Friday, 15 November 2019

Privatisation in the English NHS: fact or fiction?

Privatisation in the English NHS: fact or fiction? With general election campaigning so far having a heavy focus on ‘privatisation’ and the NHS, Helen Buckingham and Mark Dayan take a closer look at this often thorny issue. Nuffield Trust

Tackling poor health outcomes: the role of trauma-informed care

Tackling poor health outcomes: the role of trauma-informed care Over the past few months I’ve been interviewing, reading and writing about the provision of health and care services to people who sleep rough. One concept has particularly stood out to me from what I’ve heard: trauma. It’s something I’ve been hearing more about recently, both in this research and in other health and care contexts. The King's Fund

Combined Performance Summary

Combined Performance Summary NHS performance statistics for urgent and emergency care, planned care, cancer and mental health. NHS England

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Caring for doctors Caring for patients

Caring for doctors Caring for patients A new independent report into the wellbeing of doctors and medical students

In 2018 we commissioned Professor Michael West and Dame Denise Coia, to carry out a UK-wide review to help tackle the causes of poor wellbeing faced by medical students and doctors.

Their report, Caring for doctors, Caring for patients, includes eight recommendations to help deliver safe, supportive and inclusive environments, and compassionate cultures across the UK. The General Medical Council

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Using population health management to work differently

Using population health management to work differently Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS are using population health management to crunch data on demographic and activity trends and forecast population demand on their health and care system.

This enables them to establish the cause of health deterioration in different population groups and future impact on patients and services. Finding these patients early enough could prevent or delay the onset of complex and debilitating conditions which would not only improve that person’s health but would avoid cost increases across the NHS and social care sector. Healthcare Financial Management Association

#WonderfulWomenDo launched on a wave of celebration and positivity across health and care

#WonderfulWomenDo launched on a wave of celebration and positivity across health and care Get involved and support the new social media campaign #WonderfulWomenDo from the Health & Care Women Leaders Network - share the amazing things so many of you do each day to support one another. NHS Employers

Severe allergic reactions rise in children in England over past five years

Severe allergic reactions rise in children in England over past five years The number of children being admitted to hospital in England with a severe allergic reaction has risen every year for the past five years.

NHS figures show 1,746 children were treated for anaphylactic shock in 2018-19, up from 1,015 in 2013-14.

The parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 after eating a baguette containing sesame, called the increase "deeply alarming".

Scientists say environmental factors could be to blame for more allergies. BBC News

Half of British adults have 'no idea' about nutrition, research claims

Half of British adults have 'no idea' about nutrition, research claims British adults admitted they did not have a balanced diet because they were bad with portion sizes, food groups or nutritional information on food labels, when the were surveyed for a new poll.

Half of the 2,000 adults questioned said they had "no idea" how much protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, dairy and fruit and veg they are supposed to eat.

Around 49 per cent admitted they were not au fait with portion sizes.

As a consequence, nine in 10 said their diet probably lacked balance. The Independent

The social care crisis is killing the NHS

The social care crisis is killing the NHS The latest NHS performance statistics are ghastly – hospitals and, let’s not forget, their staff, are working flat out in the face of rising accident and emergency attendances with record numbers of patients being forced to wait hours to be seen.

But the true horror lies a little deeper in the stats and, while it will attract fewer headlines, the frightening reality is there for all to see: the collapse of social care is dragging down the health service (requires registration). The Independent

My daughter died of dementia at 42. I'm angry doctors took so long to diagnose her

My daughter died of dementia at 42. I'm angry doctors took so long to diagnose her As a nurse I’m used to dealing with illnesses, but not enough is known about this cruel disease. I want to increase awareness

My daughter Anna was 36 when she started to exhibit strange, inexplicable behaviours, both at work and at home. Anna was a clinical trials research nurse in a busy hospital. She was also a wife, and a mum to two young sons.

Her behaviours escalated to the point where it was not safe for her to be at home. She would clap, bang her head, whistle, wail, take off her shoes and run like a child in the hospital corridors, eat any food she could lay her hands on, bite and chew inappropriately. Worse than that was her complete lack of empathy and inhibition. She was forced to give up her job and had to come and live with us, her parents. The Guardian

Allergens must be listed on menus, coroner says, as figures show soaring hospitalisations of children 

Allergens must be listed on menus, coroner says, as figures show soaring hospitalisations of children Allergens must be listed on menus, a coroner has said, as new figures show the number of children hospitalised as a result of severe reactions has risen by 70 per cent in five years.

Owen Carey died after unwittingly eating buttermilk in a burger restaurant, despite having made staff aware of his dairy allergy when he went out to celebrate his 18th birthday with his family.

Yesterday the coroner warned of a risk of future deaths, if menus were not forced to contain clear information. The Daily Telegraph

Send patients texts to remind them to take statins, doctors say

Send patients texts to remind them to take statins, doctors say Sending patients text messages to remind them to take their statins could save thousands of lives a year, a study suggests.

Cardiologists say the simple tactic – known as 'nudging' – could also include emails or phone calls.

Millions of people are prescribed statins to lower their cholesterol levels, drastically slashing their risk of heart attacks and strokes.

But figures suggest as little as six per cent of patients adhere to their prescription of the pills, which cost pennies and are proven to be life-saving. The Daily Mail

Thursday, 14 November 2019

KGH error killed my dad

KGH error killed my dad A Rushden grandfather died after his cancer went untreated - despite being detectable on a scan almost two years earlier.

Steve Sampson is pursuing a negligence claim after Kettering General Hospital's catastrophic error caused the death of his dad Derek.

