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Found 255 results
  1. Content Article
    Hospitals with high mortality and readmission rates for patients with heart failure (HF) might also perform poorly in other quality concepts. Wang et al. sought to evaluate the association between hospital performance on mortality and readmission with hospital performance rates of safety adverse events. They found that patients admitted with HF to hospitals with high 30-day all-cause mortality and readmission rates had a higher risk of in-hospital adverse events. There may be common quality issues among these 3 measure concepts in these hospitals that produce poor performance for patients with HF.
  2. News Article
    NHS waiting lists will take more than three years to be reduced to pre-pandemic levels, according to a new analysis. Despite recent reductions in the waiting list in England, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank said that it is “unlikely that waiting lists will reach pre-pandemic levels” by December 2027 – even under a “best-case scenario”. The latest figures show that the waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England has fallen for the third month in a row. An estimated 7.6 million treatments were waiting to be carried out at the end of December, relating to 6.37 million patients, down slightly from 7.61 million treatments and 6.39 million patients at the end of November, according to NHS England figures. Cutting NHS waiting lists is one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s top priorities. However, the PM admitted earlier this month he would not meet his promise to reduce waiting lists. However, the new IFS analysis highlights how the NHS waiting list was already growing before the pandemic, but it rose “rapidly” during the crisis. The IFS report suggests a range of scenarios about how the waiting list could look in December 2024. Under a “more pessimistic scenario”, waiting lists will remain at the same elevated level while an “optimistic scenario” would see them fall to 5.2 million by December 2027.
  3. Content Article
    This Institute for Fiscal Studies briefing, outlines what has happened to NHS waiting lists (in England, given that health is a devolved responsibility) over the last 17 years – the period for which consistent data are available – and present new scenarios of what could happen to waiting lists over the years to come. It focuses on the elective waiting list – the list of people waiting for pre-planned hospital treatment and outpatient appointments. This is what most people mean when they talk about NHS waiting lists, but it also considers a range of other NHS waiting lists and waiting times. Alongside this report, IFD has updated their interactive online tool that allows you to produce waiting list scenarios under your own assumptions.
  4. News Article
    Long A&E waits have got worse at more than one in five acute trusts, despite an improving trend nationally. Around 30 acute trusts have reported an increase in long accident and emergency waits, bucking the national trend. According to data covering the nine months to December, the proportion of waits more than 12 hours from time of arrival has improved to 6.3%, down from 8% during the same period in 2022. However, 28 out of 119 acute trusts reported a rise of up to 3 percentage points. HSJ’s analysis, which used published and unpublished data, showed 11 of these trusts had worsened despite improving their headline performance against the four-hour target. Adrian Boyle, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the emphasis on the four-hour target “incentivises focus on the people who are being sent home, and takes effort and attention away from the people who are being admitted to hospital”. He added: “The harms of long waits are greatest for people being admitted to hospital. We are disappointed by the current lack of focus in the planning guidance to help our most vulnerable patients.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 27 February 2024
  5. News Article
    NHS England is looking to ditch a key elective target that aimed to deliver large reductions in follow-up appointments, HSJ has learned. Senior sources privately admit progress has not been made against the target to cut the volume of the most common type of outpatient follow-up by 25 per cent target. This is supported by publicly available data. While this only gives a partial picture, the data suggests the volumes have actually increased compared to pre-covid levels. The volume-based target is widely viewed as unrealistic and senior figures told HSJ it had also “masked” some genuine progress trusts have made in reforming outpatient services and reducing less productive appointments. Sources familiar with discussions said having a volume-based target to reduce a subset of patients while trying to increase overall activity volumes had been logistically complex. NHSE is instead pushing for a new “ratio-based” target which sources said would be a better measure to reduce the least productive types of outpatient follow-ups and be a fairer measure of progress. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 26 February 2024
  6. Content Article
    The Scottish Government needs to develop a clear national strategy for health and social care to address the pressures on services, says a review by Audit Scotland. Significant changes are needed to ensure the financial sustainability of Scotland's health service. Growing demand, operational challenges and increasing costs have added to the financial pressures the NHS was already facing. Its longer-term affordability is at risk without reform.
