Health & Care Review

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Health & Care Review

February 11, 2016

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.

Older people encouraged to get shingles vaccine

Figures published by Public Health England (PHE) show that shingles vaccine uptake has dropped by 2% for 70 year olds in September – November 2015 compared to the previous year. Uptake has also dropped by 0.4% for the catch-up cohort (78 year olds).

As a result, PHE is reminding older people to get vaccinated if they are eligible.

Principles for revolutionising urgent care for older people outlined

Eight key principles to improve urgent care for older people have been outlined in the Commission on Improving Urgent Care for Older People’s report, Growing old together.

The Commission was launched by the NHS Confederation in March 2015. It draws on the expertise of various specialists across the care system and produces guidance for people involved in designing care for older people.

Underpinning the report is information extracted from a literature review, communications with stakeholders, organisational site visits and 60 evidence submissions.

Delivering a healthier future – how CCGs are leading the way on prevention and early diagnosis

The impact of clinically led commissioning on healthcare has been highlighted in a new publication by NHS Clinical Commissioners, Delivering a healthier future: How CCGs are leading the way on prevention and early diagnosis.

The report is a compilation of case studies demonstrating how CCGs are able to:

  • take the lead in preventing illness and causes of ill health;
  • help to ensure that people are diagnosed earlier and given the required support; and
  • work across boundaries to build on what people want and need to help them lead longer and healthier lives.

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens, who provided the foreword for the report, welcomed it saying: “The case studies in this report show commissioners across the country are taking prevention and early diagnosis seriously. It’s heartening to see that CCGs are driving improvements in a wide range of areas including mental health care, early diagnosis of cancer and stroke prevention.”

 Productivity in English NHS hospitals

An independent report for the Department of Health (DH) by Lord Carter of Coles, Operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals: Unwarranted variations, has been published. It serves as a review of efficiency in hospitals and shows how large savings can be made by the NHS.

The review looked at productivity and efficiency in English non-specialist acute hospitals and compared them using a series of benchmarks. The review found unwarranted variation in prices paid for supplies and services, hours of care provided per patient on wards, stockholding, infection rates, sickness absences and running costs.

The report contains 15 recommendations that need to be acted upon to deliver a £5 billion saving over the next three to four years. The recommendations include optimising resources, such as staff, products and suppliers, implementing good hospital management practices, standardising procedures and engaging with other trusts and national bodies.

Health as a social movement

Building on the agenda set out in the Five Year Forward View, NHS England has launched a new three year programme to support social movements in health and care, supported by the Transformation Funding.

The programme will work with six new vanguards across England and aims to:

  • identify and develop exemplar social movements;
  • demonstrate what works effectively; and
  • support spread to enable local approaches to be adapted in other communities.

The six vanguards chosen to participate represent diversity in terms of type of vanguard, geography and type of social movement.

The New Economics Foundation, Nesta and Royal Society of Arts have all been appointed by NHS England to provide the overarching learning, development, support and evaluation.

Public satisfaction with the NHS in 2015

A survey carried out between July and October 2015 asked a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 people about their overall satisfaction with the NHS. More than 1,000 people were also asked about their satisfaction with individual NHS services.

Overall, the survey showed that public satisfaction with the NHS fell by 5% in 2015 to 60%. Dissatisfaction with the NHS rose by 8% to 23%, equivalent to the levels reported in 2011/13. This is the largest single-year increase since 1986.

The three main reasons people gave for being satisfied with the health service were the quality of care in the NHS, the fact that the NHS is free at the point of use and the range of services and treatments available.

The three main reasons that people gave for being dissatisfied with the health service were long waiting times, staff shortages and lack of funding.

NatCen Social Research will publish a more detailed analysis exploring the impact of different population groups on satisfaction levels in the summer of 2016.

Teenage pregnancy and young parents: a progress report

A report published by the Local Government Association and PHE reviews the progress made since the establishment of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy over 15 years ago.

The under-18 conception rate in England has halved since 1998 and is now the lowest it has been since records began in the late 1960s. The rate, however, still remains higher than a number of other European countries, and the progress made so far still varies by region.

Significantly higher than average under-18 conception rates still exist in a third of local authorities across England. In areas with a lower than average rate, inequalities still exist between different wards.

Continuing to reduce the rate of under-18 conceptions is one of the key objectives of DH’s Framework for Sexual Health Improvement and is also one of the 66 indicators in the Public Health Outcomes Framework.

Case studies across England which highlight good practice and lessons learnt have also been included in the report.

Making Every Contact Count

PHE has published Making Every Contact Count (MECC): implementation guide, a guide to support people and organisations to aid local implementation of MECC activity. An accompanying document, Making Every Contact Count (MECC): quality marker checklist for training resources, has also been published.

MECC is a concept which aims to improve people’s lifestyle and reduce health inequalities through day to day interactions. It encourages conversations based on behaviour change, empowering healthier lifestyle choices and exploring the wider social determinants that influence people’s heath.

The PHE resources are for use by organisations that are:

  • considering or reviewing MECC activity;
  • developing or commissioning new MECC training;
  • undertaking a review of existing MECC training resources; and
  • developing and providing MECC training resources.

Making devolution deals work  

The current devolution deals process, its history, the opportunities and challenges it presents has been discussed in a report, published by the Institute for Government.

The report contains key questions that all those involved in negotiating devolutions deals should consider. Additionally, it also covers information on setting up the devolution process and testing and assessing the readiness of different representatives for devolution.

Devolution: the next five years and beyond

A report, Devolution: the next five years and beyond, published by the House of Commons is the first report of session 2015/16. The report was set out to examine the contents of The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, and whether Greater Manchester’s deal is a model for other areas. The way in which devolution in England is moving ahead in other places such as the Tees Valley, Liverpool, Leeds and Cornwall was also looked at and reviewed by the report.

The authors of the document strongly support the principles of devolution. However, they call for a greater public consultation and engagement at all stages in the devolution process. The recommendation is that the public should be kept informed and involved in devolution proposals, negotiations and outcomes.  

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