A report from a colonogram and endoscopy in 2015 said there was no tumour but when Derek went for another scan in 2017 he was told he had terminal cancer. Northamptonshire Telegraph

UK risking fall in national life expectancy as social inequalities increase

UK risking fall in national life expectancy as social inequalities increase New analysis of mortality data exploring reasons behind stalling life expectancy improvements in the UK, has uncovered worrying trends affecting some of the population, including a rising number of avoidable deaths among the under 50s. In fact the slowdown in mortality improvements has been so large that life expectancy predictions are back to where they were 16 years ago. The Health Foundation

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New guide on addressing your gender pay gap

New guide on addressing your gender pay gap NHS Employers and the Health and Care Women Leaders Network have launched a practical guide to support NHS employers with their gender pay gap.

A&E waiting times hit worst-ever level

A&E waiting times hit worst-ever level One in six patients waited longer than four hours in A&E in England during October - the worst-ever performance since the target was introduced in 2004. BBC News

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Election 2019: NHS policy check - what to look out for in party manifestos

Election 2019: NHS policy check - what to look out for in party manifestos The NHS is one of the areas that people have said they are most concerned about.

The BBC's health editor Hugh Pym has picked out some of the key issues - staffing, social care, mental health support and A&E provision.

In this video, he explains how to navigate the election campaign and check policies, pledges and manifestos, to see if the parties are taking them seriously.

So, if you care about what the parties are promising on the NHS in this election, here are some of the key things to watch out for. BBC News

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Climate change poses unprecedented health risks to children, major study warns

Climate change poses unprecedented health risks to children, major study warns Climate change poses an unprecedented health risk to children and is already having “persistent and pervasive” effects that will last throughout their lives, a major new study has warned.

Without drastic reductions in emissions, escalating temperature increases will burden the next generation with high levels of malnutrition, weaker immune systems and higher risk of premature death. The Independent

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The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women's health

The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women's health Centuries of female exclusion has meant women’s diseases are often missed, misdiagnosed or remain a total mystery

From the earliest days of medicine, women have been considered inferior versions of men. In On the Generation of Animals, the Greek philosopher Aristotle characterised a female as a mutilated male, and this belief has persisted in western medical culture.

“For much of documented history, women have been excluded from medical and science knowledge production, so essentially we’ve ended up with a healthcare system, among other things in society, that has been made by men for men,” Dr Kate Young, a public health researcher at Monash University in Australia, tells me. The Guardian

Drug users offered Greggs vouchers to get tested for hepatitis C

Drug users offered Greggs vouchers to get tested for hepatitis C Newcastle incentive is part of NHS England’s drive to eliminate virus by 2025

Drug users in Newcastle are being offered an unusual incentive to get tested for hepatitis C – vouchers for the bakery chain Greggs.

Gateshead and South Tyneside local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) is inviting pharmacies to participate in the scheme as part of NHS England’s drive to eliminate the virus by 2025. The Guardian

Thousands of bowel cancer cases missed due to ‘unacceptable’ testing failures   

Thousands of bowel cancer cases missed due to ‘unacceptable’ testing failures Thousands of bowel cancer cases are being missed due to “unacceptable” testing failures, research in the BMJ shows.

The UK research found that some providers carrying out colonoscopies were three times as likely as others not to spot signs of disease.

At the worst units, almost one in ten cases which turned out to be bowel cancer were not picked up during the tests, the study led by the University of Leeds found. The Daily Telegraph

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Number of people who are obese in England has almost doubled in 20 years

Number of people who are obese in England has almost doubled in 20 years Obesity rates in England have doubled in the last 20 years, according to an analysis of Government data.

Around 13million people over the age of 16 were considered obese in 2017 – up from the 6.9million recorded back in 1997.

Health leaders have called the rise an 'urgent problem', with obesity known to cause cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

It comes after a report published last week showed the NHS spent £1.075billion on treating type 2 diabetes last year – more than ever. The Daily Mail

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Health websites in the UK 'share search terms with advertisers'

Health websites in the UK 'share search terms with advertisers' Health websites are sharing people's personal search data with online giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook, an investigation has revealed.

The arrangements are accused of taking sensitive information without people's consent and therefore breaching British data protection laws.

A total of 79 out of 100 websites were implicated in the Financial Times investigation include WebMD, Healthline, BUPA and the British Heart Foundation. The Daily Mail

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Northamptonshire councillors to dig deep into county budget but admit it looks ‘better than previous years’

Northamptonshire councillors to dig deep into county budget but admit it looks ‘better than previous years’ A committee tasked with scrutinising the county council’s budget has said that it appears to be ‘more robust’ than in recent years – but that they would still be digging deep into it.

Last week saw Northamptonshire County Council unveil its draft budget for the 2020/21 financial year. It includes £23 million of cuts to department services – the bulk of which is in adult social services – and proposes a council tax increase of 3.99 per cent inclusive of a social care precept. Northampton Chronicle and Echo

Case study: Tackling mental health in general practice

Case study: Tackling mental health in general practice People experiencing low-level mental distress, such as bereavement or anxiety, make up a significant proportion of patients seen in general practice. Often there is little a GP can do beyond medication to support people with mental health needs, especially if they do not meet the threshold for referral to secondary care mental health services. Primary Care Commissioning

Plugging the leaks in the UK care home industry: strategies for solving the financial crisis in the residential and nursing home sector

Plugging the leaks in the UK care home industry: strategies for solving the financial crisis in the residential and nursing home sector This report identifies where each pound that goes into the care home industry ends up by using a forensic study of the accounts of over 830 adult care home companies, including the 26 largest providers. If finds significant levels of leakage of money from front-line care, including to profit, rental bills and debt repayments. The companies examined have a combined income of £10.4bn, representing 68 per cent of the total estimated market value for independent providers in 2017. Centre for Health and the Public Interest

General election 2019: Labour vows to outspend Tories on the NHS

General election 2019: Labour vows to outspend Tories on the NHS Labour is promising to spend more on the NHS in England than the Tories if it wins the general election.

