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Found 1,512 results
  1. News Article
    This is a sick country, getting sicker. NHS waits will take years to clear, if at all. While people wait, they get sicker. When more and more people slip into absolute poverty – a fifth of people now – they get even sicker. More sicken as they age, and that peak has not yet been reached. Every part of the NHS feels at the sharp end, coping mostly because, amazingly, they just do, even with no end in sight to the stress. NHS data released last week on people waiting more than 18 weeks with serious heart problems suggests some will probably die before they get treatment. When waiting patients have heart attacks and strokes they call an ambulance – so there’s been an astonishing 7% rise in those category 1 calls. At an ambulance dispatch centre in Kent, Polly Toynbee listens in to calls like this at the South East Coast Ambulance Service dispatch centre in Gillingham, north Kent, covering Surrey, Sussex and Kent. She sat with D, a seasoned and sympathetic emergency medical adviser, call handler and life-and-death decider. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 April 2024
  2. News Article
    The number of people dying needlessly in A&E soars on a Monday as hospitals are stretched to the limit and failing to discharge patients at the weekend, new data shows. Figures uncovered by The Independent show an average of 126 patients died every Monday between 2020-2023 – 25% higher than any other day. On a Saturday, the average number of deaths drops as low as 90. Waiting times are also shown to spike massively at the start of the week, with an average of 9,300 patients spending more than 12 hours waiting on a Monday – up to 2,000 more than any other day. Medical experts said the rise in A&E waits can be attributed to people staying away from hospitals during weekends and patients not being discharged from medical care, causing a bottleneck in an already buckling system. The stark statistics also directly contradict repeated government efforts to make the NHS a seven-day service. Multiple coroners have warned the government and health leaders about delays to patients’ treatment and diagnosis due to variations in staffing and access to specialists – particularly over the weekend. Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the NHS England data clearly signposted an “increased risk” at the start of the week. Another expert said the sharp rise in deaths on Mondays showed an A&E “running constantly in the red zone”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 8 April 2024
  3. Content Article
    About 40,000 patient pathways have disappeared. But on the plus side, a new and better data series has begun. The referral-to-treatment (RTT) waiting list data has now changed in two important ways. First, about 40,000 patient pathways in community services are now excluded from the RTT data collections, and this accounted for all of the apparent reduction in list size in the latest (February) official RTT data. Second, NHS England has started regular publication of the more detailed and timely (though – for now – less complete and accurate) Waiting List Minimum Data set. This HSJ article looks at those changes in more detail.
  4. Content Article
    The Health & Social Care Committee is examining the relationship between leadership in the NHS and performance/productivity as well as patient safety. It will consider the findings of and implementation of recent reviews of NHS leadership, such as the Messenger (2022) and Kark (2019) reviews as they relate to patient safety, as well as topics including how effectively leadership supports whistleblowers and learning from patient safety issues. Here is AvMA's response to the Committee's call for evidence.
  5. News Article
    The boss of the NHS has made a dramatic intervention in The Independent highlighting the shocking amount of sexual abuse against staff in the health service, arguing that a #MeToo moment is needed to safeguard staff. Amanda Pritchard hit out at the “unacceptable” levels of abuse faced by doctors and nurses, demanding that health trusts be judged on their progress in tackling sexual harassment. She has called for sexual harassment against NHS staff to be “stamped out” after it emerged that one in eight workers – 58,000 – had reported experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour last year. Writing exclusively for The Independent, Ms Pritchard said the abuse now levelled at doctors and nurses is unacceptable – with some staff being raped at work, groped, and shown pornography. “The #MeToo movement has powerfully called out this unacceptable behaviour and fuelled important discussions right across society, and the NHS must not be exempt,” Ms Pritchard wrote. Around 58,000 NHS workers reported being subjected to unwanted sexual behaviour last year (PA) “But we can’t just call out unacceptable behaviour and move on: we need to stamp it out across all parts of the NHS.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 13 April 2024
  6. News Article
    A dedicated mental health and addiction support service for secondary care staff is shutting to new patients, as NHS England is set to cut its funding. The NHS Practitioner Health programme, which was rolled out nationally in October 2019, is halting new registrations for secondary care staff from 15 April. NHS England has informed the provider its funding will be cut for secondary care staff, subject to a review it is carrying out of wider services. The Practitioner Health programme for GPs and dentists is expected to continue for another year, although its future beyond that is also unclear, HSJ was told. An announcement published on X, formerly known as Twitter, said: “New secondary care patients will be signposted to alternative sources of support, including your GP, occupational health departments and organisational employee assistance programmes.” Its axing comes amid severe pressure on NHS budgets nationally and locally, with overall funding barely keeping up with anticipated inflation in 2024-25, and many integrated care systems forecasting large deficits. Medical unions and senior doctors have criticised the axing of the service. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 12 April 2024
  7. News Article
