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2015 Q3 July-September

Health and Wellbeing Policy Update: July-September 2015

This is a weekly update of key policy items relating to health and wellbeing (mainly in England).  It is in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top).  It is grouped in three month blocks: click here for other quarters.  If you would like to receive these as an email you can contact me ‘webmaster at equwell dot org dot uk’ (replacing ‘dot’ and ‘at’ with the respective signs).

30 September 2015

The NHS’s £22bn efficiency savings can’t be achieved without rationing, and cuts to staff and pay, according to the new shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander, speaking at the Labour Party Conference, promising the Government the fight of their life if they pursued savings that put patient care at risk.  She criticised the Government for asking NHS staff to do more while paying them less.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/more-nhs-services-will-be-rationed-under-ministers-plans/20030096.article
(01/10/15) (Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/shadow-health-secretary-attacks-government-over-nhs-pay/5090753.article

Ethical approval for the UK’s first womb transplants has been granted by Imperial College, London, and the first operations should take place next year.  About 1 in 5,000 women are born without a womb and others lose them to cancer.
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/29/10-women-receive-go-ahead-for-first-ever-womb-transplants-in-uk
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34397794
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3254103/Womb-transplants-ten-UK-women-Surgeons-allowed-perform-life-changing-treatment-pioneering-project-eventually-allow-thousands-achieve-dream-motherhood.html
Further background: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34401940

65% of NHS workers are considering quitting their jobs, according to a Unison online survey of 10,500 people which took place between May and July, with about 80% saying their workload had increased in recent years and over half saying they routinely worked unpaid overtime.  Over-staffing and pay levels held back were two significant issues.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/most-nhs-workers-are-considering-quitting-over-low-pay-and-staff-shortages-a6674206.html
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/survey-finds-nhs-staff-feel-undervalued-and-overwhelmed/5090752.article
https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2015/09/unison-warns-of-staff-exodus-as-two-thirds-plan-to-leave-the-nhs/

People diagnosed with multiple sclerosis should receive treatment as soon as possible rather than a ‘wait and see’ approach according to a review based on meetings of patients, clinicians, charities and researchers.  A 21 year study published in 2012 found that patients given drugs immediately were half as likely to die as those given them three years later.  However NICE says that the beneifts of the drugs need to be balanced with their side effects.  NICE is planning to publish an assessment of drugs used to treat MS in 2017.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/30/multiple-sclerosis-experts-call-for-end-to-wait-and-see-approach-to-treatment
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34392429

A framework to help councils ensure care leavers have appropriate housing has been prepared with the input of 5 local authorities and launched by the charities Barnado’s and St Basil’s.  Care leavers make up 30% of the homeless population.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/30/care-leavers-accommodation-needs-addressed-new-framework/

The number of university students seeking counselling has increased it is reported, with one estimate putting it at 10% a year.  A report from July by the Higher Education Funding Council said mental health problems had risen from 8,000 to 18,000 in the four years to 2012-13.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34354405
http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/Year/2015/mh/Title,104768,en.html

The Health Secretary’s meeting with junior doctors’ representatives broke up without progress. 
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/30/no-progress-talks-jeremy-hunt-junior-doctors-leader-johann-malawana

An update of the English indices of deprivation has been published by DCLG.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2015
Research report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/english-indices-of-deprivation-2015-research-report
Technical report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/english-indices-of-deprivation-2015-technical-report

Initial data on hospital data by day of the week has been published by the HSCIC.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6744/Hospital-statistics-new-report-starts-to-explore-activity-across-seven-days

A series of publications on poverty and the family have been produced for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation by the Tavistock Institute.
http://www.tavinstitute.org/news/concluding-jrf-family-poverty-series/

A report on outcomes based commissioning in the NHS has been published by the Health Foundation.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7505714/PUBLICATION

A report on ‘leading models of dementia care’ with three examples from round the country, has been published by NHS England.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/30/leading-models-dementia/

PHE Bulletin is published by Public Health England.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phe-bulletin-30-september-2015

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29 September 2015

A smoking ban is to be phased in for prisons in England and Wales, with a smoke free policy in all Welsh jails from January and four English ones from March 2016.  There is to be no smoking inside buildings at all open prisons in England and Wales from next month.  The change is being made for health reasons (including from passive smoking) as 80% of prisoners smoke, but it may be difficult to implement without a reaction.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/29/prison-smoking-ban-begins-2016-despite-fears-unrest
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34395034
(30/09/15) Comments from an ex-prisoner: http://www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2015/sep/30/smoking-ban-prisons-riots-desperate-measures

8 out of 18 seven day GP access pilots have cut evening or weekend hours or stopped providing the service altogether according to Pulse magazine.  The Prime Minister’s £50m challenge fund runs out this month.  It is believed the reason for the changes is limited take-up by the public of routine appointments at the weekend and at other times.  DH said this report was anecdotal and that Pulse had an agenda [whilst providing their own anecdotal information and reiterating their agenda] and that an independent evaluation of the first wave pilots would be published soon.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/access/half-of-pms-seven-day-gp-access-pilots-have-cut-opening-hours/20030069.article
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/29/almost-half-seven-day-trial-gp-surgeries-cut-hours-after-lack-of-demand

41% of deprivation of liberty safeguard (DoLs) assessments for 2014-15 were not signed off by the end of the year, and of those that were, 56% were not signed off within the required 21 days limit, according to statistics published by the HSCIC.  The DoLs authorise deprivation of liberty when someone’s care is under the supervision of the state such as in a care home and they are not free to leave.  The number of applications increased massively after the ‘Cheshire West’ court case which tightened the conditions for when the assessments were needed.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/29/40-per-cent-2014-15-dols-applications-signed-within-year/
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18577

A trial to use stem cells to cure a disease causing blindness, age related macular degeneration (AMD), has started with an operation to implant stem cells from an embryo, at Moorfields Eye Hospital.  Ten patients with wet AMD (the more virulent form) are to be treated with the new procedure.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34384073
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3252709/Stem-cell-op-bring-sight-millions-UK-breakthrough-age-related-illness-reach-NHS-two-half-years.html

High blood pressure is associated with a 60% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but it is not yet known whether reducing blood pressure would reduce that risk, according to research on 4.1m UK adults by Oxford University published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/29/study-gives-strongest-link-yet-between-blood-pressure-and-diabetes
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/high-blood-pressure-increases-risk-of-diabetes-by-60-a6670761.html
(01/10/15) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/10October/Pages/high-blood-pressure-does-it-leads-to-diabetes.aspx

Improvements in life expectancy appear to be slowing, with improvements of 0.3% a year between 2011-15 compred to 2.4% a year between 2000 and 2011, according to a report compiled from Continuous Mortality Investigation for the insurance industry.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3252873/Life-expectancy-rises-slowing.html

A half year report from the National Information Board has been published reporting on progress including access to GP records online, and the MyNHS digital tool.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-the-health-system-is-embracing-digital-technology

Funding for three councils to meet the costs of changing eligibility for social care from ‘critical’ to ‘substantial’ will depend on research to be commissioned by DH. The three councils, West Berkshire, Wokingham and Northumberland say they had extra costs when the Care Act created a universal eligibility of substantial, and that this should be met by the Government.  DH agreed to fund the research after Wokingham and West Berkshire took them to judicial review.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/29/critical-threshold-councils-hopes-care-act-funding-hinge-dh-review/

A briefing document on the transfer of children’s public health responsibilities to councils from health, has been published by the LGA.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7505714/PUBLICATION

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28 September 2015

Jeremy Hunt agrees to meet junior doctors’ representatives over the disputed revisions to their contracts.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34383670
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/28/health-secretary-to-meet-junior-doctors-leader-over-contract-row
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/jeremy-hunt-to-hold-talks-with-bma-in-last-ditch-attempt-to-avert-junior-doctors-strike-a6670831.html
More background to the dispute and individual stories: http://www.theguardian.com/global/2015/sep/28/nhs-junior-doctors-forced-out-contract-department-of-health
(29/09/15) An ‘explainer’ of the dispute: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/29/junior-doctors-contract-row-nhs-explainer-health
(29/09/15) Background to the dispute: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34383677

Children run a mile a day at a primary school in Stirling which they say means they have no overweight children.  The scheme at St Ninian’s Primary School, which has been taken up by a number of other schools, is now to be evaluated by Stirling University.  The Head Teacher won the Teacher of the Year award at the Pride of Britain awards.
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/sep/28/daily-mile-school-st-ninians-stirling-scotland
(29/09/15) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/st-ninians-primary-s-daily-mile-program-proves-a-hit-in-tackling-childhood-obesity-a6671456.html
(29/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3252793/Primary-school-makes-pupil-run-mile-day-drive-cut-childhood-obesity.html

One to two cans of sugary fizzy drinks a day can have significant health impacts including raising the risk of heart disease or attack by 35%, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26% or the risk of a stroke by 16%, according to a review of previous research by researchers from Harvard University published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  Such consumption tends to lead to weight gain because the drinks don’t make you feel full, so you still eat as much.  Fructose is also metabolised in a different way to glucose, which means it can lead to fatty liver disease and insulin resistance.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3252690/Just-TWO-cans-soda-day-significantly-increases-risk-heart-attack-diabetes-stroke.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/just-one-can-of-fizzy-drink-a-day-can-increase-the-risk-of-a-heart-attack-by-a-third-a6673081.html
Scientific background: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3254121/What-REALLY-happens-body-eat-different-types-sugar-Expert-reveals-fructose-fizzy-drinks-stored-FAT-liver.html

The NHS 111 service ‘is in meltdown’ in parts of Britain according to the Daily Mail based on evidence from a whistleblower and other statistics.  They said that up to 75% of calls could go unanswered at busy times, there were sometimes only 9 staff covering Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire, a region of 2.3m people, and at some times there was only one qualified nurse covering the four counties.  Nationally the target of answering 95% of calls within a minute was missed for the first seven months of the year.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3252724/The-tragic-cost-NHS-hours-hotline-s-descent-meltdown-Two-babies-died-parents-given-wrong-advice-investigation-finds-ONE-nurse-duty-2-million-people.html
(29/09/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-34389420
Health minister asks NHS England for assurances: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3254151/NHS-holding-inquiry-hotline-chaos-Ministers-demand-assurances-staff-service-outcry-following-Mail-s-investigation.html

Austerity measures have affected the ability of adult social care services to carry out research, according to a survey with 104 responses from 70 local authorities, commissioned by the Personal Social Services Research Unit from the Social Services Research Group.
http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/sep/28/councils-cutting-back-on-adult-social-care-research-survey-finds

An updated briefing on the Care Act, ‘must knows’, has been published by the LGA.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/6683815/PUBLICATION

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27 September 2015

There was a 6% rise in cases of C.Diff in 2014-15 compared to the previous year, from 13,361 to 14,165, the first increase since compulsory recording began in 2007.  This follows a decision to reduce the penalty for each excess case from £50k to £10k and to raise the number of cases allowed before penalties are instituted.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3250564/Surge-number-cases-terrifying-hospital-superbug-NHS-relaxes-hygiene-rules.html

A similar number of women have endometriosis as diabetes, but the debilitating illness receives a fraction of the research funding and attention, and many women are left without a diagnosis or proper treatment.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/28/endometriosis-hidden-suffering-millions-women

Scotland would welcome junior doctors, with the country having rejected the new contract being imposed in England, the Scottish Health Secretary has said.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/scotland-opens-doors-to-junior-doctors-angry-at-nhs-contracts-in-england-a6669411.html

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26 September 2015

The new national minimum wage will be offset by welfare cuts for 6.5 million people according to research by the Resolution Foundation
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/26/national-living-wage-osborne-cuts-poverty

The BMA is to ballot junior doctors on industrial action over the proposed imposition of new contracts.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/26/junior-doctors-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action-bma
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34370980

Adult social care inspections last year found 7% of services ‘inadequate’, 34% ‘requires improvement’, 58% ‘good’ and 1% ‘outstanding’ according to a report to the CQC Board.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/26/nearly-half-social-care-services-failing-uk-elderly-disabled-welfare

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25 September 2015

60% of health leaders are not confident the efficiency savings needed over the next five years can be found from local efficiency plans, according to the Nuffield Trust’s latest survey of a panel of 100 managers, clinicians and others.
Press release: http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/health-leaders-don%E2%80%99t-see-how-local-plans-can-achieve-required-nhs-effici
Survey results: http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/our-work/projects/health-leaders-survey-results-5

The new Junior Doctors’ contract would discriminate against women as part-time workers’ pay would progress more slowly, the removal of safeguards to do with breaks could effect doctors working during pregnancy, and the extension of which working hours are considered ‘normal’ could affect predominantly female sections of the workforce if extended to them, according to a number of medical associations.
3,468 requests for the certificates needed to work abroad were received in the 10 days after confirmation of the new contracts: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/25/nhs-doctors-contract-changes-work-abroad-applications
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/new-nhs-junior-doctor-contract-would-discriminate-against-women-senior-medics-warn-10516885.html

A particular pollutant from diesel engines is 70 times higher than expected acording to research from the University of York.  These long-chain hydrocarbons are a key component of two key air pollutants, ozone and particulate; matter and constitute about 50% of the ozone production potential in London in winter and 25% in the summer.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34347873

Statistics for health expectancies at birth for ‘middle layer super output areas’ (MSOA’s) for England, 2009 to 2013, have been produced by ONS.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/disability-and-health-measurement/health-expectancies-at-birth-by-middle-layer-super-output-areas–england/2009-2013/index.html

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24 September 2015

Research on ‘what explains the growth in ‘never-worked’ households is published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/what-explains-growth-never-worked-households

A leaflet for those bereaved by suicide has been revised by people who have had that experience and published by a partnership of charities.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/you-are-not-alone-help-is-at-hand-for-anyone-bereaved-by-suicide
http://www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk/help-is-at-hand

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16 September 2015

A strategy to tackle physical inactivity  has been adopted by 53 WHO member states. Amongst other benefits, physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%.
http://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2015/09/european-ministers-of-health-adopt-strategy-to-tackle-physical-inactivity-in-53-who-member-states

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30 September 2015

The NHS’s £22bn efficiency savings can’t be achieved without rationing, and cuts to staff and pay, according to the new shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander, speaking at the Labour Party Conference, promising the Government the fight of their life if they pursued savings that put patient care at risk.  She criticised the Government for asking NHS staff to do more while paying them less.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/more-nhs-services-will-be-rationed-under-ministers-plans/20030096.article
(01/10/15) (Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/shadow-health-secretary-attacks-government-over-nhs-pay/5090753.article

Ethical approval for the UK’s first womb transplants has been granted by Imperial College, London, and the first operations should take place next year.  About 1 in 5,000 women are born without a womb and others lose them to cancer.
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/29/10-women-receive-go-ahead-for-first-ever-womb-transplants-in-uk
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34397794
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3254103/Womb-transplants-ten-UK-women-Surgeons-allowed-perform-life-changing-treatment-pioneering-project-eventually-allow-thousands-achieve-dream-motherhood.html
Further background: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34401940

65% of NHS workers are considering quitting their jobs, according to a Unison online survey of 10,500 people which took place between May and July, with about 80% saying their workload had increased in recent years and over half saying they routinely worked unpaid overtime.  Over-staffing and pay levels held back were two significant issues.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/most-nhs-workers-are-considering-quitting-over-low-pay-and-staff-shortages-a6674206.html
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/survey-finds-nhs-staff-feel-undervalued-and-overwhelmed/5090752.article
https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2015/09/unison-warns-of-staff-exodus-as-two-thirds-plan-to-leave-the-nhs/

People diagnosed with multiple sclerosis should receive treatment as soon as possible rather than a ‘wait and see’ approach according to a review based on meetings of patients, clinicians, charities and researchers.  A 21 year study published in 2012 found that patients given drugs immediately were half as likely to die as those given them three years later.  However NICE says that the beneifts of the drugs need to be balanced with their side effects.  NICE is planning to publish an assessment of drugs used to treat MS in 2017.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/30/multiple-sclerosis-experts-call-for-end-to-wait-and-see-approach-to-treatment
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34392429

A framework to help councils ensure care leavers have appropriate housing has been prepared with the input of 5 local authorities and launched by the charities Barnado’s and St Basil’s.  Care leavers make up 30% of the homeless population.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/30/care-leavers-accommodation-needs-addressed-new-framework/

The number of university students seeking counselling has increased it is reported, with one estimate putting it at 10% a year.  A report from July by the Higher Education Funding Council said mental health problems had risen from 8,000 to 18,000 in the four years to 2012-13.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34354405
http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/Year/2015/mh/Title,104768,en.html

The Health Secretary’s meeting with junior doctors’ representatives broke up without progress. 
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/30/no-progress-talks-jeremy-hunt-junior-doctors-leader-johann-malawana

An update of the English indices of deprivation has been published by DCLG.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2015
Research report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/english-indices-of-deprivation-2015-research-report
Technical report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/english-indices-of-deprivation-2015-technical-report

Initial data on hospital data by day of the week has been published by the HSCIC.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6744/Hospital-statistics-new-report-starts-to-explore-activity-across-seven-days

A series of publications on poverty and the family have been produced for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation by the Tavistock Institute.
http://www.tavinstitute.org/news/concluding-jrf-family-poverty-series/