The NHS budget would rise to £155bn by 2023-24 - £6bn more than the government promised the front-line budget would reach by that stage when it set out its five-year plan last year.

Labour said the money would cut waiting times and boost mental health services.

But the Tories said Labour's plan for a shorter working week would eat into the funding due to the need for more staff. BBC News

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Project Nightingale: Google accesses trove of US patient data

Project Nightingale: Google accesses trove of US patient data Google has gained access to a huge trove of US patient data - without the need to notify those patients - thanks to a deal with a major health firm.

The scheme, dubbed Project Nightingale, was agreed with Ascension, which hopes to develop artificial intelligence tools for doctors.

Google can access health records, names and addresses without telling patients, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.

Google said it was "standard practice". BBC News

I'm one of many NHS doctors to experience racism from patients - but it's not as simple as just refusing treatment

I'm one of many NHS doctors to experience racism from patients - but it's not as simple as just refusing treatment As I listened to the harrowing interview of a senior surgeon working in the NHS, questioning his sense of self-worth on national telly and reconsidering his position in the NHS after pouring his “blood, sweat and tears” into the system for decades, I felt tears trickle down my cheeks. I felt his pain deep in the pit of my gut. This is still happening. Racism in the NHS is continuing to hurt and drive away some of our best. It has to stop. iNews

Frank Dobson obituary

Frank Dobson obituary Former Labour health secretary and candidate in the London mayoral election of 2000

The former health secretary Frank Dobson, who has died aged 79, devoted his lifetime in politics to giving practical effect to the socialist principles he had always held and from which he never deviated. He described himself as a member of the “sane left” within the Labour party and took immense pride in having secured extra funding for the National Health Service during his time in charge of an institution he regarded as truly emblematic of a caring society. The Guardian

HIV rates rise FIVE-FOLD in a decade among menopausal women

HIV rates rise FIVE-FOLD in a decade among menopausal women HIV rates are rising among middle-aged women in England because of unprotected sex, according to researchers.

A study found the number of women aged between 45 and 56 who needed HIV treatment is five times higher than it was a decade ago.

Women in this age bracket may be going through, or have already been through, the menopause, which means they're unlikely to get pregnant.

They're still vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, however, and experts suggest recklessness when it comes to contraception may be partly to blame. The Daily Mail

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review

What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review This comprehensive review of evidence on arts and health concludes that engaging with the arts can be beneficial for both mental and physical health. The report reviews arts activities that seek to promote health and prevent ill health, as well as manage and treat physical and mental ill health and support end-of-life care. World Health Organization

The outlook for councils’ funding: is austerity over?

The outlook for councils’ funding: is austerity over? This analysis shows that, with councils now largely dependent on council tax and business rates to fund their spending, a growing gap is likely to open up between their income and what they need to meet the rising costs of service provision, especially for adult social care. With council tax rising in line with inflation (two per cent a year), by the end of the parliament councils will need an extra £4 billion a year from the government just to maintain social care services at current levels and stop further cut backs in the share of national income spent on other services like children’s social care, public health and housing. This would rise to £18 billion a year by the mid-2030s. Institute for Fiscal Studies

    Vaping nearly killed me, says British teenager

    Vaping nearly killed me, says British teenager A teenage boy nearly died after vaping caused a catastrophic reaction in his lungs, doctors in Nottingham say.

    Ewan Fisher was connected to an artificial lung to keep him alive after his own lungs failed and he could not breathe.

    Ewan told BBC News e-cigarettes had "basically ruined me" and urged other young people not to vape.

    His doctors say vaping is "not safe", although health bodies in the UK say it is 95% safer than tobacco.

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    Lack of care available to country’s sickest children forces NHS to restore beds to local hospitals

    Lack of care available to country’s sickest children forces NHS to restore beds to local hospitals A shortage of beds and staff to care for the country’s sickest children has forced the NHS to redesign critical-care services nationwide, The Independent has learned.

    Health service bosses will reverse more than two decades of centralisation that have seen many smaller hospitals lose services, with new children’s critical-care networks created and hospitals working together to move children closer to their homes, freeing up beds.

    The scandalous detention of learning disabled people won't be stopped by a review

    The scandalous detention of learning disabled people won't be stopped by a review | Dan Scorer Urgent investment in social care is essential to address the reasons why people are locked away in inpatient units

    People with a learning disability face inequalities in all aspects of their lives, and access to good quality health and social care is no exception.

    Many people may think asylums are a thing of the past, but 2,250 people with a learning disability and/or autism continue to be locked away in inpatient units across the country, where they are at increased risk of abuse and neglect. The Guardian

    Childhood pneumonia cases up 50% in 10 years, NHS data shows

    Childhood pneumonia cases up 50% in 10 years, NHS data shows A&E admissions highest in deprived areas of England as bronchiolitis drives increase

    Emergency hospital admissions for children with pneumonia have risen by more than 50% in England over the past decade, figures suggest, with admission rates highest in more deprived areas.

    According to NHS Digital data analysed by the charities Unicef and Save the Children, between April 2018 and March 2019 there were 56,210 emergency admissions in England for pneumonia in those aged 18 or younger, using a definition that included a type of lower respiratory tract infection called bronchiolitis. In contrast, there were 36,862 such admissions between April 2008 and March 2009. The Guardian

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    GPs call for an end to home visits, saying they do not have time 

    GPs call for an end to home visits, saying they do not have time Family doctors are calling for an end to home visits - saying they are too busy to visit the frail and elderly.

    The radical proposal, to be put forward at a conference of the British Medical Association, would see the duties removed from the standard contract for GPs

    Medics said house calls were too “time consuming” for family doctors, who were overloaded.

