Over 750 practices across UK could close as GPs leave profession, warns RCGP (Pulse: 28 September 2018)

Over 750 practices could close within the next five years because they are relying on GPs approaching retirement, the RCGP has warned.

The college fears that this would have a ‘catastrophic impact’ on general practice and patient care, with more than 2.5m patients in England being forced to change practices if these closures occur.

The RCGP chair called for promises such as 5,000 extra GPs to be fulfilled, as well as an additional £2.5bn a year for GPs in the NHS long-term-plan.

The analysis, published by the college today, found that 762 practices across the UK are relying on a workforce where three-quarters of GPs are aged over 55 and therefore approaching retirement age....read more


Child mental health services ‘not fit for purpose’, says top psychiatrist (Pulse: 24 September 2018)

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) services across England are so overstretched that they are not fit for purpose, a leading psychiatrist has warned.

This comes as children and adolescents are being turned away from CAMHS services until they are so ill they attempt suicide, reports the BBC.

Meanwhile, A&Es are forced to pick up the slack from under-delivering mental health support services.

Speaking to BBC's Panorama for a programme due to air this evening, Dr Jon Goldin, vice chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Faculty, said: 'I have colleagues working all over the country who are extremely dedicated, extremely committed doing excellent work. The trouble is the services are very stretched, we’re not meeting the need so in that sense it’s not fit for purpose.'...read more


Outstanding FT cites 'unrealistic' funding challenge after baby death (HSJ: 26 September 2018)

Inadequate funding and unsafe staffing at an outstanding trust contributed to the death of a baby girl last winter, a coroner has found.

In a report to prevent future deaths, a coroner found an intensive neonatal unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital was not safely staffed when caring for a prematurely born baby, Kiarah Faith Adora Allen, in February this year.

The hospital is run by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Foundation Trust, which is rated outstanding and lead by Sarah-Jane Marsh, who also chairs NHS England’s maternity transformation programme.

Responding to the report, the trust’s chief nursing officer Michelle McLoughlin told HSJ it was an “unrealistic challenge” to meet safe neonatal staffing levels with the “given the funding available to deliver the service and the supply of neonatal nurses”....read more


Bed pressures exacerbate radiology safety risks says HSIB (HSJ: 26 September 2018)

Patients with undiagnosed cancer are being discharged from hospital before crucial radiology scans are completed because of demands to free up hospital beds, it has emerged.

According to the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, demands on hospitals to reduce the length of stay for inpatients means some are being sent home days and weeks before requested scans are reported back.

In other cases poor and variable communication and IT systems mean vital radiology scans such as X-rays, CTs and MRI scans are not being picked up and acted on....read more


Virgin Care set to lose children's service contract to NHS consortium (HSJ: 25 September 2018)

Virgin Care is likely to lose a children’s contract worth hundreds of millions of pounds as commissioners are set to name an NHS consortium as preferred bidders.

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon and South Devon and Torbay clinical commissioning groups’ joint procurement team recommended to their governing bodies that Devon Children and Families Alliance be the preferred bidder for community health and wellbeing services across the county.

The alliance comprises the six main providers in the county: Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust, Devon Partnership Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter FT, University Hospitals Plymouth Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, and Livewell Southwest (a community interest company).

The contract is worth £166m over seven years, with the potential to extend for three years....read more


Health visitors struggling with ‘dangerously high’ caseloads (The Guardian: 23 September 2018)

Health visitors are struggling to care for families properly because they have “dangerously high” workloads in which some are looking after as many as 829 children, a study shows.

Falling numbers of health visitors mean that in most parts of England they are now looking after more – often many more – under-fives than the recommended maximum 250.

The findings have prompted warnings that health visitors are so busy that they may fail to spot child abuse, domestic violence and postnatal depression and have too little time to help mothers bond with their babies....read more


Eight trusts tender £2bn pathology contract amid network shake-up (HSJ: 20 September 2018)

An NHS pathology contract worth more than £2bn has been put on the market with the aim of linking eight trusts’ laboratory services.

Bidders will compete to provide the full range of pathology disciplines for the trusts, whose locations range from south east London to the Sussex coast. The procurement could lead to the formation of one of the larger pathology networks in the NHS.  

However, one trust in the region is not part of the procurement because it is considering a solution that keeps its pathology provision within the NHS.

It comes a year after NHS Improvement told all acute trusts to form pathology networks in a bid to release £200m of savings by 2021....read more


CCGs asked to pump extra £2m into wheelchair contract (HSJ: 18 September 2018)

Clinical commissioning groups in Kent are being asked to find at least an extra £2m for a service which is leaving people waiting months for wheelchairs. 

Millbrook Healthcare has run wheelchair services across the eight CCGs since April 2017 after winning a contract worth £6.2m a year. 

But since it took over, waiting times have soared and there are now 3,353 patients waiting, of which 2,180 have been waiting for more than 18 weeks. When it took over, 1,256 patients were waiting with approximately 40 per cent waiting more than 18 weeks....read more


Plans to close three acute stroke units revealed (HSJ: 17 September 2018)

Under the preferred option, set out by commissioners, Medway Foundation Trust will lose its stroke services with three HASUs at Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, Maidstone Hospital and the William Harvey Hospital In Ashford.

The Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Hospital in Margate had already been expected to lose services, leaving just one unit in East Kent. But Medway FT had hoped to retain stroke services at the expense of Dartford and Gravesham Trust – which is closer to HASUs in London.

The preferred option was announced last night after a workshop involving representatives from all 10 affected clinical commissioning groups – including NHS Bexley and NHS High Weald Lewes Havens. Five options were put out for public consultation earlier this year....read more


Mental health patients sent 300 miles from home due to lack of beds (The Guardian: 17 September 2018)

Patients with serious mental health problems are being sent more than 300 miles away from their home areas because of widespread bed shortages across the NHS, figures show.

