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Found 601 results
  1. Content Article
    University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust identified two main solutions: Annualised self-rostering/self-preferencing rotas so staff had more control over their working hours. Introduction of a clinical fellow role with 25% non-clinical time to allow these staff to undertake other projects – for example, teaching medical students. These two solutions were initially started for the A&E departments and then medical juniors whilst implementing the same systems but also allowing for continuity of ward care. The Trust decided to use the HealthRota system, to implement an annualised system for consultants (using a period-of-activity contract), middle grades (using a combination of period-of-activity and hours contract) and junior rotas (using hourly contracts), alongside self-rostering or self-selecting preferences, with staff choosing the amount of clinical work they wish to do. The Trust now benefits from 24/7 A&E consultant cover at Brighton, and cover between 8am and 10.30pm every day of the week at the Princess Royal Hospital. In five years, the Trust went from seven consultants and seven registrars on A&E (for two sites) to 23.8 full-time equivalent consultants and 20 registrars. In addition, the costs of using locum doctors have been massively curtailed. For example, before the annualised rota system was introduced, in A&E alone £1.3M was spent on locums at RSCH and PRH. For 2022-23, the only locum need has been for sickness cover.
  2. News Article
    NHS waiting lists are unlikely to fall in 2023, and the backlog is unlikely to be significantly tackled until mid-2024 despite being one of Rishi Sunak’s priorities for this year, research suggests. The NHS has struggled to increase the number of people it is treating from its waiting lists each month due to ongoing pressures from Covid-19, although there have been signs of improvement in the past month, analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found. Max Warner, an IFS economist and one of the report’s authors, said that although the NHS had made “real progress” to reduce the number of patients waiting a very long time for care, efforts to increase overall treatment volumes had “so far been considerably less successful”. The NHS Providers’ chief executive, Julian Hartley, urged the government to introduce a fully funded workforce plan and to talk to unions about pay for this financial year as strikes were causing huge disruption to services, and risked undoing hard-won progress made on care backlogs. “Mounting pressures on acute, ambulance, mental health and community services, such as chronic workforce shortages, could hamper efforts to cut the backlog further if left unchecked,” he said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 February 2023
  3. News Article
    East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust has been criticised for failures in services by the Care Quality Commission, after an unannounced inspection last month, years after major problems began to come to light. The Care Quality Commission has highlighted: Issues with processes for fetal monitoring and escalation at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford. There had been “incidents highlighting fetal heart monitoring” problems in September and October, and the trust’s measures to improve processes were not “embedded and understood by the clinical team”; Slow maternity triage, due to staffing problems, and infection control problems at the William Harvey. The trust is reviewing how issues with infection prevention and control and cleanliness were not identified or escalated; and Fire safety issues at the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Hospital, in Thanet with problems linked to fire doors and an easily accessible secondary fire escape route. Three years ago issues with reading and acting on fetal monitoring were highlighted at the inquest into baby Harry Richford, whose poor care by the trust led to an independent inquiry into widespread failings in its maternity services, led by Bill Kirkup. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 6 February 2023
  4. Content Article
    NHS services are under extreme pressure. Recent testimonies from healthcare professionals, patients and journalists have highlighted the scale of these problems, which go significantly beyond the usual increase in pressure over the winter period. One key area of concern is a lack of hospital bed capacity, which as noted by the Nuffield Trust, is an important indicator of wider pressure on the system: "Hospitals cannot operate at 100% occupancy, as spare bed capacity is needed to accommodate variations in demand and ensure that patients can flow through the system. Demand for hospital beds peaks at different times of the day, week and year. There must be enough beds to accommodate these peaks. A lack of available beds can have widespread consequences in a health system.”