Postcode lottery of care for breast cancer patients revealed ( The Darlingon and Stockton Times: 28 February 2018)

Women face “unacceptable differences” in breast cancer care across England, a new report has concluded.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Breast Cancer said women face a postcode lottery in the care they receive across the country.

Some women are being diagnosed at an earlier stage of their breast cancer than others, some offered life-saving drugs while others are not, and some women receive the care of specialist nurses while others have no such support, the group of MPs more


GPs offered cash to refer fewer people to hospital (The Guardian: 28 February 2018)

GPs are being offered cash payments not to refer patients to hospital, in a move which leading family doctors have criticised as ethically questionable and a risk to health.

NHS bodies in four parts of England are using schemes under which GP practices are given up to half of the money saved by sending fewer patients to hospital for tests and treatment

The disclosure by the GP website Pulse about the controversial “profit share” initiatives operated by the four NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) has triggered a row.

Critics said the schemes were the latest example of NHS bodies increasingly resorting to the rationing of care to help them operate within their more


Exclusive: Vanguards dent emergency admissions but not bed days (HSJ: 26 February 2018)

NHS England’s national performance dashboard for the programme shows that, over the measurement period, there was a larger reduction in the rate of hospital bed days in non-vanguard areas than in the nine primary and acute care systems.

Across the 14 multispeciality community providers there was a slightly larger reduction than in the non-vanguard population.

However, the dashboard report shows that vanguards saw substantially lower growth in the rate of emergency admissions over the same period than the rest of England.

Bed days and emergency admissions are the “efficiency” metrics included in the new care models dashboard.

The vanguard dashboard report seen by HSJ compares the rate of emergency admissions and bed days in the 12 months to September 2017, to that in the 2014-15 financial year. It also reveals figures for all the vanguard sites. more 


NHS England director appointed to lead integrated care system (HSJ: 22 February 2018)

An integrated care system early adopter has appointed an NHS England director to lead its transformation programme.

Louise Watson has taken on the role of managing director at the Buckinghamshire ICS, which was one of eight systems announced by Simon Stevens last summer.

She is currently director of NHS England’s new care models vanguard programme. She is stepping down from this role but will continue to work part-time for NHS England in an advisory capacity to help support the development of other ICSs.

In her new role, she will be accountable to the Buckinghamshire’s partnership board of chief executives from all the organisations involved in the ICS: Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern clinical commissioning groups; Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust; Buckinghamshire County Council; Oxford Health Foundation Trust; South Central Ambulance Service FT; and the GP federation FedBucks. more


Ambulance handover delays worst since first week of 2018 as NHS pressures continue (GP online: 22 February 2018)

A total of 13,302 patients waited more than half an hour to be handed over to hospital staff in the week to 18 February, while 2,948 waited more than an hour. Waits over half an hour were up 24% from the previous week, while waits of more than an hour were up 32%.

The figures reveal that pressure on hospitals is far from over despite the end of the national freeze on elective care that was in place through January, and in spite of evidence that flu levels are starting to ease.

Hospitals remain well above the target level of 85% bed occupancy considered safe, with 95% of hospitals beds occupied on average across England over the past week. Bed occupancy rates have now been at around 95% for six weeks in a row - with hospitals regularly completely full. more


One in 11 posts unfilled in the NHS in England (The Guardian: 21 February 2018)

One in 11 posts in NHS England are currently unfilled, equivalent to almost 100,000 vacancies, official figures show.

The number of vacancies was published for the first time in NHS Improvement’s quarterly performance report for the three months ending 31 December. Released on Wednesday, the report warns that staff shortages are affecting performance.

The high number of unfilled posts has coincided with the NHS coming under immense pressure, with 250,000 more people visiting A&E than in the equivalent three-month period in 2016.

NHS providers reported a year-to-date deficit of £1.3bn, moving NHS Improvement to revise its estimate of the year-end deficit to £931m, 88% worse than more


Ambulances stuck at A&E 'unable to respond quickly to 999 calls' (The Guardian: 18 February 2018)

Patients who have a stroke or heart attack are at risk of harm because so many ambulances are stuck at A&E units that they cannot respond quickly enough to 999 calls, an NHS boss has said.

Wayne Bartlett-Syree, the director of strategy and sustainability at the East of England ambulance service, said the huge number of delays ambulance crews have faced this winter in handing over patients to hard-pressed staff of overcrowded A&E units was to blame. more


Theresa May refuses to exclude NHS contracts from US trade deals (The Guardian: 7 February 2018)

Theresa May has refused to rule out giving US companies access to NHS contracts as part of a future trade deal with Donald Trump’s White House.

At prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, challenged May over how she would respond if Washington pushed for access to Britain’s public services for US corporations.

“The prime minister knows that one of the key objectives of American trade negotiators in any future deal after Brexit is to secure access for American companies to business in the NHS,” he said. “Can she give an absolute guarantee that in those negotiations the NHS will be excluded from their scope? And can she confirm that in her conversations with President Trump she’s made it absolutely clear to him that the NHS is not for sale?” more


Hundreds of NHS staff forcibly moved to a private company, says UNISON (Nursing Notes: 7 February 2018)

Moving 350 NHS staff into a Trust-owned private company has put Yeovil hospital in breach of licence, public service union UNISON has set out.

In a letter to NHS regulators, UNISON argues the Trust’s decisions must be investigated.

Writing to NHS Improvement, UNISON set out Yeovil hospital’s failure to comply with the licencing requirement to have due regard for the NHS Constitution. The Constitution, which establishes what NHS patients and staff can expect from the service, states that NHS Trusts must “engage staff in decisions that affect them and the services they provide” more


Fix the NHS: Protesters rally in London to call for government action (The Guardian: 3 February 2018)

Health workers, activists and unions are marching in central London on Saturday to protest against government inaction over the NHS winter crisis.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed in recent weeks by a surge in admissions that has led to delays of up to 12 hours on emergency wards, patients left on trollies for hours and thousands of patients forced to wait in ambulances before receiving urgent care. 

Two pressure groups, the People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together, have organised the rally to call on the government to plug funding and resource gaps in the health more

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