Thursday, 5 April 2012

Ambulance service set for big changes

Ambulance service set for big changes:
The region’s ambulance service is set for a radical overhaul as bosses attempt to turn round two years of sub-standard performance. Evening Telegraph

Report raises issues about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Report raises issues about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards:
The Care Quality Commission has published a report showing that the NHS needs better awareness of when and how to apply the Mental Capacity Act – Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA-DOLS) for patients. The safeguards are needed in all hospitals, for patients who may require restrictions such as restraint that may amount to a deprivation of liberty.
Primary care trusts continue to receive MCA-DOLS resources from the Department of Health to ensure that hospitals have effective safeguards and appropriate training, and that PCTs have independent ‘supervisory body’ functions.
PCTs will work both with commissioning groups and with local authorities to ensure an effective system of safeguards is embedded for the future.
David Flory, Deputy NHS Chief Executive, has written to PCT and NHS chief executives to draw attention to the issues raised in the CQC report.

The week: issue 242

The week: issue 242:
In this week’s edition, read about the Secretary of State’s letters to health and social care providers, highlighting the new powers and freedoms in the Health and Social Care Act. Also, see the publications section for a number of guidance updates. Happy Easter! Department of Health
Download ‘the week’: issue 242, 30 March – 4 April 2012 (RTF, 537KB)

GPs 'losing faith in NHS reforms'

GPs 'losing faith in NHS reforms': The number of GPs who believe the government's health reforms in England will improve patient care is falling, a BBC poll suggests.

Practice boundary abolition pilots to go ahead this month

Practice boundary abolition pilots to go ahead this month: The delayed pilots to abolish practice boundaries in three areas of England will begin at the end of the month, the DH has confirmed. GP Online

'Extreme concerns' over NHS 111

'Extreme concerns' over NHS 111: Royal College of Nursing and Unison say hundreds of nurses' jobs are under threat, with risks to patient care Public Service

The NHS Performance Framework 2012/13 - implementation guidance

The NHS Performance Framework 2012/13 - implementation guidance:
This guidance sets out the Department of Health's approach to identifying underperforming NHS organisations and stipulates when intervention should occur in such organisations.

Quality accounts: 2011/12 audit guidance

Quality accounts: 2011/12 audit guidance:
This guidance sets out what trusts will need to do to support the audit of their 2011/12 Quality Accounts. The audit requirement applies to all NHS acute and mental health trusts that produce a Quality Account for 2011/12, as well as the Isle of Wight PCT.

Ambition for clinically-led NHS

Ambition for clinically-led NHS:
These letters from Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, set out what the Health and Social Care Act will mean for four key health and care organisations and their staff – clinical commissioning groups,  NHS foundation trusts, NHS trusts and local authorities.

High hip implant fail rate

High hip implant fail rate:

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said surgeons should not use a type of metal-on-metal hip implant.The MHRA advised that the implant's failure rate meant 10% had to be replaced within four years.It is believed that 270 people in England and Wales have had the implants fitted during surgery.The MHRA said doctors should monitor any patient who had received the implant. The implant,... Healthcare Today

Flu risk will increase at Olympics

Flu risk will increase at Olympics:

The Health Protection Agency has rejected claims that the 2012 Olympic Games in London will increase the risk of a flu pandemic spreading in the UK.
Analysts Maplecroft have ranked Britain as second only to Singapore for the speed at which influenza could spread, because of its dense cities and status as a global travel hub.
Its report said the large influx of visitors to the UK this summer would raise ... Healthcare Today

NHS reforms: what next for the health service?

