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Found 207 results
  1. 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
  2. Content Article
    The World Health Organization (WHO) is in the process of establishing a Roster of consultants in the area of patient safety with the main objective of identifying experts from all over the world in different patient safety areas who may support the implementation of the Global Patient Safety Action Plan (GPSAP) 2021-2030 at global, regional, country and institutional levels. The experts with the successful outcome of their application will be placed on the Roster and subsequently may be selected for consultancy assignments in the specified area of work, primarily across the seven strategic objectives of the GPSAP 2021-2030. More information can be found in the link below. Closing date for applicants: 3 April 2024.
  3. News Article
    Almost 9,000 foreign nurses a year are leaving the UK to work abroad, amid a sudden surge in nurses quitting the already understaffed NHS for better-paid jobs elsewhere. The rise in nurses originally from outside the EU moving to take up new posts abroad has prompted concerns that Britain is increasingly becoming “a staging post” in their careers. The number of UK-registered nurses moving to other countries doubled in just one year between 2021-22 and 2022-23 to a record 12,400 and has soared fourfold since before the coronavirus pandemic. Seven out of 10 of those leaving last year – 8,680 – qualified as a nurse somewhere other than the UK or EU, often in India or the Philippines. Many had worked in Britain for up to three years, according to research from the Health Foundation. The vast majority of those quitting are heading to the US, New Zealand or Australia, where nurses are paid much more than in the UK – sometimes up to almost double. Experts have voiced their alarm about the findings and said the NHS across the UK, already struggling with about 40,000 vacancies for nurses and hugely reliant on those coming from abroad, is increasingly losing out in the global recruitment race. “It feels like the NHS is falling down the league table as a destination of choice for overseas nurses,” said Dame Anne Marie Rafferty, a professor of nursing studies at King’s College London. “Worryingly, it feels as if the UK is perceived not as a high- but middle-income country in pay terms and as a staging post where nurses from overseas can acclimatise to western-type health systems in the search for better pay and conditions.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 25 March 2024
  4. News Article
    NHS England’s workforce ambitions are based on ‘significant’ substitution of fully qualified GPs with trainees and specialist and associate specialist (SAS) doctors, the public spending watchdog has revealed. In a new assessment of the NHS long-term workforce plan, the National Audit Office (NAO) found that NHS England’s modelling of the future workforce had ‘significant weaknesses’ and that some of its ‘assumptions’ may have been ‘optimistic’. Last year, the national commissioner committed to doubling medical school places to 15,000 and increasing GP training places to 6,000 by 2031. This was based on modelling which predicted that, without these changes, the NHS could face a staffing shortfall of 360,000 and a GP shortfall of 15,000 by 2036. The NAO’s report has examined the robustness of NHS England’s predictions, and made a number of recommendations which could influence the refreshed projections NHSE has committed to publishing every two years. The long-term workforce plan (LTWP) projected only a 4% increase in fully-qualified GPs between 2021 and 2036, compared to a 49% growth in consultants. "The total supply of doctors in primary care is projected to increase substantially over the modelled period but the total number of fully qualified GPs is not," the report said. It found that NHSE’s projected supply growth in general practice "consists mainly of trainee GPs", who accounted for 93%, as well as "making increased use of specialist and associate specialist (SAS) doctors in primary care". Read full story Source: Pulse, 22 March 2024
  5. News Article
    Six out of 10 NHS nurses have had to use credit or their savings over the last year to help them cope with the soaring cost of living, according to new research. Acute financial pressures are forcing some nurses to limit their energy use while others are going without food. Many are doing extra shifts to help make ends meet. The findings have added to fears that money worries and inadequate pay will prompt even more nurses to quit the NHS, which is already short of almost 35,000 nurses. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which undertook the survey of almost 11,000 nurses in England, claimed that too many in the profession had been left without enough money to cover their basic needs as they paid the price for “the government’s sustained attack on nursing”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 March 2024
  6. Content Article
    Doctors working in temporary positions (known as locums) are a key component of the medical workforce and provide necessary flexibility and additional capacity for NHS organisations and services. There have been concerns about the quality and safety of locum practice and the way NHS uses locum doctors. The number of doctors working as locums, and the costs of this to the NHS have caused some concerns nationally in recent years. It has also been suggested that locum doctors may not provide as good a quality of care as permanent doctors. Research carried out by a team at the University of Manchester provided important new information on these issues. The findings indicated that locum working and how locums were integrated into organisations could pose significant challenges for patient safety and quality of care.
