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Found 156 results
  1. News Article
    NHS trusts in England lost more than a million working days to long-Covid absences last year, analysis suggests. Thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals have been forced to take long periods off work because of the lingering effects of coronavirus infection. Data released to the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus suggests that long-Covid absences are now higher than they were a year ago. Layla Moran, who chairs the group, said: “Long Covid has upended the lives of millions and these figures suggest that the deeply damaging impact it is having on our economy and public services is only getting worse.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 19 December 2022
  2. News Article
    Elderly people who fall may only be sent an ambulance after they have spent four hours on the floor, and some category 2 calls may not be responded to under one of the first agreements with ambulance unions about next week’s strikes. But the deal between South East Coast Ambulance Service and the GMB union will see many union staff continue to work on ambulances and in control rooms – and others may be asked to come off the picket line if operational pressures escalate. HSJ has seen the details of the deal – thought to be one of the first agreed before next Wednesday’s strike. Some other trusts are hoping to conclude negotiations shortly, but for several — such as in the North West and London — it is thought no strike “derogations” (exceptions) have so far been agreed, and managers are concerned that unions are resistant. Trusts have been pushing for more cover on strike days – especially around category 2 calls. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 December 2022
  3. News Article
    Medics and nurses have been urgently called upon to support London Ambulance Service during next week’s strike action, as it will otherwise have to rely on staff only able to provide ‘first aid’. The North East London primary care team has sent out a request for clinical staff working for integrated care boards to be released from duties ahead of industrial action on 21 December. Unison members are preparing to walk out, alongside thousands of other staff at nine other ambulance trusts across the country, in a dispute over pay. The letter, seen by HSJ, was sent yesterday afternoon. It said: “LAS are keen to have experienced medics and nurses, who have current urgent and emergency clinical exposure, have knowledge of how to navigate the system and can operate as a senior clinical decision maker. Medical Practitioners would ideally be from general practice and emergency medicine. “Advanced Paramedics and Advanced Care Practitioners with urgent care or IUC CAS experience are also required. A knowledge of ambulance services is preferred as it removes the need to learn very quickly the significant differences in ambulance services and LAS control rooms." Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 13 December 2022
  4. Content Article
    Key points The study found successful strategies are typically associated with a concert of activities that simultaneously ensure sufficient supply of health care, manage demand and optimise the conditions within the health care system itself. In England in the 2000s, a number of activities were associated with reduced waiting times. These activities were concentrated within the categories of increasing supply and optimising conditions within the health care system itself to achieve the goal of an 18‑week referral to treatment target by 2008. These activities were underpinned by a bigger idea about what the health service as a whole should look and feel like, and incorporated how waiting times are brought down as much as what activities might be used. For the experts interviewed, the achievement of the 18 weeks target was made possible as a result of: valuing and investing in people working in the NHS; a clear, central vision and goal for waiting and an ambition that those working within health care felt equipped to take on; cultivating relationships and leadership at all levels of the health care system; accountability, incentives and targeted support to encourage performance against waiting times targets and other measures of quality of care; and seizing the momentum of wider NHS reform. Whereas the improvement in waiting times performance of nearly 20 years ago took place in a very different political and economic context, the research highlighted not only hope but opportunities to reduce waiting times in the present day: by addressing shortages of health care staff and physical resources urgently; by working with integrated care systems in the spirit of prevention, collaboration, inclusion and community‑based models of care; and by aligning a vision for the health services with a plan that brings staff, patients and the public along on the journey to get there.
  5. Content Article
    Key messages 90% of National Nurses Associations (NNAs) are somewhat or extremely concerned that heavy workloads, and insufficient resourcing, burnout and stress related to the pandemic response are the drivers resulting in increased numbers of nurses who have left the profession, and increased reported rates of intention to leave this year and when the pandemic is over. 20% of NNAs reported an increased rate of nurses leaving the profession in 2020 and studies from associations around the world have consistently highlighted increased intention to leave rates. More than 70% of NNAs report that their countries are committed to increase the number of nursing students, but highlight that when this happens there will still be a three-to-four-year gap before new graduate nurses are ready to enter the workforce. During that time, they fear an exodus of experienced nurses. Due to existing nursing shortages, the ageing of the nursing workforce and the growing COVID-19 effect, ICN estimates up to 13 million of nurses will be needed to fill the global nurse shortage gap in the future. It is imperative that governments act now to mitigate the risk of increased turnover among nurses and improve nurse retention.
