Health & Care Review

Health & Care Review

July 7, 2017

Keeping up with all the latest developments in health and care policy could almost be a full time job and PSNC regularly receives questions from LPCs and pharmacy contractors about what is going on in the wider health and care landscape beyond community pharmacy. To help answer some of these questions and to help contractors and LPCs stay up to date, PSNC provides this update service outlining the latest information in an easily digestible format. Weekly updates are published on our website and contractors can ensure they do not miss them by signing up to PSNC’s email newsletter service here.

The reviews extend the work we have been doing for some time to help LPCs stay informed about the NHS changes, and they inform the more detailed PSNC briefings which we continue to publish on this topic; these can be accessed in the Healthcare Landscape section of the website.

GP Patient Survey 2017

NHS England has published the results from the GP Patient Survey which contains data from January to March 2017 and provides information on patients’ views on primary care services and how they access them.

Key facts identified from the survey include:

  • the majority of individuals (84.8%) rate their overall experience of their GP practice as ‘good’, with 42.9% rating their experience as ‘very good’;
  • 7% of patients rate their overall experience of making an appointment as ‘good’, with 33% saying it was ‘very good’;
  • 68% of patients say it is easy to get through to their GP practice on the phone; and
  • 8% of patients say their GP practice is open at times that are convenient for them.

Over 150,000 annual deaths from lung cancer, lung and heart disease

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a national ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ awareness campaign focussing on the symptoms of cancer. The campaign is calling for people to see their GP if they experience specific symptoms that may be suggestive of cancer such as coughing for three weeks or more. It is aimed at people over the age of 50 who are most at risk of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease and is urging them to encourage others to do the same.

This call comes as a new PHE survey found that adults over 50 are more likely to encourage others to see the doctor than go themselves.

The survey found that:

  • a third of people would wait for a month or longer before visiting the GP if they experienced breathlessness doing everyday things; and
  • over half of people would wait over a month before speaking to their GP if they had a persistent cough.

Pregnancy and birth profiles: 2017 update

PHE has published updated child and maternal health data for 2017 relating to conception, pregnancy and delivery, including breastfeeding profiles. It includes information on maternity, teenage conceptions and breastfeeding.

The profiles provide information to help improve decision making when planning local services for pregnant women or to support new mothers and their children.

2017 Health Profiles

PHE has published the 2017 Health Profiles which provide a snapshot of health and wellbeing for each local authority (LA) in England. Health Profiles are intended as ‘conversation starters’ to highlight local issues and priorities for members, and for discussion at Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs).

Each area profile provides a general health summary, summary of health inequalities, child health, adult health and local priorities. It then provides visual representations of deprivation, life expectancy, health inequalities and a health summary compared to national benchmarks.

Spike in summer hay fever cases, show RCGP figures

The Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre has reported that hay fever cases in England have reached their highest level so far this year and are just under 50% higher compared to this time in 2016.

Since the start of June, there have been 37,568 family doctor visits relating to hay fever, a 230% increase from what is normally encountered.

NHS bill for paracetamol in England tops £70 million

The Pharmaceutical Journal has published an article which highlights that the NHS spent £70 million on prescriptions for paracetamol in England in the past financial year.

Around 21 million items for paracetamol were dispensed between 2016/17 at a net ingredient cost of £3.23, compared to 22 million items dispensed in 2015/16 with a net ingredient cost of £3.74.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs): What, why and where next?

The Institute for Public Policy Research has published a report which focusses on Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) – which are now being referred to as Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships – by looking at what solutions they offer and sets out a range of challenges that may prevent them from happening.

Key facts in the report include:

  • STPs face a deficiency in leadership, especially at the national level, which means that the public is either unaware of the reform plans or is misinformed about them, leading to unnecessary opposition;
  • STPs risk getting engulfed by the funding pressures on the service, with much of the existing funding being channelled into maintaining existing ways of working or filling in deficits, rather than enabling the reform agenda; and
  • STPs have no statutory powers with which to deliver their reform agendas, with the fragmentation created by 2012 Health and Social Care Act retained – making STPs a workaround – rather than addressed directly.

The report also makes policy recommendations relating to leadership, funding and power.

The state of adult social care services 2014 to 2017 report published

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a national report, The state of adult social care services 2014 to 2017, in which they present the findings of adult social care inspections programme.

Between October 2014 and February 2017, CQC completed over 33,000 inspections of around 24,000 adult social care locations. The main findings include the following:

  • almost four out of five adult social care services in England were rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ overall, and nearly a fifth of services were rated as ‘requires improvement’;
  • there were differences observed in performance from region to region, with the East of England showing almost 10% more locations rates as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ than the North West; and
  • generally, smaller services that are designed to care for fewer people were rated better than larger services.

CQC to conduct 12 local system reviews of health and social care

The CQC has announced that it been asked by the Secretaries of State for Health and for Communities and Local Government to review commissioning across the interface of health and social care and assess the governance in place for resource management.

The CQC will look at how people move between health and social care and delayed transfers of care with a focus on people over the age of 65. Findings of the review will be shared by each LA’s HWB.

David Behan, Chief Executive of the CQC, said “People should be able to expect good, safe care when they need it, regardless of how this care is delivered. And yet we know there is wide variation in how health and social care systems work together, with some local systems working together effectively to ensure people get the right care, while others struggle to do so – these reviews will seek to examine why these levels of variation exist.”

Cardiovascular disease primary care intelligence packs

PHE has published cardiovascular disease primary care intelligence packs for each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). They are intended for healthcare professionals to use to check the prevalence, variation and treatment of cardiovascular conditions in their local area to help with planning, commissioning and improving local service.

The packs cover the following conditions:

  • high cardiovascular risk and hypertension;
  • stroke and atrial fibrillation;
  • diabetes;
  • kidney disease; and
  • coronary heart disease and heart failure.

Each of the above conditions are listed as separate chapters and there is also data that shows the variation between local practices and similar CCG areas as well as a narrative that explains the case for prevention and suggested actions.

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