A report on outcomes based commissioning in the NHS has been published by the Health Foundation.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7505714/PUBLICATION

A report on ‘leading models of dementia care’ with three examples from round the country, has been published by NHS England.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/30/leading-models-dementia/

PHE Bulletin is published by Public Health England.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phe-bulletin-30-september-2015

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29 September 2015

A smoking ban is to be phased in for prisons in England and Wales, with a smoke free policy in all Welsh jails from January and four English ones from March 2016.  There is to be no smoking inside buildings at all open prisons in England and Wales from next month.  The change is being made for health reasons (including from passive smoking) as 80% of prisoners smoke, but it may be difficult to implement without a reaction.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/29/prison-smoking-ban-begins-2016-despite-fears-unrest
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34395034
(30/09/15) Comments from an ex-prisoner: http://www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2015/sep/30/smoking-ban-prisons-riots-desperate-measures

8 out of 18 seven day GP access pilots have cut evening or weekend hours or stopped providing the service altogether according to Pulse magazine.  The Prime Minister’s £50m challenge fund runs out this month.  It is believed the reason for the changes is limited take-up by the public of routine appointments at the weekend and at other times.  DH said this report was anecdotal and that Pulse had an agenda [whilst providing their own anecdotal information and reiterating their agenda] and that an independent evaluation of the first wave pilots would be published soon.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/access/half-of-pms-seven-day-gp-access-pilots-have-cut-opening-hours/20030069.article
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/29/almost-half-seven-day-trial-gp-surgeries-cut-hours-after-lack-of-demand

41% of deprivation of liberty safeguard (DoLs) assessments for 2014-15 were not signed off by the end of the year, and of those that were, 56% were not signed off within the required 21 days limit, according to statistics published by the HSCIC.  The DoLs authorise deprivation of liberty when someone’s care is under the supervision of the state such as in a care home and they are not free to leave.  The number of applications increased massively after the ‘Cheshire West’ court case which tightened the conditions for when the assessments were needed.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/29/40-per-cent-2014-15-dols-applications-signed-within-year/
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18577

A trial to use stem cells to cure a disease causing blindness, age related macular degeneration (AMD), has started with an operation to implant stem cells from an embryo, at Moorfields Eye Hospital.  Ten patients with wet AMD (the more virulent form) are to be treated with the new procedure.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34384073
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3252709/Stem-cell-op-bring-sight-millions-UK-breakthrough-age-related-illness-reach-NHS-two-half-years.html

High blood pressure is associated with a 60% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but it is not yet known whether reducing blood pressure would reduce that risk, according to research on 4.1m UK adults by Oxford University published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/29/study-gives-strongest-link-yet-between-blood-pressure-and-diabetes
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/high-blood-pressure-increases-risk-of-diabetes-by-60-a6670761.html
(01/10/15) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/10October/Pages/high-blood-pressure-does-it-leads-to-diabetes.aspx

Improvements in life expectancy appear to be slowing, with improvements of 0.3% a year between 2011-15 compred to 2.4% a year between 2000 and 2011, according to a report compiled from Continuous Mortality Investigation for the insurance industry.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3252873/Life-expectancy-rises-slowing.html

A half year report from the National Information Board has been published reporting on progress including access to GP records online, and the MyNHS digital tool.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-the-health-system-is-embracing-digital-technology

Funding for three councils to meet the costs of changing eligibility for social care from ‘critical’ to ‘substantial’ will depend on research to be commissioned by DH. The three councils, West Berkshire, Wokingham and Northumberland say they had extra costs when the Care Act created a universal eligibility of substantial, and that this should be met by the Government.  DH agreed to fund the research after Wokingham and West Berkshire took them to judicial review.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/29/critical-threshold-councils-hopes-care-act-funding-hinge-dh-review/

A briefing document on the transfer of children’s public health responsibilities to councils from health, has been published by the LGA.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7505714/PUBLICATION

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28 September 2015

Jeremy Hunt agrees to meet junior doctors’ representatives over the disputed revisions to their contracts.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34383670
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/28/health-secretary-to-meet-junior-doctors-leader-over-contract-row
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/jeremy-hunt-to-hold-talks-with-bma-in-last-ditch-attempt-to-avert-junior-doctors-strike-a6670831.html
More background to the dispute and individual stories: http://www.theguardian.com/global/2015/sep/28/nhs-junior-doctors-forced-out-contract-department-of-health
(29/09/15) An ‘explainer’ of the dispute: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/29/junior-doctors-contract-row-nhs-explainer-health
(29/09/15) Background to the dispute: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34383677

Children run a mile a day at a primary school in Stirling which they say means they have no overweight children.  The scheme at St Ninian’s Primary School, which has been taken up by a number of other schools, is now to be evaluated by Stirling University.  The Head Teacher won the Teacher of the Year award at the Pride of Britain awards.
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/sep/28/daily-mile-school-st-ninians-stirling-scotland
(29/09/15) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/st-ninians-primary-s-daily-mile-program-proves-a-hit-in-tackling-childhood-obesity-a6671456.html
(29/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3252793/Primary-school-makes-pupil-run-mile-day-drive-cut-childhood-obesity.html

One to two cans of sugary fizzy drinks a day can have significant health impacts including raising the risk of heart disease or attack by 35%, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26% or the risk of a stroke by 16%, according to a review of previous research by researchers from Harvard University published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  Such consumption tends to lead to weight gain because the drinks don’t make you feel full, so you still eat as much.  Fructose is also metabolised in a different way to glucose, which means it can lead to fatty liver disease and insulin resistance.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3252690/Just-TWO-cans-soda-day-significantly-increases-risk-heart-attack-diabetes-stroke.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/just-one-can-of-fizzy-drink-a-day-can-increase-the-risk-of-a-heart-attack-by-a-third-a6673081.html
Scientific background: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3254121/What-REALLY-happens-body-eat-different-types-sugar-Expert-reveals-fructose-fizzy-drinks-stored-FAT-liver.html

The NHS 111 service ‘is in meltdown’ in parts of Britain according to the Daily Mail based on evidence from a whistleblower and other statistics.  They said that up to 75% of calls could go unanswered at busy times, there were sometimes only 9 staff covering Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire, a region of 2.3m people, and at some times there was only one qualified nurse covering the four counties.  Nationally the target of answering 95% of calls within a minute was missed for the first seven months of the year.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3252724/The-tragic-cost-NHS-hours-hotline-s-descent-meltdown-Two-babies-died-parents-given-wrong-advice-investigation-finds-ONE-nurse-duty-2-million-people.html
(29/09/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-34389420
Health minister asks NHS England for assurances: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3254151/NHS-holding-inquiry-hotline-chaos-Ministers-demand-assurances-staff-service-outcry-following-Mail-s-investigation.html

Austerity measures have affected the ability of adult social care services to carry out research, according to a survey with 104 responses from 70 local authorities, commissioned by the Personal Social Services Research Unit from the Social Services Research Group.
http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/sep/28/councils-cutting-back-on-adult-social-care-research-survey-finds

An updated briefing on the Care Act, ‘must knows’, has been published by the LGA.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/6683815/PUBLICATION

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27 September 2015

There was a 6% rise in cases of C.Diff in 2014-15 compared to the previous year, from 13,361 to 14,165, the first increase since compulsory recording began in 2007.  This follows a decision to reduce the penalty for each excess case from £50k to £10k and to raise the number of cases allowed before penalties are instituted.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3250564/Surge-number-cases-terrifying-hospital-superbug-NHS-relaxes-hygiene-rules.html

A similar number of women have endometriosis as diabetes, but the debilitating illness receives a fraction of the research funding and attention, and many women are left without a diagnosis or proper treatment.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/28/endometriosis-hidden-suffering-millions-women

Scotland would welcome junior doctors, with the country having rejected the new contract being imposed in England, the Scottish Health Secretary has said.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/scotland-opens-doors-to-junior-doctors-angry-at-nhs-contracts-in-england-a6669411.html

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26 September 2015

The new national minimum wage will be offset by welfare cuts for 6.5 million people according to research by the Resolution Foundation
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/26/national-living-wage-osborne-cuts-poverty

The BMA is to ballot junior doctors on industrial action over the proposed imposition of new contracts.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/26/junior-doctors-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action-bma
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34370980

Adult social care inspections last year found 7% of services ‘inadequate’, 34% ‘requires improvement’, 58% ‘good’ and 1% ‘outstanding’ according to a report to the CQC Board.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/26/nearly-half-social-care-services-failing-uk-elderly-disabled-welfare

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25 September 2015

60% of health leaders are not confident the efficiency savings needed over the next five years can be found from local efficiency plans, according to the Nuffield Trust’s latest survey of a panel of 100 managers, clinicians and others.
Press release: http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/health-leaders-don%E2%80%99t-see-how-local-plans-can-achieve-required-nhs-effici
Survey results: http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/our-work/projects/health-leaders-survey-results-5

The new Junior Doctors’ contract would discriminate against women as part-time workers’ pay would progress more slowly, the removal of safeguards to do with breaks could effect doctors working during pregnancy, and the extension of which working hours are considered ‘normal’ could affect predominantly female sections of the workforce if extended to them, according to a number of medical associations.
3,468 requests for the certificates needed to work abroad were received in the 10 days after confirmation of the new contracts: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/25/nhs-doctors-contract-changes-work-abroad-applications
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/new-nhs-junior-doctor-contract-would-discriminate-against-women-senior-medics-warn-10516885.html

A particular pollutant from diesel engines is 70 times higher than expected acording to research from the University of York.  These long-chain hydrocarbons are a key component of two key air pollutants, ozone and particulate; matter and constitute about 50% of the ozone production potential in London in winter and 25% in the summer.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34347873

Statistics for health expectancies at birth for ‘middle layer super output areas’ (MSOA’s) for England, 2009 to 2013, have been produced by ONS.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/disability-and-health-measurement/health-expectancies-at-birth-by-middle-layer-super-output-areas–england/2009-2013/index.html

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24 September 2015

Research on ‘what explains the growth in ‘never-worked’ households is published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/what-explains-growth-never-worked-households

A leaflet for those bereaved by suicide has been revised by people who have had that experience and published by a partnership of charities.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/you-are-not-alone-help-is-at-hand-for-anyone-bereaved-by-suicide
http://www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk/help-is-at-hand

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16 September 2015

A strategy to tackle physical inactivity  has been adopted by 53 WHO member states. Amongst other benefits, physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%.
http://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2015/09/european-ministers-of-health-adopt-strategy-to-tackle-physical-inactivity-in-53-who-member-states

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

25 September 2015

NHS England has approved the creation of chains of hospitals for the first time as a means to tackle financial pressures and spread expert resources more widely.  There were concerns, though that it could lead to the running down or closure of small, local hospitals.  There are to be 13 new ‘Acute Care Collaboration Vanguards’, 9 of them chains, chosen from 65 bids.  At this stage, it appears to be more about promoting collaboration over competition, than mergers.  There are three models being tested: (a) excellent hospitals raise standards across a chain of hospitals; (b) specialists from regional centres of excellence run services in local District General Hospitals; (c) ‘accountable clinical networks’ integrate care across District General Hospitals and teaching hospitals for key services such as cancer and mental health.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/25/nhs-creation-hospital-chains-drive-save-money-simon-stevens
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-unveils-hospital-chains-scheme-in-bid-to-secure-the-future-of-small-local-clinics-10516094.html
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/25/hospital-collaboration/

23 out of 70 NHS approved apps sent personal data without encrypting it according to a study from Imperial College, London published in BMC Medicine.  The ‘leaked’ personal data could be used for fraud or identity theft.  NHS England says it has taken action to either remove the apps or insist that the developers update them.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/25/nhs-accredited-health-apps-putting-users-privacy-at-risk-study-finds
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34346806
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3248421/The-NHS-health-apps-leave-data-vulnerable-hackers-80-programs-studied-sent-information-including-names-date-birth.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/health-apps-approved-by-nhs-may-put-users-at-risk-of-identity-theft-10516072.html

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24 September 2015

An emerging strategy for ‘Personalised Medicine’ to tailor treatment to underlying causes and specific circumstances of the individual could be one of the most fundamental changes in NHS history, according to NHS England.  National Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh outlined the approach to the NHS England Board.  The aim would be to make better use of ‘diagnostics, genomics, data analytics and other emergent technologies.’
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/24/personalised-medicine/

Families are often paying too much for care in England because of incorrect or confusing information from councils according to a report from the Local Government Ombudsman.  Complaints about social care to the Ombudsman rose by 19% in the year August 2014 to July 2015, with 2,848 complaints in this period of which 57% were upheld.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34340875
http://www.lgo.org.uk/news/2015/sep/families-may-paying-social-care-ombudsman-reports/

Responsibility for failed asylum seekers may be transferred to local authorities in some circumstances, campaigners are arguing, as central government funding is withdrawn under the Immigration Bill, but with local authorities still having statutory duties to look after destitute families with children.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/24/governments-immigration-plans-shift-burden-local-authorities/

£2bn was spent on 12 mergers in the NHS over the last 5 years despite evidence that they do not achieve their objectives according to a new report from the King’s Fund, which says that while there is a continuing role for mergers, they should not be used as a route for NHS Trusts to achieve foundation status or as a response to financial failure.
Press release: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/press/press-releases/nhs-mergers-not-answer-hospitals-difficulty
The report: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/foundation-trust-and-nhs-trust-mergers
NHS Confederation response: http://www.nhsconfed.org/media-centre/2015/09/nhs-confederation-response-to-kings-fund-report

Fraud could be costing the NHS between £3.7bn – £5.7bn a year according to estimates in a new report.  It argues that though this is no worse than other healthcare systems, action should be taken because of the severe financial stress the service is under.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34326934
http://www.pkf-littlejohn.com/healthcare-fraud-report-2015.php

Cancer patients are not receiving the best treatment because of the higher cost of cancer drugs in this country than some other places according to a paper to be presented at a conference
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/23/uk-cancer-patients-being-denied-drugs-due-to-inflated-prices-say-experts
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cancer-patients-denied-best-medicines-because-drug-firms-charge-more-in-britain-10515027.html

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23 September 2015

NICE recommends that home care visits should normally be at least 30 minutes, in what is its first guidance on social care.  Three quarters of councils commission care workers’ visits of 15 minutes.  NICE recognised there might be difficulties getting the recommendations agreed given the cost, and cuts to council and social care budgets, even though following the advice would save money for the councils and the NHS.  Amongst other recommendations was that people’s carers should not be changed to often.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/nice-criticises-flying-home-care-visits-as-short-as-five-minutes
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34282423
Article by Gillian Leng, deputy CE of NICE: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/homecare-staff-support-nice-guidelines
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/23/home-care-visits-last-least-30-minutes-says-official-guidance/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3245551/Five-minute-care-visits-elderly-banned-Slots-half-hour-deeply-worried-officials-say-impossible-treat-patients-dignity-short-time.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/home-care-visits-must-last-longer-watchdog-says-10513611.html
Press release: https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/offer-personalised-care-to-support-those-who-need-help-to-live-at-home
The guidance: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng21

There has been more criticism from various groups of doctors to plans to impose a new contract for junior doctors. including a letter from the presidents of 11 Royal Colleges to Jeremy Hunt, a warning from the trainee doctors group of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and various anaesthetists’ associations.
(24/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/24/junior-doctor-contracts-are-threat-to-nhs-warn-royal-colleges
(24/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/24/nhs-contract-shortage-junior-doctors-jeremy-hunt-healthcare
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/junior-doctors-new-contract-is-a-disaster
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-controversial-new-doctor-contract-could-put-care-of-news-mothers-and-babies-at-risk-leading-medics-warn-10514657.html
(24/09/15) The letter from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/24/letter-from-medical-royal-college-presidents-to-jeremy-hunt-in-full

Young people in Europe may end up dying at an earlier age than their grandparents unless more is done to tackle such things as smoking, drinking and obesity according to the WHO, which says governments should consider such things as sugar taxes, a minimum price for alcohol and subsidies on fruit and vegetables.  The UK is above average on being overweight or obese (63.4% to 59%), below average in smoking (19% to 30%) and very similar on alcohol consumption (10.6 to 11 litres of pure alcohol equivalent per person per year).
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/23/young-europeans-may-die-at-earlier-age-than-their-grandparents-says-who
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34335512
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3245934/Why-young-Europeans-live-shorter-lives-grandparents-Alcohol-smoking-rates-higher-world-60-continent-FAT.html
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/09September/Pages/UK-womens-life-expectancy-second-worst-in-Western-Europe.aspx
http://www.euro.who.int/en/data-and-evidence/european-health-report/european-health-report-2015/european-health-report-2015-the.-targets-and-beyond-reaching-new-frontiers-in-evidence

The latest ONS wellbeing survey results show a continuing rise in people’s stated levels of happiness and wellbeing. Although there have been increases in the averages each year since statistics started being collected in 2012, that has been more due to increases at the higher end, meaning a slight growth in inequality.  The results are based on a survey of over 165,000 people aged over 16.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/23/fermanagh-and-omagh-top-happiness-scale
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/pendle-in-lancashire-tops-list-of-five-most-anxious-places-to-live-in-the-uk-10514181.html
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/wellbeing/measuring-national-well-being/personal-well-being-in-the-uk–2014-15/stb-personal-well-being-in-the-uk–2014-15.html