  7. News Article
    William Wragg, the Tory chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), has belatedly intervened in the growing crisis over the failure of the Prime Minister to appoint a new Parliamentary Ombudsman to replace Rob Behrens who quits the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on 31 March 2024. In a letter published on the committee’s website, Mr Wragg asks Sir Alex Allan, the senior non executive director on the Parliamentary and Heath Services Ombudsman board, what measures will be taken to keep the office going and what is going to happen to people who, via their MP, want to lodge a complaint to the Ombudsman. He also raises whether reports can be published and complaints investigated. The letter discloses that recruitment for a new Ombudsman began last October and a panel chose the winning candidate at the beginning of January. Since then the Cabinet Office and Rishi Sunak, who has to approve the appointment, have not responded. The silence from Whitehall and Downing Street means no motion can be put to Parliament appointing a new Ombudsman, who then appears before the PACAC for a pre appointment hearing. PACAC has only a couple of weeks to set up the hearing. Read full story Source: Westminster Confidential, 12 March 2024
  8. Content Article
    This parliamentary briefing discusses the NHS workforce in England, focusing on the clinical professions, including doctors and nurses. It gives an overview of workforce demographics and workforce policy and planning since 2019. It also looks at turnover and vacancy rates, the use of temporary staffing and how safe staffing levels are decided. It considers trends in domestic and international recruitment and factors affecting both recruitment and retention, including staff wellbeing, pay and pensions, and bullying, harassment and discrimination.
  9. Content Article
    The Falls and Fragility Fractures Audit Programme (FFFAP) is looking to recruit new members to their award-winning Patient and Carer Panel. FFFAP is a national clinical audit run by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership on behalf of NHS England and the Welsh Government. Their work aims to improve the care that patients with fragility fractures receive in hospital and after discharge and to reduce inpatient falls. 
  10. Content Article
    It is well known that the NHS is suffering from staff shortages, with 121,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) vacancies and only 26% of the workforce stating there are enough staff at their organisation. The reasons why staff are leaving are well documented (burnout, lack of work–life balance, low pay etc), and the direct impact on patients is obvious – staff shortages are one of the main reasons why there is a backlog of care. But these headlines mask nuance. They hide the areas where staff shortages are even more acute than the average, and they obscure the indirect impact on patients. Where are these areas, what are the impacts, and will the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan help?
  11. News Article
    The NHS has been accused of putting patients' lives at risk after it allowed hundreds of staff, including senior consultants and managers, to work thousands of miles from the UK. A Mail on Sunday investigation has discovered that NHS staff at every level are working remotely in places as far flung as Australia and Japan. Critics last night warned that the 'unacceptable and dangerous' arrangements could threaten patient safety. Professor Karol Sikora, a former director of the World Health Organisation cancer programme, said: "Allowing staff to work from abroad is a huge mistake that can only undermine patient safety and the efficacy of treatment." At least 335 NHS staff from 33 trusts have been allowed to work abroad in the past two years, according to data from Freedom of Information requests. Until last year, Constantine Fragkoulakis, 42, was employed as a consultant radiologist at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust in Nottinghamshire. The trust said its radiologists "routinely interpret images and write reports away from the hospitals where they are based". But Mr Fragkoulakis admitted there had been "a lot of IT issues, so there was no patient care involved or clinical work'. He added: 'Essentially it was just meetings that I did." Another consultant radiologist, Branimir Klasic, 50, is being allowed to work two weeks each month in Croatia by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in South Wales. It said recruitment was "increasingly challenging" and that it was "open to exploring ways of working that ensures we can provide the skills and expertise that our patients need". A Department of Health spokesman said: "We are clear that ways of working, which are agreed between NHS employers and its staff, should never impact on NHS patients or services." Read full story Source: Daily Mail, 10 February 2024
  12. Content Article
    Northumbria University is exploring the experiences of NHS Trusts taking steps to move towards a Restorative Just Culture to develop and share an informative ‘how to’ guide. They would like to hear your views if you are you an NHS Trust who has attended the Northumbria University and Mersey Care NHS FT programme: Principles and Practices of Restorative Just Culture and have implemented, or attempted to implement, restorative just culture. It will take approximately 45 minutes of your time to take part in an online interview/focus group. If you are interested in participating or have any questions please contact bl.rjc@northumbria.ac.uk. Download the attachment below for more information.
