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Found 24 results
  1. News Article
    A lack of coronavirus tests for NHS staff is leading to staff absences and services being put at risk, hospital bosses have warned. NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, said staff are having to self-isolate rather than work because they cannot get tests for themselves or family members. It comes after widespread reports of people struggling to get tested. The home secretary defended the system, saying capacity was increasing. The government's testing system - part of its test, track and trace operation which Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised would be "world-beating" - has faced criticism in recent weeks. An increase in demand for coronavirus tests has led to local shortages - with some people being directed to test sites hundreds of miles from their homes. One doctor working in a coronavirus hotspot said she applied for a test for herself and her partner after they developed coughs and fevers. After refreshing the website for five hours, she managed to get an appointment but on arrival was told no booking had been made. She had taken screenshots of a confirmation code but was not sent a QR code to scan. "I showed the screenshots but I was told that the appointments weren't happening," she said. "I have to say I burst into tears. I was meant to be seeing patients and I feel guilty." Dr Rachel Ward, a GP in Newbury, told BBC Breakfast she was seeing a lot of patients who were struggling to get tests, saying a lot of families were "at the end of their tether" as it was "very stressful when you are faced with two weeks off work". She said if the staff at her practice were unable to get tests and had to self-isolate it would have a "huge impact" on patients as some of their healthcare workers are booked in to administer 100 flu jabs in a day. Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 September 2020
  2. News Article
    Plans for up to 150 new community diagnostic hubs to tackle the NHS’ ballooning diagnostic waiting lists are included in NHS England ‘blue print plans’ leaked to HSJ. The document pointed out the hubs “were highlighted in the phase 3 letter [from Sir Simon Stevens] and will be recommended as part of new service models for diagnostics in the forthcoming [Sir Mike] Richards’ Review of Diagnostics Capacity”. It said “at least 150 community diagnostic hubs should be established in the first instance (broadly equivalent to the number of acute hospitals)” although it appears many of these may be temporary facilities. The phase 3 letter said systems should mange the “immediate growth in people requiring cancer diagnosis and/or treatment returning to the service by… the development of community diagnostic hubs” among other measures The Richards review was commissioned by NHS England in 2019 as it had long been recognised that England has one of the lowest levels in Europe of diagnostic equipment as well as a shortage in facilities and staff. Last month think-tanks warned of significant worsening of cancer outcomes because of the backlog in diagnosis and treatment created by a fall in referrals during the pandemic..." Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 4 September 2020
  3. News Article
    The shipment of 400,000 gowns from Turkey which was part of a delayed consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been impounded in a warehouse after falling short of UK standards. The personal protective equipment (PPE) was flown into the UK by the RAF last month, arriving three days late, but has been held in a government warehouse near Heathrow since, the Daily Telegraph said. During mid-April, when coronavirus deaths in the UK were at their highest, the NHS required 150,000 gowns each day. Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis said the gowns were “not be of the quality that we feel is good enough for our frontline staff”. Speaking on Sky News, Mr Lewis said: “Well when we’re securing PPE from around the world you do it based on a set of standards that you’re looking to acquire to, but obviously once it’s here we check that it is good enough for what we want to use and in this instance some of this PPE turned out not to be good enough.” “I think it is right that if we have got particular standards for what we want our frontline staff to be able to have access to we make sure we stick to that. If something isn’t right, if we’re not even sure about it then I think it is better to be safe and not use that product and stick with products we are confident are the right products and the right standards.” Read full story Source: ITV News, 7 May 2020
  4. News Article
    Military personnel have criticised the NHS for its “appalling” handling of distributing personal protective equipment. The armed forces are helping with the distribution of equipment and staff have been seconded to help planning across seven hubs. A senior army source lambasted the health service for its logistics for PPE, alleging that masks, aprons, gloves and other items were being assigned to hospitals without regard to relative need, leading to oversupply in some areas and shortages in others. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 22 April 2020
  5. News Article
    Dozens of NHS trusts fear running out of disposable gowns this weekend if they do not receive more supplies, while national officials have issued guidance on alternatives to use in extreme circumstances, HSJ has learned. Several well-placed sources in procurement reported widespread concerns, more severe than so far in the COVID-19 outbreak. One had information that at least 60 trusts would run out this weekend without supplies, and that it was likely the large majority of NHS providers were affected. One well-placed source told HSJ the situation today was “not normal even during this pandemic”. Another described the “critical” shortage as “a dire situation for everyone”. Read full story Source: HSJ, 17 April 2020
  6. News Article
    None of the new life-saving mechanical ventilators ordered last month to cope with the increase in coronavirus patients has so far been awarded safety approval. Models by manufacturers such as Dyson have yet to get the green light from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the Financial Times reported. It comes a month after the Government issued a rallying cry to put non-medical manufacturers such as Dyson on a "war footing" to make additional machines. The lag is thought to be due in part to changing clinical understanding of how best to manage the virus. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 14 April 2020
  7. News Article
