Health & Care Review

Health & Care Review

June 26, 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.

Number of elderly diagnosed with cancer set to increase by 80% in less than 20 years

Cancer Research UK has published a new report, Advancing Care, Advancing Years: Improving cancer treatment and care for an ageing population which highlights the needs of older patients with cancer.

The report highlights the urgent need for older patients, who are more likely to have complex health needs due to multiple conditions to be given better support. The figures show that each year, around 130,000 people aged 75 and over in the UK develop cancer. Due to an ageing population, this is projected to rise by 2035 to around 234,000.

The report calls on the health service to ensure they are prepared for the rising cases with more complex needs.

New measures announced to halve childhood obesity by 2030

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced new proposals intended to halve the number of obese children by 2030. The newly published proposals build on previous measures and forms part two of the Government’s action plan for childhood obesity.

The new measures include proposals to:

  • prevent stores from displaying unhealthy food at checkouts or including it in buy-one-get-one-free deals;
  • introducing clear, consistent calorie labelling on menus in restaurants, cafes and takeaways;
  • banning the sale of harmful, caffeine-heavy energy drinks to children; and
  • introducing new TV and online advertising restrictions – this could include extending the current advertising watershed and limiting adverts during children’s programmes.

Healthy weight, healthy futures: local government action to tackle childhood obesity

The Local Government Association has published a new report to update a previous 2016 publication which highlights how local government is tackling childhood obesity. The report showcases different ways that local government is undertaking innovative approaches whether through restricting takeaway outlets or working proactively to consider health and wellbeing such as physical activity or food and diet.

The report suggests that the solution lies in developing a whole-system approach, which should now be prioritised. Although steps are being taken at a national level, this will largely be driven from initiatives at a local level which if successful, can benefit generations to come.

Spotlight on the AHSN Network’s collective impact and future plans

A new guide to the Academic Heath Science Networks (AHSNs) has been published which highlights the impact of England’s15 Networks and their future plans.

NHS England formally approved for the second time a new five-year license for the AHSNs as part of its ambition to drive health innovation and stimulate academic growth.

The guide highlights the collective achievements of the AHSNs, which include:

  • over 22 million patients benefited from AHSN input;
  • over £330 million leveraged by AHSNs to improve health and support NHS, care and industry partners;
  • over 330 innovations introduced through AHSN influence; and
  • over 11,000 locations developing innovations supported by AHSNs.

The report also features case studies on seven of the AHSNs’ programmes, which have been identified for national adoption and spread across Network in 2018-20. These are:

  • Atrial Fibrillation (AF): sharing learning and spreading best practice from across the 15 AHSNs to reduce AF-related strokes.
  • Emergency Laparotomy: a collaborative approach to improving standards of care for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy surgery.
  • ESCAPE-pain: a group rehabilitation programme for people with knee and/or hip osteoarthritis, providing self-management support in the community.
  • PINCER: supporting pharmacists and GPs to identify patients at risk from their medications and taking the right action.
  • PReCePT: working with maternity units to use magnesium sulphate to prevent cerebral palsy in preterm labour.
  • Serenity Integrated Mentoring: bringing together police and healthcare professionals to make a positive difference to the lives of people with complex mental health needs.
  • Transfers of Care Around Medicine: help for patients who need extra support taking prescribed medicines when they leave hospital.

Williams review into gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare

DHSC has commissioned a review led by Professor Sir Norman Williams which looks into gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare settings. The review was set up to look at the wider patient safety impact of concerns among healthcare professionals that simple errors could result in prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter, even if they happen in the context of broader organisation and system failings.

The review makes recommendations to support a more just and learning culture in the healthcare system. It covers:

  • the process for investigating gross negligence manslaughter;
  • reflective practice of healthcare professionals; and
  • the regulation of healthcare professionals.

Over half of acute trusts now successfully switched over to the NHS e-Referral Service

As the traditional paper method of sending referrals from GPs to acute hospital trusts is currently being phased out, more than 50% of trusts in England have switched to the NHS e-Referral Service (e-Rs) NHS Digital said.

The new GP contract, which came into effect in April 2018, includes an investment of £10 million, which will help to support GP practices to implement e-RS in primary care.

For professional users, e-RS improves the efficiency of the referral management process by reducing the time taken to create and manage referrals and facilitating improved communication between primary and secondary care.

Parkrun UK teams up with RCGP to ‘prescribe’ active lifestyles to patients and practice staff

A new initiative has been launched which sees GP practices ‘prescribe’ physical activity for their patients rather than medication. GP practices will be encouraged to develop closer links with their local parkrun to become certified “parkrun practices”, and health care practitioners will be able to signpost patients and carers to parkrun.

The initiative has a focus on those who are the least active and have long-term conditions.

Cancer patients at increased risk of suicide

Public Health England (PHE) has published new figures which show that patients with cancer in England are at an increased risk of suicide compared to the general population.

The first national study of its kind in England reveals cancer patients have a 20% increased risk of suicide, with the highest risk seen within the first 6 months of diagnosis. Additionally, cancers with poorer prognoses are associated with the highest risk, such as pancreatic, lung and stomach cancers.

The state of care in urgent primary care services

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report on the state of care in urgent primary care services in England. The report presents an overview of inspection findings on NHS 111 services, urgent care/walk-in centres, GP out-of-hours services and the small number of GP practices that provide a walk-in service for patients not registered with them.

Key findings in the report include:

  • overall, the quality is good, although one in ten services still require some improvement, particularly in initial assessment of people and timeliness of response to urgent needs;
  • urgent care providers face pressures with staffing and workforce planning, which is compounded by the reality of unsocial working hours and high reliance on self-employed clinicians;
  • many providers experience difficulties in accessing people’s medical records;
  • NHS 111 in particular has the potential to take pressure off the NHS, however it must be adequately resourced; and
  • Many people are not aware of the range of urgent care services available – there is a need for more public information and consistency of service provision.

Digital change in health and social care

The King’s Fund has published a report on the use of digital technology in health and social care, which suggests that the use of digital technology in health and social care can improve quality, efficiency and patient experience as well as supporting more integrated care and improving the health of a population.

The report discusses large-scale change in digital technology, shares practical learning from case studies and highlights key barriers to successful change as well as how these barriers can be mitigated.

Media monitoring

On Saturday 16th, Sunday 17th and Monday 18th June 2018, the following stories were published:

  • The BBC reports that the NHS Health Check for people over 40 will now include giving advice on dementia to help raise awareness of the early warning signs. Also covered by The Times and The Telegraph.
  • The Human PapillomaVirus vaccine has been so successful in cutting cancer-causing infections among young women, it is now expected that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will advise that the jab is offered to boys too. This story has been covered by the Times, Telegraph, Mail, and BBC.

On Tuesday 19th June 2018, the following stories were published:

  • The Mail reports that a significant number of women are being prescribed valproate which can cause serious birth defects. There is concern that women of childbearing age have not been warned of the risks by healthcare professionals.
  • The Office for National Statistics has confirmed that the lifespans of people in Britain have stopped increasing, reports The Mail.

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