Health & Care Review

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Health & Care Review

February 26, 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.

NHS England publishes latest staff survey results

NHS England has published the results of the NHS 2015 Staff Survey. The survey involved nearly 300,000 people, approximately a quarter of the permanent NHS workforce, and was carried out between September and December 2015.

Despite showing significant improvements in key areas such as staff engagement, employee health and wellbeing and prioritisation of patient care, it still reveals a number of challenges being faced such as stress, staffing levels and discrimination.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will analyse and examine the results as part of their ongoing work to ensure essential safety and quality standards are met.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “This feedback from 300,000 frontline NHS staff contains encouraging signs that the health service is steadily becoming a more supportive employer, but it also includes continuing warning signs about the importance of every employer tackling discrimination, bullying and harassment, supporting staff health and wellbeing, and giving staff the support they need to provide compassionate high quality care. The best NHS employers know that staff wellbeing and high quality patient care are two sides of the same coin.”

Winterbourne View – Time for Change report launch 

A new report, Time for Change: The Challenge Ahead, has been published by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

An original report, Winterbourne View – Time for Change, was published following the failure of the Government to address the abuse revealed by the Winterbourne View scandal. In this report, the author made recommendations for radical changes in the way people with learning disabilities were treated and cared for.

Subsequent proposals were made to deliver these changes to rectify the problems.

However, the new report reveals that the proposals were based on over-optimistic assumptions and demands the appointment of a Learning Disabilities Commissioner, whose role would be to promote and protect the rights of people with learning disabilities and or autism in England.

Evaluating mobile health apps for patient engagement 

A report published by the Commonwealth Fund evaluates the findings of an analysis of smartphone apps targeting individuals with chronic illnesses and the extent of usefulness of these apps in patient engagement.

The authors also developed a framework consisting of a set of general criteria to evaluate apps on the basis of patient engagement, quality and safety. The criteria can be used when judging whether or not an app should be recommended to patients.

Air pollution, health and cancer – a new report calls for action 

A report, Every breath we take, has been published by experts from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health highlighting the profound impacts of air pollution.

The report describes the dangerous effects of air pollution exposure on the risk of various diseases such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

It also sets out major reform proposals outlining action points for the public, policymakers and NHS England.

Breast cancer: proportion of women screened after their first invitation falls to decade low 

New information released by the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) revealed that women who attend breast cancer screening after their first invite is at a decade low. 

The Breast Screening Programme, England, 2014-15 report shows that the proportion of women aged 50-70 screened for breast cancer after their first invite decreased to 63.3% in 2014/15, down from 70.1% in 2004/05.

Currently, eligible women will usually receive their first routine invitation for breast cancer screening between the ages of 50 and 53 and will normally be invited every three years until they are 70.

Shared delivery plan: 2015 to 2020 

The Department of Health (DH) has published its Shared delivery plan: 2015 to 2020.

DH has outlined its vision and commitment to provide the highest quality and most compassionate health and care services in the world. It will place a greater emphasis on safety and transparency. It will also focus as much on the prevention of poor health as it does on treating illness.

It then set out 10 objectives:

  • improving out-of-hospital care;
  • creating the safest, highest quality healthcare services;
  • maintaining and improving performance against core standards while achieving financial balance;
  • improving efficiency and productivity of the health and care system;
  • preventing ill health and supporting people to live healthier lives;
  • supporting research, innovation and growth;
  • enabling people and communities to make decisions about their own health and care;
  • building and developing the workforce;
  • improving services through the use of digital technology, information and transparency; and
  • delivering efficiently: supporting the system more efficiently.

The shared delivery plan has been jointly prepared with various other organisations such as NHS England, Public Health England, HSCIC and the CQC.

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