  7. News Article
    Scotland's NHS is unable to meet the growing demand for health services, a spending watchdog has warned. A review by Audit Scotland said the increased pressure on the NHS was now having a direct impact on patient safety and experience. The watchdog also claimed there was no "overall vision" for the future of the health service. The annual report on the state of Scotland's health service highlighted that the NHS was facing soaring costs, patients were waiting longer to be seen and there were not enough staff. Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland, said this had "added to the financial pressures on the NHS and, without reform, its longer-term affordability". He added: "Without change, there is a risk Scotland's NHS will take up an ever-growing chunk of the Scottish budget. And that means less money for other vital public services. "To deliver effective reform the Scottish government needs to lead on the development of a clear national strategy for health and social care. "It should include investment in measures that address the causes of ill-health, reducing long-term demand on the NHS." Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 February 2024
  8. News Article
    Ambulance trusts have often prioritised capacity and response times over dealing with cases of misconduct, a review of culture in the sector for NHS England has found. The review says ambulance trusts need to “establish clear standards and procedures to address misconduct”. The work was carried out by Siobhan Melia, who is Sussex Community Healthcare Trust CEO, and was seconded to be South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust interim chief from summer 2022 to spring last year. Her report says bullying and harassment – including sexual harassment – are “deeply rooted” in ambulance trusts, and made worse by organisational and psychological barriers, with inconsistencies in holding offenders to account and a failure to tackle repeat offenders. She says “cultural assessments” of three trusts by NHSE had found “competing pressures often lead to poor behaviours, with capacity prioritisation overshadowing misconduct management”, adding: “Staff shortages and limited opportunities for development mean that any work beyond direct clinical care is seen as a luxury or is rushed. “Despite this, there is a clear link between positive organisational culture and improved patient outcomes. However, trusts often focus on meeting response time standards for urgent calls, whilst sidelining training, professional development, and research.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 February 2024
  9. Content Article
    This is an independent review commissioned by NHS England, chaired by Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, to support the improvement of the culture within the ambulance service. The review considers the prevailing culture within ambulance trusts in England. It considers the core factors impacting cultural norms and offers actionable recommendations for improvement. Based on insights from key stakeholders, this review has identified six key recommendations to improve the culture in ambulance trusts.
  10. News Article
    The trusts where maternity care has deteriorated the most according to patient surveys have been identified by the Care Quality Commission. The regulator collected responses from 25,515 patients about their experiences of antenatal care, labour, birth and postnatal care across 121 trusts in February 2023. It then analysed where experiences of care were substantially better or worse overall when compared with survey results across all trusts in England. Survey responses also painted a deteriorating picture of maternity care nationally, with answers to 11 questions showing a statistically significant downward trend compared to five years ago. Five trusts were categorised as “worse than expected”, where patients’ experiences of using their services were substantially worse than the average. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 12 February 2024
  11. Content Article
    New research shows that more independent hospitals are rated as “good” or “outstanding” than ever before, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the subsequent period of health system recovery.  The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) conducted a national review of quality and safety data across the sector, looking at a broad range of datasets to evaluate quality and safety in key areas, analysing data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 
  12. News Article
    In 2023-2024, the US News Best Hospitals ranked hospitals in the USA in 15 adult specialties as well as recognised hospitals by state, metro and regional areas for their work in 21 more widely performed procedures and conditions. Of the nearly 5,000 hospitals analyzed and 30,000 physicians surveyed, only 164 hospitals ranked in at least one of the specialties. Read full story Source: US News
  13. News Article
    Rebecca McLellan, a trainee paramedic, pursuing the job she had dreamed of as a child, took her own life at the age of 24. Amid the devastation felt by her loved ones, serious questions have now emerged about the standard of care she received at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). In notes recorded before her death last November, McLellan said that Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) had “abandoned” her in a time of need. An internal investigation has now been launched by the mental health trust, which has been dogged by safety concerns for more than a decade. Relatives of McLellan, who lived in Ipswich, Suffolk, and was being treated for bipolar disorder, are among hundreds of bereaved families who believe their loved ones were failed under the care of the trust. Her mother, Natalie McLellan, 48, said it was clear that some of her daughter’s feelings of helplessness in her final months were “shaped by their inadequacy”. “She was somebody that had it all,” said Natalie. “She had a supportive family, she had a nice flat, she had a nice car, she was doing exactly what she wanted to do in life. She had a voice, she was able to speak and advocate for herself as a medical professional. If she can’t get help, what the hell hope is there for anybody else? Recent months have seen calls for a public inquiry and criminal investigation into NSFT after bosses last year admitted to losing count of the number of patients that had died on its books. Campaigners describe the mismanagement of mortality figures as “the biggest deaths crisis in the history of the NHS”. The Times has spoken to trust staff, bereaved relatives and MPs who say that despite repeated promises of improved care the trust’s overstretched services remain unsafe and require urgent reform. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 26 January 2024
  14. News Article
    The Health and Social Care Committee has launched a new inquiry to examine leadership, performance and patient safety in the NHS. Inquiry: NHS leadership, performance and patient safety MPs will consider the work of the Messenger review (2022) which examined the state of leadership and management in the NHS and social care, and the Kark review (2019) which assessed how effectively the fit and proper persons test prevents unsuitable staff from being redeployed or re-employed in health and social care settings. The Committee’s inquiry will also consider how effectively leadership supports whistleblowers and what is learnt from patient safety issues. An ongoing evaluation by the Committee’s Expert Panel on progress by government in meeting recommendations on patient safety will provide further information to the inquiry. Health and Social Care Committee Chair Steve Brine MP said: “The role of leadership within the NHS is crucial whether that be a driver of productivity that delivers efficient services for patients and in particular when it comes to patient safety. Five years ago, Tom Kark QC led a review to ensure that directors in the NHS responsible for quality and safety of care are ‘fit and proper’ to be in their roles. We’ll be questioning what impact that has made. We’ll also look at recommendations from the Messenger review to strengthen leadership and management and we will ask whether NHS leadership structures provide enough support to whistleblowers. Our Expert Panel has already begun its work to evaluate government progress on accepted recommendations to improve patient safety so this will build on that. We owe it to those who rely on the NHS – and the tax-payers who pay for it – to know whether the service is well led and those who have been failed on patient safety need to find out whether real change has resulted from promises made.” Terms of Reference The Committee invites written submissions addressing any, or all, of the following points, but please note that the Committee does not investigate individual cases and will not be pursuing matters on behalf of individuals. Evidence should be submitted by Friday 8 March. Written evidence can be submitted here of no more than 3,000 words.  How effectively does NHS leadership encourage a culture in which staff feel confident raising patient safety concerns, and what more could be done to support this? What has been the impact of the 2019 Kark Review on leadership in the NHS as it relates to patient safety? What progress has been made to date on recommendations from the 2022 Messenger Review? How effectively have leadership recommendations from previous reviews of patient safety crises been implemented? How could better regulation of health service managers and application of agreed professional standards support improvements in patient safety? How effectively do NHS leadership structures provide a supportive and fair approach to whistleblowers, and how could this be improved? How could investigations into whistleblowing complaints be improved? How effectively does the NHS complaints system prevent patient safety incidents from escalating and what would be the impact of proposed measures to improve patient safety, such as Martha’s Rule? What can the NHS learn from the leadership culture in other safety-critical sectors e.g. aviation, nuclear? Read full story Source: UK Parliament, 25 January 2024
  15. Content Article
    Patient care inevitably raises issues of safety. Safety measures can never be failsafe, but they can always be improved. The aim of this publication is to offer guidance to boards on helping to bring about these improvements. The publication was developed by Monitor for NHS foundation trusts, though its principles apply equally to other NHS settings. It draws on evidence and best practices from UK pilot sites, and also taps the experience of healthcare providers in other developed countries who use similar principles and approaches. The field research and work with the UK pilot sites took place between October 2009 and March 2010.