[1] An absence of spare bed capacity can significantly impact a hospitals ability to provide safe and timely care. This also has consequences for other parts of the system, such as increased ambulance waiting times because of handover delays. There are multiple causes of these capacity issues: Longer-term structural challenges – such as the number of hospital beds relative to the population and workforce shortages.[2] Medium-term issues – for example the impact of delayed discharges. Short-term problems – such as increases in admissions of patients with seasonal illnesses. In this blog we will consider two specific issues stemming from this lack of hospital bed capacity and consider their impact on patient safety: Increasing cases of patients being cared for in hospital corridors and non-clinical areas, commonly referred to as ‘corridor care’. Current proposals to reduce the number of patients waiting to be discharged. Increasing cases of ‘corridor care’ ‘Corridor care’ can be broadly defined as care being provided to patients in corridors, non-clinical areas or unsuitable clinical areas because of a lack of hospital bed capacity. In recent years this has become an increasing occurrence as pressures and demands on the NHS mount, particularly during the winter months. In February 2020, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) highlighted its concerns about this becoming normalised, publishing a survey of its members that found that over 90% of respondents said that ‘corridor nursing’ was being used at their Trust.[3] [4] In March 2020, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) also raised this issue as part of a broader campaign around improving emergency care, highlighting the need to significantly increase the number of hospital beds in the NHS.[5] However, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, infection control and social distancing rules restricted the use of ‘corridor care’ in hospitals.[6] When providing guidance for emergency care after the initial Covid period, the RCEM reiterated the threats to patient and staff safety from crowding in emergency departments and emphasised the need to avoid a return to corridor care becoming the norm.[7] However, in recent months we have seen growing concerns about a significant increase in care being provided in corridors and non-clinical settings.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12] Patient safety risks Corridor care raises significant patient safety concerns. It can present problems providing appropriate care, as these unsuitable spaces can make it difficult to administer specific treatments, such as intravenous medication, or the ability to access oxygen, medication and lifesaving treatment in an emergency. It also makes it more difficult to monitor patients, which can result in delays in providing further treatment if their condition begins to deteriorate. The constraints on space that working in these conditions impose may mean that relatives are not able to be accommodated, reducing their ability to support patients whose condition may not otherwise be closely monitored. This lack of space can also result in physical hazards, with the potential for escape routes becoming blocked in emergencies.[13] Corridor care also has particularly negative impact on patient dignity and confidentiality: “Our overflow corridor never has fewer than 20 patients on it; people who are too unwell to sit in the waiting room. The corridor is made up of trolleys of patients lined up, top to toe, along a wall. It’s busy, it’s noisy and there’s no dignity there. Patients stuck there are being toileted behind staff holding up sheets on the corridor.”[14] Working in these conditions has a significant impact on healthcare professionals too, who know that they are not able to provide the best care possible to their patients. This can affect their mental health and wellbeing creating the risk of moral injuries: the distress experienced when circumstances clash with one’s moral or ethical code.[15] “Tonight I’ve come close to tears whilst apologising to patients for the standards of care we are able to provide. In my 22 years of being an A&E doctor I’ve never seen things so bad. It’s the same everywhere.”[16] Preventing avoidable harm Patient Safety Learning believes that corridor care should be avoided whenever possible. It is vital that this is not normalised. However, in the current circumstances, in some cases this is clearly unavoidable. In these situations, it is important that: Risk assessments are carried out for service redesign and for individual patients, with mitigating actions being taken to maintain the safest care possible. Trusts have clear guidance and apply learning from examples of good practice that prioritise patient safety. Trusts have plans in place to ensure the introduction of corridor care is only a temporary measure. Staff and patients report any incidents of unsafe care so that action can be taken swiftly to address harm or near misses. There is close oversight by Trust leadership, including