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Hospitals 'overcharging for care'

Hospitals 'overcharging for care' | nhswatch | Scoop.it
NHS money is being wasted by hospitals wrongly charging the health service for treating short-stay patients, a watchdog says.
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NHS delays leave thousands facing long wait for wheelchairs

NHS delays leave thousands facing long wait for wheelchairs | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Thousands of disabled people face long delays to receive an NHS wheelchair, the first official figures on the subject show.
Wheelchairs have come a long way – shame the NHS hasn’t
Lucy Webster
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One in five children who need a wheelchair are being forced to wait beyond the supposed maximum 18 weeks, as are almost one in six adults. Campaigners say the figures reveal a “postcode lottery” in provision across England.

Some 7,200 people who received a wheelchair between October and December had waited at least 19 weeks, despite the NHS Constitution guaranteeing access to one within 18 weeks.

NHS England does not record how long over the 18-week threshold patients have waited for a wheelchair. But the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK says it knows of young adults who within the past year had waited more than eight months.

The NHS England figures obtained by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) show that those with the greatest need for the equipment can face the longest waits.

Nic Bungay, director of campaigns at Muscular Dystrophy UK, told HSJ that long waits for a wheelchair appropriate for their needs were stopping young people “going out independently … and accessing university, work and friends”.

An estimated one in 50 Britons is believed to use a wheelchair to go to work or school, get to the shops, look after their children or undertake other tasks. The Wheelchair Alliance, led by Paralympic champion Lady Grey-Thompson, claims “great variation in ability to access assessment and obtain service provision”, as well as delays in receiving equipment and having it repaired, were affecting too many people.


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Unnecessary visitors to hospital's A&E department will be ordered home under new scheme

Unnecessary visitors to hospital's A&E department will be ordered home under new scheme | nhswatch | Scoop.it
RESIDENTS who attend Warrington Hospital's A&E department unnecessarily will be ordered home under a new scheme.

Patients who attend the emergency department when not necessary will be asked to go home by nurses.

Their GP surgery will then contact them on the same day.

Health bosses hope that the scheme will reduce pressure on the hospital's A&E department, with avoidable visits causing delays for patients who are in genuine emergencies.

Dr Jaish Puri, GP and clinical lead for urgent care at NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Our A&E only has the capacity to treat people who have serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions and ambulance should only be called in genuine emergencies.

"Please do not be offended if you attend A&E and your condition is judged to be suitable to be redirected elsewhere, such as your GP.

"Avoidable visits put a strain on our resources but with support from the public we can make sure that we keep it as free as possible for those who do have medical emergencies.

"If you are unsure, please call NHS 111 to help you decide."

Residents should utilise pharmacists, out-of-hours GP services and the urgent care centre at Halton Hospital if their condition is not life-threatening.

Dr Puri added: "In addition, avoidable A&E attendances are putting a strain on the hospital as a whole.

"We're already doing all we can to move our patients through A&E smoothly, but we need your help to ensure our sickest patients are seen as quickly as possible.

"Your actions could make all the difference to those who really need our care.

"Before you come along to A&E, please ask yourself could you wait for a GP appointment, would your local pharmacist be able to advise you or is there a walk-in centre you can visit?"
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Work begins on new £14.6m health facility for Inverurie

Work begins on new £14.6m health facility for Inverurie | nhswatch | Scoop.it

The state-of-the-art Inverurie Heath and Social Care Hub will feature 38 consulting rooms, almost double that of the current GP Practice, and initially serve more than 21,000 patients – making it the largest single health centre of its kind in the country.

NHS Grampian it will continue developing and the new facility to accommodate an estimated 30,000 patients by 2023.

At almost 4,000 m2, the two-storey building will include GP and community health facilities, a public dental surgery and a community maternity unit. It will also have diagnostic and treatment services such as X-ray and cardiology and provide outpatient facilities for a range of other specialities.

The turf was cut by NHS Grampian chairman Professor Stephen Logan alongside patient representatives Margaret Harrow and Bert Hosie.

Professor Logan said: “We are absolutely delighted that work is now underway. This marks a new era for health care in our area and it’s a moment that many people have worked tirelessly to make happen.