  16. News Article
    Most key NHS targets have been missed for at least seven years across the UK, BBC News research shows. The review of records going back 20 years also reveals Northern Ireland and Wales have never met the four-hour accident-and-emergency (A&E) target. The analysis focused on the three key hospital targets, covering A&E, cancer and waiting times for planned care. In the past seven, the only one to have been met is the A&E target in Scotland - and that was during lockdown in 2020, when the number of visits to A&E plummeted. All four nations said improving waiting times was a priority and investment was being made. But King's Fund think tank chief analyst Siva Anandaciva said the findings should "act as a wake-up call". "These are the key totemic targets," he said. "The length of time they have been missed is incredible." Patients groups warned the delays were putting patients at risk. Patients Association chief executive Rachel Power said the analysis showed the NHS was in "permacrisis". Read full story Source: BBC News, 10 January 2024
  17. News Article
    NHS England and government are set to raise their target for four-hour A&E performance, despite most hospitals failing to meet the current ask. HSJ understands officials are likely to use 2024-25 planning guidance to raise the “interim” target for four-hour performance from the 76% which trusts were asked to hit in 2023-24. A new objective of 80% by March 2025 has been discussed, several sources said, but is not confirmed. The 76% target has not been met during any month of 2023-24 so far, and most acute trusts are consistently falling well short of it. Well-placed sources told HSJ the target was likely to be increased despite “some doubts” among senior NHSE officials. One senior NHSE source said: “The target should be increasing incrementally as overall NHS A&E performance improves, [but] it hasn’t really improved this year.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 5 January 2024
  18. Content Article
    In a report published in 2000 by the UK's Chief Medical Officer, it was estimated that 400 people in the UK die or are seriously injured each year in adverse events involving medical devices, and that harm to patients arising from medical errors occurs in around 10% of admissions—or at a rate in excess of 850 000 per year. The cost to the NHS in additional hospital stays alone is estimated at around £2 billion a year. This article examines system safety in healthcare and suggests a 20-item checklist for assessing institutional resilience (CAIR).
  19. News Article
    A teaching trust has reported six ‘never events’ in less than two months, including incidents in a specialty already under review for errors. The incidents occurred at University Hospitals Birmingham between 26 July and 10 September, including two wrong-side lesion biopsies in dermatology, two incorrect blood transfusions, one injection to the incorrect eye, and one misplaced nasogastric tube. The two incorrect blood transfusions involved the same patient at Heartlands Hospital and were reported after a biomedical scientist carried out a retrospective investigation into the case. On both occasions, the patient was transfused with incorrect red blood cells. It brings the total number of blood transfusion events reported at UHB to seven since 2020-21. The issue is already subject to a review by the Royal College of Physicians after Mike Bewick identified concerns in his review of patient safety at the trust. It comes after clinicians working within the haematology specialty raised multiple concerns over patient safety in 2021 and intervention from the General Medical Council over concerns around junior doctors. John Atherton, chair of UHB’s clinical quality and safety committee, told the board a preliminary review into never events had identified that “maybe we weren’t addressing these [incidents] seriously enough”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 1 December 2023
  20. News Article
    Almost half of all English maternity units are offering substandard care, making it one of the worst performing acute medical services in the NHS, Byline Times analysis has found. The analysis, based on inspections of English hospitals by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), found that 85 of 172 inspected maternity services in England received ratings of ‘inadequate’ (18) or ‘requires improvement (67) at their latest inspection. Some 65% of maternity wards were given subpar ratings for patient ‘safety’ one of several metrics looked at by the CQC. The findings come after the health regulator began a focused inspection programme of maternity wards last year after the a government review into the Shropshire maternity scandal, which saw 300 babies left dead or brain damaged by shoddy care. In one unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, there was a shortage of midwives, not all medicines practices were safe which “potentially placed women at risk of harm” and serious incidents were not being investigated. The report found a backlog of 215 patient safety incidents that had not yet been looked into, as of March this year. Maria Caulfield, Minister for Women’s Health Strategy, told Byline Times that “maternity care is of the utmost importance to this Government” and stressed they have “invested £165 million a year since 2021 to grow the maternity workforce and improve neonatal services”. “Every parent must be able to have confidence in the care they receive when giving birth, and we are working incredibly hard to improve maternity services, focusing on recruitment, training, and the retention of midwives,” she added. Read full story Source: Byline Time, 28 November 2023
  21. Content Article
    The latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on the state of care in England is far from an encouraging read.1 Although the healthcare system is under serious strain, maternity services are among the areas identified as especially challenged. The problems identified in maternity care, while shocking, come as no surprise. The sector is seeing repeated high profile organisational failures and soaring clinical negligence claims, together with grim evidence of ongoing variation in outcomes, culture, and workforce challenges and inequities linked to socioeconomic status and ethnicity. In this BMJ Editorial, Mary Dixon-Woods and colleagues discuss why it's time for a fresh approach to regulation and improvement.