the Board, to ensure that patient safety safeguards are in place if corridor care is needed and that this is minimised and not normalised. We also believe more research is needed to fully understand the consequences of corridor care in terms of patient outcomes as well as patient safety. There needs to be more research undertaken to evaluate the impact of this. Reducing the number of patients waiting to be discharged Having considered the patient safety impact of corridor care because of lack of hospital capacity, we now turn to current proposals aimed at increasing capacity by reducing the number of patients waiting to be discharged. Hospital discharges can be complex. To enable a safe and timely transfer of care, they require good co-ordination between hospital and community staff to arrange clinical assessments and to ensure the home or community setting has the appropriate equipment and care plans. A delayed discharges refers to a patient who no longer meets the clinical criteria to reside in hospitals and, therefore, should be discharged to non-acute settings. The Department of Health and Social Care has recently stated that there are around 13,000 patients meeting this description.[17] These patients may end up spending a significant amount of time waiting to be discharged for a range of different reasons: Lack of available places in care and nursing homes. Delays putting in place specialist support, such as home care or short-term rehabilitation, required following discharge. The need to ensure specific criteria for a safe discharge are met for patients who need to access ongoing mental health services and support. The need to ensure that complex needs are met prior to discharge, for example in some cases concerning patients with a learning disability, where these processes may involve a range of different professionals and specialist assessments. Reducing the number of delayed discharges is not a new policy idea, but in recent weeks it has received increased attention as this has been identified as a key measure to increase hospital bed capacity resulting in several new proposals aimed at achieving this. Patient safety risks Any measures aimed at increasing the speed of hospital discharges must have at their heart considerations of how this will impact on the safety of patients and the need to prevent avoidable harm. Below we consider some of the proposals that have recently been made in relation to this and their potential impact on patient safety. 1. Discharging patients without care packages The Welsh Government has recently issued new guidance to Health Boards to discharge patients who are well enough to leave even if they do not have a package of care in place.[18] A package of care is intended to meet a patient’s ongoing care needs, which may relate to healthcare, personal care or care home costs, following discharge. Without this in place, there is a significantly increased risk of avoidable harm, particularly for patients returning to their own homes. Not having in place required adaptations, equipment or access to rehabilitation could result in patients struggling to support themselves, increasing the risk of avoidable harm and re-admission to hospital. Commenting on this proposal, Dr Amanda Young, Director of Nursing Programmes at the Queen’s Nursing Institute, also highlighted concerns that: “… patients being discharged from hospital without appropriate care packages, or inadequate support or reablement, results in poorer outcomes in the short and longer term. Discharges may occur late in the evening with no advance warning to community services, in order to free up hospital beds. Vulnerable people may arrive to cold homes, alone, with community services unaware this has happened until the following day or even the day after.”[19] This also opens up the potential for inconsistent decision-making, transferring significant risk to individual healthcare professionals who may be under significant organisational pressures to make discharge decisions that they don’t believe are safe. 2. Funding additional care home beds The Department of Health and Social Care has announced £200 million in funding to buy thousands of extra beds in care homes and other settings to help discharge more patients who are fit to leave hospital and free up hospital beds.[17] The Scottish Government has also announced a similar package, stating it will provide £8 million in funding for additional care home beds.[20] While these announcements have been welcomed in some places, there are concerns about the ability of the social care system to fulfil this, with a key problem being staff shortages. In England alone it is estimated that there are 165,000 vacant posts in social care.[21] Serious concerns have been raised about how appropriate care can be provided where additional beds may be available but staff are not.