1,026 cases of female genital mutilation were treated by the NHS in the three months from April to June this year, according to figures from HSCIC.  75% cases were reported by the women or girls themselves.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/nhs-new-cases-female-genital-mutilation-fgm-three-months
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3246185/Shocking-extent-female-genital-mutilation-revealed-1-000-new-victims-treated-NHS-hospitals-three-months.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/fgm-more-than-a-thousand-women-and-girls-suffered-genital-mutilation-in-a-space-of-four-months-say-nhs-10514533.html
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18533

Long waiting times for psychological therapy are preventing patients getting treatment for common mental health problems according to two thirds of GPs in a survey of 1,000 of them in England.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/mental-health/two-thirds-of-gps-say-long-waits-biggest-barrier-to-treatments-for-mental-illness/20030010.article

More funding is needed for mental health research according to a European Commission-funded project in the Lancet.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34326311

The proportion of two year old children having the MMR vaccination has fallen very slightly, from 97.7% to 92.3%, ending the upward trend since a fall to 80% take-up after the discredited health scare linking the jab to autism, according to figures on NHS immunisations from HSCIC.  The target is for 95% take-up, which is met in many areas but not some London boroughs.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/children-receiving-mmr-jab-vaccination-falls-7-years
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3246062/Number-children-given-MMR-jab-FALLS-time-seven-years-coverage-lowest-London.html
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6729/Latest-statistics-on-NHS-immunisations-available

Informed: Issue 49.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/23/informed-issue-49/

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22 September 2015

Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge has been put in ‘special measures’ after a CQC inspection assessed it as ‘Inadequate’.  [I don’t normally include reports of individual trusts or areas, but this had a lot of coverage and is being seen as illustrating underlying problems with the NHS.]
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/22/prestigious-nhs-hospital-in-special-measures-after-serious-staff-shortages
Background and analysis: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/do-the-addenbrookes-findings-show-that-the-nhs-is-in-crisis
(18/09/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-34317265
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34282417
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3245161/Ministers-accused-allowing-world-renowned-Addenbrooke-s-Hospital-fail-thousands-patients-inspectors-special-measures.html

The IFS says the Government’s tax and benefits changes will increase inequality when considered over workers’ lifetimes.  Higher in-work benefits help reduce the income gap.  In any given year, 64% of people in the UK pay more in taxes than they receive in social security, but over their whole lifetime, the figure is 93%, with most people moving in and out of work and changing circumstances over their lifetimes.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/22/uk-tax-and-benefit-changes-worsening-inequality-ifs-warns

Staffing issues were raised in 68 of 89 CQC reports on acute hospital trusts between 2014-15, according to an analysis by the Independent.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-crisis-worsens-after-new-figures-show-three-quarters-of-hospitals-warned-about-dangerous-staff-10513331.html

A fifth of teenagers have suffered cyberbullying and almost half think it is a worse problem than drug abuse according to a YouGov survey of over 4,700 teenagers in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Greece, South Africa, US, Ireland and the Czech Republic.  Overall, more than half thought it was worse being bullied online than in real life, but in the UK about 15% had said they had been bullied online and about 35% said this was worse than bullying face to face.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/22/cyberbullying-teenagers-worse-than-drug-abuse-says-report
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/34328417/cyberbullying-worse-than-face-to-face-abuse-suggests-global-research

Suicides at ‘hotspots’ can be reduced by more than 90% through the use of preventive measures such as barriers, safety nets, signs or crisis telephones, according to a review of 18 studies published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.
(23/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/barriers-and-safety-nets-at-suicide-hotspots-can-reduce-rates-by-90
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366%2815%2900266-7/abstract

Poor communication, errors in diagnosis and poor treatment were again the main reasons for complaints against hospitals Investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.  According to the BBC, the most common health complaint investigated by the Ombudsman was not getting a good enough apology, at 34% of cases investigated.  Non-medical aspects of care, such as poor communications and staff attitudes were a factor in almost half of complaints.  The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman upheld 726 of 1,652 complaints.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34312126
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/communication-errors-behind-third-of-hospital-complaints/5090545.article
Press release: http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/news-centre/press-releases/2015/new-report-sheds-light-on-top-hospital-complaints-investigated-by-the-parliamentary-and-health-service-ombudsman

There has been a long term change in how calorie consumption and physical activity affects weight with people eating the same calories in 2008 being 10% heavier than in 1971 and people in 2006 being 5% heavier than those doing the same amount of exercise as those in 1988, according to research on diets of 36,400 people collected between 1971 and 2008 by the National Health and Nutrition Survey, from York University Toronto, due to be published in Obesity Research and General Practice.  It is suggested that the discrepancies could be explained by a range of factors such as medication, environmental pollutants, timing of food intake, stress or gut bacteria.  [Not mentioned in the Mail article, but the data seems to be based on self-reports, so there could have been a systemic change in how much people say they are eating.]
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3245060/The-great-fat-battle-faced-millennials-Young-people-need-eat-exercise-parents-stay-weight.html

The Scottish Health Survey 2014 has been published, showing that 5% of adults use e-cigarettes and 15% had tried them, with only 1% who had never smoked regularly having tried them.  Over 4,000 adults and 1,000 children are surveyed each year.  It also found that wealthier people are more likely to drink at harmful levels and only a fifth had five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34323777
http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Health/scottish-health-survey

A cast iron guarantee that GP trainees will not have their pay cut as a result of the imposed junior doctors’ contract is being sought by the Royal College of GPs which has launched a petition demanding it.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/pay/rcgp-launches-petition-to-demand-cast-iron-guarantee-that-gp-trainees-pay-will-not-be-cut/20030008.article
http://www.rcgp.org.uk/news/2015/september/rcgp-demands-cast-iron-guarantee-on-junior-doctors-contract.aspx

WH Smith has said it will cut prices in its shops based in hospitals to ensure they are not more than those in high streets following action by a Labour MP after the issue was raised earlier in the summer.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/22/wh-smith-prices-hospitals-nhs-patients

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21 September 2015

A joint call to protect social care against provider failure and danger to vulnerable people has been made by ADASS the Care and Support Alliance (representing over 75 charities), the Care Provider Alliance (representing independent adults social care providers) and the NHS Confederation, and welcomed by the LGA, in a submission to the Spending Review.  Rising demand and increasing costs would have direct effects on the sector but also increase costs for the NHS.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34310729
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/21/enough-enough-social-care-cuts-sector-tells-government-ahead-spending-review/
(18/09/15) http://www.adass.org.uk/press-release-care-and-support-sector-representation/
(19/09/15) LGA response to the submission: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7490543/NEWS
http://www.nhsconfed.org/media-centre/2015/09/confed-joins-care-sector-raise-concerns-social-care-funding

23% of foster children have moved home twice or more in the last year according to information from a foi request from Action for Children.  There were 64,372 children in care in 2014-15.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/21/foster-children-moved-home-too-much-claims-charity
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/21/quarter-fostered-children-two-placements-last-year-charity-reveals/
Press release: https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/news-and-opinion/latest-news/2015/september/thousands-of-foster-children-move-home-several-times-of-year/

There has been a spike in doctors registering to work abroad, with 1,644 requests for Certificates of Current Professional Status documents which are required to working overseas, compared to the normal 20-25 a day, following the Government’s decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors.  This does not mean all those doctors are definitely intending to emigrate, and they will not necessarily all be junior doctors.  A DH spokesman is quoted as saying they suspected the spike in applications is prompted by the BMA.
(23/09/15) An MP says doctors should be required to work in the UK for a period of time or pay off their training costs.  Pulse reports that the spike in applications for CCPS documents followed a campaign by the GP survival group: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/education/gps-should-pay-off-costs-of-medical-training-before-moving-abroad-says-mp/20030017.article
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/numbers-of-nhs-doctors-registering-to-work-overseas-could-reach-unprecedented-record-10511755.html
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/22/junior-doctors-resist-contract-that-could-cut-pay-by-applying-to-work-outside-uk
(22/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3244031/1-600-doctors-apply-work-overseas-just-three-DAYS.html

The growth in nursing numbers has slowed down according to an analysis of HSCIC figures from August by the Nursing Times.  There were 3,300 additional nurses last year, compared with a growth of 6,500 the previous year.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/exclusive-growth-of-nurse-workforce-slows-as-nhs-finances-bite/5090504.article

The NHS health checks for 40-74 year olds have been criticised by public health experts writing in the Journal of Public Health, who say they cost £450m a year but save only 1,000 lives.  They say the money could be better spent on other public health measures.  A PHE response in the same journal said the checks could be cost effective, with the cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY), as opposed to cost per life saved, being £3,000.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/21/nhs-wasting-450m-on-mid-life-mot-health-checks-doctors-say
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3243220/How-midlife-MOT-health-checks-waste-450m-year-Report-finds-tests-costly-ineffective-saving-just-1-000-lives-annually.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/cardiovascular/government-wasting-140m-a-year-on-nhs-health-checks/20030004.article.VgE7l84XxsY
Letter from CE PHE: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/23/nhs-health-check-is-a-valuable-programme

Less than half of 21,000 people invited for bowel cancer screening accepted the offer in a trial in six areas, according to Cancer Research UK.  The screening can reduce bowel cancer cases by up to 33% and deaths by up to 43% amongst those who take the test.  There was lower take up from poorer areas.  Given the lack of publicity so far, the researchers were encouraged by the take-up, but felt more is needed to increase it for the future.  The test is to be rolled out by 2018 with the aim of 75% of 55 year olds having it by 2020.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34290430
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/cancer/poorer-patients-less-likely-to-have-new-bowel-cancer-test/5090515.article

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19 September 2015

Norman Lamb says the NHS will crash within two years without more money. (Various comments by others were also made about the robustness of the NHS’s health). (Norman Lamb was the former Lib Dem Minister of State at the Department of Health.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/19/nhs-collapse-former-health-minister-norman-lamb
(20/09/15) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/the-nhs-could-collapse-within-two-years-former-health-minister-norman-lamb-warns-10510052.html

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18 September 2015

A suicide by a disabled man was a direct result of being found fit for work through the work capability assessment according to a coroner’s report which requested action from the DWP to prevent further such deaths.  Although the loss of benefits has been cited as a factor in other deaths and suicides, this is thought to be the first time it has been blamed as the primary cause.
(21/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/21/fit-for-work-assessment-was-trigger-for-suicide-coroner-says
http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coroners-ground-breaking-verdict-suicide-was-triggered-by-fit-for-work-test/

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17 September 2015

A new ‘National Guardian’ is to help make NHS staff feel safer to raise concerns, and feel confident that they will be listened to.  Working through a network of local ambassadors based in Trusts, the new role is to be hosted by the CQC which is consulting on how the new role will work and how its independence can be guaranteed.  The creation of a National Guardian was one of the recommendations of Sir Robert Francis’s February ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ report.
http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/give-us-your-views-new-national-guardian-role

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

18 September 2015

About 32% of the 13 most common cancers in the UK could be prevented by better diet, physical activity and weight, (that is 81,950 of 258,750 cases diagnosed annually) according to research by the World Cancer Research Fund.  In total 352,000 cases of all cancers were diagnosed in 2013.   There were just over 161,000 deaths from all cancers in the UK in 2012.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34280155
Including the ten things you can do to lessen the risk of getting cancer: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3239886/Revealed-10-things-PREVENT-cancer-s-simple-ditching-salt-cutting-vitamin-tablets-exercising.html
http://www.wcrf-uk.org/uk/preventing-cancer/cancer-preventability-statistics

The latest NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare shows ‘unwarranted variation’ across England in such things as speed of cancer diagnosis, admission of stroke victims to specialist hospitals and frequency of prescribing antibiotics by GPs.  Prescription of antibiotics varied from 7% to 17%, when guidelines suggest it should be less than 10%.  Early diagnosis of cancer (at stages one or two) varied from 23% to 61%.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34282415
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/18/nhs-report-reveals-unwarranted-variation-treatment-england
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3239281/Study-claims-early-cancer-diagnosis-depends-live.html
http://www.rightcare.nhs.uk/index.php/nhs-atlas/

In Touch: Issue 12.  Including, a new series of posters for young people on their rights relating to health, has been produced and an opportunity to have your say on maternity services;
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/18/in-touch-issue-12/

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17 September 2015

Non-smokers inhaling other people’s cigarette smoke have a 22% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, in addition to the risk that smokers have, according to a meta-analysis of 88 studies covering almost 6 million participants, published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.  The risk for light, moderate and heavy smokers is estimated to be 21%, 34% and 57% respectively.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/17/passive-smoking-raises-diabetes-type-2-risk
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/passive-smokers-have-20-higher-risk-of-diabetes-new-study-finds-10506903.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3239260/Passive-smokers-diabetes-alert-Risk-developing-Type-2-increases-22-compared-non-smokers.html
(18/09/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34279181
(18/09/15) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/09September/Pages/Smoking-linked-to-raised-diabetes-risk-including-passive-smoking.aspx
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587%2815%2900316-2/abstract

An NAO report on the Cancer Drugs Fund found that its impact has not been evaluated because of a lack of data. It found that 51% of the fund was spent on drugs already deemed not cost effective by NICE, with the rest on those that had not been appraised.  Between October 2010 and March 2015, £968m was spent helping 74,000 patients.  NHS England is planning to consult in the autumn on plans to make it a ‘managed access fund’ which would pay for promising new drugs until they were properly assessed by NICE.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3237627/Cancer-drugs-fund-not-sustainable-exceeding-budget-50.html
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/17/nhs-failed-collect-data-1bn-cancer-treatment-outcome-rejected-drugs-health
The report: http://www.nao.org.uk/report/investigation-into-the-cancer-drugs-fund/
Press release: http://www.nao.org.uk/press-releases/investigation-into-the-cancer-drugs-fund-3/

The Government’s welfare to work programme is not helping enough disabled and mentally ill people back into work, according to a number of charities.  10% of people had been helped into work against a target of 41%.  Mind said that 9% of ESA claimants with mental health problems had been helped into work and say there should be less pressurising of people into work and more tailored support.  4% of those on incapacity benefit had found work against a target of 8.6%.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/17/welfare-to-work-programme-failing-disabled-and-ill-jobseekers-say-charities
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/work-programmes-statistical-summary-data-to-30-june-2015

A mediterranean diet could reduce the incidence of depression according to a study involving more than 15,000 people published in BMC Medicine.  It was thought that vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids made the difference, but that there was a ‘threshold effect’, with a noticeable difference on starting the diet but no extra benefit from high adherence to it.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3237692/A-Mediterranean-diet-fights-depression-Medical-study-finds-loading-fruit-veg-nuts-olive-oil-helps-ward-illness.html

Drinking alcohol lowered the risk of heart attacks by 24% but increased the risk of developing cancer by 51%, according to research on 114,970 people over four years, in 12 low, medium and high income countries, led by McMaster University in Canada.  Drinking alcohol also produced a 29% increased risk of injury.  Overall there were no benefits in even moderate drinking.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3237646/Like-tipple-like-good-news-bad-Drinkers-24-likely-suffer-heart-attack-teetotallers-cancer-risk-higher.html
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/17/drinking-alcohol-lowers-heart-attack-risk-increases-cancer-chance

The NHS should be supported to invest more in innovation to save money longer term, according to a report from the International Longevity Centre, ‘Creating a Sustainable 21st Century Healthcare System’.  It suggests that demographic and economic trends are pushing up the cost of healthcare worldwide and that prevention and innovation are needed to meet this challenge.  There are many examples of innovation and much to learn from elsewhere in the world.
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/creating_a_sustainable_21st_century_healthcare_system

Only 40% of patients were offered a choice of hospital or clinic for their first outpatient appointment by their GP, which meant more needed to be done, according to NHS England and Monitor, based on an annual survey of 2,700 people, undertaken by Populus.  When offered a choice, people were more likely to be able to go to the hospital or clinic they want (91% compared to 41% who weren’t offered a choice).
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning-news/gps-not-providing-enough-choice-regulators-claim/20020119.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-work-needed-to-make-the-nhs-commitment-to-choice-a-reality-for-all-patients-survey-suggests
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/16/patient-choice/

A consultation on the roles and functions of the National Data Guardian for Health and Care has been published by DH, closing on 14th December.  This is to lead into proposals to establish the role on a statutory footing.  The aim of the role is to ensure that personal confidential data is protected, while being used to improve outcomes.
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-role-of-the-national-data-guardian-for-health-and-social-care
Statement by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the current Data Guardian, on her role: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/national-data-building-trust-across-health-and-social-care

Tim Kelsey is to leave his role as NHS England’s National Information Director, in which he led the work on care.data, in December.  A former journalist and co-founder of Dr Foster Intelligence, he was appointed by the NHS to set up NHS Choices in 2006.  He was appointed to the Cabinet Office by David Cameron in 2012 to work on transparency and open data and shortly thereafter joined the NHS.  He is to become commercial director of the Australian company Telstra Health.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/17/cameron-adviser-leaves-controversial-nhs-data-scheme-private-sector
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/17/tim-kelsey-to-leave/

The CQC has indicated that it would like to move towards lighter touch inspections, with more of a spirit of partnership and ‘doing with’ rather than ‘doing to’.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/regulation/cqc/cqc-wants-partnership-with-healthcare-providers-in-new-lighter-touch-approach/20020121.article

