable bodies.

These attempts to rationalise the chaotic structures created by the Coalition government are resulting in the parameters for our services being laid down by groups which have no statutory basis and no formal public accountability.

There has been no significant national channel for public voice because the STPs were deliberately developed in secret. The NHS citizen’s voice network was suspended as soon as STPs were announced (though it has now been restored in amended form). Up to 2002 we could have expected Sheffield Community Health Council to have provided clear information and a strong representation of public views.

Labour’s Alan Milburn and his then adviser Simon Stevens (now head of the NHS) abolished CHCs to bring public voice under control. Each replacement has proved weaker than before. The current Healthwatch organisations try to represent patient opinion and investigate service issues but are restricted by legislation, national management and limited resources. Although the themes of Sheffield’s Place Plan predate the STP, local ‘conversations’ about the STP itself are only now being launched – but are they after the event? NHS Staff & Public Conversations

So what’s likely to happen? Everyone wanting the NHS to work is hoping the government will relent over funding but this seems unlikely. May believes that extra money will only delay ‘sorting out’ the NHS.

In the worst scenario this will lead to significant cuts, starting with A&E and maternity services, carried out on behalf of obscure STP boards with no legal standing. In England 19 hospitals face closure and in South Yorkshire hospital services face independent review over their ‘sustainability’. The words ‘accountable care’ being canvassed across the country in STPs appear highly misleading.

Expect to hear more about outsourcing and charges, not to mention smokescreens such as health tourism. We will discuss these in future columns.

Last year junior doctors decided stopping work and going on the streets was the only action left open to them in resisting an oppressive and unreasonable contract. Widespread public support helped push ministers and NHS bosses into agreeing significant changes – although doctors remain formally in dispute.

This government’s determination to look the other way gives us little choice but to take our concerns for the NHS to the streets. The #OurNHS call for a national protest, started by an alliance of national campaign groups called Health Campaigns Together, is now supported not just by major health unions but the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing. NHS staff, patients, and health groups from all over England will assemble in London on March 4 to march to Parliament Square. (View an appeal at #Our NHS Promo A demonstration of public opinion difficult for Hunt to ignore. Join it if you can.
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8,000 sign petition against plans to downgrade Poole Hospital’s A&E

8,000 sign petition against plans to downgrade Poole Hospital’s A&E | nhswatch | Scoop.it

CAMPAIGNERS against proposed emergency service downgrading at Poole Hospital have presented a petition with more than 8,000 signatures to the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.

Residents from Purbeck travelled to Dorchester to handover six folders full of 8,048 signatures of residents in Swanage, Corfe and Weymouth against the proposed downgrading of the accident and emergency department at Poole Hospital to an ‘urgent care centre’ and cuts to the maternity ward.

Gerry Norris, from the Friends of Swanage Hospital group, said: “Social care has gone down the pan in the last 10 years and now it’s going to be far worse with what’s coming – we have seen nothing yet.”

Debby Monkhouse from Keep Our NHS Public Dorset (KONPD) said the residents started the protest after being concerned that people from the area would not be able to get to the next nearest A&E department at Royal Bournemouth Hospital in a ‘safe time’.

She said: “For major trauma, strokes, maternity, they are putting people in Swanage at risk of increased fatility and life long disabilities and it’s just not acceptable.”

Swanage town councillor Avril Harris handed over the signed petition to chief officer of NHS Dorset CCG Tim Goodson.

She said the signatures were gathered after a great community effort. Councillor Tia Roos from Weymouth was also there to show her support and commended the effort.

Mr Goodson welcomed the response from the community.

He said: “As we have been clear about since the start of the Clinical Services Review, any final decisions will only be made once we have considered the feedback we receive during the consultation period. We recognise that people are passionate about their local services and with only a week to go we are reminding people not to miss out on the opportunity to have their say about the proposals by visiting csr.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk or by picking up a copy of the consultation document.”

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Compensation bill tops £21.6million at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust

Compensation bill tops £21.6million at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Clinical claims at a north Essex hospital trust have cost just over £21.6million, an East Anglian Daily Times investigation has revealed.

