Monday, 13 February 2012

Debbie thrilled to win Queen’s Nurse Award

Debbie thrilled to win Queen’s Nurse Award:

Multiple Sclerosis nurse Debbie Quinn says she is thrilled after finding out she is set to be presented with the prestigious Queen’s Nurse Award. Evening Telegraph

Renewed partnership agreement between health unions, employers and government published

Renewed partnership agreement between health unions, employers and government published:
The agreement provides a guiding set of principles for the department, employers and unions to work together at national, regional and local levels. By adopting the principles set out in the partnership agreement, all parties agree to recognise and respect each other’s roles and functions, which are distinct but complementary. NHS Networks

Practice list clean-up could save millions

Practice list clean-up could save millions:

As many as a million non-existent patients are registered with GPs, according to official estimates. These "ghost" patients account for on average 5% of practice lists across England
but as many as 30% in some PCT areas. This so-called list inflation results in unfair distribution of resources. PCC has produced a briefing explaining the scale of the problem and suggesting practical measures for tackling it. NHS Networks

Personal health budgets update – Winter 2012

Personal health budgets update – Winter 2012:

A pilot programme involving around half the primary care trusts in England is currently underway to test out personal health budgets in the NHS. The Winter 2012 edition of the personal health budgets newsletter has been published by the Department of Health and includes information on:

  • personal health budgets update – Winter 2012

  • personal health budgets and NHS continuing healthcare

  • personalisation: learning from others

  • personal health budgets peer network and new peoplehub

  • interviews with people who have a personal health budget

  • programme milestones

  • update on SEND pathfinder programme for children and young people

VIDEO: Lansley hits back over NHS bill

VIDEO: Lansley hits back over NHS bill: Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says the government is "committed" to the NHS bill, amid reports that three Tory cabinet ministers have concerns. BBC News

'Fresh debate' needed on donation

'Fresh debate' needed on donation: Society should have a fresh debate on organ donation, according to a new report by the British Medical Association. BBC News

Pension strike threat as union prepares to ballot members

Pension strike threat as union prepares to ballot members: Health union Unite has warned that strike action is a 'real possibility' unless ministers back down on plans to cut NHS pensions. GP Online

Medicines security audit results

Medicines security audit results:

The Department of Health is asking all NHS acute hospitals to submit results of recent audits of their compliance with published standards for the safe and secure handling of medicines. This is in response to recent concerns about the handling of medicines in hospitals, and to support patient safety. The results of the audits, together with any remedial action plans, should be returned to the Care Quality Commission by 31 March 2012.

The firm that hijacked the NHS: MoS investigation reveals extraordinary extent of international management consultant's role in Lansley's health reforms

It has earned at least £13.8million from Government health policy since the Coalition took office – and the Bill opens up most of the current £106 billion NHS budget to the private sector, with much of it likely to go to McKinsey clients.

Read more

NHS productivity has risen in 10 years says study

NHS productivity has risen in 10 years, says study:

Paper published in Lancet says taxpayers have got more for their money out of the NHS, undermining government claims

NHS productivity has "almost certainly" risen in the past decade, with taxpayers getting more out of the health service for every pound spent – undermining one of the government's key arguments for its reforms, according a new paper.

In a paper published in the Lancet, Nick Black, professor of health services research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that although the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, claimed NHS productivity had fallen 15%, the opposite was almost certainly the case.

"Despite such confident statements, rather than declining, the productivity of the NHS has probably improved over the past decade," Black said. "To justify the reforms to the NHS that the Conservative party wanted to introduce, the claim of declining NHS productivity was necessary."

Black, who is an adviser to the Department of Health and is widely respected across the political spectrum, challenged the view that productivity in NHS hospitals had dropped by 1.4% a year despite the budget swelling from £60bn in 2000 to £102bn in 2010.

When the figures were produced by the public accounts committee last year, David Cameron taunted Labour for "doing nothing" while the coalition was "reforming the NHS".