The Prime Minister says many people going to GPs have mental health conditions for which they are not treated, in response to a question at Prime Minister’s questions.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/mental-health/cameron-points-finger-at-gps-over-lack-of-mental-health-provision/20020120.article

Statistics on investment in general practice between 2010-11 and 2014-15 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been published by HSCIC.  They show the average increase in spending across the UK was 2.43% with the highest growth in England at 2.68%.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18469

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16 September 2015

Lack of access to a garden at aged 3-5 was associated with a 38% increased risk of being obese at the age of 7, according to a study of 6,476 children in England, born in 2000-01, led by researchers from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam and presented to a conference in Sweden.
http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/public-health/lack-of-garden-access-linked-to-later-childhood-obesity/5090445.article

More cancers are being detected as a result of the new two week referral time by GPs, according to figures being presented to a Public Health England conference.  There was a fall in cancers diagnosed as an emergency from 25% in 2006 to 20% in 2013.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/cancer/more-cancers-diagnosed-via-gp-urgent-referrals-as-emergency-diagnoses-fall/20020104.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cancers-are-being-diagnosed-earlier-in-england
http://www.ncin.org.uk/publications/routes_to_diagnosis

Several million young people were given a harmful antidepressant after a trial wrongly claimed it as safe. A reanalysis of the original study, from 2001, published in the BMJ, was made possible by the All Trials campaign which has been lobbying for all trials to be registered and made public.  GlaxoSmithKline is the only pharmaceutical company so far to join the initiaitive and it made additional papers available for the reanalysis.  Although the original trial reported had already been deemed inadequate, the new analysis is said to shed more light on it.  GSK was fined $3bn in 2012, in part for the fraudulent marketing of the drug, paroxetine, sold in the UK as Seroxat.  The researchers say the original study should be retracted.
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/sep/16/seroxat-study-harmful-effects-young-people
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/antidepressant-was-given-to-millions-of-young-people-after-trials-showed-it-was-dangerous-10504555.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3238108/Global-drug-giant-GSK-published-flawed-study-led-millions-children-wrongly-prescribed-dangerous-antidepressants.html
(18/09/15) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/mental-health/paroxetine-causes-harm-in-adolescents-researchers-claim/20020122.article
Accompanying feature article discussing the issue http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4629
The BMJ article: http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4320

15% of adult carers feel they neglect their own needs, an increase from 14% last year, according to a survey of over 57,000 carers by the HSCIC.  83% felt they were supported or encouraged in their caring role, but 17% did not.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6716/Survey-shows-one-in-seven-adult-carers-feel-they-neglect-their-own-needs

Spending on adult social care fell by 1% in real terms last year, 2014-15, and by 8% since 2009-10, according to figures from the HSCIC.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18445
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/16/social-care-spending-dropped-8-coalition/

A range of resources to help local areas tackle health inequalities have been published by Public Health England.  They include four briefing publications (also noted separately) and some videos.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-resources-support-local-action-on-health-inequalities

Being in foster or kinship care does not itself damage children’s education, and the association between being in care and worse educational outcomes may be because of other factors such as experience before being taken into care, according to a systematic review by the Rees Centre at Oxford University.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/16/care-damaging-childrens-education-research-finds/
http://reescentre.education.ox.ac.uk/research/publications/what-is-the-relationship-between-being-in-care-and-the-educational-outcomes-of-children/

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15 September 2015

Average life expectancy has caught up with most  comparable western countries since 1990, but it lags behind in the poorer regions, according to analysis by Public Health England on data from the Global Burden of Disease study, published in The Lancet.  Life expectancy rose by 5.4 years between 1990 and 2013.   Improvements in life expectancy haven’t been matched by longer disability free life and more needs to be done to prevent ill health as well as premature mortality. It is estimated that 40% of ill health is caused by preventable factors.   Low back and neck pain are the commonest forms of ill heatlh.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/14/health-life-expectancy-england-regional-differences-poorest-richest
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3234663/A-poor-diet-worse-smoking-fatal-illnesses-Unhealthy-eating-accounts-nearly-11-disease-toll-England.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/the-northsouth-health-divide-englands-richest-people-live-eight-years-longer-than-poorest-10500905.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3234717/Huge-increase-life-expectancy-Britons-live-average-5-4-years-longer-1990-wealthy.html
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/09September/Pages/Study-finds-North-South-divide-in-UK-life-expectancy.aspx
PHE press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/england-has-the-potential-to-have-the-lowest-disease-burden-in-the-world
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2900195-6/abstract

Jeremy Hunt has said every GP practice will have to ensure its patients can have 8:00am-8:00pm appointments 7 days a week by 2020, although they could do this through Skype, a federated arrangement or in some other way, rather than doing it themselves, in questionning by the Health Select Committee.  He said he thought this would cost hundreds of millions rather than billions of pounds.  He said he intended to write to every GP surgery after the spending review setting out a ‘spending profile for the next few years’.
Hunt says plans for an additional year of GP training may have to be dropped to allow for 5,000 extra to be recruited: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/education/5000-extra-gp-pledge-puts-four-year-training-in-doubt/20020107.article
Hunt says 7 day working will be proved right and will increase GPs’ morale: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/hunt-doctors-will-realise-seven-day-access-is-the-right-thing-to-do/20020108.article
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/all-practices-will-have-to-offer-patients-access-to-seven-day-routine-appointments-by-2020/20020105.article

The NHS is in the middle of its lowest 10 year growth rate in its history, with financial pressures the worst they have ever been, according to submissions to the spending review by the King’s Fund, the Health Foundation and the Nuffield Trust.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-is-suffering-its-hardest-decade-ever-warn-thinktanks-10502662.html

People over 60 with low levels of vitamin D experienced cognitive decline on average two to three times faster than those with adequate levels, but this was not evenly spread, with some who had low levels not declining at all and some with adequate levels who declined quickly, according to a study on 382 people over eigh years between 2002-10 by researchers from Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and published in the journal Neurology.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3234805/Taking-daily-vitamin-D-supplement-ward-dementia-60s-deficiency-experience-quicker-mental-decline.html

Children who spent longer playing outside were less likely to develop myopia, or short-sightedness, in Chinese research involving 1,579 children, over three years, where 30% of those in schools which introduced an extra 40 minutes a day outside play developed myopia, compared to 40% in the schools which continued as normal.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34243841
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3235539/Playing-outside-just-40-minutes-day-protects-child-s-eyes-stopping-short-sighted.html

A quarter of workers should benefit from the new national living wage and the total wage bill should increase by only 0.6%, but some industries will be hit much harder than others, according to a report from the Resolution Foundation.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/15/national-living-wage-resolution-foundation-plays-down-fears-over-cost
http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/taking-up-the-floor-exploring-the-impact-of-the-national-living-wage-on-employers/

Banning trans fats could save 7,200 lives over five years and save the NHS £265m a year, according to research by academics from Lancaster, Liverpool and Oxford Universities, published in the BMJ.  Other academics disputed the claims however, arguing that the level of trans fats was already at acceptable levels, having been reduced by food manufacturers as part of the responsibility deal.  Guidelines suggest no-one should get more than 1% of their daily energy intake from them, and the current average is 0.7%, but 1.3% amongst poorer people.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/15/trans-fats-ban-could-save-7200-lives-study
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/09September/Pages/UK-ban-on-trans-fats-would-save-thousands-of-lives.aspx
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/banning-trans-fats-could-prevent-7000-deaths-from-heart-disease-over-next-five-years-claim-experts-10502552.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3236209/Ban-trans-fats-processed-food-save-7-000-lives-five-years.html
http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4583

The robustness of some of Public Health England’s statements on the safety of e-cigarettes have been questioned by experts writing in the BMJ, making similar points to ones made in the Lancet last month.  They say that the claim that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking are not based on hard evidence, but on a consensus of 12 people, some with connections to the tobacco industry.  They also say that it is premature to say there is no evidence that e-cigarettes lead to tobacco smoking for children or non-smokers.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/15/experts-criticise-public-health-england-e-cigarettes-review
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3236205/Health-experts-say-debate-e-cigarettes-far-report-claimed-products-95-safer-tobacco.html
Response by Public Health England and a number of other organisations: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-an-emerging-public-health-consensus

Improving survivorship rates from cancer to the European average could contribute £117m to the UK economy according to a report by the UK Longevity Centre, ‘Rethinking Cancer’ which quantifies the cost of cancer to families, communities and the economy.
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/news/news_posts/press_release_international_longevity_centre_uk_investigates_cancers_cost_tWhen:00:01:44Z

A publication on tackling health inequalities by ‘Reducing Social Isolation Across the Lifecourse’ has been published by Public Health England (58pp).
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-action-on-health-inequalities-reducing-social-isolation

A publication on ‘Improving Health Literacy to Reduce Health Inequalities’ has been published by Public Health England (59pp).
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-action-on-health-inequalities-improving-health-literacy

A publication, ‘Promoting Good Quality Jobs to Reduce Health Inequalities’ (69pp) has been published by Public Health England.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-action-on-health-inequalities-promoting-good-quality-jobs

A publication on ‘Using the Social Value Act to Reduce Inequalities in England through action on the social determinants of health’ has been published by Public Health England (92pp).
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-action-on-health-inequalities-using-the-social-value-act

A resource on smoking and quitting, the first of a series on Health Matters for public health professionals (and may be useful for others), has been published by Public Health England. [Fairly simple but looks to have some useful links]
The resource:
Press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/health-matters-a-new-resource-to-aid-local-public-health-professionals

A briefing on the mental health legislative landscape has been produced by the Mental Health Network, the voice of NHS funded mental health and learning disability service providers, within the NHS Confederation.  The guide looks at legal developments relevant to mental health over the last 12 months and some proposals currently under consideration.
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/09/mhn-publishes-briefing-on-the-legislative-landscape-in-mental-health

~

14 September 2015

NHS Employers are to impose a junior doctors’ contract in England after the Junior Doctors Committee (JDC) of the BMA said they would not rejoin negotiations.  (The Scottish Government has said it will not impose a contract, and no decision has yet been made in Wales and Northern Ireland).  The junior doctors say the contract could cut pay by up to 40%, force them to work antisocial hours, put trainees off becoming GPs or A&E doctors and endanger patient safety.  They are now considering all options including strike action.  NHS Employers are to hold open meetings directly with junior doctors, bypassing the BMA.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/pay/gp-trainees-could-face-a-one-third-pay-cut/20020138.article
http://www.nhsemployers.org/news/2015/09/update-on-consultant-and-junior-doctors-contracts
(15/09/15) http://web2.bma.org.uk/pressrel.nsf/wall/0970A5B044BE787680257EC100561AF0?OpenDocument
(18/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/18/junior-doctors-new-contract-cut-pay-40-per-cent
(18/09/15) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/junior-doctors-threaten-strike-action-in-revolt-over-new-contract-plans-10508618.html
(18/09/15) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/pay/gp-trainees-could-face-a-one-third-pay-cut/20020138.article

Portion sizes have been increasing, leading to people eating more and putting on weight, from chocolate bars to take away meals, according to a review of 61 previous studies involving 6,711 participants, by researchers from Cambridge University and published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.  The review suggested that reduced portion sizes could cut daily energy intake by 9-14%.  The effect was greater for larger portion sizes.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/14/obesity-growing-portion-sizes-overeating-cambridge-university-study
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34246119
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3234043/Want-lose-weight-Buy-SMALLER-plates-Simple-step-really-help-shed-pounds-slashing-159-calories-day-landmark-study-reveals.html
(15/09/15) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/serving-food-on-a-larger-plate-makes-people-eat-more-10500767.html
(16/09/15) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/09September/Pages/Decreasing-portion-sizes-could-cut-obesity-levels.aspx
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011045.pub2/abstract

The new shadow Health Secretary is Heidi Alexander, who has been MP for Lewisham East since 2010.  A new role of shadow minister for mental health has been created, with Luciana Berger MP appointed to the position.  Jon Trickett is the new shadow Communities Secretary.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/heidi-alexander-appointed-shadow-health-secretary/20020089.article
(Rgn) Appointment of Luciana Berger as shadow minister for mental health: http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/home/specialisms/leadership/jeremy-corbyn-highlights-mental-health-as-priority/5090341.article
(Rgn) appointment of Heidi Alexander as Health Secretary: http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/home/specialisms/leadership/heidi-alexander-appointed-shadow-health-secretary/5090331.article
(16/09/15) Brief profile of Jon Trickett: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/sep/16/jon-trickett-shadow-communities-secretary-jeremy-corbyn-cabinet
(16/09/15) Shadow cabinet in full: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/14/jeremy-corbyn-labour-shadow-cabinet-in-full

A supercomputer used to aid diagnoses is said to be able to predict with 95% accuracy if someone is going to die within the next 30 days.  The computer uses patient records and readings taken every three minutes of such things as blood pressure and oxygen levels, and makes use of data collected from over 250,000 people over 30 years.  The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center that uses the computer also makes use of other technology, such as Google Glass that enables doctors to see records and other information more quickly and easily.
Video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34245655
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3234292/The-supercomputer-predict-ll-DIE-Boston-researchers-reveal-supercomputer-say-96-accuracy.html

About half of school pupils say they have been bullied, with most of that taking place at school, according to a survey of 1,500 children by OnePoll for ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/14/half-of-children-bullied-survey-schools

The Health and Wellbeing System Bulletin is published by the LGA, summarising a range of developments over the summer.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/health/-/journal_content/56/10180/7465875/ARTICLE

A mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil was found to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Although the reduction was by 68%, this was only one of a number of outcomes being studied and there were only 35 cases of breast cancer.  The study involved 4,282 white women aged 60 to 80 at high risk of developing a cardiovascular disease.  They were divided into three groups: a mediterranean diet with either additional extra virgin olive oil or nuts or a low fat diet.  The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/mediterranean-diet-with-extra-olive-oil-slashes-the-risk-of-breast-cancer-by-twothirds-10500346.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3233616/Eat-like-Greeks-prevent-breast-cancer-Mediterranean-diet-lashings-olive-oil-slashes-risk-disease-68.html

The Government is to review the amount of money paid to nursing homes by CCGs to look after residents.  They are currently paid £112 for each resident receiving care from a registered nurse.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/government-to-review-payments-for-nursing-homes/5090323.article

~

13 September 2015

The NHS is to introduce a new four week cancer target ensuring either a diagnosis or ‘all clear’ within 28 days of referral, Jeremy Hunt has announced.  The proposals are to be piloted in five hospitals and it is then hoped to achieve 95% meeting the target by 2020.  The Government is to provide £300m a year for diagnostics, with 200 more staff trained to perform endoscomies by 2018, but this is part of the £8bn p.a. promised by 2020 [which the Five Year Forward View said was needed for business as usual].
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/cancer/government-pledges-extra-300m-a-year-for-diagnostics-to-meet-new-four-week-cancer-target/20020087.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/from-2020-people-with-suspected-cancer-will-be-diagnosed-faster
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3232614/Suspected-cancer-sufferers-diagnosis-month-new-plan-save-11-000-lives-year.html
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/13/cancer-patients-to-get-faster-diagnosis-jeremy-hunt
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34222023
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-introducing-targets-to-ensure-cancer-patients-given-effective-diagnosis-or-allclear-within-four-weeks-10498300.html

Firefighters in England are to conduct health checks in people’s homes, following an agreement between NHS England, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, Public Health England and the LGA.  It will build on existing home visits that check smoke alarms and other fire prevention, to cover such things as the risk of falls, keeping homes warm in winter and reminders to get flu vaccinations.  There are to be pilot schemes in Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and Gloucestershire.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/firefighters-to-ease-pressure-on-nhs-by-conducting-health-checks-in-peoples-homes-10498305.html
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/13/nhs-health-checks-fire-safety-visits
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3232620/NHS-health-checks-piggyback-fire-safety-visits.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/more-clinical/elderly-care/fire-service-to-remind-people-to-get-their-flu-jabs-under-nhs-england-pilot/20020094.article

~

12 September 2015

The Government faces the threat of legal action over its failure to respond with adequate proposals to reduce air pollution levels following a Supreme Court Ruling in April, according to campaign group Client Earth.  DEFRA published a consultation on plans to improve air quality, with responses due by 6th November, but ClientEarth says the proposals are inadequate.
http://www.clientearth.org/news/latest-news/government-facing-new-legal-action-over-deadly-air-pollution-2972http://www.clientearth.org/news/latest-news/government-facing-new-legal-action-over-deadly-air-pollution-2972
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/air-quality-draft-plans-to-improve-air-quality

London GPs are at ‘saturation point’, unable to cope with any more demand, according to a submission by the London Local Medical Committee to the Health Select Committee’s enquiry on the pressures on primary care.  It says GPs are burned out because of increased demands and cuts to other services such as health visiting, mental health and community nursing.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/12/gp-surgery-closures-london-parliament-health
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/london-gps-tell-mps-cuts-in-mental-health-services-are-hitting-them-hard/20020095.article

~

11 September 2015

85% of NHS trusts were finding recruitment difficult in general, with 78% struggling to fill higher paid roles but only 10% having problems recruiting lower pay grades, according to research commissioned by Unison and undertaken by the Smith Institute, involving surveys and interviews with 30 trusts. [The research report appears to have been published in June 2015]
http://www.smith-institute.org.uk/publications.html
Press release: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2015/09/staffing-crisis-gathers-pace-across-the-public-sector-warns-unison/
http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/nhs-trusts-report-staff-shortages-worst-in-specialist-roles/5090272.article

