Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Improving patient access to general practice

Improving patient access to general practice The National Audit Office has found that the Department of Health and NHS England have a high-level vision for improving patient access to general practice and have increased the funding available, but are seeking to extend access despite failing to provide consistent value for money from existing services.

The Department has set objectives such as providing evening and weekend access for all patients and 5,000 extra doctors in general practice, both by 2020. However, they have not evaluated the cost-effectiveness and consequences of their objectives. The NAO’s analysis suggests the minimum additional capacity required by the new commitment equates to £230 per appointment hour per 1,000 registered patients. In core contract hours the cost is an estimated £154. NHS England intends that the additional funding will be used to also cover transformation costs and deliver wider improvements in access, but has not currently set out how it will take assurance that the additional funding provides good value for money.

See also:

NHS conditions worst ever, say leading nurses

NHS conditions worst ever, say leading nurses Nurses say conditions in the NHS are the worst they have experienced, the Royal College of Nursing has said.

In a separate move, 50 leading doctors have warned the prime minster in a letter that lives are being put at risk due to mounting pressures on the NHS.

Charities working with elderly people said long-term solutions were needed, with a similar call from a group of Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs.

Health officials said they were investing more in care. BBC News

See also:

Steep rise in A&E psychiatric patients

Steep rise in A&E psychiatric patients There has been a steep rise in the number of people arriving at A&E departments in England with mental health problems, figures show.

Experts say a lack of early support means patients are reaching crisis.

Data compiled for the BBC by NHS Digital showed that between 2011-12 and 2015-16 the number of patients attending A&E units with psychiatric problems rose by nearly 50% to 165,000.

For the under 18s alone the numbers almost doubled to nearly 22,000.

These figures represent a small minority of overall A&E attendances - just over 1% in total.

But the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said that was likely to be the "tip of the iceberg" as these figures just included cases where the primary diagnosis was a psychiatric condition. BBC News

GP practices begin processing backlog of over 100,000 patient letters

GP practices begin processing backlog of over 100,000 patient letters GP practices across England have begun to receive their share of a huge backlog of patient data that a former provider of primary care support services left by mistake in a warehouse. GP Online

Social care does need more funds, but there are also savings to be made

Social care does need more funds, but there are also savings to be made Social and health care should be integrated, but as that is unlikely to happen, care reforms already tested could make significant savings

Ministers last week stepped in with an extra cash boost for social care. On top of a funding increase announced three months ago, they unveiled a further rise to help meet payroll costs and to help professionalise the workforce. Council leaders “warmly welcomed” the move and the emphasis on preventive support for older and disabled people.

You may have guessed this wasn’t in England. It was in Wales, where, as the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) observes, the policy position is “very different”. True, the sums involved are not huge. After a £25m grant increase for social care in 2017-18 set out last October, the Welsh government last week found a further £10m and raised the individual cap on homecare costs – a feature of the system not replicated in England – from £60 a week to £70, which should give councils another £4m for the year from April. Continue reading... The Guardian

Child 'sugar scourge': thousands having teeth removed in hospital

Child 'sugar scourge': thousands having teeth removed in hospital Experts say annual figures for England obtained by LGA show need for tougher curbs on sugar in children’s diets

More than 40,000 children and young people a year are having rotten teeth removed in hospital in further evidence of what doctors call the “costly scourge of sugar”.

New NHS figures obtained by the Local Government Association (LGA) show that 40,800 under-18s in England had at least one tooth taken out last year under general anaesthetic because of decay. Performing the procedures cost £35.6m. Continue reading... The Guardian

British heart attack patients are abandoned without receiving life-saving aftercare

British heart attack patients are abandoned without receiving life-saving aftercare Tens of thousands of British cardiac patients are abandoned to cope without the essential care they need after a heart attack, a major audit reveals.

An astonishing 69 per cent of NHS cardiac rehabilitation services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are failing to hit minimum standards, a damning report revealed.

All heart patients should be offered rehabilitation care in the aftermath of an attack, which has been shown to reduce the risk of death by 18 per cent in the next year, and cut readmissions by 31 per cent.

Yet 66,000 of 132,000 eligible patients are missing out on cardiac rehabilitation each year, the National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation revealed. The Daily Mail

See also:

Saline bags tampered with at hospital as police called in to investigate 

Saline bags tampered with at hospital as police called in to investigate Police have launched an urgent investigation at a hospital in Cumbria after a member of staff discovered that saline bags – used for IV drips and other medical procedures had been tampered with.

North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust said security measures had been increased across Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle after the tampering was discovered last Wednesday.

Following the discovery, senior clinicians were alerted and the hospital immediately launched its serious incident procedure protocol to ensure the safety of patients. The Daily Telegraph