  6. News Article
    A consultant surgeon refused to attend hospital to carry out urgent surgery at a trust which later had upper gastrointestinal surgery suspended after an unannounced Care Quality Commission visit. The CQC report into upper GI surgery at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton – based on an inspection in August – said incident reports revealed occasions when upper GI surgeons could not be contacted or refused to come into hospital to treat patients. In one case, a consultant would not come in to carry out urgent surgery, it added. Low numbers of surgeons meant the on-call rota for upper GI was shared with the lower GI surgeons. This meant an upper GI specialist was not always available immediately, despite guidance from a professional body that 24/7 subspecialty cover was needed at centres which carry out major resectional surgery. This surgery was suspended at the RSCH after the August inspection and has yet to be reinstated. Mortality at both 30 and 90 days for patients with oesophago-gastric cancer was twice the national average between 2017 and 2020 – though the trust was not an outlier – and there was an increasing number of emergency readmissions for patients who had undergone upper GI surgery, the report said. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 1 December 2022
  7. Content Article
    Survey highlights Across the 10 high-income countries included in this study, most doctors reported increases in their workload since the beginning of the pandemic. Younger doctors (under age 55) were more likely to experience stress, emotional distress, or burnout and, in nearly all countries, were more likely to seek professional help compared to older doctors. Doctors who experienced stress, emotional distress, or burnout were more likely to report providing worse quality of care compared to before the pandemic. Half or more of older doctors in most countries reported they would stop seeing patients within the next three years, leaving a primary care workforce made up of younger, more stressed, and burned-out doctors.
  8. News Article
    Nurses across the UK will go on strike for the first time over two days in the fortnight before Christmas after ministers rejected their pleas for formal talks over NHS pay. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said its members would stage national strikes – the first in its 106-year history – on 15 and 20 December. Senior sources said the industrial action was expected to last for 12 hours on both days – most likely between 8am and 8pm. The unprecedented national industrial action will seriously disrupt care and is likely to be the first in a series of strikes over the winter and into the spring by other NHS staff, including junior doctors and ambulance workers. On Friday, RCN general secretary, Pat Cullen, said the UK government had chosen strikes over listening to nursing staff, adding: “If you turn your back on nurses, you turn your back on patients.” The RCN said that despite a pay rise of about £1,400 awarded in the summer, experienced nurses were worse off by 20% in real terms due to successive below-inflation awards since 2010. It said the economic argument for paying nursing staff fairly was clear when billions of pounds were being spent on agency staff to plug workforce gaps. It added that in the last year, 25,000 nursing staff around the UK had left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, with poor pay contributing to staff shortages across the country, which it warned were affecting patient safety. There are 47,000 unfilled NHS registered nurse posts in England alone. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 25 November 2022
  9. News Article
    The NHS staffing crisis will be solved only if doctors and nurses get more flexible about their job descriptions and break down barriers between roles, according to Rishi Sunak’s health adviser. Bill Morgan argues that training times for doctors and nurses may have to be reduced, and suggests developing “sub-consultants” and entirely new medical professions, He wants ministers to create an Office for Budget Responsibility-style body to predict future workforce needs. The Treasury has held down the numbers of doctors and nurses Britain trains to prevent “supply-induced demand”, which encourages people to seek appointments that are not needed, Morgan argues. Chronic shortages of qualified staff are the biggest problem facing the health service, which has more than 130,000 vacancies. Morgan acknowledges that this means “some of the government’s key manifesto commitments will not be met”, citing the promise of 6,000 extra GPs. Sunak said this week that the government was “thinking creatively about what new roles and capabilities we need in the healthcare workforce of the future”. He urged the NHS to shed “conventional wisdom”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 24 November 2022
  10. News Article