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Bed delay transfer figures reveal areas worst affected

Bed delay transfer figures reveal areas worst affected | nhswatch | Scoop.it

More than 2,500 hospital beds a day are taken up by patients whose release has been delayed due to problems in the social care system.

Analysis of official so-called "bed-blocking" statistics reveals the areas where the NHS is worst affected.

The Local Government Association said under-funded authorities had placed care providers under "huge pressure".

The government said the difference "of over 20 times between best and worst councils is unacceptable".

Although the NHS is responsible for most delayed transfers, the number attributable to social care has been increasing as well.

Out of 1.87 million delayed days between April 2016 and the end of January 2017, just over 1 million were down to the NHS. There were 635,000 where social care was responsible and 145,000 that were a mixture of both.


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Scarborough NHS to stop gluten free food prescriptions

Scarborough NHS to stop gluten free food prescriptions | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Gluten free food will no longer be available on prescription to adults in Scarborough and Ryedale from next month.

The Clinical Commissioning Group, which organises the delivery of NHS services in the area says stopping gluten free prescriptions will save around £60,000 a year.

It said it took the decision, mainly due to the significant increase in the quality, variety and availability of gluten free products in supermarkets.

Gluten free food is prescribed to people with Coeliac Disease, which is caused by intolerance to gluten.

When someone with Coeliac Disease eats gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of their intestine. It can be treated by cutting gluten out of the diet.

One in 100 people have the condition, but despite an increase in diagnosis, it's believed three quarters of sufferers go undiagnosed.

With gluten found in wheat, barley and rye it can be difficult to avoid especially when eating out, as even the smallest amount of gluten can cause severe illness.

Scarborough and Ryedale CCG is one of a number around the country to stop prescribing gluten free food on prescription.

The charity Coeliac UK says it is "extremely concerned" about the planned changes.
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Grimsby hospital trust put in special measures over £18m overspend

Grimsby hospital trust put in special measures over £18m overspend | nhswatch | Scoop.it

THE TRUST that runs Grimsby's hospital has been placed in financial special measures after overspending by £18 million this year.

NHS Improvement has forced North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (Nlag), one of three trusts nationally, into special measures with the trio failing to meet saving plans and forecasting a combined deficit of £145 million.

Nlag's forecasted deficit for the end of the financial year is £30 million, against a planned deficit of £12.2 million.

Nlag runs both the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital and Scunthorpe General Hospital and it is hoped by being placed in special measures, the Trust will be able to meet their saving plans in the future.

The NHS Improvement programme has saved the NHS around £100 million since it was introduced eight months ago.

Each trust will receive a package of support designed to achieve rapid financial improvement, while maintaining or improving their quality.

They will also agree a recovery plan with us and get support from – and are held accountable by – a financial improvement director. These are highly experienced NHS leaders or experts in supporting financial improvement in major organisations.

Two trusts that were in the first group to enter financial special measures last year have already improved enough to exit the programme.

Along with Nlag, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and the St George's University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have also entered the improvement programme.

From this point onwards, NHS experts will help the Trust to ensure that their financial system and controls operate effectively, so that money isn't being spent without proper checks and controls.


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Money spent on consultants could pay for 36 new nurses

Money spent on consultants could pay for 36 new nurses | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Union bosses and health experts have slammed as "outrageous" findings that reveal health bosses have forked out a whopping £17.6 million to management consultants who are drawing up strategies for Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).

Firms including KPMG, McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have made millions of pounds from the plans which earmark cuts to departments and could lead to the closure or downgrade of NHS hospitals.

The STPs have been created in 44 regions in a bid to revolutionise services while saving money in the face of an expected £900 million NHS deficit this year. The Press Association used the Freedom of Information Act to ask clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) how much has been spent on management consultants to formulate the plans.

Staffordshire had the fifth highest spend in the list of regions, with £783,810 spent on consultants, which could pay for 36 new fully qualified nurses, if recruited on a starting salary of £21,692 each.

The figures show £17,674,998 has been spent so far nationally, though the final bill is likely to be far higher. Eight out of 44 areas did not respond to the FOI request, while others only provided partial data.

Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: "It is very hard to see how the Government can justify spending millions on management consultants, some of whom advise on cutting nursing staff to save money.


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Record numbers of EU nurses quit NHS

Record numbers of EU nurses quit NHS | nhswatch | Scoop.it
The number of EU nationals registering as nurses in England has dropped by 92% since the Brexit referendum in June, and a record number are quitting the NHS, it can be revealed.
Nursing degree applications slump after NHS bursaries abolished
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The shock figures have prompted warnings that Theresa May’s failure to offer assurances to foreigners living in the UK is exacerbating a staffing crisis in the health service.

Only 96 nurses joined the NHS from other European nations in December 2016 – a drop from 1,304 in July, the month after the referendum.

At the same time, freedom of information responses compiled by the Liberal Democrats from 80 of the 136 NHS acute trusts in England show that 2,700 EU nurses left the health service in 2016, compared to 1,600 EU nurses in 2014 – a 68% increase.

The haemorrhaging of foreign staff is being blamed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on the failure of the government to provide EU nationals in the UK with any security about their future. May has claimed that Britain cannot act unilaterally to guarantee residency as it would weaken her hand in the coming article 50 negotiations over Brexit.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said the government’s tactic was backfiring, and now threatened the sustainability of the health service.
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NHS services face 'impossible' budget crisis, health trusts warn

NHS services face 'impossible' budget crisis, health trusts warn | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Frontline NHS services face “mission impossible” in meeting next year’s targets, health trusts have said.

Longer waiting lists for operations and delays at accident and emergency departments in England loom under the present financial constraints, said NHS Providers, a trade association that represents acute, ambulance, community and mental health services.

Chief executive Chris Hopson said the government needed to “sit up and listen”, the BBC reported. “NHS trusts will strain every sinew to deliver the commitments made for the health service. But we now have a body of evidence showing that, with resources available, the NHS can no longer deliver what the NHS constitution requires of it.

“We fear that patient safety is increasingly at risk.”

NHS Providers predicted its members would receive £89.1bn in funding in 2017-18, an annual rise of 2.6% but less than the 5.2% demand is expected to grow by.

It warned the number of people waiting more than four hours in A&E would increase by 40% next year to 1.8 million, and the number waiting more than 18 weeks for routine operations would rise 150% to about 100,000.

The NHS is already under strain in the wake of the Brexit vote. The number of EU nationals registering as nurses in England has dropped by 92% since the referendum in June, and a record number are quitting the NHS.

Only 96 nurses joined the NHS from other European nations in December 2016 – a drop from 1,304 in July, the month after the referendum.

The service is also facing a long-term failure to hire enough people. Applications for nursing courses plummeted by almost a quarter in a year after the government axed bursaries for trainees in 2016. Numbers fell by 9,990 to 33,810 in 12 months, according to figures released in February by the university admissions service Ucas. Meanwhile, one in three nurses is due to retire in the next 10 years and there are 24,000 nurse jobs unfilled, Royal College of Nursing figures show.

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Government spent £17.6m on consultants hired to draw up NHS cutbacks

Government spent £17.6m on consultants hired to draw up NHS cutbacks | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Firms including KPMG, McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have made millions of pounds from plans that could lead to the closure or downgrade of NHS hospitals.

Health bosses have spent at least £17.6m on management consultants to draw up the strategies, which earmark cuts to departments and some A&Es.

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been created in 44 regions in a bid to revolutionise services while saving money in the face of an expected £900m NHS deficit this year.

The Press Association used the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to ask clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) how much has been spent on management consultants to formulate the plans.

The figures show £17,674,998 has been spent so far, though the final bill is likely to be far higher.
Read more

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Eight out of 44 areas did not respond to the FOI request, while others only provided partial data.

Some of the biggest spends included south-west London, where bosses are reviewing services across five hospital sites.

Some £4,158,311 has been spent on management consultants to create the STP, including £1,807,340 to PwC for “programme support”. A further £477,715 was paid to PwC for “specialist commissioning work”, while Sirius received £50,399 for creating a “digital roadmap”.