  13. Content Article
    The Academy for Healthcare Science is the single overarching body for the entire UK Healthcare Science (HCS) workforce, working alongside the healthcare science professional bodies, and also professionals from the life science industry and clinical research practitioners, helping to strengthen the visibility of the contribution of those workforces. Could you play an important role by becoming a Lay Assessor for the Academy for Healthcare Science? Are you able to demonstrate professionalism and strong interpersonal skills? Do you have a sound understanding of assessment principles and a keen sense of objectivity and consistency? Then this may be the perfect opportunity for you. Follow link for full role description and how to apply. Deadline: 31 January 2024
  14. News Article
    Ministers are facing calls to tackle the NHS’s chronic lack of staff as figures reveal that the bill for hiring temporary frontline workers has soared to more than £10bn a year. Hospitals and GP surgeries across the UK are paying a record £4.6bn for agency personnel and another £5.8bn for doctors and nurses on staff to do extra “bank” shifts to plug gaps in rotas. Widespread short staffing has increasingly forced the service in all four home nations to hand colossal sums to employment agencies to hire stand-in workers. In England alone, the bill for agency staff, particularly nurses and GPs, has risen from £3bn to £3.5bn over the past year – a 16% rise. Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said years of neglect of the growing NHS staffing crisis by Conservative governments had obliged “desperate” hospitals to spend “huge” sums on agency staff, including doctors who can cost more than £5,000 to hire for a single shift. The Royal College of Nursing said the levels of agency spending were “staggering”. It would be cheaper to employ more nurses as staff instead of having tens of thousands of vacancies, the general secretary Pat Cullen said. The NHS in England currently has 42,306 vacant nursing posts. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 January 2024
  15. Content Article
    This performance tracker produced by the Institute for Government looks at the state of adult social care in 2023. It highlights that although the Government has provided more funding, the sector may struggle to address unmet need in the face of rising costs and competing priorities. Key findings Spending remains well above pre-pandemic levels The government continues to rely on a model of ‘crisis-cash-repeat’ for the service Without extra funding, reforming the charging model for adult social care in 2023 would have been difficult Cost pressures mean that increased funding might not achieve all the government’s objectives Vacancy rates are falling, but remain high Staff turnover is high in some key roles The size of the workforce recovered somewhat in 2022/23 International recruitment has been crucial in filling vacancies Recruitment and retention are hampered by low pay… as well as poor career progression and lack of training Requests for support increased after a drop in the first year of the pandemic Local authorities have not cleared the assessment backlog More people are providing large amounts of unpaid care The number of people receiving long-term care rose in 2022/23 A decline in people receiving long-term support is unlikely to be because other models are working
  16. Content Article
    That safety is paramount in healthcare goes without saying. There are though variations in patient outcomes between hospitals that cannot be explained by different population characteristics. Based on aggregate staffing data, a number of studies have shown that skill mix can be a factor accounting for these variations – essentially the higher the ratio of unregistered staff to registered staff the greater the incidence of adverse outcomes including mortality rates. Professor Richard Griffin explores this further in his LinkedIn article.
  17. Content Article
    Increasing interest in general surgery from students who are Under-Represented in Medicine (URiM) is vital to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. This study in The American Journal of Surgery examined medical student third year surgery clerkship evaluations quantitatively and qualitatively to understand the experiences of URiM and non-URiM learners. The authors found that URiM students are less likely than non-URiM students to see surgical residents and faculty as positive role models. They highlight that integrating medical students into the team, taking time to teach and allowing students to feel valued in their roles improves the clerkship experience for trainees and can contribute to recruitment efforts.