    NHS therapy services won’t be able to manage increased demand driven by the cost of a living crisis as they are already thousands of therapists short, The Independent has been told. NHS counselling services in England are not meeting therapy access targets due to a shortfall of 2,000 workers, according to sources. The findings come as a poll by the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and YouGov, shared with The Independent, found that almost one in two adults felt the cost of living crisis was affecting their mental health. According to the survey of more than 2,000 adults, 25 to 34 years old were most likely to say the cost of the living crisis was impacting their mental health. Adam Jones, policy and public affairs manager for the UKCP, said “I think what we’re concerned about is the fact that already, there is a record level of demand for mental health services. We also know there are record rates of prescription for antidepressant medication as well. We’re concerned the capacity currently is already falling short. “So with the rising demand going forward, we’re concerned that services are going to be stretched, waiting time is going to go up, average number of therapy sessions received is going to go down He warned that although the NHS is focussed on training new therapists, there was already an existing workforce of psychotherapists and counsellors who don’t work in the NHS. “We’d like to see more targeted recruitment of psychotherapists and counsellors who are already trained, and so that most would only require a short adaptive training to be able to work in an NHS context.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 23 November 2022
  11. News Article
    GPs are struggling to cope with as many as 90 appointments and consultations a day – more than three times a recommended safety limit. General practices in England are carrying out more appointments than before the pandemic but face severe workforce shortages. More than 1.45 million patients waited at least 28 days to see a GP in September, according to the most recent NHS figures. GPs who spoke to the Observer last week say that almost every day they breach the BM) guideline of “not more than 25 contacts per day” to deliver safe care. One doctor said he had more than 90 consultations on one day. A conference of local medical committee representatives in England this week will highlight the growing pressures faced in general practice. Surgeries are being urged to impose stricter caps on the number of patient appointments for each GP. One of the proposed motions submitted to the conference by Kensington and Chelsea local medical committee says “focusing on patient safety” is more appropriate than meeting high patient demand. It says the NHS should focus on “safe capacity”. Such a move would mean longer waits for GP appointments, but doctors say it would help safeguard patient care and the welfare of staff in general practice. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 November 2022
  12. News Article
    The plan to tackle long waits in hospital treatment and cancer care in England by 2025 is at serious risk, the spending watchdog says. The National Audit Office report warned inflation and other pressures on the NHS could undermine the push. These included a lack of staff and hospital beds, which was affecting productivity, the watchdog said. But NHS bosses said they could overcome the challenges and the health service was on track to hit its targets. NHS England and the government have set a series of targets over the next three years. They include: returning performance on the 62-day target for cancer treatment to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023 ending waits of over a year and a half for planned treatment, such as knee and hip operations, by April 2023 ending waits of over a year for planned treatment by March 2025 The NAO report comes as the chancellor prepares to set out his tax and spending plans in his Autumn Statement on Thursday. Cuts to public spending are likely but Health Secretary Steve Barclay has strongly hinted the NHS will receive more money. Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 November 2022
  13. News Article
    GP surgeries across Scotland are at risk of collapsing because of staff shortages and increased demand, a senior doctor has warned. Dr Andrew Buist, chairman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) Scottish GP committee, told the BBC many practices were at "tipping point". More than a third of surveyed surgeries reported at least one GP vacancy – up from just over a quarter last year. About half of the GP surgeries in Scotland took part in the BMA survey. It showed 81% of practices said demand was exceeding capacity - with 42% saying demand substantially exceeded capacity. Dr Buist told BBC Scotland: "I worry that we're reaching a tipping point for some practices. "They lose one or maybe two doctors out of three, and the remaining doctors cannot continue so they return the contract and the practice may cease to exist. "That is a real concern in some parts of Scotland that that is happening and it's going to happen increasingly as the situation develops over this winter." Read full story Source: BBC News, 15 November 2022
  14. News Article
