Thursday, 18 August 2016

NHS rationing under the radar

NHS rationing under the radar After years of increasing deficits, that last year culminated in the NHS posting the largest overspend in its history, local health systems have been told to balance their books.

This intensifies the difficult decisions that commissioners and providers have been facing for some time, about how to prioritise limited funding and balance their budgets in the face of rising demand. While the NHS has always had to set priorities, with these unprecedented financial pressures it is inevitable that some organisations will be forced to restrict access to certain services or dilute quality of care as they seek to curtail spending. In some areas this is happening already.

On an individual level, this is like the bank cutting off the overdraft that you rely on when you have just started a family and your rent has gone up. You are forced to cut spending on non-essentials, but deciding what ‘the essentials’ are is tough. The King's Fund

What if antibiotics were to stop working?

What if antibiotics were to stop working? The NHS if is a collection of essays that explores hypothetical scenarios and their impact on the future of health and care. Our aim is to encourage new thinking and debate about possible future scenarios that could fundamentally change health and care. This essay, by Professor Dame Sally Davies and Rebecca Sugden, explores a future in which antimicrobial resistance changes the face of medicine and health care. The King's Fund

Guidance: Healthcare education and training tariff: 2016 to 2017

Guidance: Healthcare education and training tariff: 2016 to 2017This document sets out:
  • the national tariffs for healthcare education and training placements in the academic year 2016 to 2017
  • how the tariffs will be implemented
  • in what circumstances the national tariffs may be varied and how to do this
The tariffs cover non-medical placements and medical undergraduate and postgraduate placements in secondary care.

Any further information that arises during the year will be published on Health Education England’s website. Department of Health

Tailored end-of-life care training

Tailored end-of-life care training This case study outlines how the palliative care and end-of-life care specialists at Leeds Teaching Hospitals offered bespoke departmental teaching and focused interventions to improve care within specific clinical areas. Staff at the trust reported an improvement in their skills and confidence in symptom management; facilitating end-of-life care at home; recognising end of life; and knowledge of community services. The success of this approach has led to the training being rolled out to other clinical areas across the trust. NHS Employers

Childhood obesity: Doctors criticise 'weak' government strategy

Childhood obesity: Doctors criticise 'weak' government strategy The new plan includes a voluntary target for manufacturers to cut sugar in children's food and drink by 20%, and a drive for every primary school child to exercise for an hour a day.

The British Medical Association called the 20% target "pointless" and said ministers had "rowed back" on promises.

A food industry body said manufacturers were making progress in cutting sugar. BBC News

See also:

Depression affects one in three patients after intensive care

Depression affects one in three patients after intensive care Almost one in three people discharged from hospital intensive care units (ICUs) has clinically important and persistent symptoms of depression, according to research published in the journal Critical Care Medicine.

The meta-analysis of reports on more than 4,000 patients show that the prevalence of depressive symptoms in this population is three to four times that of the general population and that in some symptoms can last for a year or more. OnMedica

Cuts to health visitors could have ‘irredeemable’ effects on obesity and mental health

Cuts to health visitors could have ‘irredeemable’ effects on obesity and mental healthLeaders from major healthcare organisations have come together to call on the government to halt deep cuts to health visitor posts in order to keep other problems, such as childhood obesity and mental ill health, from escalating further.

In a joint letter to the Times – signed by the CEOs of 11 health bodies, such as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Unite, the Royal College of GPs, the RCPCH, the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau – professionals said cuts to the Health Visitor Implementation Programme is deteriorating public health.

The government’s Health Visitor Implementation Plan invested enough funds to train more than 4,000 health visitors, a job that plays a “vital and unique” role to prevent ill health and promote healthy lifestyles to children.

But five years on, posts are being cut harshly throughout England, with the latest workforce figures showing numbers have been falling since the beginning of the year – including a significant drop of 433 posts just between March and April. National Health Executive

Building better mental health in cities from the ground up

Building better mental health in cities from the ground up Creating green spaces and better connections between people are just two of the ways urban planners can improve mental health

The frenetic, isolating nature of city life can be a day-to-day struggle for millions of people. An environmental cocktail of densely packed streets and homes, cramped and lengthy commutes and noise pollution as well as significant pockets of poverty and deprivation can take their toll. As a result, mental ill health and urban life are inextricably linked.

With urban areas expected to house two-thirds of the world’s population by 2050 and some cities, such as in China, undergoing unprecedented expansion, the relationship between urban environments and mental health – and what to do about it – is rapidly coming to the fore. Continue reading... The Guardian

How real-time data is reducing A&E waiting times

How real-time data is reducing A&E waiting times Systems at East Kent hospitals university NHS foundation trust display live waiting times and help the trust know when to redirect patients

In many trusts, the only way to find out something like how long people are waiting in accident and emergency is to phone the department and ask. “There are not many people at any one time who know what’s going on,” says Marc Farr, director of information at East Kent hospitals university NHS foundation trust. “A hospital has lots of people phoning people all day for information,” he says.

The trust has ended the need for such phone calls. It displays live average emergency waiting times, as well as the number of people waiting, at each of its four hospitals, on its website. As well as informing the public, the business intelligence system helps the trust know when to redirect emergency patients to manage demand. Continue reading... The Guardian

See also:

Cancer drug companies cut prices to win NHS approval

Cancer drug companies cut prices to win NHS approval Tougher new policy by regulator means pharma firms are having to offer better value for money to get treatments accepted by NHS

Drug companies are slashing the prices of new cancer medicines to avoid having them banned from NHS use, following the closure of the Cancer Drugs Fund.

The manufacturers of four cancer drugs have dropped their prices following closure of the fund – a pot of money worth £340m a year to pay for drugs that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) did not find cost-effective. Continue reading... The Guardian