According to figures from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), claims made by patients or their families led to Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust footing a £7,651,097 compensation bill in the 2013/14 financial year.

The payouts, which represent compensation costs and include damages, defence and claimant fees, are less than the £7,869,537 total from 2014/15. Last year’s bill was £6,110,058.

Of the 91 successful claims received by the NHSLA in the past three years, some have been brought for unnecessary operations, unnecessary pain and fatalities.

Colchester MP Will Quince said: “One mistake is one too many. Mistakes are inevitably made as it is a human business, but they are not acceptable.

“I know new measures are in place now for reporting such incidents in the NHS, it is becoming more like the airline industry in that more focus is put on learning rather than blaming.

“These compensation claims are often seen in maternity units, because ultimately the mistake made there will affect the child for the rest of their life. Therefore the hospital’s output pays for extended care, say, if the child had cerebral palsy, they would be paying for everything that comes with that. It would be interesting to see how Colchester compares with the rest of the country when it comes to these figures.”

A total of 33 successful claims were made in 2013/14, followed by a slight increase to 34 in 2014/15. The last financial year saw 24 successful claims.
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NHS blames 'winter pressures' as trusts report deficit of £886m

NHS blames 'winter pressures' as trusts report deficit of £886m | nhswatch | Scoop.it
NHS trusts have reported a deficit of £886m in the first nine months of the financial year and are likely to miss their overspend target, figures show.

While the sum owed by NHS trusts is down from the record overspend of £2.45bn in 2015/16, the health service is not on track to meet a year-end deficit target of £580m.

Some 135 out of 238 trusts were in deficit at the nine-month point, according to data from NHS Improvement.
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The figures cover hospitals, ambulances, mental health units and community services, although most of the deficit was in hospitals.

NHS Improvement said trusts were experiencing “one of the most challenging winters on record due to a huge increase in the demand for urgent and emergency care”.

Some 5.34 million patients attended A&E between October and December, which is 200,000 more than the same period the previous year.

Hospitals saw a 3.5 per cent increase in the number of patients requiring major further in-hospital treatment.

“This intense demand for emergency treatment coupled with a significant reduction in bed availability has led to providers collectively underperforming against several key national healthcare standards, and having to postpone some planned care,” NHS Improvement said.

It said this was compounded by delayed discharges of people who were medically fit to leave hospital due to problems arranging social care.

The year-end forecast deficit for the NHS is now £873m.

The NHS Improvement report said despite extra effort “the current forecast deficit remains significantly higher than that planned. This is both unaffordable and unsustainable”.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, said: “NHS providers are treating more patients than ever before, which is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of their staff.

“But times are extremely challenging, and things are unlikely to get any easier in the short term.

“However, we're fully committed to helping providers improve their services for patients now and tomorrow.”

NHS Providers expressed concern that the latest figures rely heavily on one-off savings that cannot be made in the future.
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Hospital cuts planned in most of England - BBC News

Hospital cuts planned in most of England - BBC News | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Plans have been put forward to cut hospital services in two-thirds of England, a BBC analysis shows.

The proposals have been made by local NHS bosses as part of a national programme to transform the health service and save money.

They include everything from full closures of hospitals to cutting some specialist services such as accident and emergency and stroke care.

Ministers argue patients will receive better care in the community.

Alongside cuts to hospital care, the proposals also set out visions for better care outside of hospitals, including:

Bringing community services such as GP, council-run care and district nursing together into "super" hubs
Getting GPs working together in federations to improve access in evenings and weekends
Asking hospital specialists to work in community clinics to bring expert care closer to people's homes

But a review of the plans by the King's Fund think tank warned they were not always credible because there were not enough services outside of hospitals and there was a lack of money to invest in more.

It warned community services were already "feeling the strain" and could not currently cope with an increase in workload.

And the King's Fund said further reductions in the number of hospital beds could de-stabilise services that were already "stretched to their limits" following the difficult winter.

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NHS Foundation Trust announces preferred suppliers for digital platforms

NHS Foundation Trust announces preferred suppliers for digital platforms | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) has confirmed Epic Systems Corporation as the preferred supplier for its electronic patient record (EPR) system and Aridhia Informatics as preferred supplier for its research and innovation platform.