    But patients’ groups said the threat to withdraw such services from GPs was “appalling” and would put the vulnerable at risk. The Daily Telegraph

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    More than a MILLION patients are being admitted to hospitals with obesity-related illnesses

    More than a MILLION patients are being admitted to hospitals with obesity-related illnesses More than one million people a year are now being admitted to hospital with obesity-related conditions, NHS figures have revealed.

    Statistics show the number of obese patients admitted in England has jumped from 884,000 in 2017/18 to almost 1.1million last year.

    The burden has also doubled in just five years, with 442,000 cases in 2013/14. Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, described the trend as 'startling'. The Daily Mail

    Monday, 11 November 2019

    Recruitment drive for nurses to work in the community and schools in Northamptonshire

    Recruitment drive for nurses to work in the community and schools in Northamptonshire Nurses are being urged to consider working in the community or in schools across Northamptonshire - with a current recruit full of praise for the role. Northamptonshire Telegraph

    Supporting medical productivity data collection: guide to the 2018/19 data collection process and to improving ESR data quality

    Supporting medical productivity data collection: guide to the 2018/19 data collection process and to improving ESR data quality This guidance aims to support trusts with the 2018/19 data collection process and help improve electronic staff record (ESR) data quality. Trust 2018/19 data will now be automatically extracted from ESR, with no manual data collection using Excel spreadsheets, and published on the Model Hospital in November 2019 and then refreshed in March 2020. These changes will impact on acute, acute specialist, community and mental health trusts. NHS Improvement

      Cannabis-based medicines: Two drugs approved for NHS

      Cannabis-based medicines: Two drugs approved for NHS Two cannabis-based medicines, used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, have been approved for use by the NHS in England.

      It follows new guidelines from the drugs advisory body NICE, which looked at products for several conditions.

      Charities have welcomed the move, although some campaigners who have been fighting for access to the drugs have said it does not go far enough.

      Both medicines were developed in the UK, where they are also grown. BBC News

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      General election 2019: Tory pledge to boost GP numbers

      General election 2019: Tory pledge to boost GP numbers The Tories say they will deliver 6,000 more doctors in general practice in England by 2024-25 to increase patient appointments, if they win the election.

      They claim they will reach that target through additional doctors working and training in surgeries, international recruitment and better retention.

      However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a previous Tory pledge to recruit 5,000 GPs by 2020 had not been met. BBC News

      Cancellations of NHS child mental health sessions jump 25%

      Cancellations of NHS child mental health sessions jump 25% Staff shortages and growing demand reported to be behind annual rise in England

      Growing numbers of troubled children are having appointments with NHS mental health services cancelled, the organisation’s data show.

      Figures obtained by the mental health charity Mind reveal that CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) in England cancelled 175,094 appointments with vulnerable patients between August 2018 and July 2019. The Guardian

      Number of elderly denied home care to rise by 40pc

      Number of elderly denied home care to rise by 40pc The number of elderly people denied help in the home is set to soar by 40 per cent in the next decade, a new report claims.

      Charity Age UK says one in seven pensioners are currently struggling without help to carry out everyday tasks such as washing and dressing.

      And they warn that this number is set to rise from 1.5 million now to 2.1 million by 2030 if current trends continue. The Daily Telegraph

      Hospitals must offer senior doctors salary top-ups to ease pension reform tension before winter

      Hospitals must offer senior doctors salary top-ups to ease pension reform tension before winter NHS Improvement has called for hospital chiefs in England to follow guidance to prevent doctors from refusing extra work ahead of winter. Pension reforms mean extra income will trigger hefty tax charges. The Daily Mail

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      Friday, 8 November 2019

      Northamptonshire: Crisis council replacement plan decision postponed

      Northamptonshire: Crisis council replacement plan decision postponed Legislation to scrap a cash-crisis council and seven others in the same county has been shelved.

      It would allow the creation of two unitary authorities in Northamptonshire to replace its troubled county council and the district and borough councils.

      The government had already approved the plan, and Parliament was expected to pass it before the election. BBC Northampton

      Nurse at Northampton General Hospital steals morphine and overdoses before fleeing to Croatia

      Nurse at Northampton General Hospital steals morphine and overdoses before fleeing to Croatia A nurse who stole and took morphine from a ward he was working on at Northampton General Hospital before going into cardiac arrest has been suspended.

      On July 12, 2018 nurse Matija Konjevic was found unconscious in his room at his nursing accommodation, tribunal papers have revealed, after he stole controlled drug medication for his personal use.

      Resuscitation staff were then called to administer treatment to Konjevic after he went into cardiac arrest. Northampton Chronicle and Echo

      Primary care networks: A pre-mortem to identify potential risks

      Primary care networks: A pre-mortem to identify potential risks Primary care networks were introduced in early 2019 with the intention that they would stabilise general practice and act as the bedrock of integrated care systems. However, there is a lack of clarity over how broad national ambitions can be realised locally. What pitfalls face primary care networks as they become established, and how might they be avoided? Nuffield Trust

      Bringing evidence and facts to the election debate

      Bringing evidence and facts to the election debate With general election campaigning now underway, Mark Dayan describes how the Nuffield Trust will bring evidence, facts and our extensive knowledge of health policy and research to the fore in coming weeks.

      Genomic medicine: a tool for population health?

      Genomic medicine: a tool for population health? Genomic medicine has been hailed as the magic bullet for prevention, diagnosis and personalised treatment. But what can we really expect from this field? The King's Fund

      Pre-election period: dos and don'ts for the NHS

      Pre-election period: dos and don'ts for the NHS ‘Purdah’ is the period shortly before an election or referendum when specific restrictions on the activity of public bodies, civil servants and local government officials are put in place. NHS Employers

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      General election 2019: Tory plan to attract more NHS staff from abroad

      General election 2019: Tory plan to attract more NHS staff from abroad The Conservatives say they will make it easier for doctors and nurses from around the world to work in the UK after Brexit, if they win the election.