Adults in mental health crises were sent as far as 307 miles from home last year, where they were denied easy access to family and friends for many months – a situation NHS chiefs have admitted reduces chances of recovery.

Dorset Healthcare University mental health trust sent patients to a Priory mental health hospital in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, 246 miles from the south coast, because of a lack of beds. The year before it had sent patients even further afield to a Priory unit in Durham, 325 miles away.

Last year, Lancashire Care NHS foundation trust had to place patients 299 miles away in a mental health unit in the village of Ticehurst in East Sussex, while people from Norfolk ended up being cared for at Arbury Court in Warrington, 239 miles away....read more


Ambulance trust to send occupied vehicles to new emergency calls (The Guardian: 16 September 2018)

A struggling ambulance trust hopes to improve response times by sending ambulances already occupied by patients to new emergencies, it has emerged.

The East of England ambulance services trust, which has some of the worst emergency response times of any ambulance trust in England, has defended the new policy is “absolutely right” in rare circumstances.

But staff and MPs described the trust’s policy of diverting ambulances with a stable patient inside to attend life-threatening calls as “crazy” and “dangerous”, warning first responders could be forced to choose between the welfare of different patients.

The policy was adopted by the trust, which serves Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, last month as part of efforts to improve response times to category one calls, which relate to life-threatening injuries or illnesses....read more


CCG to tender billion pound community services contract (HSJ: 17 September 2018)

A community services contract, worth £1.7bn, is set to be procured by commissioners in the South West of England

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group has said it intends to procure a seven to 10 year community services contract worth between £120 and £170m per year.

The CCG has published a prior information notice signalling its intentions to procure the contract from 2020-21. Currently, community services across the three areas are run by three separate social enterprises.

The notice, published on 10 September, said the final scope of the contract is yet to be determined but may include all adult community services, worth £120m per year, and children’s community health services and adolescent community health services – worth £50m.

If children’s community services are included the procurement would need to be conducted jointly with NHS England and the local authority....read more


NHS mental health crisis worsens as 2,000 staff quit per month (The Guardian: 15 September 2018)

Thousands of nurses, therapists and psychiatrists are quitting NHS mental health services, raising serious doubts about ministerial pledges to dramatically expand the workforce.

Two thousand mental health staff a month are leaving their posts in the NHS in England, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The news comes as services are already seriously understaffed and struggling to cope with a surge in patients seeking help for anxiety, depression and other disorders.

A total of 23,686 mental health staff left the NHS between June 2017 and the end of May this year, health minister Jackie Doyle-Price told Labour MP Paula Sherriff last week. That is the equivalent of one in eight of the sector’s whole workforce. One in 10 mental health posts were unfilled at the end of June, Doyle-Price also told Sherriff, the shadow mental health minister. While 187,215 whole-time-equivalent staff work in the sector, the total should be 209,233....read more


Tory cuts leave alcohol addiction services at breaking point warns Labour, as figures show record low in treatment (The Independent: 13 September 2018)

Cuts to council budgets for addiction services have led to lowest number of people receiving treatment for alcohol dependency in a decade despite people in need continuing to grow, data from the Labour Party shows.

Research by the House of Commons Library estimates the number of alcohol dependent adults in England has risen steadily since 2011 and more than 600,000 adults needed support as of 2016-17. 

However the number of people in alcohol treatment has fallen more than 12 per cent since 2013, when damaging NHS reforms introduced by Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley shifted public health responsibility to councils....read more


Major GP provider partners with Push Doctor app (HSJ: 11 September 2018)

One of the largest GP partnerships in England has brought on Push Doctor to provide its patients with online consultations

Modality Partnership, which serves around 400,000 patients, has announced it is partnering with Push Doctor, a digital GP app provider, to offer online consultations to nearly a quarter of its patients. 

Push Doctor will provide online consultations, under a pilot basis, to more than 99,000 patients across six Modality practices. Following this, depending on the success of the pilot, the provider hopes to roll the service out to all of its patients.

If the pilot is successful it will exceed the number of NHS patients who are served by another online consultation provider, GP at Hand....read more


NHS vacancies a 'national emergency' (BBC News: 11 September 2018)

The shortage of NHS staff in England has started worsening again, official figures show.

One in 11 posts is vacant with the situation particularly bad among the nursing workforce.

Experts described the situation as at risk of becoming a "national emergency" given the rising demands on the NHS.

It comes after sustained efforts by ministers and NHS bosses to tackle the shortages, including a new pay deal and recruitment and retention campaigns....read more


Amount of NHS land in England earmarked for sale soars, figures show
 (The Guardian: 10 September 2018)

Ministers have been accused of “selling off the NHS family silver” after figures revealed that the amount of health service land being earmarked for sale to private developers is soaring.

The NHS is seeking buyers for 718 different plots of land or buildings it owns across England, prompting fears that underfunding has forced cash-strapped NHS trusts to dispose of vital assets.

The total of 718 sites represents a 72% rise on the 418 plots the NHS deemed as surplus to requirements two years ago. 

The number of sites on the market that NHS bosses say are currently being used for clinical or medical purposes is also rising fast, from 117 last year to 140 – almost one in five of the total....read more


Patients dying on NHS waiting lists 'surges by 10,000' (Pulse: 3 September 2018)

The number of patients dying while waiting for treatment has increased by over 10,000, according to reports.

A freedom of information request to NHS Trusts, carried out by the Express, revealed that the number of patients dying while on a waiting list rose from 18,876 in 2012/13 to 29,553 in 2017/18.

The information request also saw that across dozens of NHS Trusts, there was an increase of more than 50%.

But this number could be higher, as only half (67 of 135) of the NHS Trusts responded, the paper reported....read more




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