  22. News Article
    England's healthcare regulator has told BBC News that maternity units currently have the poorest safety ratings of any hospital service it inspects. BBC analysis of Care Quality Commission (CQC) records showed it deemed two-thirds (67%) of them not to be safe enough, up from 55% last autumn. The "deterioration" follows efforts to improve NHS maternity care, and is blamed partly on a midwife shortage. The Department for Heath and Social Care (DHSC) said £165m a year was being invested in boosting the maternity workforce, but said "we know there is more to do". The BBC's analysis also revealed the proportion of maternity units with the poorest safety ranking of "inadequate" - meaning that there is a high risk of avoidable harm to mother or baby - has more than doubled from 7% to 15% since September 2022. The CQC, which also inspects core services such as emergency care and critical care, said the situation was "unacceptable" and "disappointing". "We've seen this deterioration, and action needs to happen now, so that women can have the assurance they need that they're going to get that high-quality care in any maternity setting across England," said Kate Terroni, the CQC's deputy chief executive. The regulator has been conducting focused inspections because of concerns about maternity care. These findings are "the poorest they have been" since it started recording the data in this way in 2018, Ms Terroni said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 November 2023
  23. News Article
    Hospital-acquired infections, which became substantially more common during the pandemic, have returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report from a US patient safety watchdog group. It's key to note, researchers say, that infection rates before March 2020 were nothing to celebrate. On top of that moderately good news, the Leapfrog Group found other metrics that measure patient safety and satisfaction have fallen significantly, likely because of hospital staffing shortages and other pandemic-era challenges. "We're encouraged and relieved to see that infections are rapidly decreasing in hospitals following the spike during the pandemic, but we remain very concerned about a number of major problems in hospitals," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog, an independent, national nonprofit founded by large employers and other purchasers. Patient surveys following hospital visits found declines in experiences for the second year in a row in all states. Particularly significant drops were reported in “communication about medicines” and “responsiveness of hospital staff." Preventable errors have been linked to these problems. "Hospitals need to take a hard look at what they are unnecessarily continuing post-pandemic that are not helping patients," Binder said. Read full story Source: USA Today News, 6 November 2023
  24. News Article
    A high-profile shift to admitting patients from A&E to wards irrespective of bed capacity has ‘turned the dial’ for an acute trust’s emergency care, its chief executive has told HSJ. Since introducing the model in July last year North Bristol Trust has seen a significant improvement in its performance against the national target, with the number of patients seen within four hours rising from 51% to 72% in August 2023 – with a peak of 80% in April 2023. The model attracted interest from NHS England last year, as well as some concern from the Nuffield Trust over patient safety – but NBT CEO Maria Kane said the trust was “happy, on balance” with the system. She said the model “won’t be for everyone and we never claimed it would be” but she added: “Engendering whole hospital conversations about the principles of flow and understanding of [the emergency department] is something we could all do.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 8 November 2023
  25. News Article
    A mental health trust at the centre of several care scandals has ‘turned the dial’ on improvement, its chief executive has said, following the Care Quality Commission noting some progress but retaining a ‘requires improvement’ rating The CQC said earlier this month that improvements had been made at some services at Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust, including for its forensic secure inpatient service, where the rating was raised from “inadequate” to “good”. But the improvements were not enough to shift its overall “requires improvement” rating. Chief executive officer Brent Kilmurray argued the CQC report was evidence the trust was going in the right direction following a number of highly critical reports relating to patient deaths, but he also told HSJ it was a “challenge” for the trust to “tell a balanced story around where we are making progress”. TEWV has recently admitted care failings relating to the deaths of two inpatients in 2019 and 2020, following prosecution from the CQC. The trust will go on trial for alleged failings relating to another death in February next year. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 6 November 2023
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