Friday, 9 January 2015

Corby healthcare is ‘most under-funded in England’

Corby healthcare is ‘most under-funded in England’ Corby has the worst-funded health group in the country, an influential House of Commons committee has said. Northamptonshire Telegraph

We shouldn’t just blame sheer weight of traffic for NHS queues this winter

We shouldn’t just blame sheer weight of traffic for NHS queues this winter Conference calls and escalation meetings don't solve flow problems across hospitals, including A&E - we need to look ahead to solve the problems downstream, says Glen Burley. The Health Foundation

Funding healthcare: making allocations to local areas report

Funding healthcare: making allocations to local areas report The slow progress towards target funding allocations means the Government has not fulfilled its policy objective of equal access for equal need.

In 2014-15, nearly two-fifths of clinical commissioning groups and over three-quarters of local authorities remain more than 5 percentage points above or below their target funding allocations. Funding for clinical commissioning groups varies from £137 per person below target to £361 per person above target. This has important implications for the financial sustainability of the health service as underfunded clinical commissioning groups are more likely to be in financial deficit: 19 of the 20 groups with the tightest financial positions at 31 March 2014 had received less than their target funding allocation.

The Department and NHS England explained that there are trade-offs between moving commissioners more quickly towards their target funding allocations and safeguarding the stability of local health economies, and that making quicker progress would involve real-terms reductions in funding for some areas. However, the National Audit Office calculated that, if the slow pace of change were to continue, it would take around 80 years for all local commissioners to get close to their target funding allocations. NHS England said that it wanted to make faster progress and that it aimed to move all clinical commissioning groups to within 5 percentage points of their target allocations within around two years. For public health allocations to local authorities, the Department said that decisions, including the pace of change, were a matter for the government of the day. Public Accounts Select Committee

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Research and analysis: Winter health watch summary: 8 January 2015

Research and analysis: Winter health watch summary: 8 January 2015 Syndromic surveillance indicators for respiratory infections, including influenza-like illness, decreased in children during week 1, however there were further increases in adults, particularly in the elderly.

GP consultations for severe asthma and lower respiratory tract infection continued to increase in adults, and are currently at levels higher than compared to recent years.

In week 1 2015 (ending 4 January), influenza levels are now higher than the peak of flu activity observed in the last 3 seasons, but have not reached the levels seen in the last notable seasons of 2010 to 2011 and 2008 to 2009. The Department of Health has issued an alert on the prescription of antiviral medicines by GPs.

The number of laboratory reports of norovirus in the season to date is similar to the five year seasonal average (from season 2009 and 2010 to season 2013 and 2014).  Public Health England

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A rapid synthesis of the evidence on interventions supporting self-management for people with long-term conditions

A rapid synthesis of the evidence on interventions supporting self-management for people with long-term conditions The aim of this research was to undertake a rapid, systematic overview of the evidence on self-management support for long-term conditions to inform health-care commissioners and providers about what works, for whom, and in what contexts. NHS National Institute for Health Research
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Private firm pulls out of hospital

Private firm pulls out of hospital The company which became the first private firm to manage an NHS hospital says it is looking to "withdraw from its current contract". BBC News

Ebola: A day with the burial team

Ebola: A day with the burial team The teams burying the Ebola victims in Sierra Leone. BBC News

New 'game-changing' antibiotic discovered

New 'game-changing' antibiotic discovered “New class of antibiotic could turn the tables,” on antibiotic resistance, The Guardian reports and is just one of many headlines proclaiming the discovery of a “super-antibiotic”. For once, such enthusiastic headlines might be largely justified.

The study in the spotlight shows the discovery of a new antibiotic, teixobactin, and is exciting for two main reasons.

Firstly, teixobactin proved effective against certain types of drug-resistant bacteria such as MRSAand tuberculosis (TB) in mice models. The way it works, by attacking cell walls rather than proteins, also suggested that bacteria would have a hard time evolving around its effects to develop resistance. This is the first potentially new antibiotic in over 20 years.

Secondly, the mechanism of discovery is potentially revolutionary. The research team used a device known as an iChip to make bacteria in soil “lab-ready” for use. Previously, only 1% of the organisms in soil could be grown and studied in the laboratory. This leaves 99% of bacteria as an untapped source of new antibiotics useful to people. Unlocking this natural reservoir of antibiotic production could potentially lead to the discovery of many more antibiotics in the future.

We now need to wait for tests on humans to make sure that teixobactin works and is safe. Also, teixobactin only appears to be effective against a subset of bacteria (Gram-positive bacteria), so is not a cure-all for Gram-negative bacterial infections, which include E.coli.

This is genuinely exciting news, but only time will tell whether this is a historical moment of similar magnitude to that of Alexander Fleming’s original discovery of penicillin in 1928.

Vast majority of practices 'good' as CQC publishes latest ratings

Vast majority of practices 'good' as CQC publishes latest ratings The CQC has published its biggest batch of GP inspections ratings yet, as inspection reports for just over 50 GP providers were released on Thursday. GP Online

NHS trusts will have to make tough choices about their future

NHS trusts will have to make tough choices about their future Unviable finances could see the strongest providers being pushed to support struggling organisations

Kailash Chand: 2014 was the year the cracks began to show in the NHS

Many trusts have already failed in their first aim for 2015 – to keep out of the election campaign headlines. But the sheer number of trusts taking emergency measures such as opening extra beds is now so large that it has become more of a badge of honour than a reason for regulators to begin investigations.

Nonetheless, the brutality already evident in the tone of the political debate in the run-up to polling day means trust leaders are more sensitive than ever to incidents that could put them at the centre of a national controversy. That thinking will dominate the next four months. Continue reading... The Guardian