The Assisted Dying Bill is defeated in the House of Commons by 330 votes to 118.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34208624
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3230837/Shock-right-die-terminally-ill-law-overwhelmingly-defeated-MPs-highly-charged-four-hour-debate.html

Reducing blood pressure to well below the recommended level reduced the risk of death by 25%, where the systolic pressure was reduced to 120 compared to a group where it was 140, in a study of 9,300 high blood pressure patients with an average age of 68, engaged in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (Sprint), sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health.  The results were so strong that the study was ended a year early, but the researchers said the results were preliminary and should not yet change patient care.  The full study results are due to be published by the end of the year.
(13/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/13/getting-blood-pressure-well-below-official-guidelines-saves-lives-study
(12/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3231984/Heart-study-finds-stronger-medication-aimed-lowering-high-blood-pressure-50s-cuts-stroke-chances-third.html
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2015/nhlbi-11.htm

EHIC card fraud cost £712.56 over five years from nine incidents, according to a response to a foi request from the Huffington Post.  This follows an investigation by the Daily Mail that found people from other parts of the EU could fraudulently claim European Health Insurance Cards so that health care in their home country was paid for by the NHS.
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/10/migrants-nhs-fraud-european-health-insurance-card-_n_8115354.html?utm_hp_ref=uk
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34223065

The NHS Confederation is objecting to proposed changes in the way national tariffs are set, which would raise the tariff objection threshold (the point at which a review would be triggered) from the current 51% to 66-75%.
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/09/concerns-raised-over-increase-to-tariff-objection-threshold

~

10 September 2015

NICE guidance on the transition from children’s to adults’ social care is open to consultation until 22nd October with the final publication of the guidance due in early 2016.
Consultation: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/GID-SCWAVE0714/consultation/transition-from-childrens-to-adults-services-draft-guideline-consultation
Press release: http://www.nice.org.uk/News/Press-and-Media/nice-consultation-to-help-young-people-move-between-services-in-health-and-social-care-system

~

09 September 2015

48% of MS sufferers felt the assessment for Employment Support Allowance had damaged their health amongst those who had had the test, while 36% who had had a face to face assessment for the personal independence payment felt the same, according to an online survey by the MS Society of 1,780 UK adults of whom 242 had had an ESA assessment and 269 had had a face to face assessment for PIP.
(14/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/14/ms-sufferers-health-damaged-by-benefits-tests-survey-finds
http://www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-news/2015/09/benefits-system-harming-our-health-say-people-multiple-sclerosis

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

11 September 2015

The Prime Minister says he wants to open up public services such as children in care to the private sector as part of his vision for ‘a smarter state’, in a speech on the Government’s approach to the current spending review.  He says that government is like a business and he wants new insurgent companies to break state monopolies and bring new ways of doing things into areas such as children in care and prisons.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/11/david-cameron-promises-fresh-shakeup-of-public-services
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-sets-out-vision-for-a-smarter-state
The speech: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-minister-my-vision-for-a-smarter-state

The BMA has agreed to continue negotiations on contracts including ending the opt out for weekend working. Jeremy Hunt had threatened to impose new contracts if agreement could not be reached.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34217248

81% of senior hospital doctors have considered retiring early, 83% said work-related stress had impacted on their family life and 80% said they worked beyond their contracted hours, according to a survey of 817 experienced hospital doctors by the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/10/nhs-lose-80-per-cent-senior-doctors-workplace-stress
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3230106/Stress-means-8-10-senior-NHS-doctors-retire-early.html

Six men developed signs of insulin resistance within seven days in an experiment where they were fed a 6,000 calorie, junk food diet and kept in a hospital bed for a week, in research designed to see how the average American diet could lead to diabetes, published in Science Translational Medicine.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3229993/Volunteers-stayed-bed-week-ate-6-000-calories-pizza-burgers-day-science-developed-signs-diabetes-just-TWO-DAYS.html
http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/7/304/304re7

41% of GPs on CCG governing bodies might have had a conflict of interest, financially benefiting from services commissioned by the CCG, according to a report by the NAO.  It said that NHS England had collected little data on how conflicts of interest were being managed.  Monitor had received relatively few concerns about conflicts of interest.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/11/over-1000-gps-face-potential-conflict-of-interest-between-profits-and-patients
http://www.nao.org.uk/press-releases/managing-conflicts-of-interest-in-nhs-clinical-commissioning-groups-2/

Informed: Issue 48.
https://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/11/informed-issue-48/

~

10 September 2015

Smoking, high blood pressure and weight are the biggest risk factors for early death in the UK according to the latest update of the Global Burden of Disease study, involving data from 108 countries between 1990-2013 and identifying 79 risk factors for premature death and published in The Lancet.
(11/09/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/11/poor-diet-biggest-contributor-early-deaths-world-study
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3230568/Poor-diet-biggest-cause-early-death-world-red-meat-sugary-drinks-responsible-one-five-deaths.html
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2900128-2/abstract

Seven day a week GP opening could cost £1bn according to research by Deloitte commissioned by the Royal College of GPs.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/access/rcgp-seven-day-general-practice-could-cost-over-1bn-per-year/20020072.article

80% of working English households that rely on housing benefit will be worse off because of the four year housing benefit freeze, according to research by Shelter, meaning 300,000 low income families will be short of rent.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/10/low-income-families-private-housing-rent-benefit-freeze

Stringent immigration rules are preventing enough nurses being recruited from outside Europe to meet expected winter presssures according to a letter to the Home Secretary by NHS Employers and 10 leading NHS trusts.  NHS Employers says that 1,000 certificates of sponsorship, allowing such employment, will be needed in the next six months.  However the Home Office says that more than 1,400 certificates have been issued since April but 600 of the places have been returned unused.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34191123
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3229126/Tough-immigration-rules-stopping-NHS-hiring-foreign-nurses-Failure-recruit-1-000-6-months-compromise-patient-safety.html

Home care workers could gain a right to be paid for travel to and from their first and last appointments of the day, following a European Court of Justice decision in relation to a Spanish company.
http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/sep/10/union-wins-travelling-time-case-in-european-court
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:62014CJ0266&qid=1441963263444&from=EN

Bone density in 34 men aged 65-80 was increased in a year by a programme of hopping exercises, researchers from Loughborough University found, in the ‘Hip Hop’ study funded by the Medical Research Council and National Osteoporosis Society.  Bone density increased by 7% in some parts, which could reduce the risk of fratures after a fall.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3229973/Just-two-minutes-hopping-day-strengthen-bones-reduce-risk-suffering-fracture-scientists-found.html

A framework agreement for recruiting NHS temporary and agency staff, with 67 suppliers, the ‘Multidisciplinary Temporary Healthcare Personnel Agreement’, has been agreed by the Crown Commercial Service.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-agreement-will-provide-the-nhs-with-a-flexible-single-solution-to-recruit-temporary-healthcare-staff

The third wave of a large scale survey on disability and social barriers to participation, the ‘Life Opportunities Survey’, is published by the Office for Disability Issues, ONS and DWP.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/life-opportunities-survey-wave-3-results

GP Partners’ earnings fell for the eighth year in a row from a high of £110,000 in 2005/06 to £96,000 in 2013-14, according to figures from the HSCIC.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/pay/salaried-gps-earn-little-more-than-physician-associates-official-figures-reveal/20020061.article
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6699/New-figures-reveal-the-earnings-and-expenses-of-GPs-and-dentists

More than 200,000 people a year are dying prematurely because of social inequalities Sir Michael Mamot, who is about to become president of the World Medical Association, has said.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/10/doctor-social-inequality-uk-550-lives-every-day
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/social-injustice-is-killing-200000-people-in-the-uk-every-year-says-future-wma-chief-10493636.html
(11/09/15) Article by Michael Marmot: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/11/health-inequality-affects-us-all-michael-marmot

~

09 September 2015

The number of people working more than 48 hours a week has risen by 15% since 2010 to reach 3,417,000 people according to analysis by the TUC.  Regulalry working more than 48 hours a week increases the risk of heart disease, stress, mental illness, strokes and diabetes.
https://www.tuc.org.uk/international-issues/europe/workplace-issues/work-life-balance/15-cent-increase-people-working-more
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/burnout-britain-number-of-uk-employees-working-excessive-hours-soars-by-15-since-2010-says-tuc-10492677.html

Having smoke free areas and tobacco taxes reduced smoking amongst young people with young people in areas where all bars were smoke free being 20% less likely to smoke, according to Californian research on over 4,000 people.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/smokefree-zones-and-higher-cigarette-taxes-deter-young-people-from-smoking-say-american-researchers-10493004.html

Pharmacists could play a bigger role in A&E if the results of a pilot in the West Midlands is replicated elsewhere.  It found that 40% of patients could have been dealt with by a pharmacist with advanced clinical practice training skills.  A further report is to be published later in the month.  Pharmacists can also provide support to clinicians in prescribing the correct medicines.
http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/sep/09/pharmacists-shorten-waiting-times-help-doctors

A report on what hospitals can do to reduce the length of stay of patients, drawing on evidence from the literature and insights from clinicians and managers,  has been published by the Nuffield Trust
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/nurse-led-discharge-effective-in-reducing-length-of-stay/5090207.article
http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/publications/improving-length-stay-what-can-hospitals-do

Resources to support moving healthcare closer to home, for providers and commissioners, based on case study experience, have been produced by Monitor.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/moving-healthcare-closer-to-home

Child mortality globally has fallen by more than 50% since 1990 according to a report by the WHO and UNICEF.  Almost half the deaths are due to malnutrition and 45% occur before the child is a month old.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-34194704

Katherine Rake is to step down as Chief Executive of Healthwatch England in the new year.
http://www.healthwatch.co.uk/news/katherine-rake-move-healthwatch-england

~

08 September 2015

Draft guidelnes to change behaviour to reduce antimicrobial resistance have been produced by NICE.  They include providing advice to the public about illnesses which will get better on their own without the use of antibiotics and advice on when and how to wash hands properly.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/08/teach-handwashing-in-school-to-fight-drug-resistant-bugs-urge-experts
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34179753
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3225834/People-coughs-colds-told-not-doctors-fears-proscribed-antibiotics.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/infectious-diseases/tell-patients-not-to-consult-gp-with-cold-or-flu-symptoms-says-nice/20020050.article
https://www.nice.org.uk/news/press-and-media/nice-publish-draft-guidelines-aimed-at-changing-behaviour-to-reduce-antimicrobial-resistance

80% of NHS Trusts are meeting a target to screen 90% of over 75 year olds for dementia with the worst assessing only 28% of over 75s for dementia, according to figures from NHS England.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3226565/One-five-hospitals-failing-screen-elderly-patients-dementia-despite-government-guidelines.html

A new framework, ‘Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action 2015-2020’, setting out six ambitions, such as each person seen as an individual, their comfort and wellbeing maximised and that care is co-ordinated, has been agreed by a partnership that includes NHS England, the Association of Adult Social Services, charities and patient representative groups.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/end-of-life-and-palliative-care/-new-framework-for-action-on-end-of-life-and-palliative-care/5090142.article
http://www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/news/8553_ambitions_for_palliative_and_end_of_life_care

~

07 September 2015

Only 52% of ovarian cancer patients over 55 have surgery compared to 81% of those aged 15 to 54, according to the National Cancer Intelligence Network, which is being criticised as unacceptable by cancer charities.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3224660/Over-55s-denied-vital-surgery-ovarian-cancer-campaigners-call-discrimination-against-older-women-end.html

Stress at work can be as harmful to health as second hand smoke according to a review of evidence from 228 studies, looking at a range of stressors and outcomes, by Harvard University.  Stressors included working hours, conflict with family life, social support, fairness in the workplace and job control.  Outcomes included self-reported physical and mental health, likelihood of being diagnosed with a medical condition by a doctor and risk of premature death.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3225081/Is-job-leading-early-grave-Stress-work-damaging-health-second-hand-smoke.html

A French hospital could be providing operations for patients in Kent if a contract between the South Kent Coast CCG and Centre Hospitalier de Calais is agreed as expected after two French providers responded to a tender under EU procurement rules.  There have been conflicting responses as to whether this is a good idea.
(08/09/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-34171683
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-patients-to-be-given-option-of-travelling-to-calais-for-surgical-procedures-10490316.html
(08/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3226159/NHS-patients-Kent-able-travel-FRANCE-surgery-s-closer-convenient-London.html
(08/09/15) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/commissioning/commissioning-topics/referrals/gps-to-send-patients-to-france-for-surgery/20020049.article

Those attending NHS health checks are less likely to be smokers, with 21% of men and 16% of women attending the checks being smokers compared to 26% of men and 21% of women who didn’t attend, according to research on the records of 90,000 people who had the checks and 180,000 who didn’t, published in the Journal of Public Health.
(09/09/15) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/cardiovascular/study-finds-smokers-less-likely-than-others-to-attend-nhs-health-checks/20020062.article
http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/09/07/pubmed.fdv119.full

NHS spending on branded drugs increased by 8% last year, according to figures from DH..
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/nhs-branded-drugs-spend-up-by-8/20020045.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/analysis-of-growth-in-branded-medicines-2013-to-2014

Children, families and maternity e-bulletin is published by DH.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-families-and-maternity-e-bulletin

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[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

07 September 2015

A test of how a body is ageing has been developed by a team at King’s College London, by looking at what is happening to 150 genes.  The research was published in Genome Biology.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34153135
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/scientists-develop-blood-test-that-estimates-how-quickly-people-age–and-their-risk-of-alzheimers-10488850.html

There are large disparities in health outcomes for under 5’s in different parts of the country with a child in a reception class in Barking and Dagenham being two and a half times more likely to be obese than one in Richmond upon Thames, and a five year old in Leicester being five more times likely to have tooth decay as one in West Sussex, according to a report from the National Children’s Bureau, ‘Poor Beginnings’, which uses data from Public Health England.  While outcomes are closely related to deprivation, some areas manage to buck the trend.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/07/childrens-health-subject-shocking-postcode-lottery-says-charity
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34171181
http://www.ncb.org.uk/what-we-do/policy/thematic-policy-reports/poor-beginnings

There have been no new breast cancer nurses in the last decade, despite an increase in the number of new breast cancer cases by 17.5% according to Breast Cancer Care.  The number of new cases rose from 38,153 to 44,831, while the number of specialist cancer nurses has stayed the same at 434 since 2007 when records began.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/07/breast-cancer-care-quality-lack-specialist-nurses

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06 September 2015

The UK has less staff and imaging equipment for cancer diagnosis than many similar countries with 48 radiologists per million people compared to 92,112 and 130 for Germany, Spain and France respectively according to the Royal College of Radiologists.  Two reports have been prepared for Cancer Research UK, one produced by a research agency, 2020 Delivery and another on endoscopy services produced by the University of Birmingham.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-cancer-diagnosis-services-understaffed-and-need-a-cash-injection-to-meet-rising-demand-say-experts-10488191.html
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/press-release/2015-09-06-tests-to-diagnose-cancer-underfunded-and-staff-overstretched

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05 September 2015

Those admitted to hospital on a Sunday had a 15% higher risk of death than those admitted on a Wednesday, and those admitted on a Saturday had a 10% higher risk, according to analysis on the data on 14 million patients admitted to English hospitals in 2013-14, published in the British Medical Journal.  Sir Bruce Keogh said the ‘weekend effect’ led to 11,000 extra deaths over a year.  It is not clear how many of these deaths are avoidable.  Reasons for the increased risk include patients at the weekend tending to be sicker and that fewer consultants and support staff are available.  The BMA says that the Government has not identified the extra resources needed to employ more staff at weekends.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34150669
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/05/bruce-keogh-hospital-patients-risk-death-admitted-weekends
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-hospitals-must-share-staff-and-resources-to-reduce-deaths-of-patients-admitted-on-weekends-says-top-doctor-10488337.html

Seven day opening of GP surgeries is not possibly in the life of the current Parliament as planned by the Government because of a lack of enough doctors and nurses, the Royal College of GPs has said.  RCGP president Dr Maureen Baker estimated the GP vacancy rate as 10%.  The number of GPs per 100,000 population has fallen since 2009 from 62.4 to 60.6.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34150665

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04 September 2015

95% of NHS staff are not confident that the £22bn efficiency savings target will be met, 85% said lack of resources had affected their role this year and 80% said their organisation did not have enough resources to meet current patient needs, according to a survey of over 2,600 health professionals by Dods research.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/staff-not-confident-nhs-will-hit-22bn-savings-target-finds-survey/5090080.article
(Rgn) http://www.dodsinformation.com/nhs-five-years-time

Weight loss surgery put diabetes patients into remission for five years in research on 60 people by King’s College London and Universita Cattolica in Rome, published in the Lancet.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34130619

New models for integrated provision of primary and acute care at to be piloted in Scotland in 10 areas over the next year, it has been announced.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/gps-to-get-one-year-training-to-work-across-primary-and-acute-care/20020036.article

Greater psychological control by parents was associated with lower life satisfaction and mental wellbeing of their children in research on 5,362 tracked from their birth in 1946 until later life, with 2,000 of them completing a survey in their sixties.  The research was undertaken by UCL and published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.  Examples of psychological control included not letting children make decisions, invading their privacy and fostering dependence.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3222078/Controlling-parents-cause-long-term-mental-damage-children-trauma-bad-losing-loved-one.html