However, Black produces a slew of evidence that questions the analysis of the Office of National Statistics used to work out the productivity of the health service. The ONS looked at the return for taxpayers by comparing public expenditure with how much patients used the health service and what the outcomes were.

Black's work, the first of its kind, argues that the measures the ONS used do not reflect the substantial improvements in NHS care. It points out that between 2000 and 2009, such were the advances that a baby born in 2009 could expect to live three years longer than one born in 2000.

Black says far fewer people were dying in specialist procedures in the NHS. He notes declines occurred in adult critical care (2.4% a year), dialysis (3.3% a year), and coronary artery bypass surgery (4.9% a year).

Patients' experience of how they were treated also improved. There were annual relative increases in the proportion of patients treated within four hours in accident and emergency departments (2.5% a year) and in the numbers operated on within 28 days of their operation having been cancelled for non-clinical reasons (10.4% a year).

Such was the NHS's popularity that in the annual British Social Attitudes survey, 70% of respondents reported they were overall satisfied with the NHS. This was the highest figure ever recorded by the long-running survey – the lowest was 34% in 1997, at the end of the Conservatives' 18-year tenure in office.

Black accepts that pay rose for frontline staff in the NHS but says this does not mean money was wasted. "The myth is that lots of extra money went into the NHS and productivity went down. Easy to see why if you pay a surgeon 30% more and he still works the same number of hours, clearly you think productivity went down. But this neglects quality improvements which you can measure."

The paper does not put a figure on the rise in NHS productivity, and Black said this would need more work. "It's beyond the scope of this work. However I am certain NHS productivity did not drop."

Such is the prevalence of the idea that cash was poured into the NHS with little to show that, said Black, "many high-ranking Department of Health officials were very surprised by my data".

The Department of Health responded with a statement from the health minister Simon Burns. He said: "We have always been clear that productivity in the NHS needs to improve and are committed to better outcomes for patients across the country.

"We are investing an extra £12.5bn in the NHS, but we want to make every penny count. We know the NHS can meet this challenge – we have already made £7bn in efficiency savings over the last 18 months as performance has improved: record low infection rates, mixed-sex wards down by over 90% and people waiting over a year reduced by half."

Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said: "This analysis is hugely embarrassing for the prime minister. It demolishes an anti-NHS argument that Cameron and his ministers have repeatedly trotted out. Far from falling, NHS productivity increased in the last decade at the same time as the NHS was achieving record patient satisfaction. It is this successful NHS that, inexplicably, is being turned upside down by the Tory-led coalition.

"But, as well as destroying their arguments, this analysis exposes the prime minister's duplicity on the NHS. Professor Black explicitly criticises the Tories for propagating a myth that NHS productivity was declining to create a false justification for their health and social care bill." The Guardian

Only one in four supports health reforms, claims study.

Only one in four supports health reforms, claims study.: Only one in four people supports the Government's controversial health reforms, according to a trade union study. The Daily Telegraph

NHS managers want to limit Freedom of Information requests

NHS managers want to limit Freedom of Information requests: NHS managers are seeking to limit the public's ability to use the Freedom of Information Act by making them pay for all but the most minor of queries. The Daily Telegraph

Falling productivity in the NHS is a 'myth'

Falling productivity in the NHS is a 'myth': Extra money pumped into the NHS has not been wasted and claims of a reduction in productivity in the health service is a myth, experts have suggested. The Daily Telegraph

Sectioned patients' deaths 'hide failures'

Sectioned patients' deaths 'hide failures':

Five mentally ill people are dying in hospital every week on average amid claims that failures are being covered-up and lessons not being learnt. The Independent

Perspectives on ageing series

Perspectives on ageing with a learning disability:
This Perspectives paper from the Joseph Rowntree Trust explores what people with learning disabilities and their families have to say about getting older, their experiences and feelings, and what is most important to them in later life.

Cally Ward gathered views from a range of people with learning disabilities, who often have high levels of unmet health needs as a result of the inequalities they have experienced in the health system: read more

This is one of a number perspectives on ageing papers that also includes: