NHS

King's Fund report on health and social care

Think-tank the King’s Fund has published a report calling for wholesale re-design of the NHS and social care systems. The report recommends changes to taxation to increase health budgets by £5bn and improve entitlements to social care, as well as streamlined localised health commissioning.

Online advice on dementia

NHS Choices has launched a new webchat service for people who have been diagnosed with dementia and their carers. Delivered in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society via the on-line NHS Choices Dementia Guide the service offers a webchat button which people can click on to start an anonymous, real-time webchat with a trained adviser from the Alzheimer’s Society. This service is available Monday to Friday 9am to 12 noon. Outside of these hours there is a phone number for people to call the Alzheimer’s Society direct.

Grant programme for personal health budgets

NHS England has launched a programme for the voluntary and community sector to help them 'gear up' for personal health budgets. From April 2014, people eligible for NHS continuing healthcare will have the 'right to ask' their clinical commissioning group (CCG) for a personal health budget and from October 2014, they will have the 'right to have' one. The aim of the funding programme is to grow understanding and capacity among voluntary and community sector organisations about the potential of personal budgets.

National obesity figures

New local authority excess weight data published by Public Health England (PHE) shows that 64% of adults are overweight or obese. The data also shows considerable variation in the numbers of people who are overweight or obese in different parts of England. The rate of increase in overweight and obese adults has slowed in recent years and in children, levels are stabilising but the research highlights that local authorities and the NHS face in tackling obesity in the UK. Overall health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS over £5 billion each year.

Public Representatives on Quality

NHS England is seeking to recruit up to three Patient and Public Voice Representatives for its Quality and Clinical Risk Committee. This is an opportunity for staff/volunteers of patient groups, and charities supporting patients and service users, to ensure the voice of patients is heard as the NHS designs and delivers services.

Patient and Public Voice (PPV) Representatives may be:

Music therapy and NHS Emergency Planning - a new collaboration

Staff at Chelsea and Westminster in partnership with the music therapy, emergency preparedness and communications departments have collaborated on an infection control campaign. To help boost the numbers of staff having their flu vaccination, teams from across the hospital have joined together to sing about the reasons why staff should protect themselves, their patients and their friends and family from flu. The flu video tells the story of a member of staff who is worried about having his flu jab and colleagues from across the hospital reassure him.

Massive increase in hospital admissions

The Government has published new data showing that 41,500 patients are admitted to hospital every day in England, an increase of nearly 13 per cent in five years. The figures, published by the Government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre, record over 15 million admissions in 2012-13 compared to 13.5m in 2007-08. Barts Health NHS Trust had the greatest number of admissions in the year with 237,500.

Call to Action in London

NHS England (London) has launched a new publication ‘Call to Action’, which aims to stimulate a public debate about the challenges facing health and care in London.  This builds on NHS England’s national Call to Action document published in July, which made the case for systematic changes to the NHS.  The publication calls for patients, the public and those working for or with the NHS to contribute suggestions and ideas for the ways in which the NHS can meet the diverse health challenges in London.

New NHS Procurement policy

The Government has published new guidance for NHS procurement aimed at saving £1.5bn by 2016. ‘Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care: A Procurement Development Programme for the NHS’, looks at how services are currently paid for by the NHS and sets out a number of changes to the way the NHS will spend money. These include making hospitals publish what they pay for goods and services and setting up a new ‘price index’ especially for hospitals, through which they will be able to see how much they are spending on different products compared to other hospitals.

New inspection process for hospitals

The Care Quality Commission’s new Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards has announced radical changes to the way hospitals in England are inspected. The changes have been likened to the introduction of OFSTED to schools inspections and will involve teams of inspectors  visiting all acute hospitals and assessing eight key services areas: A&E; maternity, paediatrics; acute medical and surgical pathways; care for the frail elderly; end of life care; and outpatients.

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