Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Nearly 40 NHS Northamptonshire back room staff lost jobs or took redundancy in 16 months

Nearly 40 NHS Northamptonshire back room staff lost jobs or took redundancy in 16 months:

REDUNDANCY money worth more than £1million has been handed out to NHS staff since health secretary Andrew Lansley visited Northampton and launched the handover of NHS services to GPs in 2010. Northampton Chronilce and Echo

Revised guidance on Clostridium difficile issued

Revised guidance on Clostridium difficile issued:

The Department today issued revised guidance on how to test, report and manage C. difficile infections. In particular, the new guidance will help healthcare providers by identifying which two types of tests, which when used in combination, will deliver the most accurate results for C. difficile infection testing.

The guidance includes a testing algorithm that provides a step-by-step means of optimising performance, with the ability to clinically categorise patients with much greater accuracy.

It sets out:

  • who should be tested and the type of samples that should be taken;
  • the types of tests that should be used for detecting infections, and
  • what healthcare providers should do, depending on the outcome of the tests.

The updated guidance on the diagnosis and reporting of Clostridium Difficile provides a cost-effective and evidence based way of improving the accuracy of testing for the infection, and delivering better patient management and care. Department of Health

Extra funding to pay for new health equipment and buildings

Extra funding to pay for new health equipment and buildings:

More than £330 million of extra funding will be spent on providing state of the art equipment and facilities to improve services for patients in England, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.

Hospitals around the country will get funding for facilities and services such as:

  • urgent care facilities, including operating theatres and a new accident and emergency department

  • CT scanners and ultrasound equipment

  • a new paediatric unit and a dedicated women and children’s unit

  • improved maternity services and equipment, including a new labour suite and ultrasound equipment

  • improved cancer care and screening, increasing women’s access to breast screening equipment

Read the press release.

See the breakdown of spending by strategic health authority (SHA), by type and by region.

Extra cash found for NHS services

Extra cash found for NHS services: A host of new building projects, including upgrades to maternity and A&E units, has been unveiled by ministers. BBC News

Huge gulf in diabetes amputations

Huge gulf in diabetes amputations: Leg amputation rates for people with diabetes are 10 times higher in some parts of England than in others. BBC News

Care homes 'lacking NHS services'

Care homes 'lacking NHS services': Vulnerable people in care homes may be struggling to get access to GPs and routine medicines in England, a review suggests. BBC News

Exclusive: PCT funding failure hits dementia care

Exclusive: PCT funding failure hits dementia care: Memory services crucial to cutting the billion-pound burden of dementia on the NHS are being critically underfunded, a GP investigation has found. GP Online

The medical leadership competency framework: self assessment tool

The medical leadership competency framework: self assessment tool:

This tool helps doctors and medical students review their leadership skills. It consists of a series of multiple choice questions based on leadership qualities, after which users can choose to generate an action plan to develop their skills and are also given access to a range of materials to support their leadership skills development.

The best of clinical pathway redesign - practical examples delivering benefits to patients

The best of clinical pathway redesign - practical examples delivering benefits to patients:

This publication showcases some of the innovations that have enabled thousands of patients to enjoy better health and well-being thanks to practical service improvements implemented on various clinical pathways.

NHS Commissioning Board to take over NHS IT strategy

NHS Commissioning Board to take over NHS IT strategy:

Assent for health and social care bill would see NHS Connecting for Health pass responsibility for informatics to NHS Commissioning Board

Responsibility for NHS IT strategy could fall to the NHS Commissioning Board from next year.

Alan Perkins, the resources and transition director at NHS Connecting for Health, told the public sector efficiency expo in London that the new arrangements "are going to be established in 2012 for implementation in April 2013" subject to parliamentary process and the health and social care bill getting royal assent.

The NHS Commissioning Board would replace the current lead on NHS informatics, NHS Connecting for Health, and provide a "whole range of things from policy through to strategy, to delivery and even ownership of some systems".

The NHS Commissioning Board, which currently exists as a special health authority, would also commission IT for delivery on a national basis from a separate "lean organisation".