[22] [23] In many cases this could lead to this additional bed capacity not being utilised, due to lack of staffing, or is utilised despite under-staffing, increasing the potential risk of avoidable harm. Considering this new funding in the context of these workforce shortages, Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “… there has been little consultation with the social care sector on how this can be achieved. Yet again, the Government has talked to the NHS and pretty much nobody else, and this is why their policies never work.”[24] There is also a question about whether patients subject to these accelerated discharge processes will receive the appropriate support they need. Integrated Care Boards will be tasked with using this new national funding for hospital discharges to purchase bedded step down capacity plus associated clinical support for patients.[25] However, concerns have been raised about the potential for rushed placements stemming from this, without appropriate access to rehabilitation and enhanced healthcare, which may increase the risk of patient harm.26] The British Geriatrics Society has noted that this could disproportionately impact older patients: “When older people leave hospital in poor health, they need rehabilitation and support to recover. Without it, their health deteriorates further – already on average 15% of older people being discharged from hospital are readmitted within 28 days. With each admission their level of frailty and care needs increase, generating even more demand for health and social care at home or in a care home.”[27] There have also been practical concerns raised questioning whether this funding can be effectively distributed, and extra beds provided quickly enough, to reduce the current pressures. There are further concerns too around how this is being targeted, with the provision of funding being “decided on a ’weighted population basis‘, rather than adjusted to reflect the current share of delayed discharge patients”.[28] [29] Preventing avoidable harm Patient Safety Learning believes that decisions on the introduction of new measures aimed at accelerating hospital discharges and freeing up hospital bed capacity must have patient safety considerations at their core. Whether they involve discharging patients at an earlier stage without care packages, or increased funding to move patients into care homes, all elements of these changes must be considered through a lens maintaining the safety of patients. This includes ensuring: Patients return home, or move to a care setting, with the correct medications and medical devices. Appropriate handover of information for patients is provided when moving from hospital directly into care settings. Appropriate equipment/adaptations being in place for patients returning home. Patients and their responsible carers have access to timely clinical advice if there is deterioration in the patient’s health, and guidance on the signs and symptoms that may indicate this. Patients and their families are decision makers in their own care and have access to information and advice to enable this. Concluding comments The shortage of hospital bed capacity has a wide range of consequences across the healthcare system with implications for patient safety. Here we have focused on the need to ensure that in two specific areas – managing the increase in cases of corridor care and reducing the numbers of patients waiting to be discharged – patient safety is being placed at the heart of decision-making processes around both. In addition to the areas we have identified, ensuring this happens also requires patient safety leadership at a national level. While far from a desirable state of affairs, corridor care is taking place in parts of the NHS and will continue to do so for the foreseeable period, meaning its impact on patient safety must be understood and mitigated where possible. We believe there needs to be recognition of this from NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, along with a proactive effort to share and disseminate knowledge and good practice in this area to prevent avoidable harm to patients. We also believe it is important that there is both a recognition and inclusion of patient perspectives and experience of these issues. This particularly applies to hospital discharge processes, which too often are either discussed as purely a capacity problem or worse disparagingly an issue caused by ‘bed-blockers’.