    In the next few days, once the data has been collected, the Government will come out and say that, thanks to its policies, the situation in A&E is improving. Despite estimates released recently by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine that soaring waits for A&E beds led to more than 250 needless deaths a week in England alone last year, the Government will point to declining numbers of patients who breached the four-hour target this March. The four-hour target means we're meant to see and either discharge or admit patients within four hours of their arriving in A&E. But it's a sham, writes Professor Rob Galloway in the Daily Mail. Because, for the past month, the four-hour data has been manipulated, the result of two policies introduced earlier in the month by the Government. Read full story Source: Daily Mail, 3 April 2024
  8. News Article
    There is huge regional variation in the rate at which health systems are preventing patients joining the elective waiting list through “advice and guidance” to GPs, according to analysis by HSJ. Some systems – including Northamptonshire – have managed to ramp up these “diverts” to such an extent that they now report around one A&G case to every 3.5 cases cleared from the waiting list through treatment or seeing a consultant. This contrasts with others, such as Lancashire and South Cumbria, which only reports one A&G case for every 16 cleared from the waiting list. Advice and guidance involves GPs consulting specialists before making direct referrals and around half the time this results in a referral being avoided. The model is set to be a cornerstone of NHS England’s new outpatient transformation strategy, which is due imminently. Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, vice chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the analysis “confirms reports we’ve heard from our members – that there is too much regional variation in the use of the ‘advice and guidance’”. She added: “Some GPs report that when advice and guidance is properly resourced and well implemented, it can be a helpful tool for improving communications with their colleagues in secondary care. “[But] it is clear that more time, funding and capacity needs to be dedicated to allow clinicians to communicate efficiently and effectively whilst respecting professionalism.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 9 April 2024 Related reading on the hub: Rejected outpatient referrals are putting patients at risk and increasing workload pressure on GPs
  9. News Article
    Thousands of vulnerable children questioning their gender identity have been let down by the NHS providing unproven treatments and by the “toxicity” of the trans debate, a landmark report has found. The UK’s only NHS gender identity development service used puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which masculinise or feminise people’s appearances, despite “remarkably weak evidence” that they improve the wellbeing of young people and concern they may harm health, Dr Hilary Cass said. Cass, a leading consultant paediatrician, stressed that her findings were not intended to undermine the validity of trans identities or challenge people’s right to transition, but rather to improve the care of the fast-growing number of children and young people with gender-related distress. But she said this care was made even more difficult to provide by the polarised public debate, and the way in which opposing sides had “pointed to research to justify a position, regardless of the quality of the studies”. “There are few other areas of healthcare where professionals are so afraid to openly discuss their views, where people are vilified on social media, and where name-calling echoes the worst bullying behaviour. This must stop.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 10 April 2024
  10. Content Article
    Dr Hilary Cass has submitted her final report and recommendations to NHS England in her role as Chair of the Independent Review of gender identity services for children and young people. The Review was commissioned by NHS England to make recommendations on how to improve NHS gender identity services, and ensure that children and young people who are questioning their gender identity or experiencing gender dysphoria receive a high standard of care, that meets their needs, is safe, holistic and effective.  The report describes what is known about the young people who are seeking NHS support around their gender identity and sets out the recommended clinical approach to care and support they should expect, the interventions that should be available, and how services should be organised across the country. It also makes recommendations on the quality improvement and research infrastructure required to ensure that the evidence base underpinning care is strengthened.
  11. News Article
    A gran was left lying outside in the cold facing a seven hour wait for an ambulance following a fall before finally being rescued — by firefighters. Betsy Hulme, 83, was left in agony with a broken hip when she tumbled in her back garden in Leek, Staffordshire. Son Steve, 60, a former ambulance technician, dialled 999 only to be told it would be several hours until paramedics could get to them due to long handover delays. After a further three hours of Betsy waiting on cold concrete slabs while soaked in rain water, desperate Steve decided to drive to a nearby fire station to ask for help. Fire crews then came to rescue to lift gran-of-four Betsy into her son's car who took her to hospital where she remains after undergoing a hip repair operation. Dad-of-two Steve, of Leek, has now branded emergency response times as “absolutely disgusting”. He said: "It’s opened my eyes if I’m honest. It’s absolutely disgusting. I’m so grateful and thankful to the fire service - but it really isn’t their job. I can't remember in my time working as an ambulance technician going to someone and saying, 'I’m sorry it’s taken us twelve hours to get here'." “It was never anywhere near those ridiculous times when I worked there until 2000 and something has gone drastically wrong since. I can't speak highly enough of the boys and girls who work in the NHS, it's the people above them. Its systemic change that's needed." Read full story Source: Wales Online, 4 April 2024
  12. Content Article
    Read the Royal College of Emergency Medicine's general election manifesto. A one page summary is below and the full manifesto can be found at the link at the bottom of the page.