      The party would introduce an "NHS visa" as part of a promised "points-based immigration system".

      But Labour said the policy was "full of holes," with nothing to say about low-paid nurses and other hospital staff.

      And the Royal College of Nursing said "more ambitious" plans were needed to address NHS staffing shortages. BBC News

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      Algorithms helping patients on ventilators at London hospitals

      Algorithms helping patients on ventilators at London hospitals Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton Hospital have found a way to make ventilators more precise for individual intensive care patients.

      The trial involves a monitor next to a patient's bed that will collect data showing their breathing patterns and lung capacity.

      Doctors and nurses will use the data to better understand how to treat a patient and individually tailor their ventilator oxygen levels and pressure.


      If successful, it could prove to be the future of critical care medicine, according to the research team. BBC News

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      NHS urged to draw up guidelines for managers following the death of nurse who set himself on fire after losing his job

      NHS urged to draw up guidelines for managers following the death of nurse who set himself on fire after losing his job NHS bodies have been asked to urgently draw up guidance for managers following the death of a nurse who set himself alight after losing his job over a disciplinary matter.

      Amin Abdullah, 41, died close to Kensington Palace in London on February 9 2016, weeks after an unfair dismissal process at Charing Cross Hospital.

      The Malaysian-born nurse, who became depressed when he was ordered to leave his job, was due to appeal against the decision just two days later.

      An independent inquiry identified serious procedural errors throughout the disciplinary process, and found that Mr Abdullah was treated "unfairly" and "very poorly", which severely affected his mental health. ITV News

      Record numbers signing up to study medicine at university, figures show

      Record numbers signing up to study medicine at university, figures show Record numbers of would-be doctors are signing up to study medicine.

      New Ucas figures show a six per cent increase on the number of people applying to take a degree in the subject, compared to last year.

      The deadline for applications to begin medicine, as well as dentistry and veterinary science courses next autumn, was on October 15. The Independent

      Winter after winter, the NHS has been warned it cannot go on the same as before

      Winter after winter, the NHS has been warned it cannot go on the same as before It has become a tragic annual tradition for the NHS to head into winter with dire warnings of how awful its performance is going to be. This year the British Medical Association has been clear that if its forecasts become a reality the health service will experience its worst ever winter with more than 1 million patients waiting more than four hours to be seen and nearly 300,000 waiting on trolleys after four hours.

      Many voters would be forgiven for dismissing this bleak assessment on the grounds there seems to be an NHS crisis every winter but somehow the system always pulls through. The Independent

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      Firehosing: the systemic strategy that anti-vaxxers are using to spread misinformation

      Firehosing: the systemic strategy that anti-vaxxers are using to spread misinformation Anti-vaxxers keep telling the same obvious lies without shame, despite being debunked and factchecked

      Yet again a popular show is giving an anti-vaxxer a high-profile platform to spread lies and cause harm to an audience of millions. This time it’s Bill Maher who last week hosted Jay Gordon, a controversial doctor who peddles misinformation about vaccines and is best known for providing hundreds of personal belief exemptions for families to forgo school vaccine requirements. The Guardian

      GPs told to prioritise toddlers amid flu vaccine shortages 

      GPs told to prioritise toddlers amid flu vaccine shortages Schools are to cancel flu vaccinations for thousands of young children amid a national shortage of supplies.

      GPs have been ordered to prioritise toddlers and the sickest children, amid warnings that quarter of deliveries - for around one million children - will now arrive late.

      For the first time, all children aged between two and 11 were due to be eligible for a free nasal spray inoculation, with most receiving them at school. The Daily Telegraph

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      Boozy Britons are drinking 108 bottles of wine a year - far more than the rest of the western world

      Boozy Britons are drinking 108 bottles of wine a year - far more than the rest of the western world The average Briton is now drinking 108 bottles of wine a year - far more than in the rest of the Western world, a major report shows.

      The study of 36 nations shows that the UK’s alcohol consumption is now among the highest in developed countries.

      It comes as separate figures show the number of pensioners starting treatment for alcohol problems has doubled in the past decade, The Daily Telegraph

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      Diabetes treatment now costs the NHS £1.1bn, the highest bill ever

      Diabetes treatment now costs the NHS £1.1bn, the highest bill ever Prescription medicines for diabetes now cost NHS England more than ever, figures have today revealed.

      The £1.075billion forked out last year on drugs for the condition is almost double the £650million bill from a decade ago.

      Diabetes is the most expensive condition the NHS has to treat, partly because at least 4.7million people in the UK – approximately one in every 14 – have it.

      The costs are spread across insulin, diagnostic devices and blood sugar monitors, antidiabetic drugs and medications to treat people with hypoglycaemia. The Daily Mail

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      Doctors say better support is needed for self-harm patients

      Doctors say better support is needed for self-harm patients Self-harm patients need to receive better care after they are hospitalised to reduce their risk of suicide, doctors have warned.

      Oxford University researchers tracked almost 50,000 self-harm patients in England for up to 15 years.