[30] [31] It is vital that we hear and listen to the patients and family members voices on changes aimed at accelerating discharge processes. We need to recognise that these situations involve individuals with specific ongoing healthcare needs who, as well as the safe provision of care, deserve dignity and respect. Share your views and experiences We would welcome your views on the patient safety concerns raised in this blog: Are you a healthcare professional who has experience of delivering corridor care and would like to share your story? Are you a patient or family member who has experience of corridor care or a delayed discharge process? Do you work in social care and have experience of, or concerns about, accelerated discharge processes from hospitals? You can share your views and experiences with us directly by emailing content@pslhub.org or by commenting below (register here for free to activate your membership). References Nuffield Trust, Hospital bed occupancy: We analyse how NHS hospital bed occupancy has changed over time, 29 June 2022. Nuffield Trust, Hospitals at capacity: Understanding delays in patient discharge, 3 October 2022. RCN, ‘Corridor care’ in hospitals becoming the new norm warns RCN, 26 February 2020. RCN, Corridor Care: Survey Results, 26 February 2020. RCEM, RCEM launches new campaign to end corridor care as data shows more than 100,000 patients waiting over 12 hours in A&Es this winter, 3 March 2020. Health and Social Care Select Committee, Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond, 1 October 2020. RCEM, Covid19: Resetting Emergency Department Care, Last Accessed 11 January 2023. Birmingham Live, ‘Worst I’ve ever seen it’: Doctor speaks out about horrors of patients in corridors as NHS crisis deepens, 3 January 2023. Health Service Journal, Trust that banned corridor care ‘reluctantly’ brings it back, 4 January 2023. iNews, Striking paramedics tell of patients having seizures in hospital corridors and relentless 16-hour shifts, 11 January 2023. BBC News, NHS A&E crisis: Staff making ‘difficult decisions in unprecedented times’, 7 January 2023. This is Local London, BHRUT boss apologises to patients ‘care for in corridors’, 11 January 2023. Health Service Journal, NHSE issues fire risk warning over ‘corridor care’, 29 November 2022. The Guardian, It’s beyond dreadful. We’re now running A&E out in the corridor and wating room, 12 January 2023. Health Education England and NHS England, Understanding moral injury a short film, 15 January 2021. The Guardian, ‘It feels terminal’: NHS staff in despair over working at breaking point, 4 January 2023. Department of Health and Social Care, Up to £250 million to speed up hospital discharge, 9 January 2023. Wales Online, Doctors claim hospital discharge guidance could see patients die, 6 January 2022. Nursing in Practice, Welsh hospital patients to be discharged to community with care package in place, 6 January 2023. Scottish Government, Additional Winter support for NHS, 10 January 2023. Skills for Care, The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, October 2022. The Times, Fears over plans to move patients into care homes, 10 January 2023. The Independent, Staffing ‘crisis’ means £200m extra care beds plan won’t work, health bosses warn, 10 January 2023. Community Care, Care home discharge plan risks inappropriate placements and neglects the causes of crisis – sector, 9 January 2023. NHS England, Hospital discharge fund guidance, 13 January 2023. The Health Foundation, Hospital discharge funding: why the frosty reception to new money?, 13 January 2023. British Geriatrics Society, Protecting the rights of older people to health and social care, 10 January 2023. Health Service Journal, New discharge fund risks being ‘political theatre’, warn NHS leaders, 9 January 2023. Health Service Journal, Revealed: How much is each ICS getting from the £200m discharge fund, 13 January 2023. Daily Mail, Hospitals are discharging bed-blockers into hotels to free up space on wards, 5 January 2023. iNews, NHS discharges patients into hotels to ease bed blocking and A&E crisis, 4 January 2023.
  5. News Article
    Rana Abdelkarim died at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in March 2021 after suffering a bleed post-birth. The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) found there were delays in calling for specialist help. Her husband, Modar Mohammednour, said that in March 2021 his wife attended the maternity unit at 39 weeks into her pregnancy for what she thought was a routine check-up. Mr Mohammednour said due to language barriers his wife thought she was going "for a scan and to check on her health" and then "come back home", but in fact she was being sent to be induced. "Immediately" after the labour, Ms Abdelkarim suffered heavy bleeding and her condition deteriorated - something Mr Mohammednour said he was "unaware of", until he was eventually called into the hospital to speak to a doctor. According to the investigation by the HSIB, the obstetric team of senior doctors were not told about the drastic change in her condition for almost 30 minutes. An investigation into her death by the HSIB found that once Ms Abdelkarim had been given a drip to speed up labour, regular support from midwives and assessments could not be given to her because the maternity ward was so busy. It also found there was a 53-minute delay from the point of bleeding to administering the first blood transfusion. HSIB also found Ms Abdelkarim was "uninformed" about the reason for her admission, "consent to induce labour was not given" and because she was thin and small, staff underestimated how much relative blood volume she was losing. Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 February 2023
  6. News Article
