News From The Web

Labour to cap private profits firms make in NHS

- 30th March 2015 11:22 am

Labour would cap the amount of profit private firms can make from the NHS in England, Ed Miliband has said as he launched the party’s election campaign.

He pledged to halt the “the tide of privatisation” he claims has taken place in the health service since 2010 and ensure a “proper” level of funding.

Private firms will have to reimburse the NHS if they exceed a 5% profit cap on contracts, he told activists.

The Conservatives said the move was an “ill-thought through gimmick”.

Speaking at the site of the 2012 London Olympics in east London, Mr Miliband placed the NHS front and centre of Labour’s campaign and claimed the election is “neck and neck” and “may come down to the wire”.

Read more at BBC Health.

Cameron promises seven-day in NHS by 2020

- 11:19 am

All hospitals in England will provide “a truly seven-day NHS” by 2020 under a future Conservative government, David Cameron has said.

At the party’s spring forum, Mr Cameron said that more hospitals must provide top-level treatment at the weekend, starting with emergency care.

In a wide-ranging speech, he said his party’s message to various sections of the population was: “We’re with you.”

Labour said Tory plans for “extreme” spending cuts threatened the NHS.

It has put the health service at the forefront of its own election campaign, with leader Ed Miliband promising on Friday to cap the amount of profit private firms can make from the NHS in England.

Read more at BBC Health.

Largest NHS trust put into special measures

BBC - 18th March 2015 12:38 pm

England’s biggest NHS hospital trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, has been put into special measures after a damning report by the health service regulator.

The Care Quality Commission found a culture of bullying and low morale among staff at Whipps Cross Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs six hospitals across east London.

And it raised issues in patient safety.

The Trust said it was committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of “every one of its patients”.

But the chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, said the Trust must “get a grip on what is happening”.

Read more at BBC Health.

Four-hour waiting target missed every winter week

- 13th March 2015 7:29 pm

The NHS has missed its target of 95% of patients waiting four hours or less at A&E departments in England every week of the winter, meaning it will fail to meet the average for the whole year.

The proportion of patients admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours has not reached the target since the week ending 28 September – 23 weeks in a row.

It is the first time the standard has not been met over a whole year.

This winter has seen an unprecedented demand on A&E services, with two weeks in December having the two highest attendance figures ever recorded for a winter period.

Altogether there were more than 7 million attendances over the four-month period from November to February – an increase of 190,000 on the same period last year.

Even before the winter had begun, last year saw an overall average of 5,400 more attendances at A&E each day compared with 2009.

Read more in The Guardian.

Hospital crisis hit 900 operations in West of England

- 6th March 2015 10:23 am

More than 900 patients in the West of England had surgery cancelled for non-medical reasons at the start of 2015.

Nearly half of those - 436 - were due to be seen at Gloucestershire’s two main hospitals during a fortnight of intense pressure on the NHS.

“Major incidents” were declared at a number of UK hospitals as medical staff struggled to cope with patient numbers.

The Great Western Hospital in Swindon had the next highest total with 141 elective operations cancelled.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust - which released its figures following a Freedom of Information request - said the pressure was due to high demand on its services, an increase in frail and elderly patients and a shortage of beds.

Read more at BBC Health.

NHS staff vote to accept re-negotiated pay deal

- 5th March 2015 4:58 pm

NHS staff in England have voted to accept a government pay offer, Unison has announced.

Some 67% of the union’s members agreed to the deal despite the dispute over pay prompting the first NHS strike in 34 years.

Unison leaders said although the offer did not go far enough it would make a difference - particularly to more than 250,000 of the lowest-paid in the NHS.

NHS Employers said the move is likely to signal the end of industrial action.

Ministers in England had initially awarded NHS staff a 1% increase, but only for those without automatic progression-in-the-job rises.

Automatic pay rises are given to about half of all staff. They are designed to reward professional development.

But an independent pay review board had said the 1% increase should be across the board.

