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.
One in five older people exceeds recommended alcohol levels, experts say. And there are fears the “growing problem” could hit the overstretched NHS .
Alcohol Concern chief Jackie Ballard called for pricing per unit, and said: “Harmful drinking is a real issue for middle aged and older people, many of whom are regularly drinking above recommended limits, often in their own homes.
“These are the people who, if they develop alcohol-related illnesses, tend to require the most complex and expensive health care due to the mental and physical problems caused by drinking too much.
Almost half of British girls aged 17 to 21 have needed help with their mental health, according to findings published today from the Girlguiding 2015 girls’ attitudes survey. The results suggest that mental wellbeing is a major area for concern, with worries starting from as young as seven and escalating as girls get older.
Self-harming tops a list of health concerns for girls aged 11 to 21, closely followed by smoking, mental illness, depression and eating disorders. The results suggest that these concerns have changed dramatically over the past five years. In 2010, girls’ top three health concerns were binge drinking, smoking and drug abuse.
According to mental health charity YoungMinds, between 2001 and 2011 there was a 77% increase in hospital admissions of women under 25 due to self-harm.
The Girlguiding results also suggest that girls may be struggling to find the support they need, with 82% saying adults don’t recognise the pressure they are under and two-thirds of girls aged 17 to 21 saying mental health is awkward to talk about.
Do you like salad? You’re a fool. Not because bacon is better (although, of course, it is) but because salad vegetables are nutrition-lite, resource-guzzling, pseudo-healthy food crimes that enable the overconsumption of blue cheese dressing. If they aren’t bringing foodborne diseases to your table, they are being chucked, soggily, into the bin. Tamar Haspel, the Washington Post’s food columnist, made properly considered and intelligent versions of all these points yesterday, leading us to wonder what life would be like if we, as she suggests, started to think of salad as a resource-hungry luxury, rather than a wholesome staple.
Anti-smoking groups express concern over two-year delay but health minister says businesses need time to make changes before tobacco ban comes into place Smoking will be banned in the outdoor dining areas of all restaurants, cafes, take-away shops...
Heavier drinkers are more likely to be male, white, wealthier and better educated, researchers at King’s College London find A fifth of over-65s are drinking unsafe amounts of alcohol, posing a major risk to their health, experts have said.
As I took one of my patient's blood pressure, I inwardly winced. Here was a man in his late 30s who weighed around 18st and had already been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. His blood pressure was alarmingly high. Medically, he was obese, and he was putting his heart at risk.
'If you want to improve your health, you might want to think about losing some weight,' I told him, as gently as I could.
His response? 'Well, you could do with losing a few pounds too.'
It was a robust reaction and I was slightly taken aback - but he was right. Tipping the scales at over 17st, I too was morbidly obese. It wasn't 'a few pounds' I needed to lose but a few stone.
A North East NHS Trust has apologised to the wife of a man who was misdiagnosed twice and ended up dying of a blood clot that medical staff missed.
The apology comes after the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman released a report detailing 121 complaints made to the NHS and government departments across the UK – five of them in the North East.
The man, who was treated by the County Durham & Darlington NHS Trust, was misdiagnosed with cancer when he actually had a blood clot. He was then misdiagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, leaving the blood clot untreated.
At first I thought my patient had a bad case of thrush. How wrong I was. As student nurses, we pick one of our second-year placements and are advised to go into an area that interests us most. I chose to do a five-week stint in a sexual health clinic.
The former medical director of NHS Grampian claimed that public money was being “squandered” on hiring agency staff to plug a shortage of highly skilled medics in the north east.
Dr Donnie Ross, who led the health board from 1994-2001, said there was a “chronically high” consultant vacancy rate at the board which had resulted in a “dramatic increase” in the use of agency staff.
The costs on agency staff had risen from from £4.3million in 2009 to £12.5million last year, Dr Ross said.
The retired medic said that absences were being created in part by “bizarre” management practices which had led to a number of medics being suspended from duty.
NHS organisations have a problem with sickness: that of their employees. Health and Social Care Information Centre figures for English NHS trusts show that 4.44% of working days were lost to staff illness between January and March this year, up from 4.2% for the same period a year ago. The Office of National Statistics said the sickness rate across public sector healthcare for 2013 was 3.4%, compared with 3% in central government, 2.7% in local government and 1.8% in the private sector.