    GPs are advising patients with respiratory diseases to buy oxygen privately amid shortages of the gas across the NHS. Last week hospitals were warned to urgently consider limiting how many patients were given oxygen simultaneously. Hospitals usually have a pipeline to pump liquid oxygen from a central store to the wards, but most do not have the capacity to meet the demand from the number of patients they are treating with COVID-19. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 12 April 2020
  8. News Article
    Shortages are dogging the fight against the coronavirus. At Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) it's still only possible to test six staff for the virus per day, consultants have been making their own personal protective equipment, and there's an urgent need to save oxygen. Searching for ways round the problem, Dr Tom has been working with Leeds University on a 3D-printed valve that could be attached to the hospital's ventilators to reduce the amount of oxygen they use. But he also began looking at CPAP machines used to treat sleep apnoea at home. These maintain air at a continuous pressure, inside a mask, to keep the user's airways open - they have to be repurposed to provide oxygen for use in the hospital, but they use much less of it than standard hospital ventilators. They said, 'Yes we've got 2,000, how many do you want?''' he says. "And so our plan is to start with 100 and to see whether, if we use these early enough during a patient's stay, we can prevent people deteriorating and needing to go on to the more complex ventilators, and needing to come to the intensive care unit." We've been testing them over the weekend, and there's evidence from China and from the US that they seem effective. They just help inflate your lungs and that seems to be beneficial. They are also very simple, which means that there's no need for a huge amount of training. Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 April 2020
  9. News Article
    London trusts have been warned not to expect deliveries of gowns from the national supply chain for at least the next few days, HSJ understands. Without central deliveries, providers risk running out of gowns ahead of the Easter weekend. Trusts will have to rely on existing supplies and any new stock they procure independently. Staff performing or assisting aerosol-generating procedures on confirmed or suspected covid-19 patients should wear gowns, according to the latest guidance from Public Health England. But supplies have been an issue for weeks, with trust procurement leads raising concerns about dwindling gown stocks last month. It recently emerged that gowns were not included in national pandemic stockpiles, unlike other forms of personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. Read full story Source: HSJ, 9 April 2020
  10. News Article
    Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price has argued that the Welsh Government should appoint a procurement tsar to get to grips with Wales's serious shortage of COVID-19 testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and care staff and medical devices for patients. Wales is currently only testing 1,100 people a day when it was planning to test 6,000. This follows the collapse of an alleged deal between the Welsh Government and private company Roche which would have provided for 5,000 of those tests. Adam Price made the case for the appointment of a tsar whose "sole responsibility" would be the procurement and supply of COVID-19 tests, PPE, and oxygen and medical devices for Wales. He cited cases of care homes with just one or two boxes of surgical masks - each enough to last just two days for one patient, as well as hospital staff being forced to wear paper underwear over their hair due to the lack of any other protection. Read full story Source: Plaid Cymru Party of Wales, 6 April 2020
  11. News Article
    Adult social care services are to receive millions of personal protective equipment products following a national audit of personal protective equipment (PPE), HSJ can reveal. The government will deliver more than 30 million items to local resilience forums in the coming days, for distribution among social care and other front-line services, according to a letter seen by HSJ. The stock should not be sent to acute trusts or ambulance services, the letter, from health and social care secretary Matt Hancock and housing, communities and local government secretary Robert Jenrick, stated. Describing an “urgent need” for PPE in front-line services, Mr Hancock and Mr Jenrick asked local planners to distribute this latest batch of stock “only where there is a clear and pressing need”. Read full story Source: HSJ, 6 April 2020
  12. News Article
    The government has ordered an urgent national audit of personal protective equipment (PPE), body bags, swabs and infection control products, HSJ can reveal. Local resilience forum planners were earlier this week asked to share stock levels and daily consumption rates of the items at ambulance, acute trusts and in primary care and other services by 9pm on Tuesday. They were asked to indicate whether each figure represented a “major” or “minor” supply problem, or no problem at all, in an email seen by HSJ. As well as trusts, resilience forum staff were asked to share stock levels among adult social care services, numbers of mortuary staff, other local authority staff, police, prisons, fire and rescue services and funeral directors. The email also asked planners if local services had access to PPE supplies above their immediate need and whether local authorities were in discussions with any private PPE suppliers. The email noted the Department of Health and Social Care wanted to develop a “systematic days of supply picture” for all PPE at all providers. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 1 April 2020
  13. News Article
    A breathing aid that can help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care has been created in under a week. University College London engineers worked with clinicians at UCLH and Mercedes Formula One to build the device, which delivers oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are already used in hospitals but are in short supply. China and Italy used them to help Covid-19 patients. Forty of the new devices have been delivered to ULCH and to three other London hospitals. If trials go well, up to 1,000 of the CPAP machines can be produced per day by Mercedes-AMG-HPP, beginning in a week's time. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already given its approval for their use. Read full story Source: BBC News, 30 March 2020
  14. News Article