A guide on “Health and care quality systems in practice” for local leaders, has been published by the LGA with the Centre for Public Scrutiny and Thank Local Act Personal.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7463743/PUBLICATION

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03 September 2015

Scotland’s plans for a minimum price for alcohol could be illegal under EU law, the European Court of Justice’s advocate general Yves Bot has said.  The legislation could be against EU free trade rules, but it might be acceptable on public health grounds if it could be demonstrated that it was more effective and less damaging than alternatives like targetted taxation and if it was a measure of last resort.  The Scottish legislation setting a minimum price of 50p was passed in 2012 but can’t be implemented while it is being challenged legally.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34133269
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/03/scotlands-minimum-alcohol-price-plan-dealt-huge-blow
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/alcohol-price-increases-in-scotland-will-be-unlawful-says-eu-court-10484592.html

Longer A&E waits last winter were not caused by more people going who didn’t need to, A&E staffing issues or the availability of beds, according to research by Monitor, who say the reasons were higher bed occupancy in other departments, more people admitted to hospital from A&E, and more people coming to A&E by ambulance. [I’m not sure this really gets to the underlying reasons such as what were problems in other parts of the system, socio-demographic factors, people’s behaviour and the reasons for it.  Interesting nevertheless.]
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ae-delays-why-did-patients-wait-longer-last-winter
(Link to this publication and others on related topics due shortly.  ‘Improving Patient Flow’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-patient-flow-evidence-to-help-local-decision-makers/improving-patient-flow-evidence-to-help-local-decision-makers

3,346 people died from drug poisoning, with 2,248 of those from illegal drug use, in 2014, the highest level since records began in 1993, according to figures from ONS.  The biggest increase in deaths was in the 40-49 age group.  There were also significant regional variations, with the North East having the highest proportionate mortality rate.  42% of drug misuse deaths were from heroin and morphine, with those deaths having increased by two thirds in the past two years.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/03/uk-sees-huge-rise-in-heroin-and-morphine-related-deaths
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3220809/More-people-dying-overdoses-Deaths-heroin-cocaine-soar-people-aged-40-49-likely-fall-victim-drugs.html
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health3/deaths-related-to-drug-poisoning/index.html

GPs will not accept seven day opening being rolled out indiscriminately but may consider some level of appropriate extension to opening hours, perhaps as part of networks, the Chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, Dr Chaand Nagpaul has said in an interview with Pulse magazine.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/access/gpc-happy-to-discuss-extending-gp-access-where-there-is-need-says-nagpaul/20010776.article

Ex-prisoners with mental health problems were found more likely to reoffend in research from Oxford University on the records of nearly 48,000 ex-prisoners in Sweden, over 10 years, published in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal.  The authors say this suggests more mental health support needs to be given to prisoners and ex-prisoners, but others say that action on context and environment is also needed.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/03/ex-prisoners-mental-health-problems-more-likely-reoffend-study
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366%2815%2900234-5/abstract

Consultation on how CCGs and others should assess the continuing care needs of children and young people with complex needs has been published by DH.
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/continuing-care-for-children-and-young-people-with-complex-needs

In Touch: Issue 11
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/03/in-touch-issue-11/

Informed: Issue 47
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/03/informed-issue-47/

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02 September 2015

Patients are to have access to their full medical records by 2018, with acccess via a smartphone and the ability to add information to the record by a year later, Jeremy Hunt has announced.  This has raised some concerns about confidentiality and the risk, for instance, of abusive partners forcing people to make the information available.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/02/doctors-doubts-plan-patient-access-medical-records
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/patients-should-be-able-to-use-fitbit-to-feed-information-to-their-gp-says-jeremy-hunt-10483690.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/hunt-wants-15-of-nhs-users-to-access-gp-record-via-smartphone-app-in-2016/17/20020014.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/health-secretary-outlines-vision-for-use-of-technology-across-nhs

A £5m plan to improve the health of the 1.3m NHS staff has been launched by Simon Stevens, with a view to reducing the £2.4bn annual cost of staff absence.  There are three strands of the programme: (1) improving staff health, including health checks for those over 40, access to physiotherapy, mental health and other services, and promoting physical activity classes such as yoga and zumba; (2) a new occupational heatlh service for GPs; and (3) improving standards of food and nutrition in hospitals.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/02/nhs-workers-to-be-offered-health-checks-and-yoga-classes
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34120675
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-staff-to-be-encouraged-to-take-up-zumba-to-set-national-example-of-healthy-lifestyles-10482024.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3219032/Ban-fast-food-giants-hospitals-says-NHS-boss-calls-crackdown-junk-food-offer-patients.html
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/02/improving-staff-health/
Press release: http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/02/nhs-workplace/

43% of English children’s social workers said they had been pressured to downgrade child protection cases because of the increased number of referrals, according to a survey of 1,093 by Community Care.  The number of child protection cases is at a five year high.  The survey also found that 92% of respondents felt budget cuts were putting children at risk and 72% felt they didn’t have enough resources to protect children.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/02/social-workers-pressured-downgrade-child-protection-cases-referrals-surge/

The CQC did not adequately follow up more than half of the 23 cases of deaths in care homes according to research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  In 9 cases there was no further inspection, in 2 cases the inspection was not until very much later, in 1 case a recent death on which there had not yet been an inquest was not mentioned in the inspection report and in 4 inspections after coroners’ reports, neither the inquest nor folllow up action to see if concerns had been addressed, were mentioned.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/elderly-people-put-at-risk-as-watchdog-fails-to-act-on-warnings-of-fatally-negligent-care-homes-10483573.html

E-cigarette products had a cancer causing component (either formaldehyde and/or acetaldehyde)  in 50 out of 97 products tested, with 21 out of the 24 Californian companies involved having at least one such product, according to the U.S. Center for Environmental Health, which is now taking legal action.
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/02/e-cigarette-manufacturers-california-health-watchdog

The views on mental health services of more than 20,000 people for the NHS England-led Mental Health Taskforce call for better access to high quality services, a wider choice of treatments, more focus on prevention, more funding and less stigma.  The engagement was carried out by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.  This is to feed into a proposed five year national strategy to be published in the autumn.
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/09/top-priorities-reshaping-mental-health-services
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/02/mh-priorities/

DH bailed out more than 50 NHS providers with £1.2bn last year, about twice the level of the year before according to the Health Service Journal.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/02/department-of-health-spends-prop-up-nhs-providers

A bid for devolution is to be submitted by the West Yorkshire Leeds city region, following in the footsteps of Manchester.  Although the details of areas to be included has not yet been agreed, it is not thought it would include health.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/02/west-yorkshire-council-leaders-devolution-bid-northern-powerhouse

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01 September 2015

NHS England is pushing for the use of more technology to make the NHS paperless by 2020. By April 2016, CCGs will have to produced plans for a paperless NHS by 2020.  Patients, medical equipment and drugs are to be identified by bar codes.  It is hoped to install wi-fi in all hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.  Hospitals will have to provide electronic discharge summaries to GPs from October.
(04/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3218048/Patients-given-BARCODE-plans-create-paperless-NHS-new-apps-help-book-appointments-order-repeat-prescriptions.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/every-hospital-patient-will-be-given-a-barcode-as-part-of-plan-to-create-a-paper-free-nhs-10480338.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/gps-to-receive-instant-e-summaries-for-all-discharged-hospital-patients-from-october/20010979.article
Press release: http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/01/cutting-reliance-on-paper/
Press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-for-a-paper-free-health-service-at-the-point-of-care

An unexpectedly large number of people with learning disabilities are being prescribed antipsychotic drugs, possibly to control behaviour rather than to deal with genuine mental health problems.  Of 9,135 people with learning difficulties treated with such drugs, 71% did not have a record of severe mental illness, according to research from UCL published in the British Medical Journal.  Others such as those with dementia were also being prescribed such drugs with a third of the overall number studied or about 12,000 people having a record of challenging behaviour and of whom 47% were prescribed antipsychotic drugs but only 13% had mental health problems.  There has been a fall in the prescription of such drugs to people with learning disabilities over the last 15 years.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/01/antipsychotic-drugs-may-be-used-as-chemical-cosh-to-control-behaviour
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34120682
(02/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3219060/Chemical-cosh-scandal-Thousands-patients-no-history-mental-illness-needlessly-given-cocktail-anti-psychotic-drugs.html
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/09September/Pages/scale-of-antipsychotic-chemical-cosh-use-explored.aspx
http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4326

Reduction in unplanned hospital admissions for 85+ year olds was affected more by the integration of services than the availability of those services (such as GPs, emergency departments and community alternatives) according to research using mixed methods, on six study sites, funded and published by NIHR.
http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/hsdr/volume-3/issue-37abstract

Personal health budgets have been used for ‘unevidenced treatments’ including ‘luxury goods’ such as summer houses, holidays and pedalo rides, according to an investigation by Pulse magazine based on replies to freedom of information requests from 33 of 209 CCGs.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning-news/revealed-nhs-funding-splashed-on-holidays-games-consoles-and-summer-houses/20010960.article
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/01/nhs-scheme-provides-holidays-satnav-and-pedalo
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34110964
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-health-budgets-being-spent-on-horse-riding-holidays-and-clothes-for-patients-10480331.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3217637/NHS-blows-fortune-holidays-pedalo-ride-summer-house.html

The LGA says councils face £9.9bn additional costs over the five years of the current Parliament which are not funded by central government and which should be taken into account in the spending review, in its submission to the Treasury.  [Although the press release and report aren’t clear, this appears to be £9.9bn over the period rather than building up to that amount per year by 2020.]  This is on a local government budget of around £50bn a year.  £3.6bn comes from ‘business as usual’ costs and £6.3bn from government policies.  Other things the LGA is calling for include: wider integration of social care and health; single place-based budgeting for all local services; devolution of powers to promote growth; transformation of business rates and a four year finance settlement.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/01/local-government-association-cannot-cope-further-cuts
Article by LGA Chair, Gary Porter: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/sep/01/councils-extra-costs-spending-review-social-housing-rents
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/09/01/extra-dols-assessments-living-wage-will-contribute-10-billion-funding-pressures-councils-2020/
Press release: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7455521/NEWS
Spending review submission: http://www.local.gov.uk/spending-review

Premature babies are more likely to do worse financially as well as health-wise according to research looking at 15,000 British adults born in 1958 and 1970, led by Warwick University, published in Psychological Science.  About 1 in 14 babies is born before 37 weeks.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/01/premature-babies-more-likely-to-end-up-in-lower-paid-jobs
(02/09/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3219309/Premature-babies-worse-maths-likely-end-lower-paid-jobs.html

Being obese or overweight in middle age hastens the onset of Alzheimer’s, with one unit extra of BMI being associated with the disease starting 6.5 months earlier, according to research on 1,300 white, well educated, healthy Americans who were followed for 14 years, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3218265/Being-obese-overweight-middle-age-speeds-onset-Alzheimer-s-later-life.html

Targets for how much NHS Trusts can spend on nursing agency staff are to come into force on 1st September with a ban on using staff from agencies not on an approved ‘framework agreement’ coming into effect on 19th October.  However a cap on the hourly rate that can be paid to staff is to be delayed pending further consideration.  Over 100 responses were received to the very short consultation on the proposals in August.  The Royal College of Nurses and Royal College of Midwives said the changes shouldn’t risk patient safety.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/agency-nurse-controls-unveiled-but-price-cap-for-hourly-rates-delayed/5090003.article
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/newsletter/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/unions-issue-warning-over-rules-for-agency-staff-spending/5090015.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nursing-agency-rules

NHS England’s proposals for ‘Transforming Urgent and Emergency Care Services in England’ include best practice guidance for GPs to ensure no-one goes to A&E because they can’t get a GP appointment.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/nhs-england-sets-out-how-gps-can-reduce-patients-ae-attendances/20010981.article
(pdf) http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/trans-uec.pdf

Life expectancy has risen by almost 30 years over the last century according to an analysis from ONS.  The figures are affected by fewer children dying as well as people living into older age.  The gap between male and female life expectancy is narrowing.
http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/sep/01/longer-life-leads-to-fears-of-later-retirement
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/life-expectancy-in-britain-almost-30-years-higher-than-a-century-ago-10481491.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3218656/Women-losing-ground-men-race-live-longer-thanks-demanding-lives-juggling-jobs-family.html
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lifetables/decennial-life-tables/english-life-tables–no-17–2010-12/stb-elt17.html

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30 August 2015

Britain’s biggest care home provider is ‘reviewing its finances’ after it made losses and with the prospects of additional costs from the new national living wage.  Four Seasons Healthcare is owned by the private equity company Terra Firma and has 20,000 residents and patients in 450 care homes and 50 specialist units in hospitals.  The company could reduce spending and sell off some loss making homes.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/30/four-seasons-health-care-reviews-finances-amid-debt-fears

Midday naps were found to lower blood pressure by an average of 5% with potential benefits for cardiovascular health, according to a study on 386 hypertensive patients with an average age of 61.4 years, presented to the European Society of Cardiology annual conference in London.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/a-nap-a-day-could-save-your-life-10478315.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3215971/Good-news-like-snooze-Doctors-say-mid-day-nap-lowers-blood-pressure-ward-heart-attacks.html

DfE has appointed the first mental health champion for schools, Natasha Devon.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-ever-mental-health-champion-for-schools-unveiled

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29 August 2015

Babies born in the 2008 recession in Iceland were 120g lighter than average, 3.5% more likely to have a low birth weight and more likely to suffer from neonatal diseases,  meaning that financial stress had a similar impact to smoking and drinking during pregnancy according to research from the Copenhagen Business School presented to the annual congress of the European Economic Association.  Children with worse health at birth are likely to earn less during their life and these effects could increase income inequality.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/29/iceland-babies-born-recession-worse-health
(30/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3215961/Babies-born-recession-likely-lower-birth-weight-worse-health-says-new-Icelandic-study.html

Extreme stress was found to increase the cellular process of ageing including reducing telomere length according to a study from the Netherlands involving 1,094 adults measuring their telomere lengths at baseline, four and six years, together with questions on stressful events, published in Psychological Science.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3214862/Why-stress-divorce-make-age-quickly-Breakups-bereavements-unemployment-make-body-s-genetic-material-deteriorate-prematurely.html

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28 August 2015

The NHS is recruiting 200 ‘physician associates’ from the U.S. to help tackle GP workload pressures.  Vacancies are being advertised in four regions and the positions will last for two years.  The physician associates have a more limited role than GPs and have to be supervised by them but will be able to conduct comprehensive physical examinations, request and interpret tests, diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries and advise on preventive health care.  There is to be a £50k salary based on a 48 hour week.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/employment/nhs-offering-50k-per-year-for-us-physician-associates-to-practise-in-underdoctored-areas/20010929.article

There has been a 16% fall in the number of children eligible for free school meals in inner London which it is claimed is an indication of large numbers of famlies having to move further out, or out of London altogether because of welfare changes, according to figures obtained by Sadiq Khan, prospective Labour London mayoral candidate, through a parliamentary written question.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/28/vast-social-cleansing-pushes-tens-of-thousands-of-families-out-of-london
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-07-14/7147/

Children with autism are having to wait an average of three and a half years for a diagnosis and this must be speeded up, experts and campaigners have said in a letter to the Times.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34095075

Increases in obesity over the last 30 years may be because of reduced strenuousness of daily lives, such as more sedentary work lives and less commuting by walking and cycling, according to research from the Royal Holloway, University of London.  While obesity rates have almost trebled, calorie intake has fallen by about 20% in thirty years.
(03/09/15) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/298969.php
https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/aboutus/newsandevents/news/newsarticles/newstudyidentifieshowcaloriesandlackofstrenuousnessworkarecontributingtotheglobalriseinobesity.aspx

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

28 August 2015

PHE claims about the safety of e-cigarettes relied on an academic study where 3 of the 11 authors are paid advisers to the e-cigarette industry though this potential conflict and cautions over the results were not made clear, according to an editorial in the Lancet.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3213676/E-cigarette-industry-funded-experts-ruled-vaping-safe-Official-advice-based-research-scientists-pay-vaping-companies.html

15 year olds identifying as ‘goths’ were three times more likely to be clinically depressed and five times more likely to physically harm themselves, by the age of 18 than their non-goth peers, according to a study involving 3,694 15 year olds, in Bristol from 2007 to 2010 and published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.  Of 154 who strongly identified as goths, 28 had survey responses at age 18 indicating clinical depression and 57 had self-harmed.   It is not clear whether being a goth increases depression, or those most vulnerable to depression are attracted to that culture.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/28/goth-teenagers-at-higher-risk-of-depression-study-finds
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34065763
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/goths-may-be-more-likely-to-suffer-from-depression-or-to-selfharm-research-says-10475180.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3213103/Goths-THREE-times-likely-depressed-teenagers.html

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27 August 2015

2,380 people died within 14 days of being declared fit for work between December 2011 and February 2014, an average of about 90 a month, according to figures from DWP that they were required to produce following an appeal on an foi request.  In total, 50,580 people died within 14 days of their employment and support allowance ending, with the 2,380 of these who had been declared fit for work representing 4% of the total.  7,200 died after being put in the work related activity group.  DWP said no causal effect could be assumed between the benefits and mortality.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/thousands-died-after-fit-for-work-assessment-dwp-figures
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34074557
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/over-4000-people-have-died-soon-after-being-found-fit-to-work-by-the-dwps-benefit-tests-10474474.html
https://fullfact.org/economy/dwp_publishes_benefit_claimant_deaths-47572
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortality-statistics-esa-ib-and-sda-claimants