Like most large employers, NHS trusts and boards provide occupational health services to help employees when they are ill, with mental health problems including anxiety, stress and depression vying with musculoskeletal complaints as the biggest problem. But some are also helping their staff to avoid sickness in the first place.
New evidence links patient experience to staff wellbeing, and to a working environment that encourages good behaviour At NHS England we have been working for the past few years on understanding how compassion as a concept, value, belief or skill...
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is reviewing services at about 20 neonatal departments in hospitals and health centres across the country after discovering some were providing inferior care to babies born with health problems.
Professor Edward Baker, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Everyone has the right to care which is safe and effective, but we know from our inspections of maternity services there is a marked difference in the quality of the care provided.
"We want to highlight good practice so that it can be shared, but also to identify what is stopping hospitals from providing good or outstanding care." Neonatal units care for babies with problems in their first 28 days after birth.
The review will focus on hospital practice in relation to the management of new born infants whose health is deteriorating, particularly how they diagnose and manage high blood pressure and respiratory support technologies.
Delays in patients being treated and long waiting times in A&E at Russells Hall Hospital are among the reasons for the penalties.
It comes as the hospital looks to make cuts of £12million and reduce the workforce by 400 posts in two years. The fines are paid to Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the money is re-invested into patient care - but there are rules on what the money can be spent on.
A total of £1,444,500 was paid out in fines between April 2014 and March this year , which was down on the £1,611,403 bill in 2013/14. This adds up to £3,055,903 in two years.
The biggest penalties were for failing to get ambulances out on time after arriving at Russells Hall.
A third of the £1.1bn paid out by the NHS in compensation last year was handed to lawyers, with one firm submitting a £121,700 bill following a £5,000 claim.
The cost to the taxpayer is expected to rise to £1.4bn next year, with the NHS conceding that it faced an “increasingly difficult task” in managing the level of payouts.
In its annual report, the NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA) added that the behaviour of several law firms was causing concern, with large bills being submitted and a large number of unjustified claims being made.
Ian Dilks, the chair of the NHS LA, said: “The costs of litigation are placing a burden on NHS finances of a magnitude that was never imagined when the NHS LA was established.”
Mike McNamara's insight:
There are too many cases like this. NHS funding was never meant for this.
The elderly are being denied vital cancer treatments by doctors who make ‘snap decisions’ based on their age, a report warns today.
More than 80 per cent of older patients believe they suffer discrimination from the NHS.
Many say they have been personally overlooked for an operation or another procedure. Some were wrongly told by GPs they were too old for breast cancer screening or advised ‘not to worry’ about the early warning signs of prostate cancer.
GP and community pharmacy contracts need to be ‘aligned’ if plans for pharmacists to take workload off GPs are to be realised, the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has suggested.
Together with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the organisation has launched a consultation to gauge the views of the professions on a number of proposals including new contractual levers to encourage joint caring for patients.
Proposals include making making community pharmacists the main access point for patients with minor self-limiting conditions and the setting up of a ‘joint population health framework’ that would reward pharmacists for things like identifying patients with long-term conditions and managing these jointly with their GP.
The groups also suggest giving pharmacists access to patient records where the patient has requested it.
The consultation document, which comes after NHS England announced last month that it will invest £15m to recruit clinical pharmacists to work in GP practices, said NHS England should now ‘make clear’ its intention to drive joint working between GP practices and pharmacies by taking the ‘opportunity to align services and incentives in a way that delivers patient benefit’ rather than the current structure of ‘being competitive’.
The document said: ‘[T]his would be a helpful signal to both professions about their future role.’
Certain words can leave even the most stoic and poker-faced of us broken and twitchy.
When my wife Aurelie broached the subject with me earlier this year, she tried to use the word sparingly. Our discussions were brief, and ended with no plan of action, just a sense of impending dread. Weeks passed, and her discharge became blood. Blood became clots. Clots became haemorrhages. There was fatigue. Mood swings. Nausea. My wife became a pale imitation of herself.
An extra 1.2 million people have diabetes now than a decade ago, according to new figures – leading to a warning that its cost could “bankrupt the NHS”.
The number of those living with the condition has soared by 59.8 per cent since 2005, meaning more than 3.3 million now have it.
Diabetes UK, the charity that uncovered the official figures, says the data shows the public health situation is being allowed out to spiral “out of control”.
The increase means that more than five per cent of the UK population now has the condition.
The charity says that more than a third of diabetes patients in England and Wales do not receive the eight care processes recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) for preventing serious complications, such as amputations and strokes.
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