      They found suicide rates were 55 times higher among such patients in the year after being hospitalised, compared to the general population. The Daily Mail

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      Thursday, 7 November 2019

      Doctors warn visitors to keep away from Northants hospitals after rise in people with norovirus bug

      Doctors warn visitors to keep away from Northants hospitals after rise in people with norovirus bug With health services across Northamptonshire seeing a higher than usual number of patients with norovirus, doctors are telling loved ones to stay away from hospital for two days after diarrhoea and sickness symptoms have stopped to avoid it spreading. Northamptonshire Telegraph

      Improving nurses' work-life balance

      Improving nurses' work-life balance A new report highlights ways to improve nurses’ work-life balance by implementing team-based rostering. The report, Improving Nurses’ Work-life Balance, published by flexible working consultancy, Timewise, provides insights from a team-based rostering pilot carried out with 240 nurses, in seven wards in three hospitals.
      The pilot aimed to increase nurses’ ownership over their working patterns and work-life balance. Key elements of the approach outlined in the report include empowering the workforce to take responsibility, giving nurses the autonomy and permission to make changes, and liberating talent. In addition to the report, Timewise has also published a detailed ‘how-to’ guide for trusts and ward managers, including free resources on how to implement this approach. NHS Employers

      Europe’s doctors urge tighter curbs in Chinese medicine

      Europe’s doctors urge tighter curbs in Chinese medicine Organisations representing Europe’s leading doctors and scientists are calling for tighter regulations on the availability of traditional Chinese medicines. The Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) and the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) have issued a joint statement in which they express concerns at the recent recognition of traditional Chinese medicine in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards framework.
      “Just because the World Health Organisation includes a chapter on Traditional Chinese Medicine in its new International Classification of Diseases, it is not automatically safe to use without robust evidence,” says Professor Dan Larhammar, president of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and chair of the expert group of the FEAM. OnMedica

      Does UK lag behind other rich nations on health and care?

      Does UK lag behind other rich nations on health and care? The UK has fewer doctors and nurses and poorer access to elderly long-term care than other rich nations, a study shows. The OECD review also warned that many Brits were living unhealthy lives with high rates of drinking and obesity. But it praised the "strong access" to health care delivered by the NHS, saying there were low levels of inequality compared to other countries.
      Spending at 9.8% of GDP - a measure of the size of the economy - was above the 8.8% average for the 36 nations. The review - carried out every two years - looks at the performance and characteristics of the wealthiest nations across all continents. BBC News

      A&E pressure causes 'critical incident' in Nottingham

      A&E pressure causes 'critical incident' in Nottingham A hospital trust has declared a "critical incident" because of the "exceptional" pressure on A&E. Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) runs the Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) and City Hospital and has been on OPEL 4 - previously known as black alert - since Monday morning. On Wednesday it raised the level further.
      Some routine operations have been cancelled as the trust prioritises those who need emergency care.
      Health bosses do not want to operate on patients who cannot be guaranteed a bed in which to recover. BBC News

      The NHS trusts muscling in on PCNs

      The NHS trusts muscling in on PCNs PCNs – the new groupings of GP practices central to the NHS long-term plan – must all choose an organisation to manage funding and employ the substantial additional staff they are due to take on in coming years. They can choose either one of their own member GP practices, a GP federation or “voluntary sector organisation”, or an NHS trust or foundation trust.
      HSJ analysis has discovered that four NHS provider trusts which are directly or obliquely filling this role – often known as their “banker” but officially referred to as the “nominated payee”.

      These four trusts – Humber, Yeovil District Hospital, Southern Health and Royal Wolverhampton – already run, or jointly run, general practice services in their area, under existing arrangements. The payee receives funds from NHS England and local commissioners on behalf of the network, dispersing the money to pay practices for participating, providing services, and for salaries of network workforce. It is also envisaged that they will often employ the staff. Health Service Journal

      BMA demands action to avert crisis as NHS heads for worst winter on record

      BMA demands action to avert crisis as NHS heads for worst winter on record  The BMA manifesto published ahead of the 12 December general election calls for a 4% increase in overall NHS spending, alongside legislation to stop the pension tax crisis, better staffing and pay and a second Brexit referendum.
      In a report on NHS winter pressure published alongside its 'Manifesto for Health', the BMA warns that 'trusts and GP practices are almost certain to endure the most pressurised winter on record'. Pressures faced by the NHS over the summer were worse than even the worst-case scenarios forecast by the BMA, the association said. GP Online

      Under-18s being denied urgent mental health treatment, say GPs

      Under-18s being denied urgent mental health treatment, say GPs Troubled teenagers seeking urgent help from NHS mental health services are being denied treatment or facing months of delays, GPs have said.
      Three in four family doctors do not believe under-18s they refer to child and adolescent mental health services will end up being treated, research shows.
      In a survey of 1,008 GPs across the UK, 76% said they did not usually feel confident a young person they referred to CAMHS would receive treatment for their illness. Only 10% were confident that treatment would follow. The Guardian

      NHS workers must say no when patients ask for a white doctor, Matt Hancock says 

      NHS workers must say no when patients ask for a white doctor, Matt Hancock says  NHS workers must say no when patients ask for a white doctor, Matt Hancock has said, as he vows to support staff against racism. In a letter sent to all staff in the health service, he said he was “horrified” by the amount of abuse being heaped on staff, and by “appalling” racially motivated incidents.

      Last week a senior surgeon who has worked in the NHS for more than 20 years told how a patient had asked him “can I have a white doctor?” Dr Radhakrishna Shanbhag said he had been left to feel “worthless” as a result of the way he was treated by patients.  In a letter sent to all NHS staff yesterday the Health Secretary said the Government and management of the NHS would back up any workers who took a “zero-tolerance” approach to racism. The Telegraph

      DIY cervical checks boost uptake by 50 per cent among those who otherwise miss tests

      DIY cervical checks boost uptake by 50 per cent among those who otherwise miss tests DIY cervical screening kits boost uptake by more than 50 per cent, among those who otherwise fail to have the checks, trials show. Research on almost 20,000 patients who had not been screened for the disease for at least three years found that they were far more likely to do so if they could do the tests at home.

