Health & Care Review

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Health & Care Review

March 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.

NHS Chief announces plan to support ten healthy new towns

Public Health England (PHE) is supporting the creation of ten ‘healthy new towns’ as test sites across the country, potentially covering 170,000 residents from more than 76,000 new homes.  

The Healthy New Towns programme will be using the towns as test sites to examine possible solutions for the health and care challenges of the 21st century such as obesity, dementia and community cohesion.

NHS England is bringing together renowned clinicians, designers and technology experts to reimagine how healthcare can be delivered in these places, to showcase what’s possible by joining up design of the built environment with modern health and care services, and to deploy new models of technology-enabled primary care.

The ten demonstrator sites have been chosen this month (March 2016). Options to be tested at some of these sites include fast food-free zones near schools, designing safe and appealing green spaces, building dementia-friendly streets and ensuring people can access new GP services using digital technology.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “PHE is proud to have played an active role in the development of the Healthy New Towns programme and we will continue to support the delivery of high quality, healthy environments.”

Fewer adults dying from conditions directly caused by alcohol 

PHE has updated the Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE) data tool which reflects new figures relating to alcohol consumption.

The latest figures show that alcohol-related deaths such as heart disease and certain cancers, have increased from the years 2012 to 2014.

Alcohol-specific deaths however, have decreased by 3%. In both alcohol-specific and alcohol-related deaths, the rate for men is almost double that of women.

The tool has also been developed to include data on alcohol-related road traffic accidents.

The LAPE tool presents data for 23 alcohol-related indicators in an interactive tool, which helps local areas assess alcohol-related harm and monitor the progress of efforts to reduce this.

NHS to introduce new £600m financial incentive to improve staff health 

NHS England will fund hospitals and other NHS providers to improve the support they offer to frontline health staff to stay healthy.

Starting in April 2016, a £600 million national incentive will be offered to organisations if they offer frontline staff access to physical activity schemes, physiotherapy and mental health services, healthy food choices and winter flu vaccinations.

PHE has estimated that the cost of staff absence to the NHS to be £2.6 billion a year or around £1 in every £40 of the total budget.

Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said he hoped that more employers from public and private sectors would follow the health service example.

Estimating the population impact of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation in England

A research paper, Estimating the population impact of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation in England, has been published in Addiction.

The paper draws on research to examine the public health impact of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation in the population in the year 2014.  

The study estimates that 2.5% of the smokers who used an e-cigarette in their quit attempt succeeded, who would have otherwise failed if they had used nothing or used a licensed nicotine product. Additionally, it shows that 16,000 smokers are estimated to have quit who would not have done so, if e-cigarettes had not been available.

The analysis therefore led to an estimation of 16,000-22,000 additional long term quitters generated by e-cigarettes in 2014.

What’s going on in A&E? The key questions answered

The King’s Fund has published answers to key questions relating to A&E systems in NHS England.

The questions relate to A&E and current NHS performance, waiting times, the number of people visiting, staff shortages and the impact of discharge delays on the NHS. 

The publication looks at how A&E waiting times have changed over the past few years and explores the impact of different factors, while acknowledging that the causes of the problems in A&E are complex and reflect wider pressures on the NHS and social care.

Challenge on dementia 2020: implementation plan 

The Department of Health has published details on how the Prime Minister’s challenge on Dementia 2020 will be met.

The Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020 set out more than 50 specific commitments that aim to make England the world leader in dementia care, research and awareness by 2020.

The implementation plan outlines the commitments, priority actions and responsible organisations. It has four main themes:

  • Risk reduction
  • Health and care
  • Awareness
  • Social action

This plan was developed in partnership with a range of stakeholders, including people with dementia and carers.

NHS England boost to end hospital referrals by post

NHS England has announced that it has allocated £55 million to reward GPs and hospitals to make digital referrals by 2018 and end the practice of referring via post.

At the moment, around 50% of patients are referred for hospital appointments electronically. It is intended this will increase rapidly to 60% by September 2016, 80% by 2017 and 100% by 2018.

The initiative is part of an NHS wide drive to increase efficiency which includes making the best use of technology.

Conceptions in England and Wales: 2014 

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of teenage girls getting pregnant in England and Wales is continuing to fall.

There were about 23 conceptions per 1,000 15 to 17-year-old girls in 2014, compared to a high of 55 in 1971.

The ONS figures also show:

  • The estimated number of conceptions to girls under 18 fell to 22,653 in 2014 compared with 24,306 in 2013, a decrease of 6.8%.
  • An estimated 4,160 girls under 16 got pregnant in 2014, compared with 4,648 in 2013, a fall of 10%.
  • There were some 871,038 conceptions to women of all ages in 2014, compared with 872,849 in 2013, a slight decrease of 0.2%.
  • Conception rates in 2014 increased for women aged 25 and over, and decreased for women under 25.

NHS England launches national programme to combat antibiotic overuse 

The world’s largest healthcare incentive scheme has been announced by NHS England, in the form of funding to be made available to hospitals and other providers that reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics.

The scheme is aimed at hospitals, family doctors and other health service providers.

The NHS’ new programme, which goes live in April 2016, will offer hospitals incentive funding worth up to £150 million to support expert pharmacists and clinicians review and reduce inappropriate prescribing.

Further payments will be made for reducing the use of specific types of drug which are used to treat a wide range of bacteria.

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