The Trust will work with Epic to develop and implement the new EPR, as part of its wider clinical transformation programme. The system will support clinicians by allowing access to information rapidly and from a single place, reducing the amount of time spent on administration and releasing more time for clinical care.

The EPR will have a child and young person friendly portal, which is age appropriate. This will make the lives of patients and their families easier by giving them the ability to book appointments online and access other relevant health and well-being information.

The Trust will work with Aridhia on the research and innovation platform, enhancing the way researchers access data. This will drive its ability to translate research into clinical practice to further the development of life changing treatments and cures.

Shankar Sridharan, Chief Clinical Information Officer and Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist said: “We are really excited to partner with Epic. The implementation of a paediatric hospital EPR system at GOSH will change the way we work as clinicians, helping us to deliver holistic care for our complex patients and facilitate communication with families”.

Speaking on the research and innovation platform, Chief Research Information Officer and Professor of Paediatric and Developmental Pathology Neil Sebire commented: “The Aridhia research and innovation platform will transform the way in which we manage our research projects, providing a rich source of data that will underpin pioneering research of national and international significance.”

Almost 200 staff across the hospital contributed to the procurement process, alongside patient and parent representatives.
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NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association

NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association | nhswatch | Scoop.it

The NHS is at “breaking point” with a decline in the number of hospital beds leading to delays and cancelled operations, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.
Charities call for NHS to stop rationing critical care
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Analysis by the BMA found the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006-07 and 2015-16. The report found that in the first week of January this year, almost three-quarters of trusts had a bed occupancy rate of 95% on at least one day.

According to the analysis, in 2000 there were an average of 3.8 beds per 1,000 people, but this had dropped to 2.4 beds by 2015. The report said that in November 2016 14.8% of patients spent more than four hours waiting for a hospital bed, having been seen in an A&E department.

“The data demonstrates the increasing pressures on the system. It provides evidence of the underlying cracks within the NHS, such as funding constraints, changes and increases in demand, disjointed care and workforce pressures,” the BMA report said.

It noted that pressures on mental health services were particularly acute, with a 44% decrease in the number of mental health beds since 2000-01.

The document was seized on by opposition politicians, with Labour saying it was a “wake-up call [that] Theresa May must not ignore” and the Liberal Democrats warning the situation was becoming “intolerable”.

The BMA’s chairman, Mark Porter, said: “The UK already has the second lowest number of hospital beds per head in Europe and these figures paint an even bleaker picture of an NHS that is at breaking point.

“High bed occupancy is a symptom of wider pressure and demand on an overstretched and underfunded system. It causes delays in admissions, operations being cancelled and patients being unfairly and sometimes repeatedly let down.

“The delays that vulnerable patients are facing, particularly those with mental health issues, have almost become the norm and this is unacceptable. Failures within the social care system are also having a considerable knock-on effect on an already stretched and underfunded NHS.

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Cancer charity welcomes NHS u-turn on second stem cell treatments

Cancer charity welcomes NHS u-turn on second stem cell treatments | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Cancer campaigners have welcomed an NHS announcement that money may soon be available for a potentially lifesaving treatment it had previously refused to pay for.

The health service in England said on Sunday it was “confident” it would soon be able to announce funding for second stem cell treatments for blood cancer patients who have relapsed after an initial transfusion.

It came as the Anthony Nolan charity called on health secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene on behalf of patients following a decision by the NHS last summer to refuse to pay for the second transfusions, saying they were more expensive and less effective than other drugs and treatments.

On Sunday night an NHS England spokeswoman: “Last year medical experts ranked other new treatments as higher priority for new funding, but heading into the year beginning April 2017 we are confident the NHS will shortly be able to confirm funding for a further expansion of new treatments including second stem cell transplants.”

Anthony Nolan said it was “very welcome” news.

Chief executive Henny Braund said: “While it has tragically come too late for patients who have been denied this lifesaving treatment in the past year, this decision by NHS England will ultimately mean in future, patients and families can be reassured that they will now be able to receive the appropriate treatment should their blood cancer return.”