    Nurses could refuse to carry out any further strikes alongside other health workers because of fears over patient safety, The Independent has learnt. A mass walkout billed as the largest strike in NHS history is due to take place on Monday as tens of thousands of nurses, paramedics and 999 call handlers walk out in a bid to force ministers to the negotiating table. But the coordinated strikes could be a one-off if nurses feel that the decision to take part in direct action compromises patient safety, The Independent has been told. One union source said walkouts are not carried out on a “come what may” basis, and that the unions would have to assess whether striking together was “helpful” or not. Unions have been escalating their industrial action in recent weeks in an attempt to secure higher pay rises. Any de-escalation in tactics will be seen as a blow to their campaign and a boost to Rishi Sunak’s hopes of riding out the wave of protests. With patient safety the priority, sources insisted there are strong local controls that will pull nurses from picket lines if they think there is an issue. Read full story Source: The Independent, 5 February 2023
  7. News Article
    “Frustration with the system was why I went off in the end,” said Conor Calby, 26, a paramedic and Unison rep in southwest England, who was recently off work for a month with burnout. “I felt like I couldn’t do my job and was letting patients down. After a difficult few years it was challenging.” While he usually manages to keep a distinct divide between work and home life, burnout eroded that line. He also lost his sleep pattern and appetite. The final straw came when what should have been a 15-minute call resulted in three hours on the phone trying to persuade the services that were supposed to help a suicidal patient to come out. “I was on a knife edge. That was due to the system being broken. That’s the trigger.” Doctors and nurses are struggling under the strain too. After her third time with burnout - the last resulting in her taking six months off work – Amy Attwater, an A&E doctor, considered leaving the profession altogether. Attwater, 36, said in the Covid crisis, during which a colleague killed himself, she started having suicidal thoughts and doubting her own abilities. She twice reported that she was being bullied but said no action was taken. “The only thing I was left with was to take time off work. I ended up having therapy, seeing a psychiatrist and being on two antidepressants,” said Attwater, the Midlands-based committee member for Doctors’ Association UK. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 5 February 2023
  8. News Article
    Deadlock over NHS pay is putting patients in danger and risks hardening the position of unions, 10 chief nurses have warned. Unions have warned that the government is making no moves towards resolving the strikes, with one general secretary accusing the government of lying about the state of negotiations. In a joint statement shared with the Guardian, chief nurses from 10 leading hospitals known as the Shelford group highlighted their concern that patients’ health could suffer as a direct result of the increasing disruption the stoppages are causing. Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance workers in England will stage what will be the biggest strike in the NHS’s 75-year history on Monday. In a plea to the government and health unions, but especially ministers, the 10 Shelford group chief nurses stress that they want both sides to end their standoff as a matter of urgency “because of the impact on the patients and communities we serve. “Industrial action means appointments cancelled, diagnostics delayed [and] operations postponed. The longer industrial action lasts, the greater the potential for positions to harden, waits for patients to grow, and risks of harm to accumulate.” This week will see just one day – Wednesday – when there are no NHS strikes. Nurses will strike again on Tuesday, physiotherapists will stage their second walkout on Thursday and ambulance personnel will stage a further stoppage on Friday. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 5 February 2023
  9. News Article
    A mental health trust has received a warning from the Care Quality Commission over staff sleeping on duty and other serious concerns. Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust was sent a “letter of intent”, which warns the CQC is considering taking urgent enforcement action, following an unannounced visit in November, according to a board report last week. The trust is already subject to a high-profile inquiry into hundreds of patient deaths. Natalie Hammond, executive nurse, said this would be “a fine tuning of our health roster which will be an early warning system that will determine and flag all staff members that may be at risk of working too much or their hours of working might perform a pattern that means they are at risk more of falling asleep on duty.” She added: “We’ve done learning lessons and videos that link the importance of being fit and alert for work and how when you’re not, what mitigation and what steps you should undertake and what risk there is to patient safety.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 1 February 2023
