Circle threatens legal action over £150m treatment centre procurement
 (HSJ: 27 March 2018)

Circle Health has pulled out of a bid to continue running services at the Nottingham Treatment Centre, and threatened clinical commissioning groups with legal action over their £150m three year procurement.

The company today issued a statement saying it had notified lead commissioner Rushcliffe CCG that it would be withdrawing from the tender process saying it does not provide a “sustainable basis” to deliver services at the treatment centre.

It said: “We now want to work with commissioners to ensure a fair, safe and sustainable service can continue for years to come at the Nottingham Treatment Centre. We will be exploring every possible option to make this happen, including legal challenge.”

The company did not provide any further detail on what specifically the focus of a possible legal challenge would more


Hospital doctors will find new NHS order on checkups ‘impossible’ (The Guardian: 24 March 2018)

Hospital bosses have ridiculed a new edict from the NHS which insists every inpatient should be medically assessed each morning and evening by a senior doctor.

They claim the order is “impossible” to fulfil because so many hospitals are struggling to fill medical rotas because of widespread shortages of doctors, which are as high as 25% in some places.

The instruction came earlier this month in a letter to the chief executives and medical directors of hospitals in England from the regulators NHS England and NHS Improvement. It made clear that in a bid to cut the number of patients using beds unnecessarily, hospitals must “ensure every patient has a review at the start and end of the day by a senior clinician to facilitate discharge” more


NHS faces year-round crisis over lack of social care, says council chief (The Guardian: 12 March 2018)

The NHS could be plunged into a year-round crisis because of a lack of social care provision, the head of one of England’s biggest councils has warned.

The comments by Andrew Travers, the chief executive of Lambeth council in south London, were made as the chancellor, Philip Hammond, faces pressure to address funding shortages in his spring statement. They follow a warning by the Local Government Association (LGA) that a “tipping point” for adult social care was fast approaching and that inaction from ministers was no longer an more


Patient safety getting worse, say two-thirds of NHS doctors (The Guardian: 12 March 2018)

Nearly two-thirds of doctors believe patient safety has deteriorated over the past year and nine out of 10 have experienced staff shortages, a survey of 1,500 NHS consultant physicians in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has revealed.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), which carried out the study, said the results exposed a health system “pushed to its limit” in which doctors felt they could not deliver what was asked of them.

One told researchers: “We are not robots, we are human beings with limits.” Another said: “I cried on my drive home because I am so frustrated and distraught at the substandard care we are delivering.”

According to the study, 80% of those asked said they were worried about the ability of their service to deliver safe patient care in the next 12 months and 84% believed the workforce was demoralised by the increasing pressures on the more


Large hospital trust cancelled 'significant number' of cancer operations (HSJ: 8 March 2018)

University Hospitals of Leicester Trust has admitted a “significant number” of cancer operations were cancelled in early January due to winter pressure.

According to the trust’s March board report, a “particular concern” of chief executive John Adler was the cancellation of cancer surgery.

The report said this was caused “primarily” by a high number of emergency cases requiring intensive therapy unit or high dependency unit care, but also by “general pressure on beds” more


NHS intensive care units sending patients elsewhere due to lack of beds (The Guardian: 7 March 2018)

Patients whose lives are at risk are being turned away from their local hospitals because of a lack of intensive care beds, doctors who work in those units have revealed.

Four in five intensive care units (ICUs) are having to send patients to other hospitals as a result of chronic bed and staff shortages.

Units are so beleaguered that some may no longer be able to care properly for the NHS’s sickest patients, the leader of the intensive care speciality has warned.

Intensive care consultants have disclosed that patients are being transferred from one ICU to another for non-clinical reasons in 80% of hospitals, and in 21% of units that happens at least once a more


NHS Staff Survey shows worsening pay and conditions are taking their toll on staff (Nursing Notes: 6 March 2018)

Unisons say that wage freezes and woeful pay rises below the rate of inflation have now taken their toll on NHS staff.

The NHS Staff Survey is the largest workforce survey in the world and has been conducted every year since 2003 and it asks NHS staff about their experiences of working for the NHS.Staff, overall, said they were unhappy with the quality of work and care they are able to deliver – primarily due to underfunding and poor staffing more


NHS trusts accused of creating ‘dozens of Carillion-style meltdowns’ (The Guardian: 6 March 2018)

Growing numbers of hospital trusts are transferring staff into newly created private subsidiary firms in a move health unions warn will create a “two-tier workforce” in the NHS. Trusts are starting to see subsidiaries as a way of saving money after seven years of below-inflation annual budget increases and mounting financial problems due to an increased demand for healthcare.