In a poll of 1,700 people carried out by Populus on behalf of the charity, 66% of respondents said patients who relapsed after their first treatment should be given a second round, and almost half said it was unacceptable for friends or family to have to foot the bill. Almost six in 10 said the government was not doing a good enough job of making sure the NHS had the money to fund the treatments people needed.

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New group to oversee NHS Digital data releases

New group to oversee NHS Digital data releases | nhswatch | Scoop.it
NHS Digital has announced the setting up of a new body – the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) - to oversee its release of sensitive data.

Stephoscope on laptop keyboardIt is replacing the Data Access Advisory Group (DAAG) with a brief to improve accountability, quality and consistency in releasing a wider range of data, and a remit to increase transparency.

A spokesperson for NHS Digital said that IGARD will have the responsibility for scrutiny over all of the data disseminated by the organisation, whereas DAAG provided advice only on data from Hospital Episode Statistics and the Mental Health Minimum Data Set.

The new body will be chaired by Chris Carrigan, a specialist in cancer data and information, and includes experts from the medical, data and legal professions.

Other members have been drawn from a number of fields, with six coming from specialisms including clinical ethics and military health, and three lay members. They will work independently of NHS Digital and are on IGARD as individuals rather than representatives of other organisations.
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East Devon NHS campaigners set to march on Parliament

East Devon NHS campaigners set to march on Parliament | nhswatch | Scoop.it
A coach has been organised for those wanting to attend the event, which will be leaving Honiton at 7.30am, on Saturday, March 4, from Smiley Café.

A spokesman said: “The march is being organised by Health Campaigns Together and The People’s Assembly.

“They are representing active groups across the country, all campaigning for more funding and to keep the NHS public.

“People will assemble in Tavistock Square at noon and march to Parliament Square.”

A seat on the coach will cost £25, or £12 for unwaged students and the unemployed.

It will be setting off from near the Bedford Hotel, Sidmouth at 6.30am, School Lane, Sidford at 6.45am, the bus stop outside Newton Poppleford church at 7am and Ottery St Mary Church at 7.15am.

Passengers can pay in cash on the coach or by BACS transfer or cheque, if they email coach@eastdevonalliance.org.uk.
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‘Bedblocking’ is stifling our hospitals. But there are ways to ease the burden | Anna Bawden

‘Bedblocking’ is stifling our hospitals. But there are ways to ease the burden | Anna Bawden | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Lilian Hemsley, 86, was admitted to Queen’s Medical Centre on the outskirts of Nottingham on 30 December following a fall. Seven days later she was able to return home to Chilwell, south Nottinghamshire with a package of help in place. “The social workers were fantastic,” she says. “I had to have my bed moved downstairs and a commode – I wasn’t allowed home until they were sorted out. But they did it really quickly.” Following some interim homecare, Hemsley is getting help washing and dressing in the morning for four weeks through Nottinghamshire county council’s reablement service. She will soon be assessed for ongoing care needs.

But as last week’s figures from NHS England show, Hemsley was one of the lucky ones. All too often patients are stuck in hospital waiting for a social care package, even though they are fit to go home, including 89-year-old Iris Sibley, whose six months in Bristol Royal infirmary was widely reported. In December alone, across England, the number of patients who were officially recorded as stuck in hospital when they could have been discharged topped 6,000, while the number of delayed transfers of care days reached 195,286.

The issue of patients being fit to leave hospital but not able to be discharged – sometimes called “bedblocking” – costs the NHS some £800m a year. It leads to hold-ups in A&E as people are prevented from having operations and moving into wards. It also has an impact on elective surgery. About 70,000 delayed discharges were caused by social care provision not being in place either in the patient’s home or in nursing homes or residential care. As delayed transfers of care are very tightly defined, the true extent of patients remaining in hospital when they are fit to leave is widely believed to be much higher.

According to research by the Nuffield Trust, the number of patients delayed because they were waiting for a care package to be available at home or in a nursing home had risen 172% and 110% respectively since November 2010.

But Nottinghamshire is bucking the trend. Whereas in December, English councils were on average each responsible for 456 days’ delayed transfer of care, Nottinghamshire county council was responsible for just 65 days’ delay – none of them at Nottingham University hospitals trust, which runs QMC and the city hospital.

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