  10. News Article
    Thousands of ambulance staff across five services in England - London, Yorkshire, the South West, North East and North West - will walk out on Friday 10 February, Unison says. It means strikes over pay will now be happening across the NHS every day next week, apart from Wednesday. Life-threatening 999 calls will be attended to but others may not be. Downing Street says the continuing industrial action will concern the public. The NHS's biggest day of industrial action is set to happen on 6 February, when many nurses and ambulance crews across England and Wales will be on strike. Unison says the government must stop "pretending the strikes will simply go away" and act decisively to end the dispute by improving pay. The union warned that unless the government had a "major rethink" over NHS pay, and got involved in "actual talks" with unions, it would announce strike dates running into March. The government says the above-inflation pay rises requested are unaffordable. Read full story Source: BBC News, 31 January 2023
  11. News Article
    Trusts are getting better at coping with industrial action and are still on track to hit the national target of eliminating the backlog of 78-week waiters, an NHS England director has told staff. Paul Doyle, NHS England’s programme director for elective recovery, said: “We continue to make really good progress [on elective recovery]… we are very much in the end game now of meeting the 78-week ambition for the end of March.” There have been concerns about the impact of recent strike action on eliminating the 78-week backlog, but Mr Doyle praised managers’ handling of the strikes and said administrative staff were doing an “incredible job”. He added: “Most organisations affected have got better and better as time has gone on about making sure that there are as few cancellations as possible and that cancellations are rebooked quickly or that clinical time is put to good use such as doing virtual outpatient appointments or doing validation of waiting list.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 30 January 2023
  12. News Article
    The NHS faces an alarming mass exodus of doctors and dental professionals, health chiefs have said, as a report reveals 4 in 10 are likely to quit over “intolerable” pressures. Intense workloads, rapidly soaring demand for urgent and emergency healthcare and the record high backlog of operations are causing burnout and exhaustion and straining relationships between medics and patients, according to the report by the Medical Defence Union (MDU), which provides legal support to about 200,000 doctors, dental professionals and other healthcare workers in the UK. In an MDU survey of more than 800 doctors and dental professionals across the UK, conducted within the last month and seen by the Guardian, 40% agreed or strongly agreed they were likely to resign or retire within the next five years as a direct result of “workplace pressures”. Medical leaders called the report “deeply concerning”. There are already 133,000 NHS vacancies in England alone. NHS chiefs said it laid bare the impact of the crisis in the health service on staff, and MPs said it should serve as a “wake-up call” to ministers on the urgent need to take action to persuade thousands of NHS staff heading for the exit door to stay. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 January 2023
  13. Content Article
    The census had responses from all 12 major Emergency Departments in Wales and found: There is one WTE Consultant per 7784 annual attendances, considerably less than the RCEM recommended figure of 1:4000. Of these 101 consultants, 19 are planning to retire in the next six years – a fifth of the consultant workforce. There were 90 gaps in the consultant rota, 33 in the middle grade rota and eight in the junior rota. Inability to recruit was the primary reason for rota gaps. This is leading to departments in Wales not meeting RCEM best practice recommendations of having an EM consultant presence for at least 16 hours a day in all medium and large systems. When asked for future staffing needs, departments across Wales reported needing an increase of 75% consultants, 120% increase in the ACP/ANP/PA workforce, 44% increase in the ENP workforce, 30% increase in the Higher Specialist Trainees/ Non-consultant Senior Decision Maker and a 50% increase in Junior Doctors in the next six years. The census also found that junior doctors were also being overstretched: At the time of collection there were 52 trainees in the ST1-6 programme as well as 95 non- Emergency Medicine trainees working in EDs across Wales Junior doctors work one weekend every three weekends, consultants work one weekend every 6.2 weekends. Junior doctors in training also do the most night shifts with an average of 52 per year.
