Health & Care Review

Health & Care Review

June 19, 2018

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.

Innovative models of general practice

The King’s Fund has published a report which looks at innovative models of general practice (GP) in the UK and how this compares to other countries. It also looks at way in which GP services could be developed and successfully transformed under new models.

Key facts highlighted in the report include:

  • funding for GP practices has not grown at the same rate as demand, leaving the profession under strain and facing a recruitment and retention crisis;
  • there are five attributes that underpin general practice: person-centred, holistic care; access; co-ordination; continuity and community focus. Models that focus on access at the expense of other attributes may not provide the most effective and comprehensive care for patients;
  • successful new models of general practice often focus on building relationship –between patients and professionals, between professionals within general practice and beyond, and between general practice and wider communities; and
  • making changes to the model of general practice is complex and will take time, leadership and resources, which may require external support.

Government and NHS must improve communication of health and care reforms

The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee has published a report, Integrated care: organisations, partnerships and systems, which looks at the way that care is being planned and integrated at a local level. It specifically examines the development of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships, Integrated Care Systems, Integrated Care Partnerships and Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs), which have arisen out of the NHS Five Year Forward View.

The report supports the move towards more integrated, collaborative and place-based care, but argues that the Government and national bodies have yet to explain the case for change clearly and effectively. Lack of engagement with local leaders and overuse of jargon and acronyms has led to public misunderstanding and suspicion.

The report looks at ways that barriers to integrated care can be removed by the Government, such as:

  • developing a national transformation strategy backed by secure long-term funding;
  • committing to a dedicated, ring-fenced transformation fund;
  • explaining the case for change clearly and persuasively, including why it matters to join up services for the benefit of patients and the public; and
  • facilitating national bodies to work with representatives from across the health and care community.

 Priorities for legislative change have also been outlined in the report and they include:

  • a statutory basis for system-wide partnerships between local organisations;
  • potential to designate ACOs as NHS bodies, if introduced more widely;
  • changes to legislation covering procurement and competition; and
  • merger of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Children consume more than a year’s worth of sugar in 6 months

Public Health England (PHE) has published new data which suggests that children in England have already consumed more than a year’s worth of sugar in six months. Sugary soft drinks remain one of the main culprits, but other sources also contribute towards excess consumption.

Children aged 4 to 10 years should have no more than the equivalent of 5 to 6 cubes of sugar each day, but are consuming on average 13 cubes. This means they are on track to consume around 4,800 cubes of sugar by the end of the year, more than double the maximum recommendation.

PHE’s Change4Life campaign is urging parents to take action, by making simple changes, to reduce the amount of sugar consumed by their children.

Cross-government plan launched to support unpaid carers

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published a two-year action plan setting out a programme of work to support unpaid carers, ahead of the upcoming social care green paper.

The measures include:

  • a new scheme to improve employment support for carers, promoting best practice for flexible working, to enable carers to continue to work alongside their caring role;
  • a new £500,000 Carer Innovations Fund to promote creative and innovative ways to support carers; and
  • funding for a review of best practice in identification of young carers and access to support.

Meeting the health and wellbeing needs of young carers

The Local Government Association (LGA) has published a guide aimed at local authorities (LAs) to help them tackle inequalities faced by young carers. The report features case studies of good work that is being done in local areas, to inspire others to take a similar approach.

Dementia risk now included as part of NHS Health Check

PHE has announced that healthcare professionals offering the NHS Health Check service will soon be giving advice on how to reduce dementia risk. It is estimated that over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK with little public understanding of how it’s possible to reduce the risk. It is recognised that whilst the NHS Health Check focuses on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, the advice for preventing CVD is much the same as for dementia.

Recent PHE data shows that over the last five years:

  • over 14 million people (91% of the five-year eligible population) have been offered an NHS Health Check; and
  • almost seven million people (48.7% of those offered) have had a health check.

After a diagnosis of dementia: what to expect from health and care services

DHSC has published a guide aimed at people diagnosed with dementia and the people who care for them, which outlines the support they should expect from local services in England.

The guide includes information about:

  • what is in a care plan;
  • how health care and social care services can help;
  • support available to family and friends who are carers; and
  • how to take part in research.

Media monitoring

On Monday 11th June 2018 the following stories were published:

  • The Sun reports that almost half of new parents have rushed their child to A&E for a minor illness in the last 12 months. These findings come from a study carried out on behalf of Nurofen for Children.
  • The Mirror reports that rising fees for dental work are forcing patients to turn to GPs and A&E, where they can be treated for free.

On Wednesday 13th June 2018 the following stories were published:

  • Simon Stevens has pledged to reduce the number of ‘long stay’ patients in hospitals by a quarter. Nearly 350,000 patients spend at least three weeks stuck on a ward each year, taking up one fifth of all beds. Featured in The Telegraph and The Mail. This was also featured in The Times, where it was said action on this would be needed now to avoid another winter crisis.
  • The measles outbreak in England has shown no signs of slowing as cases have shot up by a third. PHE confirmed that there are nearly 600 confirmed cases, with an extra 147 recorded in the last three weeks. Featured in The Mail.
  • High blood pressure at the age of 50 increases a person’s risk of dementia by 45%, a new study has suggested. Research published in the European Heart Journal found that study participants had a greater risk even if they did not have other heart-related problems. The association was seen at aged 50, but not at 60 or 70. Featured in The Independent, The Guardian, The Times, The Express.

On Thursday 14th June 2018 the following stories were published:

  • Immigration rules to be relaxed for non-EU doctors and nurses. The Government is to relax immigration rules to allow more non-EU skilled workers into the UK. Featured in the BBC.
  • People who have type 2 diabetes are almost a third more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, a study has found. Researchers from UCL say that the risk increases almost fourfold if patients aged between 25 and 44 are diagnosed with diabetes. Featured in The Times.

On Friday 15th June 2018 the following stories were published:

  • The BBC reports that the number of people waiting for a hospital operation England is at its highest for more than a decade. Also covered by The Mail.
  • The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is recommending that patients should challenge doctors over the treatment they are offered as part of a programme designed to reduce over-medication, reports The Times.

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