Nineteen NHS trusts in England have already established a wholly owned subsidiary and begun transferring thousands of non-medical staff to them. Sixteen other trusts are considering doing the same in a fast-growing change in practice that they insist is intended to save money as employers, especially through paying less VAT. While private firms working for the NHS can claim back any VAT they are charged by the government, an NHS trust cannot, under the terms of the 1994 VAT more


NHS England mulls specialised services payment overhaul (HSJ, 5 March 2018)

NHS England is considering a radical overhaul of the way specialised mental health services are paid for including a greater emphasis on rewarding providers for shifting care into the community, according to internal documents obtained by HSJ.

A paper, written for NHS England’s mental health programme of care board, which advises NHS England on commissioning policy for the sector, has set out a vision for the way tier four child and adolescent mental health services and adult secure mental health services should be paid for.

The document, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, could see providers being paid a fixed amount for a set number of beds, with further payments for each specialised care episode and a top-up fee for reducing specialised inpatient care days.... read more


'Vulnerable patients' face ongoing caps to care funding (HSJ: 2 March 2018)

Commissioners have been allowed to continue applying cost caps to the more than £3bn of NHS Continuing Healthcare claims as long as they follow new new government rules.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s new framework, developed in partnership with NHS England, does not explicitly ban cost caps as long as commissioners take into account an individual’s needs when they do so.

CHC pays for ongoing care for adults, described by the DHSC as ”some of the most vulnerable in our society” and who are assessed as having a primary medical care need in a community setting. It is arranged and funded solely by the NHS and in 2015-16 cost the service approximately £3.1bn more


NHS England treats too many patients as an emergency, watchdog warns (The Guardian, 2 March 2018)

Hospitals in England are admitting so many patients as medical emergencies that the NHS’s finances and ability to function are under threat, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has warned.

But one in four of the growing number of mainly older people who end up in inpatient care should not be in hospital in the first place, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The ageing population and other unexplained factors mean hospitals are now treating 5.8 million patients as emergency admissions every year, 24% more than a decade ago, the NAO found. Together they cost the health service £13.7bn, almost a 10th of its budget, and account for 33.59m bed days.

Its hard-hitting report, published on Friday, praises NHS England’s handling of the extra numbers but also criticises its failure to put in place enough services outside of hospitals to keep patients more


Capacity to handle 999 calls at risk, warns London ambulance service (The Guardian, 2 March 2018)

Britain’s busiest NHS ambulance service may no longer be able to answer all 999 calls quickly enough because its control rooms are chronically short of call handlers, it has warned.

The London ambulance service (LAS) disclosed this week that its capacity to respond to medical emergencies has been under threat because of a 20% shortfall in its control room staff.

Campaigners for patients have voiced alarm over the findings, saying the risk to the service could lead to people dying of strokes or heart attacks because an ambulance has taken longer than it should to reach them.

In a report presented to its board on Tuesday the LAS identified an acute lack of staff at its two main bases as a key risk to its ability to function. Listing the risks faced by the trust, it said: “The trust may be unable to maintain service levels due to insufficient staff in the emergency operations centre (EOC)." more


Controversial ‘CareBnB’ firm returns to launch new trial (HSJ: 1 March 2018)

The company developing a controversial “Airbnb for social care” model allowing homeowners to rent spare rooms to recuperating hospital patients is bidding to launch a new trial in Cambridge.

Private start up CareRooms was forced to abort its first pilot, exclusively revealed by HSJ, with the NHS in Essex in November, after patient groups and social care directors raised safeguarding concerns about care being provided by non-care professionals.

But it is now establishing a “working group” with Cambridgeshire County Council and has begun advertising for “host” households in the county, which includes the East Cambridgeshire constituency of junior health minister Stephen Barclay.

The Conservative controlled council confirmed the new group would meet for the first time imminently to discuss the “innovative CareRooms concept”. The council has not committed to pilot the model more


NHS spending £350m a year to send mental health patients miles from home (The Independent: March 1 2018)

The NHS is reliant on private mental health services to treat seriously ill patients, often miles away from loved ones, and is doing too little to ensure they are not being kept in treatment longer than necessary, the care watchdog has said.

A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) today warns the health service is spending £350m a year to send these patients “out of area” for care.

Experts told The Independent this reliance is down to a lack of inpatient services to support patients locally, and a lack of incentives for “specialist” centres to send patients home.

The CQC is now calling on NHS managers to draw up plans to "repatriate patients" and to ensure every patient has a care plan aimed at getting them better to bring them back into the community. more

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