One in seven mental health patients are being cared for out of area according to figures from the HSCIC.  Former minister Norman Lamb has called for the practice to be ended.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/27/one-seven-mental-health-patients-area-beds-official-figures/

People with dementia stop noticing their memory loss an average of 2.6 years before the symptoms are apparent according to research tracking over 2,000 people with an average age of 76, initially free of dementia, over ten years according to research from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago published in the journal Neurology.  239 of the participants developed dementia.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/dementia-sufferers-start-losing-memory-up-to-three-years-before-condition-develops-us-study
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/How-having-senior-moments-may-be-a-good-thing.aspx
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3212269/Senior-moments-worry-DON-T-notice-oblivious-memory-problems-sign-onset-dementia.html
(26/08/15) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/dementia-sufferers-start-losing-their-memory-up-to-three-years-before-disease-takes-hold-10473218.html

Demand for health and care skills could grow more than twice as fast as population growth by 2035 according to the Centre for Workforce Intelligence, updating its Horizon 2035 project.  Much of the increase is associated with long term conditions.
http://www.cfwi.org.uk/news/new-progress-update-presents-initial-horizon-2035-messages-for-first-time

A report on the motivation and morale of primary care dentists has been published by HSCIC.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6675/New-report-looks-at-motivation-and-morale-of-primary-care-dentists

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26 August 2015

About 84% of mentally vulnerable adults in police custody were not supported by an ‘appropriate adult’, who can help them through the process, although this has been recommended good practice since the 1980s, according to a report from the National Appropriate Adult Network commissioned by the Home Office.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/26/appropriate-adult-not-available-for-many-vulnerable-people-in-police-custody

A report on how NHS hospital spending relates to different age groups, showing that 32% of hospital spending is accounted for by 1% of the general population, has been published by the IFS.
http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7960

Five million people in England are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes according to new estimates from Public Health England, commissioned by the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.  The estimates are broken down by local authority area.  Diabetes leads to 22,000 early deaths, and costs the NHS £8.8bn, a year. Type 2 diabetes is linked in 80% of cases to obesity and inactivity. The NHS treats 200,000 complications from diabetes each year.  An evidence review published at the same time shows that supported diabetes prevention programmes can be effective, helping people lose weight.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/26/obesity-and-sedentary-lives-put-5m-britons-at-risk-of-type-2-diabetes
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3210919/Timebomb-five-million-risk-diabetes-Warning-report-finds-one-nine-16s-high-blood-sugar-level.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/type-2-diabetes-one-in-ten-uk-adults-at-high-risk-of-developing-condition-10471645.html
(Rg) http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/diabetes/health-service-treats-200000-diabetes-complications-a-year/5089842.article
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/diabetes/gps-to-be-tasked-with-finding-five-million-at-high-risk-of-type-2-diabetes-under-national-scheme/20010835.article
Press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/five-million-people-at-high-risk-of-type-2-diabetes
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34053325
The evidence review (173pp): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/diabetes-prevention-programmes-evidence-review

Deaths from heart disease have fallen by 44% in the decade to 2011 according to research comparing mortality from cardiovascular disease across Europe, by  Oxford University published in the European Heart Journal.  Britain has lower rates than much of Europe, being fifth for women and eighth for men.  Heart disease causes 45% of deaths across Europe but 27% in the UK.  Improvements in this country have resulted from both better prevention and treatment.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/cardiovascular/risk-of-cardiovascular-death-almost-halved-in-a-decade/20010849.article
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3210924/Heart-disease-death-rate-drops-45-decade-Healthier-lifestyles-statins-better-medical-practices-responsible-huge-reduction.html

NICE publish guidance on managing diabetes. The guidance covers Type 1 diabetes in adults, Type 1 and 2 in children, and diabetic foot problems.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/diabetes/gps-should-refer-immediately-when-type-1-diabetes-is-suspected-in-young-patients-says-nice/20010912.article
Press release: https://www.nice.org.uk/news/press-and-media/helping-children-and-adults-manage-diabetes-nice-publishes-updated-suite-of-guidelines

Research on men’s self-management of long term conditions including a systematic review and metaethnography has been published by NIHR.
http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/hsdr/volume-3/issue-34abstract

A report on how changes in hospital choice affected patient demand for elective care which found that the reforms increased demand for publicly funded procedures, has been published by the IFS.
http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7961

An analysis of the treatment of NHS patients by non-NHS providers has been published by HSCIC.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6670/Latest-analysis-on-independent-hospital-treatment-of-NHS-patients-available

The Government should pause its plans for seven day opening according to researchers from Imperial College, who found that patients with better access to their GP were more likely to be admitted through the practice than through A&E, based on the analysis of 2.3m admissions between 2011 and 2012, but who said the results did not ‘endorse national policy expectations’ that improving access would affect the use of A&E.  The research was published in BMJ Quality and Safety.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/commissioning/commissioning-topics/emergency-admissions/government-should-pause-gp-seven-day-access-plans-say-researchers/20010911.article

Jeremy Corbyn says Labour should remove the ‘PFI burden’ from the NHS which meant that some hospitals were suffering under a weight of debt.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/26/labour-has-duty-to-resolve-mess-of-hospital-pfi-deals-says-jeremy-corbyn

Statistics on NHS complaints have been published but changes in the way data is recorded mean that the overall numbers can’t be compared with previous years.  There were 205,000 written complaints to the NHS in 2014-15, equivalent to 562 a day.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18021
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3211520/562-NHS-complaints-day-just-tip-iceberg-experts-warn-grievances-cancelled-delayed-appointments-soar-fifth-year.html

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25 August 2015

The number of people in mental health crisis held in police cells fell by 34% last year and has fallen by 55% since 2011-12, from 8,667 to 3,996 in 2014-15 according to official statistics.  Street triage teams, where mental health nurses operate alongside police officers, in nine areas have helped more than 9,350 people in 12 months.  A further 17 areas now have street triage schemes.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34049151
http://www.lgcplus.com/news/health/social-care/thousands-of-mental-health-patients-still-detained-in-police-cells/5089871.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/use-of-police-cells-for-those-in-mental-health-crisis-halved

Pregnancies to girls under 18 have fallen to the lowest level since records began in 1969 when there were 47 conceptions per 1,000 women aged under 18, compared to 23 in the quarter to June 2014, according to figures from ONS.  Part of the reason for the fall is thought to be improved advice on contraception, family planning and abortion.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34050975
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3210119/Teenage-pregnancies-fall-lowest-level-record-interactive-map-reveals-rates-rising-parts-UK-including-Merseyside-Oldham-Hull.html
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/quart-conc-to-women-und-18/q2-2014/index.html

Research on how far organisational integration might promote care co-ordination at the clinical level is published by the NIHR.
http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/hsdr/volume-3/issue-35abstract

Healthy eating by women before and during pregnancy reduces the risk of congenital heart defects in their baby, according to US research on 19,000 women.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34041375

A link between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis has been found in research on the DNA of nearly 34,000 participants, led by McGill University in Canada and involving US and British researcher, and published in the Public Library of Science Medicine.  The research found that certain genetic markers were associated with a Vitamin D marker, and having a genetic make up associated with a lack of vitamin D increased the risk of having MS.
(26/08/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34055529
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/25/lack-vitamin-d-cause-multiple-sclerosis-study

A consultation on how the new Independent Safety Investigations Service should work has been launched for the Department of Health by an Expert Advisory Group.  The new ISIS is due to operate from April 2016.
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/ipsis-call-for-evidence

The average human capital stock per head rose by 1% to £448,358 in 2014 after a broadly flat trend between 2011 and 2013.  “Human capital is measured as the sum of the total potential future earnings of everyone in the labour market.”  “Human capital is a measure of individuals’ skills, knowledge, abilities, social attributes, personality and health attributes. These factors enable individuals to work, and therefore produce something of economic value.” (ONS website). [Well, who knew.]
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/wellbeing/human-capital-estimates/2014/index.html

WH Smith has been criticised for charging higher prices in a hospital in Wakefield than than its shop in Leeds.  WH Smith said its prices reflected the higher cost of operating in a hospital.  The Labour MP for Dewsbury, Paula Sherrif said this could be raised at the Health Select Committee, on which she sits.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-34040158

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24 August 2015

A fifth of over 65s could be drinking unsafe amounts according to research based on the health records of nearly 28,000 over 65s in the London Borough of Lambeth, by King’s College, published in BMJ Open.  Heavier drinkers tended to be white, male, better educated and more affluent.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34017910
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/24/over-65s-unsafe-alcohol-consumption-drinking-study
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3208233/Affluent-65s-likely-drink-dangerous-levels-One-five-breach-guidelines-safe-levels-consumption.html
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/Many-white-English-and-Irish-pensioners-drinking-to-excess.aspx

One in four care leavers are staying with their foster parents after their 18th birthday since the requirement was put on councils in April 2014 to support them to stay till they are 21, according to figures from DfE showing 1,370 of 5,490 were helped by the ‘Staying Put’ reforms.  However the LGA says that the £44m provided for the reforms still leaves councils £13m short.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/24/one-four-care-leavers-taking-advantage-staying-put-reforms/

How Care and Treatment Reviews (CTRs) for people with learning disabilities are to be embedded across the health and care system has been set out by NHS England.  The reviews assess whether people with learning disabilities and/or autism: are safe; are getting good care; have a care plan; and can be cared for in the community, to ensure they have the right care in the right place, ideally close to home.  Over 1,400 people had their care assessed by March 2015.
https://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/24/ctr/

The £200m cuts to public health are short sighted and unwarranted, LGA and SOLACE have said in a response to the DH consultation.  They noted that the reductions would inevitably impact on the NHS.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/public-health/public-health-cuts-short-sighted-short-term-and-unwarranted/5089834.article

13-21 year old girls think their parents worry about things like drugs rather than their real concerns with 82% saying their parents did not recognise the pressure they are under, according to a survey of a representative sample of 1,500 7-21 year olds, by Girlguiding.  While the girls thought their parents were most worried about alcohol, or for older girls unplanned pregnancy, in fact their biggest worries were mental health (58%), cyberbullying (37%) and not being able to get a job (36%).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34039534
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/24/teenage-girls-mental-health-overlooked-parents-survey

Iain Duncan Smith says he wants to get more people with a disability or long term illness into work by reforming the incapacity benefit system and improving support for disabled people wanting to work.  He criticised employers who were reluctant to take on people with disabilities.  DWP said this was ‘the start of a conversation’ rather than a policy announcement.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/24/iain-duncan-smith-employers-disability-employment-gap
http://www.reform.uk/publication/rt-hon-iain-duncan-smith-mp-speech-on-work-health-and-disability/

A scheme where firefighters drive ambulances to medical emergencies piloted in Lincolnshire has aroused interest in other areas.  The ambulances are located in fire stations and it appears they are able to reach emergency sites more quickly because of their location and increased capacity of firefighters because of the fall in the number of fires.  A final assessment of the scheme is expected later in the year.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/fire-ambulances-soaring-demand-prompts-move-for-firefighters-to-support-nhs-crews-10469906.html

The way a gene variant affects obesity has been discovered by scientists at MIT and Harvard, who found that the gene, FTO, switches on two other genes that cause food to be stored as fat rather than burned.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/scientists-discover-how-obesity-gene-works-when-faulty-giving-new-hope-for-finding-cure-10469406.html

A lack of school nurses could adversely affect children’s health, the Royal College of Nurses has warned.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/24/child-health-school-royal-college-nursing-obesity
(Rgn): http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/school-nursing/fewer-school-nurses-caring-for-rising-number-of-pupils/5089825.article

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23 August 2015

More doctors are obtaining the certificates needed to work abroad, (certificates of good standing), with over 2,000 already issued this year compared to an annual average of 2,852 over the previous six years according to figures from the General Medical Council.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/23/new-doctors-leave-nhs-for-better-life-abroad

Labour claim that average CCG budgets for mental health have fallen from 11% to 10% this year based on foi responses from 130 of the 209 CCGs (63%).  They found that in 50 of the CCGs the budget allocated to mental health had fallen.  NHS England guidance from December 2014 said the proportion of CCGs’ increased spending allocations for mental health this year should not be reduced.  NHS England said CCGs would spend 13% of their budgets on mental health this year.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34017915

Labour warns of competition costs as the UK’s largest private health provider triggers an investigation into a tendering decision. Care UK has complained to Monitor, which has launched an investigation, after a group of north London CCGs awarded an elective care contract to an NHS trust.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/23/nhs-competition-waste-millions-labour-care-uk-private-healthcare

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21 August 2015

Nine risk factors for getting Alzheimers have been identified in a meta-analysis covering more than 300 studies, 5,000 patients and 93 potential risk factors, by the University of California San Fransisco, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.  The risk factors were: high levels of homocysteine; depression; obesity; current smoking; frailty; carotid artery narrowing; high blood pressure; Type 2 diabetes (in the Asian population); and low educational level.  Those factors contribute to two thirds of cases of Alzheimer’s worldwide, but these studies cannot demonstrate cause and effect.  Protective factors included the female hormone oestrogen; cholesterol lowering drugs; drugs to lower blood pressure; anti-inflamatory drugs; folate; vitamin C and E; and coffee.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/clinical-news/patients-can-prevent-alzheimers-by-modifying-nine-risks-factors-research-suggests/20010814.article
(24/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3208634/Are-risk-developing-dementia-9-risk-factors-disease-revealed.html

Environmental factors can affect children’s genes, according to research looking at the genes of 32 Jewish men and women who had suffered trauma from the Holocaust which was shown to produce epigenetic changes (like tags on the genes) in their children.  The research was done by New York’s Mount Sinai hospital and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.  [Although many questions remain, it may be relevant for whether there are inter-generational effects from ill health, deprivation or other social circumstances.]
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/21/study-of-holocaust-survivors-finds-trauma-passed-on-to-childrens-genes
http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223%2815%2900652-6/abstract
(22/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3206702/Holocaust-survivors-pass-genetic-damage-trauma-children-researchers-find.html

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

21 August 2015

The dementia epidemic may not be as bad as had been forecast according to a review of five studies from the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain, which looked at figures using the same methodology but collected decades apart, led by the Cambridge Institute of Public Health and published in the journal Lancet Neurology.  Although the proportion of people with the condition in the UK has fallen, the overall number remains the same as in 1990, at about 670,000 beccause of the growing and ageing population.  It is suggested the improvement may be because of better health more generally.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/21/dementia-not-growing-epidemic-portrayed-say-academics
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34001144
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/dementia-epidemic-predictions-in-the-uk-may-have-been-exaggerated-scientists-say-10464503.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3205468/How-dementia-risk-fallen-quarter-two-decades-Predictions-epidemic-elderly-appear-unfounded.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/more-clinical/neurology/number-of-people-developing-dementia-stabilising/20010808.article

Statistics about disability used to produce ‘Fulfilling Potential outcome indicators are published by DWP and the Office for Disability Issues.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/opinions-and-lifestyle-survey-fulfilling-potential-outcomes-and-indicators-2014-data

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20 August 2015

The new national living wage could lead to a collapse in the number of care homes with a ‘real possibility’ of a provider failing within the next two years, according to a letter to the Chancellor from the five biggest providers.  They say they support the higher wage but ways must be found to meet the costs.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33986252
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/20/national-living-wage-threat-uk-care-homes-osborne
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/20/care-sector-issues-second-warning-government-costs-living-wage-policy/

Care homes in England are on the verge of financial meltdown according to the County Councils Network in a letter to Jeremy Hunt.  Many homes already rely on those paying for their own care subsidising council funded care, with councils paying less than the actual costs.  They are asking the Government to use the full £6bn saved from delaying the care cap reforms to ‘stabilise’ the immediate crisis.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/20/english-care-homes-facing-financial-ruin-say-councils

The percentage of children seeing an NHS dentist has fallen slightly since 2006 although there were increases amongst adults, with 55.7% of the total population having seen an NHS dentist last year, according to statistics from the HSCIC.  Tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions in primary school children.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3205014/England-s-dental-crisis-Rotting-teeth-leading-cause-hospital-admissions-young-children-half-adults-haven-t-dentist-two-years.html
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6657/New-figures-released-on-NHS-dental-activity-in-England
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18129

The proportion of GPs that had been asked to refer people to foodbanks in the previous twelve months rose from 16% to 22% in the last year according to a survey by Pulse magazine of 695 GPs.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/practice-news/increasing-number-of-gps-asked-to-refer-patients-to-foodbanks/20010799.article

84% of older cancer patients felt that the NHS discriminates against the elderly in a survey of 1,004 over 55 year olds suffering from cancer by Macmillan Cancer Support.  This includes people being denied treatment or being given less time and attention than younger patients.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3204149/Four-five-older-cancer-patients-say-NHS-ageist-Elderly-denied-vital-treatment-based-old-report-finds.html

Care at home for recently discharged elderly patients with heart failure is cost effective, reducing mortality and readmissions compared to clinic based care, an Australian study involving 280 patients has found.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/cardiology/home-care-cuts-mortality-and-readmission-for-heart-failure/5089785.article