  13. News Article
    Almost 10 million people across England could be waiting for an NHS appointment or treatment, 2 million more than previously estimated, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS survey of about 90,000 adults found that 21% of patients were waiting for a hospital appointment or to start receiving treatment on the NHS. When extrapolated, this equates to 9.7 million people. In January, the waiting list stood at 7.6 million, according to official NHS statistics. The survey found that the delays were most prominent among 16-24-year-olds, one in five of whom said they had experienced waiting times of more than a year. Conducted in January and February, the survey was part of the annual winter coronavirus infection study of adults aged 16 and over. The ONS said the survey was the first of its kind to assess the experiences of adults awaiting hospital appointments, tests or medical treatments. It said the data was experimental, based on self-reported data, and may differ from other statistics on waiting lists. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 3 April 2024
  14. Content Article
    Long waiting times for autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessments can prevent people from getting the vital care and medication they need. Health and education support often relies on a formal diagnosis, without which there can be severe negative consequences. Estimates show that there might be as many as 1.2 million autistic people and 2.2 million people with ADHD in England, and providing them with the right support is no small task. Recent news reports have highlighted a huge rise in demand for autism and ADHD diagnoses amid increased awareness and understanding of neurodiversity. Exploring referrals and waits for autism and ADHD assessments is a key first step to understanding the scale of the issue, which can then be used to drive improvements and change. This blog from the Nuffield Trust looks at what the data is telling us.
  15. Content Article
    When Adam Luck’s mother, Ann, was admitted to hospital with a suspected stroke, it was the beginning of a distressing seven-week stay. The previously cheerful 82-year-old became stuck in a dysfunctional health system. Her story is presented here via her son Adam’s diary of her hospitalisation.
  16. News Article
    The new NHS gender identity clinics for young people are “understaffed” and “nowhere near ready”, it was claimed on Monday as they officially started taking on patients. A London hub, alongside a second in the northwest, will begin to see patients this week as they replace the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. The Gids clinic was ordered to close after a review by Dr Hilary Cass found it was “not a safe or viable long-term option”. However, whistleblowers described as senior staff at Gids have expressed concerns about the preparedness and expertise of the new hubs, just as they open. One, who spoke to the i newspaper under the condition of anonymity, said: “It’s been shoddy, disorganised, messy and unclear. And at times, it’s felt unsafe.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 1 April 2024
  17. News Article
    Hospitals are preparing to cut spending on doctors and nurses by hundreds of millions of pounds after being ordered to plug a £4.5 billion hole in the NHS budget. Chief executives at hospitals, mental health trusts and community services in England have been ordered to review staffing levels and draw up plans to close some services and merge others. They are also looking at banning or restricting the use of some agency workers. NHS bosses have been alerted in recent days to the scale of the cuts needed after negotiating financial plans for next year. The health service in England has a budget of £165 billion for the 2024-25 financial year, which starts next week. The budget rose by 3.2% in real terms between 2018-19 and 2023-24. Spending has been put under additional pressure by the cost of covering strikes by junior doctors which NHS England has said has cost more than £1.5 billion and affected more than 430,000 patients’ appointments. Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said services had been stretched by the need to pick up the pieces from a shortage of social care and other community services. She said an ageing population and poor public health meant patients in hospital were sicker and staying longer, needing more care. She said: “Trust leaders are being pushed to the very limits of what is possible, and there will be a situation where they have to make difficult choices about keeping basic services going versus investing in quality and improvement for the future. We are in a situation where we will be patching something that’s already a bit patched-together.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: Times, 31 March 2024
  18. Content Article
    The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey assesses public mood about the NHS, and the 2023 results reveal record low levels of satisfaction with the health service. This Nuffield Trust blog takes a closer look at what the results tell us.
  19. News Article
    All trusts should pick a “designated lead” for improving how they work with primary care, according to new NHS planning guidance. The guidance for 2024-25 published by NHS England today states: “Every trust should have a designated lead for the primary–secondary care interface.” It also asks integrated care boards to “regularly review progress” on how secondary care services are working with primary care. NHSE recovery plans include trying to cut the number of patients effectively referred back to GP practices by other services, in order to reduce GP workload. The guidance states: “Streamlining the patient pathway by improving the interface between primary and secondary care is an important part of recovery and efficiency across healthcare systems”. The planning guidance — published on Wednesday night after months of delays — also said systems should continue to develop integrated neighbourhood teams, including by trying to “improve the alignment of relevant community services” to primary care network footprints. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 27 March 2024
  20. Content Article
    The NHS England 2024/25 priorities and operational planning guidance reconfirms the ongoing need to recover core services and improve productivity, making progress in delivering the key NHS Long Term Plan ambitions and continuing to transform the NHS for the future.
