Vulnerable people regularly refused access to GPs, says charity (The Guardian: 30 April 2016)

Some of the most vulnerable people in the UK are regularly refused access to a doctor, according to a report.

Pregnant women, children and homeless people are among those who have been wrongly turned away from practices. Medical care is also refused to sex workers, domestic workers and people who have suffered torture, trafficking, domestic and sexual violence, research has found.

In some cases, vulnerable people have been refused registration on more than one occasion.

The research conducted by Doctors of the World (DoTW) found that medical centres and GP surgeries were refusing to help at least two in five people, despite their being eligible for free primary more


Mental health trust forced to cut services (Pulse: 6 April 2016)

A mental health trust in Manchester has cut seven frontline community-based services to save £1m, in one of the first major decisions taken since the city was given total control over its health budget.

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MHSC) proposed the cuts in October and, despite a huge public outcry, decided last week to push through with plans.

The decision comes as Greater Manchester has been given complete control over its £6bn health budget following the implementation of ’DevoManc’, becoming the first region of England to have devolved healthcare powers.

Services to be cut include those for chronic fatigue and psychosexual disorders, as well as gardening more


Ambulance privatisation descends into 'total shambles' (The Guardian: 12 April 2016)

Hundreds of patients including people with cancer and kidney failure have missed important appointments for treatment because ambulances did not arrive to take them to hospital, after privatisation of NHS non-urgent transport services in Sussex this month.

Some elderly patients have had to wait more than five hours for ambulances and been stuck at hospital for long periods after their appointments because the transport service, now run by the private firm Coperforma, has proved so unreliable.

Patients, relatives, NHS bodies and local MPs have severely criticised the service’s performance, and a trade union representing ambulance crews said it was an “absolute shambles”. The NHS organisations that awarded the four-year, £63.5m contract have now launched an investigation.

A host of problems have arisen since Coperforma replaced the NHS’s South East Coast ambulance service (Secamb) as the provider of non-emergency patient transport services on 1 more


Cancer wait performance declines significantly in London (HSJ: 6 April 2016)

The latest cancer data shows a significant decline in waiting times performance for north London boroughs.

The five clinical commissioning groups showing the steepest declines in performance on the 62 day referral to treatment time target over the past four years all sit within the UCLPartners catchment area covering north central and north east London.

Haringey CCG said responsibility rested with its main provider North Middlesex

The target is for 85 per cent of patients to receive their first definitive treatment within 62 days. Falls of 10 percentage points or more between quarter three 2012-13 and quarter three 2015-16 were seen at Enfield, Haringey, Camden, Barnet and Havering clinical commissioning groups in this period.

In quarter three of 2013-14 all of these except Enfield were hitting the 85 per cent target, now none of them are.

South east London CCGs saw the second steepest decline in more


Transplants axed and wards closed amid trust’s nurse shortage (HSJ: 18 April 2016)

Liver transplant operations at one of the country’s flagship teaching hospitals have been cancelled because of a shortage of critical care nurses, HSJ can reveal.

Leaked documents and emails seen by HSJ show Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust has been forced to close two critical care wards at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’ University Hospital because of an inability to find sufficient numbers of nurses.

Two patients were told their operation would go ahead but it was cancelled at a later stage

As a result, eight patients awaiting the vital transplant operation have missed out on the procedure because there were no intensive care beds available to take them.

In two cases, patients were told their operation would go ahead but it was cancelled at a later stage.

The trust told HSJ on Friday it was facing a shortage of nurses and the recent introduction of agency pay caps was one factor in its inability to staff wards, but it also emphasised the wider UK nursing more


NHS England records worst performance for second month in a row (The Guardian: 15 April 2016)

The NHS in England has suffered its worst ever performance, for the second successive month, in February.

As in January, hundreds of thousands of patients were forced to wait longer than they should for time-critical care as the NHS missed almost all its key waiting time targets. The NHS said that A&E departments had had to cope with flu cases peaking later than in the previous winter. Labour said the figures showed a health service “on its knees and in crisis”.

Official statistics, published on Thursday, show that hospital A&E departments kept 224,116 patients waiting more than the maximum four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged, compared with 212,136 in January and 131,248 in February last year.

They only treated 81.6% of patients within four hours, way below the 95% standard they are meant to achieve. The worrying figures were recorded despite England and Wales being on track to record its warmest ever more


Trust forced to downgrade A&E after locum doctor crisis (HSJ: 14 April 2016)

A teaching hospital has been forced to downgrade one of its two accident and emergency departments after a crisis in locum doctor recruitment. The problem has been blamed on difficulties caused by introduction of a cap on locum rates, HSJ has learned.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust is preparing to close Chorley A&E overnight from Monday, but it will run as an urgent care centre between 8am and 8pm.

Trust chief executive Karen Partington told HSJ it had only half the middle grade doctors needed to staff its two A&E departments in Preston and Chorley, after locum doctors resigned from the trust to work at other North West hospitals who were paying over the cap for temporary staff.

