Health & Care Review

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Health & Care Review

January 29, 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.

First wave of NHS Innovation Test Beds launched

Simon Stevens has launched the first wave of NHS Innovation Test Beds in a major technology drive to modernise and improve how the NHS delivers care.  

The NHS will be collaborating with innovators such as Verily, Philips and IBM to utilise technology to address complex issue facing patients and the health service.

The first wave of Test Beds include five health and care Test Beds and two ‘Internet of Things’ Test Beds, spread across different locations in England. 

Successful innovations will be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

NICE launches obesity in adults quality standard

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has this month (January 2016) published a quality standard, Obesity in adults: prevention and lifestyle weight management programmes.

This quality standard covers ways of preventing adults (aged 18 and over) from becoming overweight or obese and the provision of lifestyle weight management programmes for adults who are overweight or obese.

The quality standard supports the delivery of the Public Health Outcomes Framework and contributes to various Public Health Outcomes Framework indicators such as health improvement, preventing people from dying prematurely and enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term conditions.  It considers service user experience, safety issues and calls for a person-centred, integrated approach to providing services.

NHS England asks military veterans how to improve mental health services

NHS England has launched a national survey and is encouraging armed forces veterans to share their experience of mental health services with the aim of improving care for veterans as they move from military to civilian life.

The survey is a chance for veterans to share their experiences and views of existing mental health services and to understand the reasons why some people have not sought or received support and treatment. 

In addition to seeking views from veterans, family members and carers, as well as staff and organisations that are providing treatment and support in this area are all able to take part in the survey.

The NHS currently provides 12 mental health services across England specifically for veterans. With new contracts due in the next year, this is an opportunity to develop future services that take account of current experiences.

Rubella susceptibility screening in pregnancy to end in England

Public Health England (PHE) has announced that rubella (German measles) screening in pregnant women is to end in England from 1st April 2016.

Following a review of evidence by the UK National Screening Committee in 2003 and 2012, screening for rubella susceptibility during pregnancy was found to no longer meet the criteria for a screening programme.

The high levels of vaccination rates achieved through the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation programme has influenced the decision to end screening.

National Diabetes Audit published

An audit published by the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows an increase in the number of people with diabetes meeting target blood pressure levels.

The National Diabetes Audit (NDA) 2014-2015 presents findings for the care of 1.9 million people in England and Wales with diabetes. It showed that 76.4% and 74.2% of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes respectively achieved the target blood pressure level of less than or equal to 140/80 in 2014/15. This is an increase of 7.9% in type 1 diabetes and 13.4% in type 2 diabetes from 2009.

The NDA also highlighted that younger people, aged under 40, were less likely to receive all eight care processes recommended by NICE, which is similar to patterns seen in previous years. Regional variation showed that the number of patients receiving eight care processes ranged from 24.8% to 80.6% across Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Local Health Boards.

The NDA is managed by HSCIC in partnership with Diabetes UK and is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme.

The Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, Chris Askew, has responded to the NDA report by saying that urgent action must be taken to ensure younger people are given optimal care, and that it is vital that commissioners look at ways to enable more young people to have better access to healthcare services.

PHE launches dementia profiles

PHE’s national Dementia Intelligence Network has developed a new dementia profile, which will enable comparisons between local authorities and CCGs in England.

The profile includes the number of people with dementia by area, age, those who have had an NHS health check and various other parameters.

It will help commissioners fulfil the objectives of the NHS planning guidance by making information readily available to identify variation, investigate the reasons for any differences and improve outcomes.

100,000 patients set to receive personal health budgets by 2020

NHS England is aiming to increase the number of people receiving personal health budgets over the next five years. The Government is aiming to widen the scheme to more patients with complex needs and multiple long-term conditions by increasing the number of people receiving a personal health budget by 2,000% by 2020.

Dr Sam Bennet, Head of Integrated Personal Commissioning and Personal Health Budgets at NHS England, said the latest figures, submitted by CCGs, showed around 4,700 people are currently receiving personal health budgets. Of those, 3,700 were given direct payments. Dr Bennet added that the aim was for more people to be given direct payments as they generate better outcomes.



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