  21. News Article
    More than 250 patients a week could be dying unnecessarily, due to long waits in A&E in England, according to analysis of NHS data. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine analysed the 1.5 million who waited 12 hours or more to be admitted in 2023. A previous data study had calculated the level of risk of people dying after long waits to start treatment and found it got worse after five hours. The government says the number seen within a four-hour target is improving. This is despite February seeing the highest number of attendances to A&E on record, it adds. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) carried out a similar analysis in 2022, which at that time resulted in an estimate of 300-500 excess deaths - more deaths than would be expected - each week. The analysis uses a statistical model based on a large study of more than five million NHS patients that was published in 2021. RCEM president Dr Adrian Boyle said long waits were continuing to put patients at risk of serious harm. "In 2023, more than 1.5 million patients waited 12 hours or more in major emergency departments, with 65% of those awaiting admission," he said. "Lack of hospital capacity means that patients are staying in longer than necessary and continue to be cared for by emergency department staff, often in clinically inappropriate areas such as corridors or ambulances. "The direct correlation between delays and mortality rates is clear. Patients are being subjected to avoidable harm." Read full story Source: BBC News, 1 April 2024
  22. Content Article
    The idea of Emergency care services experiencing seasonal spikes in demand – so called ‘Winter Pressures’ are fast becoming a thing of the past. Instead, long waits have become the new norm year-round, and staff are caring for patients in unsafe conditions on a daily basis. It is well established that long waits are associated with patient harm and excess deaths. Last year the UK Government published a Delivery Plan for the Recovery of Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) services. A year on, far too many patients are still coming to avoidable harm.   New analysis by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) reveals that there were almost 300 deaths a week associated with long A&E waits in 2023.
  23. News Article
    The NHS is set to roll out artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the number of missed appointments and free up staff time to help bring down the waiting list for elective care. The expansion to ten more NHS Trusts follows a successful pilot in Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which has seen the number of did not attends (DNAs) slashed by almost a third in six months. Created by Deep Medical and co-designed by a frontline worker and NHS clinical fellow, the software predicts likely missed appointments through algorithms and anonymised data, breaking down the reasons why someone may not attend an appointment using a range of external insights including the weather, traffic, and jobs, and offers back-up bookings. The appointments are then arranged for the most convenient time for patients – for example, it will give evening and weekend slots to those less able to take time off during the day. The system also implements intelligent back-up bookings to ensure no clinical time is lost while maximising efficiency. It has been piloted for six months at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, leading to a 30% fall in non-attendances. A total of 377 DNAs were prevented during the pilot period and an additional 1,910 patients were seen. It is estimated the trust, which supports a population of 1.2 million people, could save £27.5 million a year by continuing with the programme. The AI software is now being rolled out to ten more trusts across England in the coming months. Read full story Source: NHS England, 14 March 2024
  24. News Article
    An investigation published by The BMJ today reveals new details of requests to recall striking junior doctors from picket lines for patient safety reasons. Documents show that while most trusts in England did not make such requests, those that did were rejected by the BMA in most cases. Some of these trusts warned of potential harm to patients from cancelling operations at the last minute and short staffing, reports assistant news editor Gareth Iacobucci. However, the BMA said it takes concerns about patient safety “incredibly seriously” and provided The BMJ with summaries of why requests were turned down. The union’s chair of council Phil Banfield said, “Throughout industrial action we have engaged thoroughly and in good faith with the derogation process, considering each request carefully to ensure that granting a derogation is necessary and the last and only option.” He said that poor planning by some trusts had led to some routine care being inappropriately booked in on strike days. In other instances, he said trusts had failed to make sufficient effort to draft in the necessary cover for strike days. Read full story Source: BMJ, 28 March 2024
  25. News Article
    Patients at the hospital that treated killer Valdo Calocane were discharged too soon and released in a worse state into the community, the NHS safety watchdog has found. Serious failings by Nottinghamshire Hospital Foundation Trust in keeping patients and the public safe have been identified in a review from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). More than 1,200 patients are waiting to be seen by community services, the report found. Meanwhile, several hundred who are receiving treatment did not have a clinician overseeing their care,the CQC found. The review was launched by the government following the conviction of killer Valdo Calocane, who was under the care of the NHS trust’s community services. The CQC review said patients reported that crisis services are either “useless” or detrimental to their health. The three broad areas of concern, highlighted in the CQC’s report, were: High demand for services was leading to long waiting times for care and a lack of oversight of those waiting. The trust does not have enough staff to keep patients safe in the community and within some hospital services. Senior leaders at the trust do not have clear oversight of the risks and issues within the service. Read full story Source: The Independent, 27 March 2024
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