The problem has been further exacerbated in recent weeks after two doctors went on long-term sick leave. She said a recruitment drive by the trust had resulted in no applications from middle grade doctors and one unsuitable consultant more


GPs still in favour of mass resignation despite support package (Pulse: 29 April 2016)

Almost half of GPs are still willing to submit undated resignations, despite the multibillion-pound ‘Forward View’ announced by NHS England last week.

A Pulse survey of 524 English GPs found that 45% would still support mass resignation from the NHS due to the current state of general practice, while a further one in four are undecided.

This is only a small decrease on the 49% who said that they would be willing to resign their contracts in December 2015.

The Special LMC Conference in January voted for the GPC to canvass support for submitting undated resignation letters if the Government fails to implement a ‘rescue package’ for general practice within six months.

Last week, Pulse exclusively revealed that the GPC was still considering the threat of mass resignation following the announcement of the General Practice Forward View, which committed £2.4bn extra funding a year by 2020 plus a £500m support package.

Today’s poll reveals that GP support for the so-called ‘nuclear option’ is maintained, with the percentage of GPs ruling mass resignation out decreasing from 35% in December to 29% more


NHS looks to India for GPs in attempt to make up shortfall (The Guardian: 7 April 2016)

The NHS is looking at recruiting GPs from India in an attempt to tackle the serious shortage of family doctors.

Health Education England, the NHS’s training and recruitment agency, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Apollo Hospitals chain in India about lending clinical staff between them.

GP leaders said the initiative amounted to “an admission of failure” by ministers to develop enough homegrown staff and that it cast doubt on their pledge to increase the number of GPs by 5,000 by 2020.

It also led to warnings that bringing in doctors who had not been trained in the UK could pose a threat to patient safety.

HEE, which is currently recruiting GPs, provided few details about the link-up.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, the president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told the doctors’ magazine Pulse, which revealed the move, that his contacts in India had told him HEE is keen to hire “as many GPs as possible” more


Practices missing payments as support service woes continue (Pulse: 28 April 2016)

GP practices are missing thousands in payments following the outsourcing of a national primary care support service, Pulse can reveal.

Payments missing in some areas of England include those for enhanced services and seniority payments, as practices continue to suffer fallout in the handover.

The news comes as NHS England’s rescue package for general practice, unveiled last week, pledged a crackdown on the long-running payment chaos suffered by practices.

But woes continue to plague practices, with Norfolk LMC reporting that all GMS practices have missed out on their enhanced service payments that were due in mid-April.

Dr Ian Hume, medical secretary for Norfolk and Waveney LMC and chair of the GPC’s practice finance subcommittee, told Pulse that the problems were related to the handover from the local support service to Primary Care Support England (PCSE) - the new national services run by outsourcing firm Capita.

He said: ’There have been some issues with the transfer over from Serco to Capita, which is very similar to what is happening more


Report exposes NHS England’s failures on managing specialised services (The Guardian: 29 April 2016)

The National Audit Office has exposed another NHS organisation for system-wide failures – poor financial controls, disjointed services, incomplete data and staff with the wrong skills. The culprit is NHS England and its commissioning of specialised services. Specialised services are huge business for the NHS, consuming almost £15bn last year – about 14% of the total NHS budget – and slated for 7% growth in 2016-17. Around 300 health organisations provide at least one specialised service, which cover everything from specific mental health problems to chemotherapy.

The ability of NHS England to manage this budget is crucial – if it cannot control the costs, it will impede the adoption of new treatments and technologies while sucking yet more money into the hospital sector.

NHS England took control of specialised service commissioning from the strategic health authorities in 2013. For trusts struggling to maintain staff numbers it may come as a shock to find in the NAO report that the number of NHS England full-time equivalent staff involved in commissioning specialised services has jumped from 287 to 489 in just two years, taking costs from £20m to £38m.

BMA demands tougher checks on private provision of NHS services (GP Online: 19 April 2016)

The BMA report, Privatisation and independent sector provision of NHS healthcare, calls for research into how the growing role of private providers in the NHS is affecting patients and doctors.

Private providers delivering NHS care should face the same level of CQC regulation as NHS providers, and a requirement to deliver training should be written into their contracts, the BMA report says.

Providers should no longer be able to register with the CQC unless they open up to the same freedom of information requirements as NHS providers, the union’s report warns, and the Health and Social Care Information Centre should publish performance data on both NHS and non-NHS more


NHS paid private provider £165,000 for single home visit under GP Choice scheme (Pulse: 1 April 2016)

NHS England has paid £165,000 for a contract that has seen a private provider carry out just one out-of-area GP patient home visit and 18 phone consultations since last July.

The West Midlands local area team awarded a contract to health and social care provider Primecare in July last year to provide home visits to patients who are registered in practices outside of their area as part of the GP Choice scheme. 

The contract was worth £165,253 upfront, with an extra £80 agreed for each GP visit and £30 for phone consultations, NHS England confirmed.

But Primecare was only required to carry out a single home visit during that time, NHS England admitted, with the contract expiring more



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