The new offer would mean some people - particularly the lowest-paid members of the NHS - get more than a 1% pay rise - up to 5.6% next year. This would include some caterers, porters and administration staff.

But other workers on higher pay, including a number of experienced nurses and senior managers, would not stand to get the 1% pay rise. And for 2015-16 there would be a freeze on incremental rises in pay for higher-paid staff.

Read more at BBC Health.

“Lethal mix of failures” at Morecambe Bay Trust

- 4th March 2015 11:47 am

A “lethal mix” of failures at a Cumbrian hospital led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother, an investigation has ruled.

The inquiry into the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust found 20 major failures from 2004 to 2013 at Furness General Hospital.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt: “Lessons will now be learned so that other families so that other families do not have to go through the same nightmare”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in the House of Commons that the tragedy was “a second Mid Staffs”, albeit on a smaller scale.

In an echo of the inquiries in the Stafford Hospital scandal, the independent report said the problems found represented a “simultaneous failure of a great many systems at almost every level, from labour ward to the headquarters of national bodies”.

Hunt appointed Dr Mike Durkin, National Director of Patient Safety at NHS England, to draw up new guidelines about reporting serious incidents as well as establish an independent national team that can go on rapid fact finding missions on a “no blames basis” as soon as issues arise.

And he’s asked Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of NHS England, to review the professional codes of conduct for doctors and nurses to ensure mistakes are reported, not covered up.

Read more at BBC Health.

GPs not consulted on Manchester health devolution

- 3rd March 2015 3:51 pm

GP leaders in Manchester have slammed the lack of involvement of general practice in plans to hand £6bn NHS funding to a new devolved local authority body.

The plans are backed by 12 CCGs, 10 local councils, NHS England and other NHS bodies.

But chairwoman of greater Manchester LMCs Dr Tracey Vell said she was ‘disappointed’ the agreement had been signed.

‘The objectives involve general practice but general practice as a provider has not been given a stake so far in the process,’ she said.

CCGs, she added, cannot represent GPs as providers.

Read more at GP Online.

Army medics to fill nursing vacancies at Colchester

Daily Mail - 27th February 2015 4:42 pm

Army medics are being drafted in to help fill nursing gaps at a hospital plunged into special measures amid concerns over cancer waiting times.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust which runs the town’s general hospital and Essex County Hospital, has more than 215 nursing vacancies at the moment.

The trust was placed in special measures in 2013 amid allegations that staff were being forced to change cancer waiting times.

And last month Colchester General Hospital was rated inadequate by the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission.

The trust has introduced a series of initiatives in a bid to address the staffing shortfall.

Additional bank staff from other agencies will also continue to fill shifts.

But now, bosses are hoping to draw on a long-standing agreement with troops stationed in the Essex town.

Combat medical technicians from 16 Medical Regiment, based at Colchester Garrison, will work at the hospital when they are not on duty.

It is understood they will predominantly be deployed in A&E and other urgent care areas.

An agreement has been reached, the hospital said, but the number of army medics taking part has yet to be finalised.

Read more in the Daily Mail.

Savile “abused 63 people at Stoke Mandeville”

BBC Health - 26th February 2015 11:31 am

Jimmy Savile abused 63 people connected to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, but one formal complaint was ignored, an independent report has found.

It found Savile’s reputation as a “sex pest” was an “open secret” among some staff - but allegations probably did not reach managers.

The formal complaint - made in 1977 by a victim’s father - should have been reported to police, it added.

A separate report said “elements of the Savile story” could happen again.

The Stoke Mandeville report said the victims, abused from 1968-92, were aged eight to 40.

It also found:

- Savile had “virtually unrestricted access” to clinical areas and patients during the 1970s and 80s;

- several sex abuse claims were made against him from 1972-85, to different staff members, but only one was a “formal complaint”;

- that complaint by a father “should have led to Savile’s suspension from the hospital and a formal police report being made”;

- there was probably no “hospital-wide intelligence” on Savile;

- information known to junior staff and middle managers was “probably filtered out” before reaching senior managers.

Read more.