      The US trial, which involved self-sampling kits sent by post, follows a “gamechanging” British study.
      This found that home urine tests for cervical cancer were more accurate than smear tests, as well as more popular among women. Take-up of cervical screening in the UK is the lowest for 21 years, with almost one in three women failing to respond to invitations. Experts fear embarrassment and a dislike of intrusive checks is deterring many women from undergoing checks at their GP surgeries. The Telegraph

      Wednesday, 6 November 2019

      Serial whistleblower unfairly sacked

      Serial whistleblower unfairly sacked A large mental health provider unfairly dismissed a nurse with a record of whistleblowing because it feared he was seeking to highlight care failures, a tribunal has ruled.

      A judge decided Noel Finn was wrongly dismissed by St Andrew’s Healthcare, largely because of his roles in exposing scandals at the Yarl’s Wood detention centre and in the government’s Personal Independence Payments assessment centre.

      The tribunal’s judgement, released last week, showed the charity was worried Mr Finn was going to investigate their organisation, and forced him out in 2017. Health Service Journal

      Hundreds more psychiatric beds needed to help end practice of sending patients hundreds of miles for treatment

      Hundreds more psychiatric beds needed to help end practice of sending patients hundreds of miles for treatment HUNDREDS more NHS mental health beds are needed urgently in England to help end the “shameful” practice of sending severely ill patients far from home for treatment, says the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

      The practice, known as out-of-area placements (OAPs), happens when there isn’t a local hospital bed for the patient to be admitted to. Allowances are made where this is for highly specialist care.

      The Government has pledged to end all inappropriate adult OAPs for acutely ill patients by 2021 but despite intensive efforts progress on reducing that number has stalled. On July 31, 745 people were being treated inappropriately out of area, official figures show.

      The impact on patients and their loved ones can be devastating, causing huge emotional damage and even setting back those patients’ recovery. It can also be challenging for staff. Royal College of Psychiatrists

      See also:

      New NHS online training to help people get home from hospital quicker

      New NHS online training to help people get home from hospital quicker NHS England and Health Education England have today launched ActNow, an e-learning tool developed for health service and care staff to help them reduce hospital delays for patients. Nearly 350,000 patients currently spend over three weeks in acute hospitals each year.

      Transforming imaging services in England: a national strategy for imaging networks

      Transforming imaging services in England: a national strategy for imaging networks This strategy sets out a proposal for implementing collaborative imaging networks on a national basis across England. This approach will deliver better quality care and better value services for patients and provide hardworking NHS staff opportunities to develop their career and increase their productivity. NHS England and NHS Improvement

        Ear, nose and throat surgery: GIRFT programme national specialty report

        Ear, nose and throat surgery: GIRFT programme national specialty report The GIRFT review of ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery services visited 126 units across the country and found that thousands more people could be treated on a day case basis rather than having an overnight stay in hospital. Through a series of recommendations and by sharing the good practice of units with higher-than-average day case rates, the GIRFT report aims to: ensure more patients are treated without the worry or inconvenience of a stay in hospital; make ENT departments more resilient to pressures on beds; and allow trusts to free up beds for use by other specialties. Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT)

          NHS Property Services set up to fail

          NHS Property Services set up to fail NHS Property Services Limited has made progress in tackling some of the issues that it inherited when it was set up. However, it has struggled to get its tenants to sign rental agreements for the properties they occupy, and it is unacceptable that 70% of its tenants still do not have rental agreements in place. Without these agreements, it is very difficult to run an effective property management company and provide value for the NHS and taxpayers from the £3.8 billion estate that it was set up to manage. The lack of rental agreements has led to many bills being disputed, outstanding debt has almost tripled, to £576 million in March 2019, and £110 million of debt has been written off in the last five years. Public Accounts Select Committee

          See also:

          Hospitals in court for £1.5bn rate rebate claim

          Hospitals in court for £1.5bn rate rebate claim NHS trusts should be treated as charities and get a £1.5bn business rate refund, a court has heard.

          Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is leading 16 other trusts against 45 local authorities, including Derby City Council.

          The High Court heard trusts should qualify as they worked with hospitals "plainly for the public benefit".

          But barristers for the authorities said no such claims had been made before and any refund would hit public finances. BBC News

          Daily exercise can 'neutralise' the risk of depression even those with a high genetic risk of the condition 

          Daily exercise can 'neutralise' the risk of depression even those with a high genetic risk of the condition Around half an hour of exercise a day can “neutralise” the risk of developing depression, even in those with a family history of the condition, research suggests.

          Scientists said the Harvard study - the first of its kind - shows “genes are not destiny”.

          On average, every 35 minutes spent on activities such as yoga and dance classes, or using a treadmill, rowing machine or cross-trainer appeared to lower the risk of depression by 17 per cent, the research found. The Daily Telegraph

          See also:

          DNA test could save lives of thousands of children by identifying inherited diseases in babies

          DNA test could save lives of thousands of children by identifying inherited diseases in babies Thousands of young lives could be saved by a DNA test unveiled by scientists yesterday.

          The screening process checks for inherited diseases in babies.

          It allows doctors to start early treatment on a range of conditions from epilepsy to cystic fibrosis. Lethal diseases could be stopped in their tracks. The Daily Mail

          See also:

          Government bans UK drug companies from selling MMR vaccine to other countries

          Government bans UK drug companies from selling MMR vaccine to other countries The Government has banned pharmaceutical companies in the UK from selling the measles vaccine to other countries.

          This move makes MMR – a vaccine which protects against measles, mumps and rubella – the latest to have been added to a 'no export' list.

          It comes after a list of another 27 medications were banned in October from being parallel exported by firms in the UK. The Daily Mail

          See also:

          Tuesday, 5 November 2019

          Northamptonshire Council plans £4m children's service cut

          Northamptonshire Council plans £4m children's service cut A council has proposed a £4m cut to its children's services that was described as "failing" by Ofsted.