Perkins said that where there is a need for a single IT system across the NHS nationally, the DH will continue to provide it, but that the department intends to stimulate a "vibrant healthcare marketplace" for technology locally - "quite a significant change from where we have been in the past", he added.

"For those local systems, the thinking is that each provider will be responsible for their own requirements, although providers might choose to work together and share systems, securing better value for money."

Policy around health and social care informatics will be governed by a small team within the Department of Health, Perkins said. Guardian Professional.

NHS forgetting needs of care home residents, warns review

NHS forgetting needs of care home residents, warns review:

Study shows medical care neglected in some districts with patients waiting for up to 18 weeks for health checks

The healthcare needs of older care home residents are being neglected in some areas of the country, according to a review published by the British Geriatrics Society and the Care Quality Commission.

Most primary care trusts plan healthcare for their local population by assessing the needs of people who live in their own homes – so elderly people living in care homes may be out of sight and out of mind. The BGS says PCTs "do not accord sufficient priority" to their health needs.

There are 376,250 older people living in 10,331 care homes in England and many are frail and vulnerable, with more health needs than most of the population. Around 40% have dementia, many are on cocktails of medication, and the average lifespan when they get to a care home is one to two years.

"The NHS disengaged from care homes when they became private sector nursing homes," said Prof Finbarr Martin, BGS president and co-author of the report, Quest for Quality. "The NHS disengaged except for the statutory responsibility to provide GPs.

"Care home residents have potentially become disenfranchised from a lot of community health services they would expect to get if they were in their own homes. There is an assumption that they are taken care of. The NHS, if it is about patient-centred care and equitable access, has to look at care home residents and meet their needs."

If the health needs of this vulnerable elderly population are not properly met, they end up in hospital instead, he said.

Data on the healthcare provided to residents was collected by the CQC, which has the job of monitoring standards in care homes, but analysed by doctors from the BGS. They found that the amount of NHS care offered to people varied widely.

Elderly residents had access to a geriatrician who could take an overview of their complex age-related health problems in only 60% of PCTs, the analysis shows.

The residents needed a whole range of medical services, including mental health teams, dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, continence, falls and tissue viability (dealing with wounds, pressure sores and ulcers). Only 43% of PCTs made all of these available to care home residents. Where the services were available, it could take a long time for an elderly person to be seen – sometimes as long as 18 weeks, which could lead to a deterioration in health.

"The fault in many cases is not with care homes but with those responsible for ensuring that the NHS plays its part in ensuring that healthcare needs of residents are met," says the BGS.

It wants local health service commissioners to agree clear service specifications with hospitals and other providers.

"It is evident that while there are pockets of excellent NHS care, such as in Sheffield, Leeds or south Manchester, there are striking geographical differences," said Martin.

"It is unacceptable to leave people waiting for over three months to receive treatment that could significantly improve their quality of life, especially when you consider that the average life expectancy of an older person entering a care home is between one and two years.

"It is time that commissioners and health service planners matched their obligations to ensure that the healthcare needs of this vulnerable group are adequately met."

The CQC also looked at how staff in a small sample of care homes dealt with the health needs of residents. They found good practice in most cases in identifying residents' medical needs and planning, but there were also problems.

Thirty-five per cent of homes said they "sometimes" had difficulties getting medicines to residents on time, and only 38% of care homes said GPs made routine visits, while 10% paid the GP surgeries to visit.

Under the health changes, the CQC no longer has responsibility for monitoring the work of commissioners. The British Geriatric Society says it is concerned to know "who is looking out for the needs of this very vulnerable group of older people. The Guardian

Cancer screening 'risks being a casualty of NHS reform'

Cancer screening 'risks being a casualty of NHS reform': Councils given public health funds by Lansley will spend it on potholes instead, experts warn . The Daily Telegraph

Delays in seeking treatment 'lead to cancer deaths'

Delays in seeking treatment 'lead to cancer deaths':

Nearly 40% of people who fear they might have cancer delay visiting a doctor because they are worried about what they will find, according to new research. The Independent