    National and regional NHS chiefs will seek to share out scarce ventilators to ”areas with the most immediate need, on a fair share basis relative to patient ventilation need," they have told hospital chiefs, who are increasingly concerned about what they will receive and when. Many are expecting demand for ventilated beds to outstrip what they have as the number of patients seriously ill with covid-19 ramps up. Trust leaders yesterday told HSJ they were growing increasingly worried about the lack of information over when the machines would be sent to their trusts. Some are worried London, and other regions which see their demand spike first, will get more supply. A letter from NHS England and Improvement to trust chiefs late on Wednesday told them that as “extra ventilators become available we will coordinate distribution via regional teams who will work with local health systems”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 27 March 2020
  15. News Article
    The government says a communications mix-up meant it missed the deadline to join an EU scheme to get extra ventilators for the coronavirus crisis. Ministers were earlier accused of putting Brexit before public health when Downing Street said the UK had decided to pursue its own scheme. But No 10 now says officials did not get emails inviting the UK to join and it could join future schemes. The party's shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "Given the huge need for PPE, testing capacity and crucial medical equipment including ventilators, people will want to know why on Monday ministers were saying they had 'chosen other routes' over the joint EU procurement initiatives but now they are claiming that they missed the relevant emails. "We need an urgent explanation from ministers about how they will get crucial supplies to the frontline as a matter of urgency." Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 March 2020
  16. Content Article
    The Health and Social Care Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry to consider the preparedness of the UK to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. MPs will focus their discussion on measures to safeguard public health, options for containing the virus and how well prepared the NHS is to deal with a major outbreak. At Patient Safety Learning we are gathering #safetystories from both staff and patients to highlight the challenges for safety in healthcare that are resulting from the pandemic. Ahead of the Committee’s next oral evidence session we have raised several urgent safety issues with the Chair, Jeremy Hunt MP. The Committee should seek answers and actions from NHS leaders and politicians on the issues identified to ensure the safety of staff and patients. Below is a summary of our submission to the Committee, a full copy of which can be found here. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff There has been an increasing number of concerns raised by staff through the media over the past week around problems accessing appropriate PPE. While at a senior level there has been assurances about the availability of appropriate PPE for NHS staff, we are concerned that this is not being borne out by their experiences on the front-line, undermining trust and confidence that staff safety is being treated as a priority. In our submission we’ve cited several issues raised by healthcare workers in this regard, such as discrepancies in the amount of PPE available to staff in some roles (e.g. ambulances) as opposed to others (e.g. emergency departments). There have also been concerns about the guidance provided on what PPE is required. We’ve been advised of incidents where this has been downgraded to reflect the availability of supplies; this is clearly highly risky and does not reflect a science-based response to the pandemic. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What is being done to ensure all ‘at risk’ staff have access to PPE, not only in the Intensive Treatment Units (ITUs) but Emergency Departments, Wards, Ambulances, in the community, everywhere? Who is in charge in every organisation to ensure that PPE is available and in use, according to robust guidelines? How do staff report concerns and to whom? What assurances are there that the safety of staff is paramount and that the cost of PPE is not preventing staff from having access to life-saving protection? How is the NHS supply chain communicating with trusts over likely lead times for PPE and availability of supplies? Is there transparency in this so that trusts can plan effectively how to use the stocks they have left? Testing There has been a number of reports about how the UK’s approach to testing differs from World Health Organization guidance and we’ve had concerns raised directly with us by staff who are genuinely fearful that they are infected and spreading the virus to their friends, family and the general public without knowing. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What is the policy for testing and tracing patients for Covid-19 in the UK? What are the requirements for test production and testing capacity in this country? What are the plans and timescales to deliver this? We think that the scale of testing is compromising our ability to track the spread of the virus and isolate those that are infected. Non Covid-19 care Understandably the healthcare system is focusing its attention on the deadly effects of the coronavirus and we believe that we need to pay attention to patient safety now more important than ever. We are hearing stories of patients whose planned tests, elective operations, diagnostic procedures are being postponed or delayed while the health care system focuses on responding to the pandemic. It is important to assess the impact the coronavirus will have on other areas of care and ensure it does not magnify or exacerbate existing patient safety issues. We’re asking patients to share their safety stories with us to highlight weaknesses or safety issues that need to be addressed and share solutions that are working, so we can seek to close the close the gaps that might emerge as a result of the pandemic. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What arrangements are being put in place to inform patients and families of any changes in non Covid-19 care during the pandemic? How are UK patients and families being informed about any such changes in their care? What should patients do if they notice new signs and symptoms? References [1] UK Parliament, Health and Social Care Committee: Preparations for Coronavirus, Last Accessed 25 March 2020. [2] HSJ, Staff in ‘near revolt’ over protective gear crisis, Last Accessed 25 March 2020.