In north central London, where STP bosses plan to “consolidate” services and are reviewing maternity and emergency surgery, £2,235,204 was spent on management consultants, including £360,000 to McKinsey for mental health modelling.

Some £267,336 went to Deloitte for financial planning, while Methods Advisory Ltd received £617,850 for “programme management office and strategy support”.

A further £282,518 was given to Hunter Healthcare Resourcing for “administrative support”.

In north-east London, where emergency services are under review, PwC received £395,500 for consultancy and Carnall Farrar was handed £150,000.

Meanwhile, in Northumberland, Deloitte was given £129,373 and also received £472,601 from STP bosses in Hampshire.

In Northamptonshire, McKinsey was paid £500,000 for “support for development of STP care models”, while Nottinghamshire bosses also paid £195,000 to McKinsey for management support.

They also paid £59,081 to People, Words and Pictures PR firm for “strategic and editorial communications support”.

KPMG was paid more than £1.2 million in total, according to the data, including £472,092 from Norfolk and Waveney STP bosses, £783,810 in Staffordshire and £26,393 in Hertfordshire for “cost modelling”.

But some regions, including Lincolnshire and Dorset, used existing staff to create their STP and did not rely on management consultants.

A report from the King's Fund think tank last year said some local health managers felt under pressure from NHS England to use management consultants.

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NHS Highland boss outlines vision for army of "local heroes" and creation of new care profession

NHS Highland boss outlines vision for army of "local heroes" and creation of new care profession | nhswatch | Scoop.it

The boss of NHS Highland has urged communities across the north to show “courage” as he unveiled his vision for a radical shake-up of health services.

David Alston called for a new army of “local heroes” to be recruited in rural areas, combining roles of retained firefighters, first-responders and health workers.

And the health board chairman outlined proposals to create an entire “new profession” of highly-skilled care workers to ease pressure on local GPs and nurses.

But he warned communities across the region that they must be prepared to show “courage” as much-loved services are reformed.

Mr Alston was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Press and Journal as he prepares to mark the end of his first year in charge.

He revealed that after financial uncertainty in recent years, the local NHS would come in on budget this year, but warned “fundamentally different ways of doing things” were being explored as an unprecedented £100million of cuts hit the service over the next three years.

The former Highland Council budget leader has spent his first year in the NHS job travelling the vast region, engaging with communities and other health boards, and has also gone on shift with hospital porters, care workers and other service providers.

He said the role was “privilege” which he was enjoying “tremendously”, not least because of the love and pride workers and the public feel for the NHS.

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NHS chief defends controversial Caithness maternity changes

NHS chief defends controversial Caithness maternity changes | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Controversial changes to maternity services in Caithness have been passionately defended by the head of NHS Highland.

Health board chairman David Alston said that “deep down inside” he believes the shake-up was the correct decision.

In 2015, NHS Highland lowered the threshold for sending expectant mothers to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness after the “potentially avoidable” death of a baby girl from the e.coli sepsis infection just 40 hours after being born in Wick.

Since then, there have been protests in Caithness as more and more expectant mothers are sent on the 100-mile journey to the Highland capital.

Mr Alston dismissed claims by campaigners that a move to turn the Wick maternity unit from consultant-led to midwives-led represented a “downgrade”.

He said: “I feel deep down inside we’ve made the right decision. The bottom line is that a baby died that shouldn’t have died. That happened because we made the wrong decision 12 years ago.

“That’s a mixed feeling that we got it wrong, but we put it right. And I refuse to accept that that is a downgrade in service. What kind of language are we talking if a safer service is a downgrading?”

Asked about numerous “horror stories” of trips from Caithness to Inverness going wrong in recent months, Mr Alston said: “The horror story is holding on when it’s inappropriate and not travelling down the A9, and that’s what happened when it went wrong.

“The key to it is good decision-making and assessment of risk. I think we’ve got an excellent team of midwives in Caithness. We need to support them and empower them, so that they make the decisions that they are trained to make, that’s how you lessen the risk.

