Monday, 30 January 2017

The NHS at mid-winter

The NHS at mid-winter With December and half of January behind us, how is the NHS faring this winter? According to the British Red Cross, the service is facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’, whereas according to the Prime Minister the current situation is ‘not unusual’, with much of the media coverage perhaps closer in tone to the British Red Cross than to the PM.
However, with performance data on A&E now published several weeks after events take place, it is less easy to tell how far undoubted signs of real stress in some trusts are a local issue, or are replicated across the rest of the country. Equally, even where national data is available on the state of the service (mainly through winter situation reports or SitReps) this does not necessarily tell us what has caused any problems and there are, in any case, data quality issues with SitReps that should be taken as a caveat on the numbers presented here. King's Fund

Cancer drugs price rise 'costing NHS millions'

Cancer drugs price rise 'costing NHS millions' Some cancer drugs that are no longer under patent are rising in price when they should be falling. UK prices for generic cancer drugs have risen sharply in the past five years, restricting their use in treating NHS patients, research from the European Cancer Congress has found. Drugs such as tamoxifen and bulsufan are now 10 times more expensive despite no longer being under patent. BBC News

NHS spending per person will be cut next year, ministers confirm

NHS spending per person will be cut next year, ministers confirm The Government will cut the National Health Service’s budget per person in real terms next year, ministers have admitted in official figures for the first time. Numbers released by ministers show NHS England will face a sharp reduction of 0.6 per cent in real terms of per head in the financial year 2018-19.
The numbers corroborate claims by NHS chief Simon Stevens earlier this month that “in 2018-19, real-terms NHS spending per person in England is going to go down”. The figures also fly in the face of the Government’s public insistence that it is investing more in the health service, with Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May repeating the mantra of an extra £10bn for the NHS. The Independent

Ensure GPs fully support hospitals over winter pressures

Ensure GPs fully support hospitals over winter pressures NHS Improvement and NHS England should “ensure that social care and GPs fully support hospitals and ambulance services” in an urgent review of how the NHS manages winter pressures, NHS Providers insisted this morning. It said this review should also consider how the NHS prepared for this winter, whether or not the NHS should have dedicated winter funding, and the impact of staff shortages.
NHS Providers, which represents NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health services, argued that as the current approach places most of the burden of winter pressures on trusts, they should be given the opportunity to say what has and hasn’t worked, and what must change. It said a review led by NHS Improvement and NHS England, with input from trusts, should be conducted rapidly so that it can be concluded by this April and its findings made public. OnMedica

NHS intensive care 'at its limits' because of staff shortages

NHS intensive care 'at its limits' because of staff shortages  Units are so overwhelmed that life-saving operations are having to be delayed, warn senior doctors.
The NHS’s network of intensive care units is “at its limits” because they are overwhelmed by staff shortages and the sheer number of patients needing life-or-death care, senior doctors are warning in an unprecedented intervention.
Intensive care units (ICUs) are becoming so full that patient safety is increasingly at risk because life-saving operations – including heart, abdominal and neurosurgery – are having to be delayed, the leaders of the specialist doctors who staff the units have told the Guardian.Continue reading... The Guardian

NHS commissioners risk losing sight of human cost of their decisions

NHS commissioners risk losing sight of human cost of their decisions Vulnerable patients are being shunted into care homes to make easy savings.
The revelation that thousands of people could be forced out of their homes into residential care raises serious questions about the judgment of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
According to the Health Service Journal story, based on information gathered by campaign group Disability United, at least 37 CCGs have imposed restrictions on access to NHS continuing healthcare funding, which provides ongoing care for adults with a “primary health need”. Continue reading...  The Guardian

Quitting EU regulator 'would leave UK waiting longer' for new drugs

Quitting EU regulator 'would leave UK waiting longer' for new drugs Drug firms say leaving EMA could mean Britons having to wait a year longer than EU citizens for newly-developed medicines.
Ministers are coming under growing pressure to scrap plans to quit Europe’s medicines regulator as part of Brexit, with drug firms saying doing so could force Britons to wait a year longer than patients in the EU to access new drugs.
Labour and leaders of the UK’s pharmaceutical industry fear that patients and the NHS will lose out if Britain gives up its membership of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told MPs last week that he did not expect the UK to continue as a member once it left the EU.Continue reading...  The Guardian