  17. News Article
    Details of a massive ramp-up in intensive care beds have been circulated to NHS bosses in London, amid concerns from national leaders that they are four days away from full capacity. In a call with local leaders, the NHS’ national director for mental health, Claire Murdoch, spoke about the intense pressures facing the acute system due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to several people on the call, she said London “runs out of [ICU] beds in four days” if urgent action is not taken. She also warned the need for intensive care beds will now double every three days, the sources said. The capital’s hospitals are frantically planning to try to quadruple their “surge capacity” in intensive care over the next fortnight, from around 1,000 surge beds over the weekend just passed, to more than 4,000 in two weeks’ time. Read full story Source: HSJ, 24 March 2020
  18. News Article
    The government has bought 3.5 million coronavirus antibody tests — with more widespread testing of NHS workers coming “online soon”, the health secretary has said. Matt Hancock also told a press conference this evening that a new testing facility had been opened in Milton Keynes as the government aims to “ramp up” the number of antibody tests — which will determine whether people have had the virus and can therefore return to work. Mr Hancock also said the government had shipped 7.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment over the last 24 hours, following major shortages, and confirmed the conversion of east London’s Excel centre into a huge temporary hospital facility, with between 500 to 4,000 beds. Read full story Source: HSJ, 24 March 2020
  19. News Article
    Lack of staff testing, workforce shortages and running out of personal protective equipment (PPE)are the three biggest concerns for trusts fighting the coronavirus outbreak, according to an HSJ chief executive survey conducted over the last 36 hours. Thirteen of the 34 trust chief executives who responded to the snap survey, who were from trusts across England, also warned they would run out of intensive care capacity by next week as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise. The survey also revealed some trusts were already being forced to dilute safe staffing ratios and ration facilities. One chief warned: “We are preserving ventilation capacity by ensuring that only those who may survive are considered.” However, the majority of respondents were supportive of system leaders’ guidance so far. Several respondents praised the “impressive pace and detail of the advice." The three biggest areas of concern raised by the chiefs surveyed were: Lack of staff testing, raised by 26 of the 34 respondents (77%); Staff shortages, raised by 26 of the 34 respondents (77%); and PPE shortages, raised by 23 of the 34 respondents (68%. Read full story Source: HSJ, 24 March 2020
  20. News Article
    UK doctors fighting coronavirus still say they don't have personal protective equipment (PPE). Jon Snow spoke to Dr Jenny Vaughan, a leading member of the Doctors’ Association who have written to the government to demand better personal protective equipment for medical staff. He asked her whether the PPE equipment promised by the government was starting to reach the medical staff on the frontline, and what kinds of problems medical personnel had been encountering. Watch news story Source: Channel 4 News, 23 March 2020
  21. News Article
    The health secretary has acknowledged there have been "challenges" with the supply of personal protective equipment to NHS staff in England - but added he is determined to rise to them. Last week, NHS staff said the lack of protective gear was putting them at risk during the coronavirus outbreak. Matt Hancock said a million face masks had been bought over the weekend and he was taking the issue "very seriously". From this week, the Army will play a part in helping to distribute supplies. "I am determined to ensure that the right kit gets to the right hospital, the right ambulance service, the right doctors' surgery, right across the country," said Mr Hancock. "There have been challenges and I can see that. We're on it and trying to solve all the problems." Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 March 2020
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