“We do need to look at the partnership with the ambulance service, there are discussions, not just in Caithness but across the Highlands, about if there is an adequate resource.”
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Lib Dems call for 1p income tax rise to provide NHS funding boost

Lib Dems call for 1p income tax rise to provide NHS funding boost | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Income tax should be increased by 1p to deliver a £4.6bn boost to the struggling NHS while a long-term funding solution is found, the former Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb has said.

As the Lib Dems seek to woo traditional Labour voters and win back public trust, after being reduced to just nine MPs, Lamb will urge his party’s spring forum this weekend to back higher taxes to pay for health and social care.

“You have to be straight with the public about what you say you will raise and then do it,” he told the Guardian, in the wake of a government U-turn over the national insurance contributions rise that was proposed by Philip Hammond in last week’s budget.

He would like to see income tax increased by 1p immediately while a new system is phased in. Lamb has asked a committee of health experts to make recommendations, but he suggests rebranding national insurance and earmarking it for health and social care is likely to be his preferred solution.

“You can have a mature discussion about why this is necessary,” Lamb said. “The bottom line is: it comes down to our loved ones. That hour of need when there is that real anxiety that there may be a cancer and you are not sure if you will get treated on time – that is something most people will find intolerable. That stake we all have in a system that works properly is very powerful.”

Lamb leads a cross-party group of Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative MPs, including the chair of the health select committee, Sarah Wollaston, who recently met the prime minister and pressed her to put the funding of the NHS and social care on a more sustainable footing.

Theresa May has agreed the group can consult her health adviser, Dr James Kent – a former medical doctor turned management consultant. Lamb said he will make the case for a cross-party investigation, lasting roughly a year, into long-term reforms.

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Liverpool NHS bosses' 50% pay rises 'scandalous', says MP

Liverpool NHS bosses' 50% pay rises 'scandalous', says MP | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Pay rises of up to 50% for senior NHS managers in Liverpool have been described as "scandalous" by an MP.

Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chairman Nadim Fazlani got a £50,000 rise in 2014-15, Rosie Cooper's Freedom of Information request found.

Replying to the West Lancashire Labour MP during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Theresa May promised an investigation into the pay hike.

Liverpool CCG said its salaries were set within NHS England guidelines.

The prime minister told Ms Cooper that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had requested an investigation by NHS England.

An NHS England spokesman said they "will be looking into the matter raised" and a spokesman for the CCG said: "We will of course co-operate fully with any review."

Ms Cooper said: "Whilst the CCG were handing out these scandalous pay rises to reward themselves, the CCG stood by and allowed grotesque failings to occur at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust in which patients and staff were harmed by the culture of bullying and horrific management failures."

She added: "They are a law unto themselves. It is clear in Liverpool they can do as they please and believe they do not answer to anyone."

Most of the pay rises relate to the 2014-15 financial year when the chair's salary rose from approximately £105,000 to £155,000.
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Gwent NHS makes progress on plan to cut sepsis toll

Gwent NHS makes progress on plan to cut sepsis toll | nhswatch | Scoop.it
GOOD progress is being made in Gwent hospitals, says a health chief, on an ambitious plan to eliminate avoidable deaths and harm from sepsis.

Two years into the plan - focusing on testing and introducing a reliable process for recognising and responding to sepsis - more cases are picked up in A&E units, and a majority receive an agreed spectrum of treatment inside three hours.

The latter rate is at 60 per cent which, says an Aneurin Bevan University Health Board report “represents a high standard of treatment.”

And health board medical director Dr Paul Buss said the “’pick-up rate” for spotting sepsis in patients entering hospital has risen by 400 per cent.

Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to infection harms tissues and organs. If not spotted and treated early, it can cause shock, multiple organ failure, and death. It causes a minimum 37,000 deaths a year UK-wide, with around 1,800 in Wales.

Globally, effective systems to recognise and respond to sepsis have proved difficult to implement, due to its wide range of non-specific symptoms, which make it difficult to spot early.

Dr Buss said there has been a fall of around 20 per cent in deaths in Wales since the NHS here began to focus on it.
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Doctors and nurses praised for running from nearby hospital to help save lives in London terror attack

Doctors and nurses praised for running from nearby hospital to help save lives in London terror attack | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Three victims died at the scene, including a police officer, and another passed away in hospital after a terrorist mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into the Houses of Parliament and launching a frenzied knife attack.