NHS reforms: what next for the health service?:
The passing of health and social care bill is just the beginning, the real test lies in implementing the changes, says Anna Dixon
After many long nights spent debating the hundreds of amendments laid before them, members of the House of Lords will have breathed a huge sigh of relief that the health and social care bill has finally been granted royal assent. The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, will be equally relieved but for other reasons. His grand plans to redesign the NHS, developed during six years in opposition, have had a very difficult passage and, after much amendment, the final results are very different from the original.
Lansley's original aims were to liberate the NHS by giving patients more choice, clinicians more control and organisations greater freedom from central control and political interference. To achieve this, the bill was originally designed to establish a powerful regulator to promote choice and competition (the new Monitor), hand over commissioning budgets to groups of GPs, abolish layers of regional and local NHS 'bureaucracy,' and  hand over responsibility to more powerful independent bodies including the NHS commissioning board and Public Health England.
The reality is quite different. Monitor will tackle anti-competitive behaviour where this is not in the interests of patients and the public, but its more interventionist powers have been removed. Commissioning groups have more governance requirements and population responsibilities, need to be subject to more scrutiny by local authorities through health and wellbeing boards and have more stringent requirements on the handling of conflicts of interest. The Department of Health is in the process of downsizing and handing over responsibilities to various bodies, and the abolition of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities is well under way. However, the new structure of the NHS commissioning board suggests it will try to fill the gaps left behind with regional and local offices.
We know from our analysis of previous reforms that the real impact depends not on their design but on implementation. The task of implementation lies in the hands of others beyond government who may not share in the vision, may have their own priorities and interests, and may be influenced by other more powerful pressures. Whether these reforms deliver on the government's vision and have the desired impact of improving outcomes will depend on the actions of the newly created national and local organisations. Here I set out briefly the three priorities that face the implementers.
A new approach to commissioning: at national level the NHS commissioning board needs to set out a clear vision for commissioning that focuses on securing improvements in health and providing the best health care for local populations with the resources available. It needs to provide the tools for local commissioners to contract for services (not with organisations), to specify the standards and outcomes (not the means of delivering them) and currencies which transfer risk to providers with incentives to innovate and change to more effective models of care (not rewarding activity). At local level, clinical commissioning groups need to work closely with local authorities to ensure their focus is on outcomes for their local population. This sounds very complex – what it really means is they need to focus on transforming services locally, not on transactions and performance management of providers.
Establishing clinical and financially sustainable providers: at national level the NHS trust development authority, which has been set up to oversee the transition of all NHS trusts to become foundation trusts, needs to be given the freedom to restructure trusts that are not sustainable (rather than having to force mergers, which evidence has shown often result in poorer performance). Monitor will also need to act early to find solutions for foundation trusts that are no longer clinically and financially sustainable rather than waiting until providers are failing. Locally, the leaders of provider organisations need to recognise and make difficult strategic choices about their future sustainability. They need to be allowed to stop providing some services themselves and to develop innovative partnerships with other public, private and third sector organisations.
Balancing the benefits of choice and integrated care for patients: at national level Monitor will need to carefully balance the benefits of integrated care for patients with complex needs and the potential benefits of greater choice and competition. It needs to send a strong signal to local commissioners and providers about the importance of integrating care and explain how they can do this without breaching competition rules. Locally, commissioners will need to think carefully about the feasibility and desirability of applying competition to different types of services. They will need to offer a degree of choice and contestability but recognise that the majority of users have complex needs that span health and social care and physical and mental health.
In the face of these challenges, the real risk is inertia – that leaders in the system resist the reforms but in so doing resist change. The government has largely failed to win the support of the medical profession for the act – as it now is – and yet without their support it is difficult to see how they can make this work. The political debate about the act may be over but the political repercussions if the health and social care system does not change to meet the unprecedented challenges it faces will be great. Any failure to do so will firmly land at the government's door.
Anna Dixon is director of policy for the King's Fund  Guardian Professional.

Deaths from womb cancer rise by a fifth: Cancer Research UK

Deaths from womb cancer rise by a fifth: Cancer Research UK: More women are dying from cancer of the womb as diagnoses increase due to obesity, figures have shown. The Daily Telegraph

GPs confidence in NHS reforms 'halves'

GPs confidence in NHS reforms 'halves':
Confidence among GPs that the Government's NHS reforms will improve patient care has almost halved since they were first proposed, an opinion poll shows.The Independent

£1m cost of abortion clinic inspections queried

£1m cost of abortion clinic inspections queried:
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is said to have been “shocked” by a letter from health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) apparently expressing concerns over the costs of inspecting abortion clinics. The Independent

RCN sets out guidance for school nurses on sexual health and emergency contraception

RCN sets out guidance for school nurses on sexual health and emergency contraception: School nurses are ideally placed to provide sexual health and contraceptive advice, the Royal College of Nursing has said.