Health & Care Review

Health & Care Review

June 16, 2017

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.

Seven health innovations could save the NHS £18.5 billion

The International Longevity Centre has published a new report looking at the UK’s progress with innovating to improve health outcomes and reduce costs to the NHS.

The report showcases seven innovations with a strong evidence base of success and calculates that a saving of £18.5 billion could be achieved for the NHS and £6.3 billion for the social care sector if they were implemented between 2015 – 2030. It concludes that the UK is often not doing enough to implement innovations despite being well placed to innovate.

NHS cancels thousands of child operations

The British Medical Association (BMA) has issued a news story which highlights that thousands of NHS hospital operations for children are being cancelled every year due to a lack of beds, staff and equipment.

The Labour Party submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request which revealed that in the last four years, there were at least 46,211 cancellations for operations and last year, 12,349 procedures which include operations to repair broken bones and tooth extractions were cancelled.

The BMA highlights that these figures are likely to significantly underestimate the true figure as the results of the FoI request only cover around half of NHS England’s NHS hospital trusts.

Majority of GPs ready to close lists in workload protest

GPonline has released the findings of a poll it conducted on 583 GPs which reveal that 54% said they would be prepared to participate in a mass closure of patient lists to highlight the pressure facing general practice. 

The finding comes after GP leaders at last month’s LMC conference 2017 in Edinburgh backed a motion calling for the GPC to ‘ballot GPs as to whether they would be prepared to collectively close their lists’ in response to the crisis facing general practice.

Is general practice in crisis?

The King’s Fund has published an article examining whether general practice is in crisis.

The article highlights that due to the increasing pressures on GPs, people are finding it more difficult to access their GPs. The increase in volume and intensity combined with the larger numbers retiring and leaving puts the profession in a recruitment and retention crisis.

The article elaborates on different possible causes whilst highlighting that the GP patient survey showed that public satisfaction with general practice remains high. Other contributing factors include the GP triage scheme in A&E departments and the lack of available GPs to staff the service.

Finally, the King’s Fund’s view is included before the article ends which is that workload in general practice has grown significantly but this has not been matched by growth in funding or workforce.

NHS Health Check quarterly statistics: June 2017

Public Health England (PHE) has published the latest data relating to NHS Health Checks from 152 local authorities (LAs) for January to March 2017 and cumulative data from April 2013 to March 2017.

The data shows that in the last quarter:

  • 3% of the total eligible population were offered an NHS Health Check;
  • 4% of the total eligible population received an NHS Health Check, meaning 55% of people who were offered an NHS Health Check received one; and
  • during 2016/17, 49.9% of people offered an NHS Health Check received one.

NICE to work with partners on developing new ways to measure quality of life across health and social care 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has announced that it is taking part in a research project, Extending the QALY, which examines how quality of life measures used to evaluate healthcare treatments can be extended into social care and public health sectors.

It was believed that existing measures of health-related quality of life might not capture other aspects impacting quality of life beyond health interventions such as relationships with family or friends and emotional wellbeing.

The project began in May 2017 and will last two and a half years. During this time, the team will conduct interviews and surveys with patients, social care users, carers and the general public to explore what aspects of quality of life are important and identify the best questions to ask to measure quality of life.

Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016

The Office for National Statistics and PHE have published a statistical bulletin with information on cigarette smoking among UK adults in 2016.

Key facts from the bulletin include:

  • in 2016, of all adult survey respondents in the UK, 15.8% smoked which equates to around 7.6 million in the population;
  • in the UK, 17.7% of men were current smokers in comparison to 14.1% of women;
  • those aged 18 to 24 in the UK experienced the largest decline in smoking prevalence of 6.5% since 2010;
  • among current smokers in Great Britain, on average men smoked 12 cigarettes daily whereas women smoked 11 cigarettes daily – some of the lowest levels observed since 1974; and
  • in Great Britain, 5.6% of respondents in 2016 stated they currently used an e-cigarette in 2016.

Statistics on Smoking, England

NHS Digital has published a statistical report presenting a broad picture of health issues relating to smoking in England and covers topics such as smoking related ill health, prescription items for smoking cessation, smoking patterns, availability and affordability of tobacco and attitudes to smoking.