More pictures in main article.

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Health bosses pay more than £500k on consultancy fees... in bid to save cash

Health bosses pay more than £500k on consultancy fees... in bid to save cash | nhswatch | Scoop.it

HEALTH bosses from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have spent more than £500,000 on strategies that could lead to the closure or downgrading of the area’s hospitals.

The Press Association used the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to ask clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) how much has been spent on management consultants to formulate the plans.

In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, £576,736 was spent – making it one of the top ten spending regions.

The consultants were tasked with formulating sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) in a bid to revolutionise services while saving money in the face of an expected £900 million NHS deficit this year.

One firm, Deloitte, received £472,601 from Hampshire STP bosses for “programme management and development”.

A further £63,960 was paid to MBI Health Consulting for “project management” work while MJMPR Consulting received £26,675 for “communications” work.

Consilium was paid £13,500 for “co-ordination and development” work.

Dr Mark Porter, pictured, chairman of the British Medical Association’s council, said: “It is outrageous that so much vital resources are being handed to consultancy firms for their part in delivering STPs which, ultimately, may never come to fruition.

“These figures are especially concerning given that everyone can see a huge crisis unfolding within our health service.

“The NHS is at breaking point, with record numbers of trusts and GP practices raising the alarm to say they already can’t cope.

“NHS Improvement has already admitted that it will pick and choose the parts of the plans it can actually put into action, which leads me to question whether all of this money handed out to private companies will simply be completely wasted.”


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South west London hospital closure threat after NHS bosses spend more than £4m on bed cutting plans

South west London hospital closure threat after NHS bosses spend more than £4m on bed cutting plans | nhswatch | Scoop.it

Health bosses have spent more than £4m on developing controversial proposals that could lead to the closure of a major south west London hospital.

NHS England has spent £4,158,311 on its sustainability and transformation plan (STP), a proposal expected to cut bed capacity at one of south west London’s five major hospitals - Kingston, Croydon, St George’s and Epsom and St Helier.

The money has been spent on paying managing consultants to draw up strategies across the country, with south west London incurring the biggest spends.

Some £1,807,340 was paid to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for “programme support” and a further £477,715 for "specialist commissioning work".

The figures, obtained through an FOI request, come despite numerous campaign groups and think tanks pointing to a growing crisis within the NHS.

This year Kingston Hospital has issued two warnings to residents to avoid using the service as it struggled to cope with increasing pressure.

Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association's council, said: 'It is outrageous that so much vital resource is being handed to consultancy firms for their part in delivering STPs which, ultimately, may never come to fruition.

"These figures are especially concerning given that everyone can see a huge crisis unfolding within our health service.

"The NHS is at breaking point, with record numbers of trusts and GP practices raising the alarm to say they already can't cope, and while frontline staff struggle to provide safe patient care in a service increasingly becoming unfit-for-purpose.”


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Minor injuries unit at Thurso hospital fully reopens

Minor injuries unit at Thurso hospital fully reopens | nhswatch | Scoop.it
The minor injuries unit (MIU) at Thurso’s Dunbar Hospital was closed completely over the weekend because of staffing shortages.

It reopened with a restricted hours service on Monday and returned to normal 24/7 service yesterday.

However, the health board warned yesterday it will continue to monitor the situation because of ongoing staffing problems.

Michelle Johnstone, NHS Highland’s area manager covering Caithness and Sutherland, said: “I can confirm that, as of today, we have been able to return the MIU at Dunbar back to its normal 24/7 service.

“However, we still need to recruit qualified nursing staff and so, until that happens, we shall be carefully monitoring staffing levels to ensure that we always provide a safe service.

“I would like to remind the public that the unit at Dunbar does not deal with anything serious or life threatening.

“That level of care is, and always has been, provided at Caithness General Hospital.”

She added: “I am grateful to the staff at unit for helping us to fully re-open so quickly, and I apologise to all concerned for any inconvenience.”

Posts at the unit have been advertised since before Christmas but the board has been unable to recruit staff with the necessary qualifications.

