Monday, 18 March 2013

First GP appointment booking app

First GP appointment booking app: First GP appointment booking app:
The Patient Access Mobile app from will also enable patients to order repeat prescriptions, securely message their practice and update personal details such as change of address. is owned and operated by EMIS – a supplier of healthcare software and related services to GP practices. The EMIS system enables the app to connect directly with practices.
The app is one of the first to feature in the NHS Commissioning Board’s new Health Apps Library - a collection of recommended online tools designed to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation. NHS Networks

New technology to improve children’s mental health services

New technology to improve children’s mental health services: New technology to improve children’s mental health services:
Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister announced £2million today for new handheld computers to boost children’s mental health services.
Children and young people will be able to use tablet computers in their therapy sessions to give them and their therapist instant access to information that details how close they are to achieving treatment goals.
Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said:
 “Acting early to help children with mental health problems can prevent a lifetime of suffering as half of those with lifelong mental health problems first experience symptoms before the age of 14.
“This technology helps children and young people see how their treatment is progressing. Where treatment is not going as well as it could, practitioners can then change their approach to get the best results.
“Children and young people have told us how much it helps them to see how their treatment is going and these new devices do just that.”
The new devices will be rolled out to 42 sites across England.
Therapists can also use the handheld computers to record sessions so that their supervisors and clinical tutors can watch the sessions and comment on their techniques to help therapists to improve.
The time therapists and administrators currently spend recording outcomes will also be cut dramatically.
Earlier this year, the department published the Mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board with a clear objective to put mental health on a par with physical health and to extend and ensure more open access to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme in particular for children and young people and for those out of work. Department of Health

Strategy to reduce salt intake 'could lead to 20,000 fewer deaths each year from cardiovascular disease'

Strategy to reduce salt intake 'could lead to 20,000 fewer deaths each year from cardiovascular disease': Strategy to reduce salt intake 'could lead to 20,000 fewer deaths each year from cardiovascular disease': Source: NICE

NICE has reported that a new government strategy to reduce salt intake could lead to 20,000 fewer deaths each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD). In order to limit the harm caused to health by excess of salt, the government has launched a new strategy that aims to help reduce the daily intake of salt from an average of 8.1g a day to 6g a day. The policy follows the NICE pathway on diet, based on guidance originally published in 2010, which recommends aiming for a maximum salt intake of 6g per day per adult by 2015, and 3g by 2025.
NICE says that a 3g reduction of daily salt intake by adults, to achieve a target of 6g, would lead to around 14-20,000 fewer deaths from CVD each year.

Medicines information is changing - NeLM integration into NHS Evidence

Medicines information is changing - NeLM integration into NHS Evidence: Medicines information is changing - NeLM integration into NHS Evidence: Source: NICE

In April 2013 the way you access and receive medicines information via the National electronic Library (NeLM) is changing. From this date, evidence currently available through NeLM will only be accessible via NHS Evidence provided by NICE, and NeLM will cease to exist. NICE is working with the UK Medicines Information service (UKMi) to bring medicines information together into one place- NHS Evidence- making it simpler for those with medicines and prescribing responsibilities to view, search and filter high quality evidence-based information.
New Medicines Awareness Service
A new personalised daily and weekly medicines awareness service will also be launched in April 2013 to replace the existing NeLM newsletter. Working with NICE, UKMi will continue to identify key current awareness information sent to your email address on a daily basis, providing you with rapid access to current awareness and evidence-based medicines information.

Manipulation of NHS figures to become criminal offence

Manipulation of NHS figures to become criminal offence: Manipulation of NHS figures to become criminal offence:
Health secretary will announce move after Mid Staffordshire scandal to make service more 'honest and accountable'
Fiddling figures from NHS hospitals will become a criminal offence, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is to announce.
The Daily Telegraph reported that NHS managers and hospital trusts could be held criminally liable as part of a response to the Mid Staffordshire scandal. Penalties for manipulating statistics on waiting times and death rates could include seven-figure fines and jail terms.
Hunt said: "This is about a transparent, honest and accountable NHS. Patients and the public should be confident that they can trust information about how hospitals are performing, and a culture of honesty and accuracy will help those organisations drive up standards of care.
"Like me, the public has a deep and abiding affection for the NHS, but scandals such as Mid Staffordshire have affected trust in it. We need to get that trust back."
The new law is being considered in response to the Francis inquiry, which examined the deaths of up to 1,200 patients in Mid Staffs. Ministers will this month set out a range of new initiatives to prevent a repeat of the scandal.
It follows several recent accusations that hospitals have recorded causes of deaths wrongly in an attempt to obscure high death rates. There have also been allegations from nurses that they have been asked to manipulate waiting time statistics.
Hunt said: "If NHS Trusts are caught deliberately manipulating that information, whether waiting times or death rates, they need to be held to account."
The paper quoted a source close to Hunt, who claimed that official figures had been manipulated "rarely but consistently for many years".
"We feel strongly that if NHS trusts are caught acting fraudulently about their performance on areas such as death rates or waiting times, they should be criminally liable.
"The future NHS will have a more open culture, with better information for patients and the public. We're determined that information must be credible and provided on a basis that is honest and consistent."

