News From The Web

Fewer nurses forecast for NHS under Conservatives

- 20th April 2015 10:15 am

The number of NHS nurses in England is set to fall by almost 2,000 over the next four years according to government projections, Labour has said.

Accusing the Conservatives of having a “secret plan”, Labour’s Andy Burnham said fewer nurses would push hospitals “over the edge”.

The health document Labour is basing its claims on says fewer nurses would be employed because of “affordability”.

The Tories said the real threat to nurses was a Labour-SNP government.

The Liberal Democrats said neither Labour nor the Tories had a credible response to NHS “funding challenges”.

The figures Labour are using are included in a document entitled Health Education England’s (HEE) Workforce Plan for England 2015-16, and it predicts the NHS will have 1,966 fewer full-time nurses by 2019.

Read more at BBC Health.

Finance problem being ignored, says former boss

BBC Health - 18th April 2015 11:55 am

The NHS is facing a “substantial financial problem” which politicians are ignoring in the election campaign, the former head of the service says.

Sir David Nicholson, who retired last year, told the BBC the NHS in England was accruing large deficits which would become “crystal clear” later this year.

But he said instead of talking about how to address these, politicians were focusing on expanding services.

He said the situation caused him “very great concern”.

In an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir David - who ran the NHS in England for eight years - said that because there was an election period, the NHS was unable to publish the latest report on its financial position.

But he said it was “pretty clear in the NHS that there is a substantial financial problem, particularly in the hospital sector” which would become “crystal clear” in the autumn.

Read more at BBC Health.

Hospital charges to rise for non-EU patients

- 15th April 2015 12:26 pm

Visitors from outside the EU who receive treatment in NHS hospitals in England are now being charged 150% of the cost under changes brought in to discourage “health tourism”.

Non-EU citizens settling in the UK for longer than six months are also being required to pay a “health surcharge” as part of their visa applications.

The new rules from the Department of Health came into force on 6 April.

Primary care and A&E care continues to remain free.

Permanent residents of 32 European countries qualify for NHS treatment, which is then billed to their country of residence, but this new ruling applies to foreign migrants or visitors based in other countries, mainly those outside the EU.

These patients can be treated in an NHS hospital but are expected to repay the cost of most procedures afterwards.

But up to now, the DoH has only sought to reclaim the actual costs, without adding any extra charges.

The DoH hopes the changes will help it recoup up to £500m a year by 2017-18.

Read more at BBC Health.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital returns to the NHS

BBC Health - 7th April 2015 11:19 am

The new chairman of the first hospital in the NHS to be run by a private company has said he cannot rule out department closures.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Cambridgeshire, has now returned to NHS management after Circle pulled out of its 10-year contract in January.

The hospital was placed in special measures after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

Chairman Alan Burns said he would be looking at the “viability of services”.

But he said his immediate priorities were to oversee “a smooth transition” from Circle back to NHS management and to get the hospital out of special measures.

Mr Burns, a retired NHS chief executive, was appointed to chair the new NHS board running Hinchingbrooke, by the NHS Trust Development Authority.

He said there was a “a very good sustainable future” for the hospital.

Read more at BBC Health.

Waiting times in Emergency Units hit new high

BBC Health - 11:15 am

The NHS in England has missed its four-hour A&E wait target for the past three months with performance dropping to its lowest level for a decade.

Just 91.8% of patients were seen in four hours between January and March - below the 95% target.

That is the worst three-month performance since the target was introduced at the end of 2004.

The figures were widely expected as the weekly performance has been below 95% since September.

It also means the target has been missed overall for the whole of 2014-15.

Read more at BBC Health.

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.