Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Health campaign launch a big success

Health campaign launch a big success:
A high-profile campaign called Know Your Pulse, which was launched in Corby, was a big success. Evening Telegraph

VIDEO: Is healthcare really better abroad?

VIDEO: Is healthcare really better abroad?: There are claims that health care is better in parts of Europe and America than it is in the NHS across the UK. BBC News

Telehealth 'three times over NICE cost limit'

Telehealth 'three times over NICE cost limit': Telehealth is unlikely to provide value for money for the NHS unless equipment costs fall dramatically, research suggests. GP Online

dm+d made 'fundamental standard' for NHS

dm+d made 'fundamental standard' for NHS: The Information Standards Board for Health and Social Care has approved the NHS dictionary of medicines and devices as a fundamental standard for the NHS. E-Health Insider

Healthcare for the homeless: homelessness is bad for your health

Healthcare for the homeless: homelessness is bad for your health:
This report identifies that there is a range of solutions to the healthcare challenges faced by the homeless. It presents a number of models of care that have measurable evidence of success but which need to be adopted more widely and examples of effective models that are operated in other countries.

Unlocking diagnosis: the key to improving the lives of people with dementia

Unlocking diagnosis: the key to improving the lives of people with dementia:
This report makes recommendations on action that can be taken to increase the number of people with dementia with a diagnosis in the UK. It found that there were problems throughout the process of diagnosis. These problems included people having poor understanding of dementia and therefore not going to see their to doctor, the issues faced by GPs and memory specialists in diagnosing people with dementia, and the problems with the quality of support offered immediately following diagnosis.

Doctors to strike again

Doctors to strike again:

The majority of doctors attending the BMA's annual conference voted to escalate industrial action over the pensions dispute.Last week's strike by doctors affected thousands of patients who were unable to have planned operations or get access to their GPs.Delegates at the BMA conference in Bournemouth were mostly in agreement that further action was needed as a way of forcing MPs to reconsider pension plans whic... Healthcare Today

Can NHS transformation succeed without new income streams? | Sue Slipman

Can NHS transformation succeed without new income streams? | Sue Slipman:
How can we innovate and reform services without investment or changes in demand, asks Sue Slipman, chief executive of the Foundation Trusts Network
There appears to be consensus at policy level that it is in the interest of patients and service users that a more integrated approach to healthcare should be developed. The theory goes that in order to meet the challenge of future healthcare demand due to changing demography, lifestyle and new technology innovation, resources must shift into more community, home-based and self-service provision. Underpinning this is an assumption that transformed services will be cheaper.
If the service transition can be achieved, costs can be taken out of more expensive hospital care, but in order for it all to work there has to be investment in alternative services to get the demand out of hospitals. The problem is that currently, alternative investment does not appear to be working.
In a recent survey of Foundation Trust Network (FTN) members, 70% of acute providers had seen no decrease in emergency demand. This is despite the fact that a punitive penalties regime exists around emergency activity over 2008/09 levels paid for at marginal pricing and around re-admissions, where there is Department of Health recognition that less than 20% are the fault of the hospital itself.
In other words, there's plenty of push on hospitals to get demand out but little pull in alternative provision. In effect, the Nicholson challenge is a save to invest scheme for service transition across the NHS.
Some of our members are also telling us that the impact of existing cuts in social care budgets is beginning to tell on the level of admission of frail elderly people via emergency admission into hospitals. Some go so far as to say that they think some private sector care homes are off-loading the nursing costs of the elderly frail dying from their own budgets onto the NHS.
Foundation trusts have more freedom to innovate so they will develop new business models, but without the prospect of income streams to support them there will be no success. The key policy deficit is an answer to the funding problems of social care for the elderly and the Government looks set to duck the issues raised in the Dilnot report.
Putting all this in the context of the Institute for Fiscal Studies report, funded by the Nuffield Trust, of tight public spending limits for the NHS until the end of the decade and the subsequent requirement for fast-paced productivity savings, attention should shift to where the money is in the system, where it is being spent and how effective that spend is proving to be in getting the demand flow going in the right direction.
The key question in the report is whether the NHS can make the necessary productivity improvements to remain entirely free at the point of use without additional taxation or rationing or even the unmentioned spectre of the introduction of co-payment?
The jury is out.
Clearly, maximum productivity delivery requires some radical solutions, joining whole patient pathways. Even if there is the political will and cover to enable this to be delivered: will it be enough?
Sue Slipman is chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network. The Institute for Fiscal Studies report for the Nuffield Trust, is the first output from an ongoing Nuffield Trust research programme: Buying time: what is the scale of the financial challenge facing the NHS and how can it rise to the challenge?
Guardian Professional.