          The move is part of £23.2m of savings made by Northamptonshire County Council in its draft budget for 2020-21.

          It will be the last budget before the council, along with district and borough councils, will be replaced by two unitary authorities in April 2021. BBC Northampton

          See also:

          ’We’re here and you’re there’: lived experiences of ethnic minority staff in the NHS

          ’We’re here and you’re there’: lived experiences of ethnic minority staff in the NHS Earlier this year, I wrote about our research focusing on race inequalities in the NHS workforce. As part of the work, we asked people from an ethnic minority background who work in the NHS to share their lived experiences. As a woman of colour in the minority at work, I find race an uncomfortable topic to talk about; I’m cautious about talking openly in case I am judged for it. So I was taken aback by how many people got in touch from various minority ethnic backgrounds, working across health care. I prepared myself to hear about some ugly stories of prejudice and racism. The King's Fund

          All inpatients with learning disability or autism to be given case reviews

          All inpatients with learning disability or autism to be given case reviews All 2,250 patients with learning disabilities and autism who are inpatients in a mental health hospital will have their care reviewed over the next 12 months, the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has announced today.

          As part of the review, the government will commit to providing each patient with a date for discharge, or where this is not appropriate, a clear explanation of why and a plan to move them closer towards being ready for discharge into the community. Department of Health and Social Care

          See also:

          Securing cyber resilience in health and care: progress update 2019

          Securing cyber resilience in health and care: progress update 2019 This update is the third in a series of progress reports published by the DHSC since the May 2017 WannaCry cyber attack. The report highlights the actions taken by the department and our delivery partners to build cyber resilience in health and care. It describes our progress over the past 12 months and looks forward to 2020. Department of Health and Social Care

          A guide to managing medicines supply and shortages

          A guide to managing medicines supply and shortages This guide aims to support pharmacists, clinicians and other NHS professionals with managing the supply of medicines to their patients and details the national, regional and local management and escalation processes and communication routes for medicines supply issues in order to consolidate existing practice across industry, government and the NHS. NHS England

          Ten charts on why the NHS matters in this election

          Ten charts on why the NHS matters in this election The NHS is a key battleground in the general election.

          Whether it is extra money, tackling growing waiting lists or recruiting staff, politicians are keen to be seen championing the NHS.

          But what shape is the NHS actually in? BBC News

          See also:

          Cervical screening: DIY alternative to smear test 'promising'

          Cervical screening: DIY alternative to smear test 'promising' A DIY home urine or swab test could potentially help more women discover whether they are at risk of cervical cancer, researchers say.

          The new method could be used as an alternative to the smear test and would not require a visit to the doctor.

          Scientists at Queen Mary University of London asked 600 women to provide self-collected samples for screening.

          Although larger trials are needed, the work has been called "promising" and a potential "game-changer" by charities. BBC News

          See also:

          Teen self-harm rates are dramatically down in Denmark – here’s why

          Teen self-harm rates are dramatically down in Denmark – here’s why Concern has been growing over rising rates of self-harm in teenagers. In the UK and Ireland, increases began around the time of the 2008 economic crash and show no sign of slowing. One study of the UK found rates among teenage girls rose by two-thirds between 2011 and 2014.

          But some surprising new findings suggest that stress caused by recession and financial uncertainty does not necessarily lead to rises in suicidal behaviour. My colleagues and I examined rates of teenagers treated in hospital for self-harm in Denmark. Contrary to expectations, we found that rates of self-harm in Danish teenagers actually fell between 2008 and 2016. Although Denmark experienced an economic recession, why didn’t rates of self-harm among teenagers see a similar spike as in other countries? The Independent

          See also:

          Treasury tax rules force NHS patients to wait longer

          Treasury tax rules force NHS patients to wait longer Hundreds of appointments and crucial patient scans have been delayed because punitive tax rules are forcing NHS doctors to work less hours, a new survey has revealed.

          The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), an umbrella organisation for 24 separate medical colleges in the UK and Ireland, has now written to the chancellor Sajid Javid and health secretary Matt Hancock, urging them to take action. The Independent

          See also:

          Poorest hit hardest by cuts to public health spending – research

          Poorest hit hardest by cuts to public health spending – research Most deprived parts of England have lost six times as much funding as prosperous areas

          England’s poorest communities have borne the brunt of almost £900m of cuts to public health spending, despite them having higher rates of disease, research has revealed.

          Places with high levels of deprivation such as Liverpool, Blackpool and Birmingham have lost much more of their budgets to prevent problems such obesity and smoking than better-off areas. The Guardian

          See also:

          The NHS needs more than just cash. It needs major reform too

          The NHS needs more than just cash. It needs major reform too | Simon Jenkins An NHS boss says just show them the money, don’t ‘politicise’ the health service this election. But its problems run deeper

          Don’t politicise the NHS say the health professionals. Let us get on with the job. The health service providers’ chief executive, Chris Hopson, pleads for the health service not to be “weaponised” or “demonised” in the election. Just give it more money.

          The NHS has been political since the day it was born. Politics has served it well, making it ever vaster and ever more resistant to change. More than any country in Europe, it has maintained its archaic professional structures and its iconic free status “at the point of delivery” (except for drugs), because its leaders know well that “point of delivery” is code for votes. The Guardian

          Donors will be able to follow the route their blood takes using Google Maps

          Donors will be able to follow the route their blood takes using Google Maps Donors will be able to track the journey their blood takes through Google Maps in a bid to encourage more people to donate.

          Roadmaps will be emailed to all donors showing which NHS hospital gets their blood and where it is processed.

          NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is hoping to attract more donors and retain those with in-demand blood types, such as O negative and Ro.

          The initiative will be rolled out this week for donors in England and Wales. The Daily Mail