NHS Highland has said it will make extra efforts to re-advertise the posts in order to resolve the problems.
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Haworth dentist issues warning as tooth decay amongst children rises

Haworth dentist issues warning as tooth decay amongst children rises | nhswatch | Scoop.it
A HAWORTH dentist is warning that children with rotting teeth are future diabetics who will clog up hospital beds and other health services in the years to come.

Dr Tony Kilcoyne was speaking out after latest NHS figures revealed the number of tooth extractions in hospital for children aged four and under in Bradford district is rising.

Data on the Public Health England website shows 168 children under four in Bradford district had teeth taken out in hospital during 2015/16, slightly more than in 2014/15 when 156 procedures were carried out on that age group.

Dr Kilcoyne said rotting teeth in children so young is an “unnecessary tragedy” and could be prevented by tackling general ignorance about oral health.

England-wide, the 2015/16 number was 9,306. The number of under-fours having those procedures nationally has gone up by almost a quarter in the last decade, rising from 7,444 in 2006/7.

In Bradford there were also 215 hospital dental extractions among five to nine-year-olds in 2015/16, 111 among the ten to 14-year-old group and 107 among 15 to 19-year-olds in that same period.

Dr Kilcoyne said: “These children are the future diabetics who will be clogging up hospital beds, taking up NHS appointments and resources with other problems caused by too much sugar, hammering their ability to keep making insulin.

“It’s an unnecessary tragedy because it is totally preventable.”

Dr Kilcoyne is calling on NHS policymakers to listen to dentists calling for a three-pronged attack on bad oral health among children.

They want to see a five-year plan to reduce by a third the number of hospital extractions among the young which would include a countrywide national media campaign to education people on better care, getting the food industry to cut the amount of hidden sugars used in products and a new NHS contract rewarding decay prevention work.

Deputy leader of Bradford Council and portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, Cllr Val Slater said: “No child should have to have a tooth extracted because it’s decayed as it is an entirely preventable condition. I can’t believe any parent wants to put their child through the pain and discomfort associated with toothache, let alone having one removed in hospital.”
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NHS adviser on flop £800m contract had company wound up

NHS adviser on flop £800m contract had company wound up | nhswatch | Scoop.it

A senior adviser on a failed £800m NHS outsourcing contract had previously seen his own company go bust.

Martin Peat played a leading role in awarding the Cambridgeshire contract to provide care for older and disabled people - which collapsed after eight months - to UnitingCare in 2014.

His own consultancy company had folded in 2012, owing the taxman £40,000.

Mr Peat, who started a second company which was also wound up last year, declined to comment.

He had been the senior consultant working on the tender of the UnitingCare project on behalf of NHS business consultants, the Strategic Projects Team (SPT).

The SPT was paid nearly £300,000 for its advice on the project.

As its commercial director, Mr Peat worked on a number of projects across the health service between 2009 and 2015.


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NHS pledges to free up thousands of hospital beds by allowing home care

NHS pledges to free up thousands of hospital beds by allowing home care | nhswatch | Scoop.it
The Department of Health has pledged to free up hundreds of thousands of hospital beds which are currently taken up by bed-blockers by allowing more people to be treated in their own homes.

In the new NHS Mandate for the coming year, the government promised to reduce bed-blocking to 3.5 per cent, the equivalent of releasing more than 2000 extra beds a day.

Currently around 5 per cent of the 137,000 hospital beds in the NHS are taken up by people who do not need to be there but have nowhere else to go because of a lack of social care.

It means around 7,000 people are forced to wait in hospital when they should be at home or in care homes.

Under plans set out in the mandate the Department of Health said the targets would be met by ‘piloting hospital services to people in their own homes.’ A pilot being carried out in NHS South Worcestershire CCG sends patients home as soon as they no longer need care by sending out nurses to help with changing dressings, managing medication, washing and eating.

Healthwatch chair Jane Mordue said: “Across England, patients have told their local Healthwatch about the impact that delays and gaps in support when leaving hospital can have on them and their family.

With growing pressure on health and care services it is more important than ever that people are able to leave hospital with the support they need to get well and stay well, preventing unnecessary readmission to hospital.