  18. News Article
    The BMA has called for an immediate halt to the recruitment of Medical Associate Professionals (MAPs) in the UK including Physician Associates (PAs) and Anaesthetic Associates (AAs). Doctors from across the UK who make up the BMA’s UK Council have passed a Motion which calls for the moratorium on the grounds of patient safety. They want the pause to last until the government and NHS put guarantees in place to make sure that MAPs are properly regulated and supervised. The move follows a number of recent cases in which patients have not always known they were being treated by a physician associate and tragically have come to harm. Professor Phil Banfield, BMA chair of council, said: “Doctors across the UK are getting more and more worried about the relentless expansion of the medical associate professions, brought into sharp focus by terrible cases of patients suffering serious harm after getting the wrong care from MAPs. Now is the time for the Government to listen before it is too late. We are clear: until there is clarity and material assurances about the role of MAPs, they should not be recruited in the NHS. “We have always been clear that MAPs can play an important part in NHS teams, and doctors will continue to value, respect and support individual staff they work with. But MAPs roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined. We are seeing increased instances of MAPs encroaching on the role of doctors; they are not doctors, do not have a medical degree and do not have the extensive training and depth of knowledge that doctors do. As doctors, we are worried that patients and public do not understand what this could mean in respect of the level of experience and expertise in care they receive. “The General Medical Council is the exclusive regulator of doctors in the UK. Adding staff who are not doctors and do not have a medical degree to the GMC register brings into question the competence and qualification of the whole medical profession. The Government may view this as a price worth paying for a shortcut to solving the workforce crisis they have presided over. We know otherwise. GMC regulation of MAPs will only add to the confusion and uncertainty that patients face. “Ministers may hope that by using secondary legislation, which may not even require the vote of MPs, they can avoid raising the alarm. But patients want doctors to remain doctors, regulated by a dedicated body, and they have a right to have confidence in the expert medical care they receive. There must be no doubt that when a patient goes to see a doctor, they are going to see a doctor. This blurring of roles and the confusion caused to patients must stop now.” Source: BMA, 16 November 2023
  19. News Article
    Hospital bosses in England are warning a lack of funds means they are having to scale back on plans to open extra beds to cope with winter. The warning, from NHS Providers, which represents managers, came after the Treasury rejected pleas for an extra £1bn to cover the cost of strikes. Recruitment to plug gaps in the workforce was also having to be put on hold, NHS Providers said. But the government said winter planning was on track. It pointed out the goal to open 10,000 "virtual" hospitals beds had been met. This is where doctors remotely monitor patients with conditions such as respiratory and heart problems who would otherwise have to be in hospital. Progress was also being made on opening 5,000 new permanent hospital beds - a 5% increase in numbers, the government said. "We recognise the challenges the NHS faces over the coming months, which is why we started preparing for winter earlier than ever," a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman added. But NHS Providers said the steps being taken may be insufficient. Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 November 2023
  20. News Article
    Attracting skilled overseas-trained doctors to the UK will remain "crucial", despite plans to train more healthcare staff here, the doctors' regulator has said. The General Medical Council (GMC) found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of new doctors in 2022 qualified abroad. The government launched a major plan in June to train and recruit more healthcare workers in England. But it will take many years for this to take effect, the GMC says. NHS England says it currently has 10,855 full-time doctor vacancies - a rate of 7.2%. Under NHS England's Long Term Workforce Plan, it hopes to recruit and retain "hundreds of thousands" more healthcare staff over the next 15 years. The plan includes spending £2.4bn on additional training places for healthcare workers, with the number of medical school places for student doctors set to double to 15,000 a year. Charlie Massey, the GMC's chief executive, said the drive to boost the workforce was "brilliant", but said "it takes a long time to make a doctor". "We're not going to see the impact of that coming on stream for probably the best part of a decade. And that means we're going to need to rely on doctors who have trained overseas coming to the UK in much greater numbers than in recent years to maintain the workforce that we need to meet the needs of the population." Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 November 2023
  21. News Article