NHS will need extra £20bn a year by 2020, says thinktank

NHS will need extra £20bn a year by 2020, says thinktank:
Ministers should contemplate charging for the NHS to meet patient demand, claims Institute of Fiscal Studies
The health service will need an extra £20bn a year by the end of the decade to meet patient demand and implement the Dilnot report into social care without cutting other essential services - a level of funding that means ministers should contemplate charging for the NHS and tax rises, a leading thinktank will say on Wednesday.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says in a report that England's NHS budget squeeze - with savings of £20bn up to 2015 - is already the "tightest four-year period for the last 50 years". NHS spending will be essentially flat in real terms - at about £110bn a year - until 2015.
However, with the NHS accounting for 23% of government spending, plus an ageing population, rising patient expectations and expensive new drugs on the horizon, the thinktank warns that in the last half of the decade a mixture of charging, tax rises and perhaps even greater borrowing will be needed.
The IFS considers a range of scenarios from the beginning of the next parliament in 2015 until 2022 - and calculates the tax gap between spending and receipts if public spending were to rise. The analysis factors in the £10bn of welfare cuts called for in the March budget.
The authors also consider the Dilnot recommendations for the elderly, which argue that lifetime costs for social care needed to be capped at £35,000 - and that council-funded home help and care home places for the elderly and adults with disabilities should be offered to everyone with less than £100,000 of assets, up from the current limit of £23,250.
There are growing concerns within the Treasury about the cost of the changes while meeting the political charge that this would be a sop to wealthy baby boomers. However, the IFS says if the NHS were to cope with the rising cost of an elderly population, Dilnot's proposals were implemented and other government spending kept growing to 1% a year, the extra cost every year would be £19.5bn.
Even if the elderly are discounted from the calculations the cost runs into billions of pounds. The IFS suggests that after 2015, even if NHS spending were just to keep pace with projected economic growth - at 2.4% - and letting other public spending to rise at 1% a year, there would be a need for an "increase in taxation, borrowing or further welfare cuts of roughly £9bn". This it says is equivalent to increasing VAT by 2% from its current level of 20%.
Carl Emmerson of the IFS said "serious consideration should be given to the options for the NHS, which include reviewing the range of services available free at the point of use and reconsidering the level of taxation needed to finance them."
The study reveals the cost of "tax and spend" politics. To keep the share of public spending as a percentage of GDP constant after 2015 the IFS calculates it would need an additional £44bn of "tax increases or extra borrowing" - the equivalent tax burden of £1,400 for every family in the UK. The Guardian

Patients dying in hospital in pain and lacking dignity: survey

Patients dying in hospital in pain and lacking dignity: survey: Patients in hospital are needlessly dying in pain and being stripped of their dignity and privacy, the first national survey of bereaved families has found. The Daily Telegraph

NHS pays out record £1.2bn claims

NHS pays out record £1.2bn claims:
The NHS has paid out a record £1 billion in litigation claims in one year, it has emerged.The Independent

Andrew Lansley to outline key priorities he expects the NHS to address over the next three years

Andrew Lansley to outline key priorities he expects the NHS to address over the next three years:
Andrew Lansley will today outline the key priorities he expects the NHS to address over the next three years as he makes his first ever “state of the health service” address to Parliament. The Independent

NHS could start charging for services and treatments within 10 years

NHS could start charging for services and treatments within 10 years:
The NHS could start charging for some services and treatments within the next 10 years after new research suggests a further decade of austerity will leave the status-quo unsustainable. The Independent

Dignity paramount in end-of-life care

Dignity paramount in end-of-life care: The Royal College of Nursing has expressed concern over the 10 per cent of patients whose end-of-life care was rated poor by respondents to a national survey. RCN