  14. Content Article
    Changes in the way staff work, including staff taking on new roles and responsibilities, is a well-known policy solution in the NHS, and there are some really good instances where skill mix works well and has real benefits. But are there downsides to the drive to employ new types of staff to help doctors and nurses? What are the implications for continuity of care, staff experience and outcomes? Is the idea of ‘top of the licence’ working a reason for concern in terms of burnout, the fragmentation of care or is it an unavoidable response to the workforce crisis? Chair: Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive, Nuffield Trust Prof Alison Leary, Chair of Healthcare and Workforce Modelling, London South Bank University Dr Louella Vaughan, Senior Clinical Fellow, Nuffield Trust
  15. News Article
    Physicians' happiness fell amid the pandemic and is not rebounding easily, according to Medscape's 2023 Physician Lifestyle and Happiness Report. The report is based on survey responses from 9,175 U.S.-based physicians in 29 specialties polled last year between 28 June and 3 October. The report found: 1. 59% of physicians said they were "somewhat" or "very happy," down from 84% before the pandemic. These figures mirror percentages seen in Medscape's same report conducted last year. 2. The percentage of physicians who are happy at work, specifically, fell from 75% before the pandemic to 48% today. 3. Four in 10 physicians said they regularly look after their own health and wellness, up from 33% who said the same in Medscape's 2022 report. 4. 53% said they would take a pay decrease in return for better work-life balance. Read full story Source: Becker's Hospital Review, 20 January 2023
  16. News Article
    A third of Black and ethnic minority health staff have suffered racism or bullying as the NHS fails to address “systemic” levels of discrimination, The Independent can reveal. Levels of bullying and harassment of minority workers have not improved in the past five years with almost 30% saying they have been targeted in the past year, compared to 20%of white staff. Despite being one-quarter of the workforce, minority ethnic staff make up just 10% of the most senior positions, the NHS’s flagship report is set to reveal. One nurse told The Independent she was forced to leave her job following a campaign of bullying, while another, who has left for the private sector, said her mental health was hugely impacted by the discrimination she experienced. Another nurse said she was left “traumatised” by bullying and harassment and she was “gaslighted” by her employer. “This incident is going to affect me for the rest of my life … when I first joined [the NHS trust] I thought I was going to retire there but ... my career [has been cut] short and it’s not fair,” she said. Equality for Black Nurses, a membership organisation founded by Neomi Bennett in 2020, has launched 200 cases of alleged racism against a number of NHS trusts since it was set up. “Racism is driving nurses out of the NHS,” Ms Bennett, told The Independent, warning that this issue had reached “pandemic levels”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 24 January 2023
  17. Content Article
    Prevention of surgical site infection (SSI) remains a main priority in operating theatres. This has previously led to the introduction of practices, often referred to as rituals and behaviours and sometimes labelled as ‘myths’. Some of them are not underpinned by sound scientific evidence, but they are established in everyday practice, and considered by many as traditional to help ensure discipline and professionalism in the operating theatre. Previous Healthcare Infection Society guidelines were published 20 years ago, and they aimed to debunk some of the practices. Since then, new technologies have emerged, and an update was required. These new updated guidelines, produced in collaboration between Healthcare Infection Society and The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, used NICE-accredited methodology to provide further advice on which practices are unnecessary. Specifically, they discuss the current available evidence for 40 different rituals which are commonplace in the operating theatre and highlight the gaps in knowledge with recommendations for future research. As part of the consultation, we will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 25 January, 17:00 - 18:00. During the webinar, the attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions to a panel who were involved in the guideline development, and give their feedback.
  18. News Article
    A trust that sacked a whistleblower who had warned them about potential patient harm from a new procedure has been told to pay her more than £200,000. Jasna Macanovic won her case against Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust last year after the employment tribunal found board members had broken employment rules, including by telling her she would get a good reference if she agreed to quietly resign. Earlier this month, an employment tribunal judgment to establish the compensation she was owed said the trust had subjected Dr Macanovic to “a campaign of harassment” and rejected Portsmouth’s claim she had contributed to her own dismissal. The consultant nephrologist, who had been at the trust for 17 years, raised concerns about a technique called “buttonholing” – carried out to make kidney dialysis more convenient and less painful – that she claimed had caused harm to patients. After the procedures continued, the dispute escalated, culminating with Dr Macanovic being dismissed in March 2018. The employment tribunal panel said Dr Macanovic had raised her concerns about buttonholing properly, adding: “She was not alone in her concerns. The consultant body were fairly evenly divided. “She, however, went further than others, and where she believed that risks were being downplayed she did not hesitate to describe this as a cover-up or an act of dishonesty. Most people would not use that language, and it did cause very serious offence, but it had a specific meaning. It was not a general slur.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 January 2023
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