    A growing number of doctors plan to leave the profession due to burnout and dissatisfaction, the General Medical Council has said, highlighting fears that the government’s long-term strategy for the NHS may have come too late. The GMC’s annual report on the medical workforce said the benefits of measures announced by the government in the NHS long-term workforce plan in June, such as the ambition to create more medical school places, “will only start to be seen a decade from now”. The report found that the number of licensed doctors increased in 2022, with 23,838 joining and 11,319 leaving. However, it said there were “still high vacancy rates and workforce pressure”, and that the rate of doctors leaving the profession was returning to pre-pandemic levels, at 4% last year. The GMC warned there were “worrying signs” that a growing number “plan to leave the profession as a result of high levels of dissatisfaction and high risk of burnout”. It added that there may be “a limited window of opportunity to address current issues” before more medics leave. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 12 November 2023
  22. News Article
    The BMA’s GP committee for England (GPC England) has called for an immediate pause in the recruitment of physician associates (PAs) in general practice. In an emergency motion passed on 2 November the committee expressed “concerns over the increasing trend of PAs being used to substitute GPs” and called on practices and primary care networks to stop PA recruitment “until appropriately safe regulatory processes and structures are in place.” GPs and GP registrars were also reminded that they can refuse to sign prescriptions and turn down requests for investigations made by PAs. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 3 November 2023
  23. News Article
    Two companies supplying staff to the NHS saw large growth in income and profits last year, annual accounts reveal. Independent Clinical Services, owned by a Canadian private equity firm, saw a growth in turnover of more than 40%, with income growing from £273m to £399m, year on year. A smaller company specialising in recruiting overseas healthcare staff to the UK also saw a bumper year, according to data released last month. Your World Recruitment Ltd’s income increased by nearly a third, going from £50.5m to £66.8m (up 32%), with a similar rise in profits. The company’s strategic report said: “Demand for agency staff and healthcare services in the first half of 2023 has remained strong principally due to staff shortages in the NHS and high waiting lists. “The board expects the challenging market conditions to continue for the remainder of 2023, although demand is expected to remain due to an acute shortage of healthcare workers in the UK and worldwide.” The NHS has been pushing hard for increased overseas recruitment in recent years, to fill domestic gaps." Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 10 October 2023
  24. News Article
    A London coroner has warned the health secretary that preventable child suicides are likely to increase unless the government provides more funding for mental health services. Nadia Persaud, the east London area coroner, told Steve Barclay that the suicide of Allison Aules, 12, in July 2022 highlighted the risk of similar deaths “unless action is taken”. In a damning prevention of future deaths report addressed to Barclay, NHS England and two royal colleges, Persaud said the “under-resourcing of CAMHS [child and adolescent mental health services] contributed to delays in Allison being assessed by the mental health team”. An inquest into Allison’s death last month found that a series of failures by North East London NHS foundation trust (NELFT) contributed to her death. In her report, Persaud said delays and errors that emerged in the inquest exposed wider concerns about funding and recruitment problems in mental health services. “The failings occurred with a children and adolescent mental health service which was significantly under-resourced. Under-resourcing of CAMHS services is not confined to this local trust but is a matter of national concern,” she said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 14 September 2023
  25. News Article
    NHS England’s national mental health director admitted she was ‘concerned’ that 20% of mental health nurse roles were unfilled and about the impact this could have on a nationwide push to improve safety and tackle closed cultures. Claire Murdoch was speaking to HSJ a year on from a series of high-profile documentaries exposing abuse and poor care at mental health trusts. In their wake, Ms Murdoch urged providers to urgently review safeguarding, while a separate three-year quality programme was also launched to look at closed cultures and improve safety. Now in the middle of that programme, Ms Murdoch stressed that stability in staffing is “vital” to developing safe and therapeutic care, but that many services across the country are struggling with significant nursing vacancies. She said: “The bit that absolutely we need to acknowledge [around changing cultures] is there are some significant workforce and staffing challenges, which I’m concerned about, with a 20%t vacancy of qualified registered mental health nurses nationally. “There are new support roles, psychology assistant roles, physician associates – there are all sorts coming into being in inpatient care, but a lot of services are still struggling with staffing". Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 21 September 2023
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