Key facts presented in the report include:

  • in 2016, 15.5% of adults aged 18+ currently smoke, down from 19.9% in 2010;
  • there were estimated to be around 474,000 hospital admissions attributable to smoking in 2015/16, an increase from 458,000 in 2005/06;
  • there were estimated to be around 79,000 deaths attributable to smoking in 2015, 16% of all deaths;
  • prevalence of e-cigarette use among 16 to 24 year olds increased from 2% in 2015 to 6% in 2016; and
  • in 2016, tobacco was 27% less affordable than it was in 2006.

NHS Digital has also published statistics relating to women’s smoking status at time of delivery, which show that 10.5% of pregnant women were known to be smokers at the time of delivery. This is down from 15.1% in 2006/07 and is the second consecutive year that the proportion has been below the national ambition of 11% – an ambition that 104 out of 209 CCGs met.

Lack of focus on health and wellbeing of children in majority of STPs ‘major cause for concern’

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has published a report, The state of Child Health: STP, which highlights that the majority of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) are failing to take into account the needs of infants, children and young people.

The report is based on a review of the 44 published STPs and highlights that:

  • the majority of STPs do not demonstrate appreciation of the life-long impact of poor health on childhood;
  • to date, STPs have not demonstrated that they have met their statutory duties to engage with children, young people and their families, including vulnerable and hard to reach groups, and those with complex needs and disabilities. There has also been limited engagement to date with paediatricians and other child health clinicians; and
  • STPs do not make clear how workforce shortages will be addressed, as data shows that the number of hospital admissions for children in England has risen by 25% between 2013/14 and 2015/16.

Tuberculosis (TB): regional and devolved administration reports

PHE has published the annual regional reports for the epidemiology of tuberculosis during 2015. It is aimed at healthcare professionals involved in the diagnosis and/or treatment of TB patients, commissioners and public health professionals.

NHS Expenditure briefing

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing which focusses on expenditure on the NHS since it was created in 1948, a summary of the structure of the NHS and how it is financed.

Type 2 diabetes prevention programme

NHS England has announced that the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP) has now gone live in 13 new areas to patients identified at risk of developing type 2 diabetes as part of NHS DPP wave 2.

Wave 2 areas will cover another 25% of the population, with an estimated 130,000 referrals and up to 50,000 additional places made available thanks to the expansion. Funding has also been agreed for another 12 months in the 27 sites currently up and running.

To mark Diabetes week, NHS England has produced an animation following a fictional character’s journey on discovering he was at risk of type 2 diabetes and how the NHS DPP has helped him on his journey to becoming healthier and reducing his risk of getting the condition.

Child and maternal health data and intelligence: a guide for health professionals

PHE has made available a guidance page on their website which explains how healthcare professionals, service planners and commissioners can use child and maternal health data and intelligence to help inform decisions about services and outcomes.

New report highlights ways the independent sector is working with the NHS to reduce delayed discharges of care

NHS Confederation has published an article which explains how innovative partnerships across the country have helped tackle delayed transfers of care in the NHS. They are used as examples to demonstrate what can be done when the expertise and innovation of the NHS and independent sector is combined.

The article discusses two partnerships:

  1. Healthcare at Home’s Recovery at Home and Admission Avoidance service, which allows patients to receive complex clinical care in their home via ‘virtual wards’, rather than as inpatients in a hospital; and
  2. Four Seasons’ Health Care which works with 100 LAs and 120 Clinical Commissioning Groups, operating a discharge-to-assess service as well as rehabilitation and intermediate care.

More A&E funding to help hospitals prepare for winter

The Department of Health has announced that 27 hospitals in England have been allocated a further £20.74 million as part of the dedicated funding announced in the Spring Budget to ensure A&Es are prepared for additional winter demands. This follows an initial £55.98 million given to 70 hospitals in April.

The funding will enable hospitals to ‘stream’ patients when they arrive in A&E by a clinician and to build GP practices within A&E units where patients with less urgent needs can receive treatment.

Project unveils 25 years of lifestyle changes

NHS Digital has made available a new tool which shows how people in England’s smoking, drinking and dietary habits have changed over the last 25 years in a user-friendly format.

The interactive portal will also chart when some major health policy or legislation came into effect which allows users to see the direct effects of such changes. It will chart changes across a total of seven key health and lifestyle indicators and can be broken down into different age groups or gender.

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