    Doctors and nurses are “absolutely frightened and petrified” about how bad this winter will be for the NHS in England, hospital bosses have revealed. Staff fear services will not be able to cope with a combination of flu, resurgent Covid, winter and the cost of living crisis damaging people’s health, and also the wave of looming strikes over pay. “People are genuinely scared,” said the chief executive of one acute NHS trust in England. “I’m talking to senior clinicians and consultants and nurses who are absolutely frightened and petrified about what’s potentially to come,” added the hospital boss, speaking on condition of anonymity. Staff are anxious because of “the potential for the impact of Covid and flu, the impact of industrial action, the impact of cost of living, the impact on people’s health from that, [and] the massive increases in mental health need, and the breakdown in primary care and social care.” Chiefs of other NHS trusts in England said they shared that gloomy prognosis. They are bracing themselves for having to curtail and cancel services on days when staff stop work over pay, including outpatient clinics and non-urgent surgery. The NHS will face an “onslaught” this winter, one said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 November 2022
  15. News Article
    The state of social care in England has “never been so bad”, the country’s leading social services chief has said, with half a million people now waiting for help. Sarah McClinton, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), told a conference of council care bosses in Manchester: “The shocking situation is that we have more people requesting help from councils, more older and disabled with complex needs, yet social care capacity has reduced and we have 50,000 fewer paid carers.” Over 400,000 people rely on care homes in England and more than 800,000 receive care at home. But care services are struggling with 160,000 staff vacancies, rising demand and already tight funding for social care that is being squeezed by soaring food and energy inflation. About a third of care providers report that inability to recruit staff has negatively affected their service and many have stopped admitting new residents as a result. Last month the Care Quality Commission warned of a “tsunami of unmet care” and said England’s health and social care system was “gridlocked”. Problems in social care make it harder to free up beds in hospitals, slowing down the delivery of elective care. “The scale of how many people are either not getting the care and support they need, or are getting the wrong kind of help, at the wrong time and in the wrong place is staggering,” said McClinton, who is also director for health and adult services in Greenwich. “It is also adding to the endless pressures we see with ambulances and hospitals, and adding to the pressures we see in our communities, more people requesting help with mental health and domestic abuse.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 2 November 2022
  16. News Article
    Further funding cuts to the NHS will unavoidably endanger patient safety, an NHS leader warned last week after the chancellor’s promise of spending cuts of “eye-watering difficulty”. Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said his members were issuing the “starkest warning” about “the huge and growing gulf between what the NHS is being asked to deliver and the funding and capacity it has available”. The warning came as figures showed that paramedics in England had been unavailable to attend almost one in six incidents in September due to being stuck outside hospitals with patients. Service leaders say wait times for A&E and other care are being exacerbated by an acute lack of nurses, with a record 46,828 nursing roles – more than one in 10 – unfilled across the NHS. "Patients are presenting more unwell," says a GP from South Wales, "Wait times in A&E have become unmanageable, so we’re seeing patients who have waited so long to be seen they’re bouncing back to us. Things we can’t deal with, like injuries and chest pain. We tell them they have to go back to A&E. "Abuse of surgery reception and admin staff began last year and it’s just scaled up from there. We’ve had staff members who have been verbally and physically threatened and we’re struggling to recruit and retain staff – people are hired and quit in a couple days. A lot of people are going off sick with stress." Five healthcare workers describe the pressures they are facing, including ambulance stacking, rising A&E wait times and difficulties discharging patients. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 1 November 2022
  17. News Article
    The largest expansion of medical training posts has been announced the day after Scotland’s health secretary warned that the NHS was facing up to its most challenging winter. Humza Yousaf yesterday confirmed that 152 more places for trainee doctors would be created next year. He hailed it as the “most significant increase in medical training places to date” and an increase on the 139 places created last year. The announcement comes after ministers were urged to fund the creation of additional training places in key specialities including general practice, core psychiatry, oncology, emergency medicine, intensive care medicine and anaesthetics. “These additional training places highlight the Scottish government’s continued commitment to ensure that our health service is resilient and can continue delivering high quality care to those who need it,” Yousaf said. “This record expansion will support a wide range of medical specialties, many of which are under increased pressure as a result of growing demand. “We will continue to monitor the number of available training places in collaboration with NHS Education for Scotland to help make sure the NHS is equipped to meet the country’s current and future needs.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 1 November 2022