“If the new target makes this happen, it will help improve thousands of people’s experience of care and reduce the financial and human cost caused when discharge goes wrong.”

The mandate also pledges to roll out evening and weekend GP services for 40 per cent of the country by next year, and ensure that all over-75s are given a same-day appointment if they need one.
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New drug shows promise in preventing heart attacks - Health News

New drug shows promise in preventing heart attacks - Health News | nhswatch | Scoop.it
The cholesterol drug that outperforms statins: Patients on the medication are '27% less likely to suffer a heart attack'," the Daily Mail reports.

The drug, evolocumab, makes the liver more effective at removing "bad" cholesterol from the blood.

But the Mail's headline is somewhat misleading, as evolocumab was given along with statins and not as a replacement for them.

The paper reports on a large trial of more than 27,000 participants at high risk of cardiovascular disease, some of whom had a previous history of events like a heart attack, who were already taking statins to reduce their cholesterol.

Participants across 49 countries were given either injections of evolocumab or an identical dummy injection (placebo) alongside their current statin.

They were followed up for two years. Researchers found evolocumab reduced the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack or stroke by 20% compared with those taking placebo. There were no serious side effects.

There were signs of a greater benefit over time, so longer follow-up would be useful to provide stronger evidence of an effect, and to also check there are no harms associated with taking the drug over a long period of time.

Overall, however, this research gives hope that this new drug has the potential to reduce cardiovascular events in people who have had an inadequate response to statins.

Current UK guidelines say evolocumab treatment should only be funded by the NHS if a person is at high risk of cardiovascular disease and has persistently high blood cholesterol levels.
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Extra protection for NHS staff who raise the alarm over patient care

Extra protection for NHS staff who raise the alarm over patient care | nhswatch | Scoop.it
Jeremy Hunt is to grant NHS whistleblowers extra legal protection in a major victory for the Daily Mirror.

The Health Secretary will unveil new rules today following our year-long probe into the treatment of medics who report poor care or safety issues.

The steps will ban discrimination against NHS whistleblowers seeking re-employment in the health service, and provide redress to those wronged through an employment tribunal.

The move is a huge boost for medics who risk their careers to expose wrongdoing in the NHS.

New regulations published today will prohibit discrimination against whistleblowers when they apply for jobs with hospitals, GP practices and other NHS employers.

And they will strengthen the legal recourse they can access if they believe they have been discriminated against because they have previously blown the whistle.

Tomorrow Mr Hunt will speak at the Learning from Deaths conference - the first of its kind - which will bring together NHS chiefs to improve how they learn from the deaths of patients.
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Shocking attacks on NHS staff prompts this drastic action

Shocking attacks on NHS staff prompts this drastic action | nhswatch | Scoop.it


Bodycams for Hull NHS security as nurses and doctors are spat at, bitten and abused 1,000 times.

Security guards are being fitted with body cameras at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill after more than 1,000 attacks on doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

Doctors, nurses, receptionists and hospital staff have been spat at, bitten, racially abused and had their faces gouged by patients, relatives and visitors.

Now, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is warning anyone caught on camera attacking or abusing an NHS worker anywhere in either hospital will be subjected to the full force of the law and hauled before the courts.

Edward McGee, security contracts manager at the trust, said: "I'm appalled by some of the things I've seen.

"Staff have been scratched, bitten, punched, kicked, been gouged at and spat on. And these assaults are recorded across the spectrum, not just in A&E.

Read more: Wife's moving tribute to biker Colin Walker killed by pensioner 'who lost concentration'

"Behaviour of this kind will not be tolerated and we will pursue every conceivable chance of prosecution.

"Our staff are here to help and treat people. They are not here to be abused and assaulted."

Figures show 1,045 assaults have taken place at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill since 2011/12. The number of attacks peaked in 2013/14, when 249 assaults took place.

Although assaults had dropped to 174 in 2015/16, there have been 233 assaults in the past year.

Of those, 167 were classed as "clinical assaults" where a patient assaulted a member of staff because of a medical condition such as dementia, hallucinations or an adverse reaction to medication.

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