Study recommends changes to pneumonia prevention strategies

Study recommends changes to pneumonia prevention strategies: Study recommends changes to pneumonia prevention strategies: A Health Protection Agency (HPA) report published today has found since 2000 the number of cases of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) has increased in England by an average of seven per cent each year. The findings of the paper suggest that further work is needed to re-assess the prevention strategies currently in place for dealing with this infection. Health Protection Agency

Hospital deaths warning 'ignored'

Hospital deaths warning 'ignored': Hospital deaths warning 'ignored': More than 20,000 hospital deaths could have been prevented if warnings about high mortality rates had been acted on more quickly, a government adviser says. BBC health News

Tough times, tough choices: being open and honest about NHS finance

Tough times, tough choices: being open and honest about NHS finance: Tough times, tough choices: being open and honest about NHS finance: The NHS faces an unprecedented financial dilemma: the supply of funding is struggling to match the growing rate of demand for healthcare. NHS Confederation


A fine VINTAGE?: A fine VINTAGE? The benefits and consequences of alcohol consumption in older adults: We know a lot about the health consequences of drinking too much alcohol, but most of this research comes from studies of adults in their twenties, thirties and forties. But what about older adults? The European project VINTAGE reviewed and synthesised the available evidence relating to alcohol consumption in older people across many European countries. [read the full story...] The Mental Elf

Clinical commissioning groups: skills, challenges and how they will deliver

Clinical commissioning groups: skills, challenges and how they will deliver: Clinical commissioning groups: skills, challenges and how they will deliver:
Leaders are already thinking about what their organisations must do to deliver the best possible health outcomes
In just two weeks, clinical commissioning groups take up their full responsibilities as we shift from a managerial to a clinical commissioning-led system for the NHS in England. While clinical commissioning may be on a developmental journey, as leaders we are already thinking about the skills we need to do the day job, some of the challenges we will face and how we can overcome them to make sure that our patients, our people and our practices deliver the best possible health outcomes for our area.

What are the skills we need?

For me, they are about listening to our patients and population about what they want and how they want it. From that, we can understand our population's healthcare needs and develop our vision so we can see the future and how to set about achieving it. We also need to inspire the team so that we are helping others to give of their best, and to see how they can deliver "best". Communicating our values to all we work with is important as well as striving, unremittingly, to make it happen for our patients.

The challenges

I don't want to downplay the challenges we face, but we must confront them if we are to change how things happen. For me, the priorities are:
• Persuading our clinicians and staff of the need to change their behaviours to focus on our population and patients
• Engaging with our population to accept that how they use the NHS will determine its future success in delivering the quality they seek
• Encouraging providers to transform and deliver efficiencies that both drive quality and improve working lives
• Re-modelling the NHS into an innovative "excellence generator" that automatically delivers patient-centred improved outcomes
• Achieving wide societal consensus on health and social care priorities, and engaging with the conversation about what the taxpayer should/shouldn't fund
• Making all of us hungry for change as the way we deliver great outcomes in a sustainable system

How will we meet the challenges?

I recognise that it will take time, drive and commitment, but we must:
• Learn to communicate clearly, skillfully and unambiguously
• Develop our teams to have the skills they need
• Give our patients and population the stake in the system they need to understand their power and its relevance
• Work towards consensus through a "national health and social care conversation"
• Recognise the shared civic responsibility all citizens have to strive for a truly excellent healthcare system
• Rule 001: We include everyone – no one gets left behind.

How will we deliver?

We have used education as the primary tool in Slough. We have worked with our specialists and patients to develop consensus across the clinical spectrum, developed new pathways and guidance, explained to our patients why this was of value, succeeded in changing the behaviour of GPs and other clinicians, and reduced referrals to secondary care from 25,000 to under 16,000 in three years. We have moved from 121st lowest referrer to tenth nationally in two years.
This is just the start, but we can do it and clinically-led commissioning can make the difference.
Dr Jim O'Donnell is chair of NHS Slough CCG and part of the NHS Clinical Commissioners Leadership Group.