News From The Web

NHS staff in four-hour strike over pay issue

The Guardian - 24th November 2014 10:25 am

Picket lines will be mounted outside hospitals on Monday as hundreds of thousands of health workers including midwives, nurses, radiographers, cleaners and psychiatric staff stage a fresh strike in a bitter row with the government over pay.

Members of 11 unions will walk out for four hours from 7am in England and 8am in Northern Ireland in protest at the coalition’s controversial decision not to accept a recommended 1% wage rise for all NHS employees.

Unison leader Dave Prentis said the strike, the second in a month, should “sound alarm bells ringing” in Westminster because of the anger of such dedicated workers.

Unions have struck deals with the administrations in Scotland and Wales, increasing their anger at the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who they accuse of refusing to discuss the long-running row. The minister has erected a “Berlin wall of intransigence”, the unions said.

Read more in The Guardian.

Emergency Departments miss four-hour wait target

BBC Health - 21st November 2014 2:46 pm

Accident and emergency departments in England saw 92.9% of patients within four hours last week - the lowest percentage since April 2013, NHS data shows.

The government sets a quarterly target for hospitals to see 95% of emergency cases within four hours.

A&E waits have been below that level since the end of September.

The Department of Health says it recently announced extra support for A&E teams.

And officials say there is rising demand for emergency services, with more than a million extra visits to A&E last year when compared to 2010.

Read more at BBC Health.

Bed blockers ‘face legal action’ in Bournemouth

BBC Health - 20th November 2014 5:11 pm

A hospital is to give so-called “bed blockers” seven days to leave or face possible legal action, saying too many families are refusing to take elderly relatives home when they are fit to go.

On Wednesday, 70 patients at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital were medically fit to leave but were still on wards.

Nearly half had somewhere safe to go - either to a family home or care home.

The hospital said some families were giving spurious reasons for not taking their loved ones back.

Katie Whiteside, clinical manager for discharge services, said one family asked the hospital to “keep hold” of a relative while they took a two-week holiday in Turkey.

Read more at BBC Health.

CQC ranks GP surgeries in England by risk

BBC Health - 19th November 2014 12:13 pm

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission has ranked almost every GP surgery in England in terms of risk of providing poor care.

The majority are of low concern, but 11% have been rated in the highest risk band by CQC.

Many of the elevated-risk practices had possible issues with appointments, mental health plans, and cervical cancer screening.

The CQC register will help target inspections.

The watchdog said the register did not necessarily indicate poor GP surgery performance.

“It is important to remember that the data is not a judgement, as it is only when we inspect we can determine if a practice provides safe, high-quality and compassionate care,” said CQC chief inspector of general practice Prof Steve Field.

Read more at BBC Health.

Surgeon brought to US for Ebola treatment dies

The Guardian - 18th November 2014 12:58 pm

A surgeon from Sierra Leone who was being treated for Ebola at a Nebraska hospital died on Monday, according to the hospital.

Dr Martin Salia, a permanent US resident, is the second patient to die of Ebola in the US. He arrived in Omaha on Saturday, having left Freetown on Friday by air ambulance. He was immediately transported to Nebraska medical center, where he began treatment in the hospital’s biocontainment unit.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share this news,” Dr Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at Nebraska medical center, said in a statement. “Dr Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.”

Experts believe early detection and treatment is vital to surviving the disease which has killed nearly 5,200 people, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Read more in The Guardian.

Colchester Hospital declares “major incident”

- 15th November 2014 12:33 pm

Colchester Hospital has declared a “major incident” following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The hospital trust said the major incident is likely to last a week, and asked patients to visit Accident & Emergency only if they have a “serious or life-threatening condition”.

The CQC raised “safeguarding concerns” following an inspection on Wednesday.

The watchdog found staff struggling to cope with “unprecedented demand”.

The hospital’s interim chief executive Dr Lucy Moore said the focus was on “discharging patients.”

She told the BBC: “By declaring a major incident and running a sort of command and control process, we ask all our staff to prioritise that.”

Dr Moore added that by “diverting resources away from things that can wait”, staff could “treat as a priority the discharge of patients”.

Read more at BBC Health.

Jeremy Hunt: “fundamentally rethink NHS spending”

The Guardian - 13th November 2014 10:31 am

Jeremy Hunt is to tell the NHS to save £10bn a year by using fewer temporary staff and management consultants, selling off unused buildings and reducing drug errors.

The health secretary will warn an audience of NHS leaders that the service must undertake a “fundamental rethink” of how it spends its £110bn budget in order to remain viable in the face of unprecedented demand for care.

He will demand action to tackle the soaring cost of hospitals’ use of temporary staff – mainly nurses – who have been supplied by employment agencies to cover shifts in order to ensure wards are fully-staffed and patients receive good quality care.

Using fewer management consultants would cut the £500m annual bill for them, while selling off some of the NHS’s estimated £7.5bn worth of surplus land and buildings could yield major savings, including £1.5bn in London alone, Hunt will claim.

With the NHS in England facing an expected £30bn hole in its budget by 2020/21 caused by rising demand and years of tight budgets, Hunt will tell an audience of NHS bosses at the King’s Fund thinktank that they must make up to £10bn a year in new efficiency savings by then in order to close that gap.

“If we are to be truly financially sustainable we need to rethink how we spend money in a much more fundamental way,” he will say.

Read more in The Guardian.

Farage: “time to move away from state-funded NHS”

The Guardian - 12th November 2014 4:35 pm

Nigel Farage has been caught on camera telling Ukip supporters that the state-funded NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies.

The recording shows Farage saying he believes the marketplace could deliver better value for money when it comes to spending on the NHS.

Farage’s remarks, made in September 2012 on his Common Sense tour of the UK, contrast with Ukip’s new claims that it is opposed to privatisation of the NHS.

The Guardian examined videos of Farage touring the country in an effort to establish some of the Ukip leader’s views on issues other than immigration or Europe.

GP found on fire wanted to get a skin graft

ITV News - 5th November 2014 2:07 pm

A GP who died after being found on fire in her garden had been trying to burn her partially injured arm to persuade doctors to give her a skin graft, an inquest heard today.

Despite being a medic Dr Julia Cross - found ablaze at her home in April - had a history of self-harm but had been making plans for the future.

Neighbours heard screams for help coming from the property at around 1am, where they discovered the burning woman next to a hose, which was also on fire.

The single mother had suffered 95% burns in the incident at her home in Littlehampton, West Sussex, and died of her injuries.

An inquest in Worthing heard that the GP had struggled with depression and self-harm since she was young and had attempted suicide in her teens.

Read more at ITV News.

Managers’ ‘golden goodbyes’ to be clawed back

Daily Mail - 28th October 2014 12:07 pm

Redundancy payouts given to NHS managers are to be clawed back if workers get a new job in the health service.

The Treasury vowed to end the revolving door of highly-paid administrators handed golden goodbyes worth thousands of pounds before walking straight into another role.

Under new rules announced by the Treasury, the law will be changed so that anyone earning more than £100,000 who returns to the same part of public sector within 12 months of taking redundancy will have to return all or part of their pay-off.

It is expected the measure - which is included in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill currently going through Parliament - will mainly affect NHS and local government administrators.

The Treasury said that of the 19,000 NHS administrators made redundant between 2010 and 2013, almost 20% rejoined the NHS while 16% of local government chief executives who left by mutual agreement between 2007 and 2009 had been employed by another council within a year.

In March it emerged that almost 4,000 NHS staff given redundancy pay-offs as part of the coalition’s health shake-up had been rehired.

Read more in the Daily Mail.