  18. News Article
    Scotland's NHS is in "a perilous situation" amid a staffing and funding crisis, according to the chairman of the doctors' union. Dr Iain Kennedy said urgent action was needed to tackle workload pressures ahead of a potentially "terrifying" winter period. It comes after Scotland's health secretary Humza Yousaf admitted NHS Scotland was not performing well. Mr Yousaf told BBC Scotland it would take at least five years to fix. Dr Kennedy, who is chairman of the industry body BMA Scotland, said it was good to hear Mr Yousaf being honest about the scale of the problems, but added that "frankly we cannot wait five years" for things to improve. He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "The NHS in Scotland is in a perilous situation and we have a particular crisis around the workforce - we simply do not have enough doctors in general practice and in hospitals. "We need more urgent action because the pressures and the workload have really shot up." Dr Kennedy has called on the government to publish a "heat map" showing where NHS vacancies are unfilled across Scotland. He said: "The public need to see transparency on where the vacancies are. We think that there are probably 15% vacancies across hospital consultant posts across Scotland. "Even the government admits to 7% and that we are at least 800 GPs short in Scotland - and I, and others, suspect we are probably well over that figure now." Read full story Source: BBC News, 31 October 2022
  19. News Article
    Eighteen people died at two Teesside hospital trusts following patient safety lapses over a 12-month period. Sixteen such deaths were recorded at the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with two at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. Examples of patient safety lapses include a failure to provide or monitor care, a breakdown in communication, an out-of-control infection in a hospital, insufficient staffing or a missed diagnosis. NHS England figures show that, between April 2021 and March this year, there were 16,557 incidents at the South Tees Trust, which operates James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, and Northallerton's Friarage Hospital. Thirty-four resulted in "severe" harm. Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the figures were a concern and that he planned to take them up with the South Tees Trust's chief executive. He said NHS staff worked under "the most demanding of conditions" but added: "Every person going into hospital rightly expects to receive the best treatment. Patient safety is paramount and no family wants to see a loved one suffer." Dr Mike Stewart, the trust's chief medical officer, said: "We encourage an open and transparent culture and promote the reporting of all patient safety incidents, even when there is uncertainty over a direct link between any problems in care and incidents of severe harm or death. "In the last year there were no deaths graded as definitely preventable due to a problem in the care delivered by the trust. "While our reporting has increased consistently over the last three years, the number of serious incidents has not risen, which is strong evidence of a positive safety culture." Read full story Source: BBC News, 30 October 2022
  20. News Article
    Nurses are working the equivalent of one day a week for nothing, according to a study. Researchers from London Economics were commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to look at pay in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland since 2010. They found that the salary of an experienced nurse had fallen by 20% in real terms, based on a five-day week. Experienced nurses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland would need a nominal pay rise of 45% by 2024-25 just to return their salaries to levels seen in 2010-11 in real terms, the research said. And such a pay rise would actually help the NHS save money in the long term, as it would be cheaper than hiring staff from overseas, according to the study. Dr Gavan Conlon, who oversaw the research, said that bringing staff in from overseas costs approximately £16,900 more annually than retaining a nurse, while using agency workers costs around £21,300 more per year. He said that about 32,000 nurses leave the NHS every year, many due to the failure of their pay to keep up with the rising cost of living. The RCN is balloting its 300,000 members for strike action, calling for higher pay and an effort by government to fill the hundreds of thousands of nursing vacancies across the country. Read full story Source: Sky News, 28 October 2022