A rise in the amount paid for emergency hospital admissions above a base level, from 50% to 70% has been proposed by Monitor and NHS England.  The rate was raised from 30% to 50% in April.  [The aim of the marginal rate is to encourage health providers, working with partners, to reduce the number of admissions to what is deemed an acceptable level, but it means their costs are not fully covered if the number of emergencies rises above that level.]
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/08/increase-marginal-rate-emergency-admissions
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/201617-national-tariff-proposals-national-variations-and-locally-determined-prices

The CQC is to review the care of new born babies that need extra support. The review will look at about 20 services, in the course of carrying out comprehensive inspections, and will look at how services like obstetrics, neonatal and community services work together.  The services won’t be rated, so it won’t give an overall assessment of the quality of care, but it will identify good practice that can be shared and identify the barriers to good care.  It is due to report in spring 2016.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34002674
Press release: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/review-look-care-new-born-babies-need-extra-support
The review: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/neonatal-care-review

In Touch: Issue 9.  (Including information about: the Information Standard, a quality mark for reliable information; opportunities for patient and public involvement on patient safety groups; and opportunities to get involved in the maternity review.)
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/20/in-touch-issue-9/

The number of deaths from fires fell by 6% last year, to 258, which was 16 fewer than the previous year, continuing a fall which has seen deaths fall by 30% in the last decade, according to statistics from DCLG.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fire-deaths-fall-to-lowest-number-on-record
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fire-statistics-monitor-april-2014-to-march-2015

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19 August 2015

English schoolchildren were second unhappiest out of 15 countries surveyed with widespread bullying apparently a significant cause of unhappiness according to a survey of 53,000 children aged 10-12 in: England, Germany, Norway, South Korea, Poland, Estonia, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Algeria, South Africa, Israel, Ethiopia, Colombia and Nepal, published in the Children’s Society’s annual Good Childhood report.  50% of boys said they had been hit in the previous month while 40% of girls said they had been ‘left out’.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/19/english-children-among-unhappiest-world-widespread-bullying
http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/resources-and-publications/the-good-childhood-report-2015

E-cigarettes should be available on prescription since they are 95% safer than normal cigarettes and can help people give up smoking, according to a report from Public Health England.  They are not currently licensed for medicinal purposes.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33978603
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/19/public-health-england-e-cigarettes-safer-than-smoking
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3202845/Health-chiefs-call-free-e-cigarettes-NHS-Review-says-76-000-lives-saved-year-people-switched-95-safer-smoking-tobacco.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/e-cigarettes-could-eventually-be-prescribed-says-government-body/20010790.article
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/make-ecigarettes-available-on-the-nhs-say-government-health-officials-10461369.html
Stories from people who have switched to e-cigarettes http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/19/e-cigarette-users-feel-better-dont-smell-smoke-vaping
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/E-cigarettes-95-per-cent-less-harmful-than-smoking-says-report.aspx

Happiness is infectious while depression is not passed on, suggesting that developing social networks could help combat the condition.  Having enough happy friends halved the probability of developing depression and doubled the chances of recovery over a 6-12 month period, according to research on 2,000 U.S. high school students by Manchester and Warwick universities.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3202412/Smile-world-smiles-Happiness-infectious-depression-t-passed-study-finds.html

Managers and supervisors are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than either workers or owners / self-employed people (earning over £46k), with symptoms of depression reported by 18% of supervisors but 12% of workers,  according to data from interviews with nearly 22,000 American workers interviewed in 2001-2 and published in the journal, Sociology of Health and Illness.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3204125/Reggie-Perrin-managers-risk-anxiety-depression-Twice-number-report-symptoms-compared-chief-executives-bottom-rung-workers.html

People working more than 55 hours a week have a 33% greater risk of a stroke, with those working up to 48 hours having a 10% increased risk compared to those working 35-40 hours (an increase of under 5 strokes per 1,000 employees per decade to 6 strokes), according to a meta-analysis of 17 studies covering over 500,000 adults, published in the Lancet.  Contributory factors could be stress, less healthy lifestyles and more alcohol consumption.
(20/08/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33986250
(21/08/15) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/Working-long-hours-increases-stroke-risk.aspx
(20/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3204160/Staying-late-office-raise-stroke-risk-workers-exercise-drink-sit-computer-hours.html
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2960295-1/abstract

Sight loss is related to poverty and quality of life with older people in the poorest fifth of the population having an almost 80% greater risk of developing severe visual impairment compared to the richest fifth, according to research from the Thomas Pocklington Trust.  Previous research showed an association between poor vision and lower psychological wellbeing.
Press release: http://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/news/news/news_channels/sight-loss-related-to-low-income-and-poor-quality-of-life-in-older-people
The report: http://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/researchandknowledge/publications/changes-in-vision-in-older-people-causes-and-impact.htm

Statistics on the NHS Stop Smoking service for the year April 2014 to March 2015 show a continued decline in the use of the service.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18002

Informed: Issue 45
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/19/informed-issue-45/

Statistics on deaths within 30 days of a hospital procedure or emergency admission over the last ten years are published by HSCIC.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hospital-episode-statistics-deaths-within-30-days-of-a-hospital-procedure-or-of-an-emergency-admission-to-hospital-2012-to-2013
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18092

~

18 August 2015

There are new NICE guidelines on antibiotic prescribing, which suggest setting up multidisciplinary stewardship teams to monitor prescribing levels, feed that back to prescribers, understand the reasons for variations and provide assistance to improve. Doctors and other prescribers should spend more time explaining why antibiotics may not be helpful.  Ultimately, action could be taken by the regulator, the GMC against doctors.  Patients may also need more education so they put less pressure on prescribers.  Currently about a quarter of prescriptions (10m of 42m) for antibiotics are thought to be unnecessary. [A ‘patient safety alert’ on antimicrobial resistance was issued by NHS England, HEE and PHE on the same day]
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/18/soft-touch-doctors-write-10m-needless-prescriptions-a-year-says-nice
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/Guidelines-set-to-tackle-problem-of-over-prescribing-antibiotics.aspx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33961241
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/soft-touch-gps-told-to-stop-giving-antibiotics-to-pushy-patients-so-as-to-curb-rise-of-drugresistant-superbugs-10459183.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/gps-should-be-referred-to-gmc-for-persistently-over-prescribing-antibiotics-says-nice-/20010771.article
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3201563/GPs-face-axe-handing-pills.html
The GMC hold talks with NICE.  NICE clarify that they want to support, not admonish, GPs. http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/infectious-diseases/bma-holds-urgent-talks-with-nice-over-antibiotics-guideline/20010788.article
Background on antibiotic resistance http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33976635
Press release: https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/calls-for-nhs-to-curb-inappropriate-antibiotic-prescribing
The guidance: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng15

A ‘patient safety alert’ on antimicrobial resistance has been issued by NHS England, HEE and PHE alerting NHS providers to toolkits on the better use of antibiotics. [See also NICE guidelines issued on the same day]
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/18/psa-amr/

Teenagers who had used e-cigarettes were more likely to start tobacco smoking over the next 12 months, according to research on 2,530 high school students in Los Angeles, who were not regular tobacco users at the start and were surveyed again after 6 and 12 months, published in the journal JAMA.  31% of e-cigarette users tried tobacco within six months, compared to 8% of non-e-cigarette users, even after taking account of socio-demographic factors.  However, this could demonstrate a propensity to try either product rather than one leading to the other.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/08/18/us-usa-ecigarettes-teens-idUKKCN0QN1KK20150818
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3202464/Teenagers-use-e-cigarettes-likely-start-smoking-tobacco-latest-study-claims.html

The grime on urban surfaces contrains polluting nitrogen gases which is re-released when hit by sunlight according to research in Germany, in real world environments, confirming previous lab studies.  This could help improve predictions of air pollution and potentially find ways to reduce it.  The results were presented to a conference of the American Chemical Society in Boston.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33970233

Light to moderate drinking produces a small increased risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer for women or if associated with smoking for men, according to an analysis of two studies involving over 100,000 adults published in the British Medical Journal.  Light to moderate drinking is roughly one drink a day for women and two for men.
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/Just-one-drink-a-day-may-raise-breast-cancer-risk.aspx
(19/08/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33975946
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3202831/One-drink-day-raises-breast-cancer-risk-Women-consume-alcohol-day-increase-chance-developing-certain-types-disease-13.html
http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4238

A third of the £1.2bn in compensation paid by the NHS last year went to lawyers according to the annual report of the NHS Litigation Authority.  It is thought that the reductions in legal aid have increased legal costs with lawyers finding other ways to bill.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/18/nhs-sounds-compensation-alarm-after-120000-lawyer-bill-from-5000-claim
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3202900/Greedy-lawyers-120-00-bill-settle-5-000-compensation-claim-NHS-litigation-authority-firms-regularly-charging-far-patients-families-compensated.html
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-litigation-authority-report-and-accounts-2014-to-2015

Tooth extractions fell by 55% in areas where fluoride was added to the water with no adverse effects on children’s health, according to research by Public Health England published in Community Dentristy and Oral Epidemiology.  Around 12% of the population live in areas with fluoridated water.
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/Water-fluoridation-a-safe-way-of-stopping-tooth-decay.aspx
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3202081/Putting-fluoride-water-save-NHS-millions-halving-number-people-needing-tooth-extractions.html

Only 57% of GP practices in London submitted Friends and Family Test results in May with returns in the next lowest areas of 68%, 70% and 72% and suggestions that returns overall are falling.  The initial response is to support practices to submit the data, but they have been warned that if that is not done in three successive months, they would be in breach of their contracts.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/number-of-practices-submitting-monthly-friends-and-family-data-dives-sharply/20010781.article

Salt levels for meals by the same fast food chain vary considerably between countries suggesting there is a good deal of scope for reducing levels, according to research on fast food meals in 37 countries by the campaign group World Action on Salt and Health.  The UK was better than most countries, with lower levels of salt.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3203184/How-salt-KFC-depends-world-Chicken-fries-Costa-Rica-FIVE-times-salt-UK-nearly-bad.html
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/aug/18/kfc-and-mcdonalds-use-widely-varying-levels-of-salt-in-same-childrens-meals

~

17 August 2015

The number of cases of diabetes has increased by 60% in a decade from 2.1m in 2005 to 3.3m now, 5% of the population, according to analysis of official figures by Diabetes UK.  It is estimated to cost the NHS nearly £10bn a year, with 80% spent on managing avoidable complications.  NHS England said more must be done on prevention.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33932930
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/17/diabetes-bring-down-nhs-charity
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/diabetes-could-bankrupt-the-nhs-after-60-rise-in-number-of-cases-charity-warns-10458353.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3200327/Diabetes-threatens-bankrupt-NHS.html

More young people have tried e-cigarettes with the proportion of 11-18 year olds having tried them once or twice having risen from 4% two years ago to 10% now according to a survey in March of nearly 2,300 young people by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).  They say that most people trying e-cigarettes are already smokers and are concerned that many young people think e-cigarettes are as harmful as tobacco.  However others are concerned that they may re-normalise smoking.  It will be illegal to sell e-cigarettes to under 18 year olds from 1st October.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/17/e-cigarette-use-rising-among-britains-youths-campaign-group-study-shows
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/fears-ecigarettes-lead-children-to-smoke-tobacco-are-unfounded-survey-suggests-10458370.html
(18/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3200469/E-cigarettes-NOT-encouraging-young-people-smoke-traditional-forms-tobacco.html

Embarrassment in using words like ‘vagina’ and fear of intimate examination are preventing many younger women seeking help with sexual health according to research by Ovarian Cancer Action, which found that 18-24 year olds are four times less likely than 55-64 year olds to go to the doctor with a sexual health issue, that 66% would be embarrassed to use the word ‘vagina’ to a health professional and 48% were too afraid of an intimate examination to go to the doctor.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/ovarian-cancer-experts-say-women-losing-fear-of-saying-vagina-could-increase-early-diagnoses-10458366.html
(19/08/15) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/clinical-news/young-women-avoid-discussing-sexual-health-with-gps-because-of-fear-of-saying-vagina/20010794.article

Unemployed 18-21 year olds are to be required to attend work boot camps, three week intensive courses to practise job applications and interviews, starting in 2017, the Government has announced.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/17/unemployed-young-people-work-boot-camp-tory-minister
(18/08/15) Blog with background information and analysis: http://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/2015/08/boot-camp-unemployed-youths-%E2%80%93-marmite-policy

Lambeth Council has banned the use of laughing gas, the first local authority in the country to do so.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33955823

An overview of the literature on employee productivity including information on measurement, ‘presenteeism’ and wellbeing, has been produced by PHE.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employee-productivity-topic-overview

The literature on the impact of office environments on employee wellbeing is summarised in a report from PHE (23pp).
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-environments-and-employee-wellbeing-topic-overview

~

16 August 2015

Problems with the roll out of personal independence payments have led to confusion and delays with 11,500 people approaching the CAB about it in April out of 52,000 new claimants and reassessments in that month.  There is a five week wait for assessments according to the DWP, but other figures suggest some people are waiting much longer.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/one-in-four-claiming-disability-benefits-faces-serious-difficulties-including-delays-unfair-dismissals-and-confusion-over-eligibility-10457434.html
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/pip-failures-are-risking-peoples-ability-to-live-independently-says-citizens-advice/

A new campaign group, ‘NHS Survival’ has been launched involving staff, patients and the public.  They are calling for a Royal Commission to look at: sustainable funding; safe staffing levels; patient dignity; and accountability.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/nhs-survival-group-calls-for-major-public-inquiry-into-future-of-the-nhs/20010755.article
http://www.nhssurvival.org/

~

15 August 2015

The number of drugs prescribed for ADHD has more than doubled in a decade leading to fears that they are being used inappropriately because of cuts to mental health services.  The number of prescriptions for Ritalin increased from 359,100 in 2004 to 922,200 last year. NHS spending on children’s mental health services has fallen by more than 6% in real terms since 2010.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/15/ritalin-prescriptions-double-decade-adhd-mental-health
(17/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3200095/Ritalin-users-DOUBLE-decade-amid-fear-doctors-wrongly-diagnosing-children-having-ADHD.html

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

15 August 2015

The BMA has attacked the Government for ‘a slew of unrealistic headline-grabbing promises’ but no detail of how they are to be achieved, in a review of its first 100 days in office.  It said that to describe the Government’s performance as disappointing would be ‘a gross understatement’.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33933644
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/political/political-news/government-focused-on-chasing-headlines-rather-than-future-of-nhs-says-bma/20010756.article

~

14 August 2015

A partnership between NHS England and Fire and Rescue Services to provide health checks on elderly people and those with complex conditions has been set up, working together with PHE, the LGA and Age UK.  The Fire and Rescue service already provide some health interventions in their home visits. The design principles for what else they might offer are to be published soon.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/14/health-check/
Blog: http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/14/jacquie-white/

A fifth of GP training posts in surgeries, 632 out of 3,124, remain unfilled according to figures from the GP National Recruitment Office, casting doubt on the ability to staff seven day working or meet the Government’s promise of 5,000 extra GPs by 2020.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3197199/Too-trainee-evening-GPs-Fifth-total-number-posts-unfulfilled-young-doctors-look-work-specialist.html

A report, ‘Changing the Odds in the Early Years: a discusison paper on child poverty’, which includes what action can be taken at a local level, has been published by the Children’s Commissioner.
http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/publications/changing-odds-early-years-discussion-paper-child-poverty

~

13 August 2015

The NHS has failed to hit a range of targets as demand continues to rise according to a plethora of data now being released together each month.  Only 81% of cancer patients started treatment within 62 days of referral, against a target of 85%.  The 95% four hour A&E target was narrowly missed at 94.8%.  There was a 12% increase of delayed transfers of care out of hospital.  71.4% of Red 2 emergency ambulance calls were reached in eight minutes, compared to the target of 75%.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33905737
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3196509/Cancer-patients-failed-NHS-hospitals-fall-short-target-waiting-times.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3197181/Cancer-scans-delayed-NHS-misses-targets-Waits-operations-ambulances-causing-patients-lose-lives.html
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/13/new-monthly-data/

Deaths of under five year olds is almost twice the rate in England as Sweden at 614 deaths per 100,000 compared to 328, according to research from Nottingham University based on data from 2006-08 published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.  Sweden is comparable in many ways with the UK but has one of the lowest death rates for children.  One reason for the difference is problems associated with premature birth which were 13 times higher in the UK than Sweden.  It is also thought that greater inequality in the UK may play a part.  Another suggestion was that differences in coding of events could be part of the reason for the difference.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/13/death-rate-for-preschool-children-in-uk-almost-double-that-of-sweden
(14/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3197264/UK-infant-death-rate-one-worst-Europe-High-numbers-premature-births-mean-children-twice-likely-die-age-five-Sweden.html
(14/08/15) Feature by one of the study authors http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/children-under-five-are-twice-as-likely-to-die-in-the-uk-than-in-sweden-10455179.html
http://adc.bmj.com/content/early/2015/07/15/archdischild-2014-308059

The number of stillbirths fell by 8% after the smoking ban in public places came into force eight years ago.  There were also falls in the number of babies dying in the first days and weeks after birth and in the number of low birthweight babies.  It is estimated that the lives of 1,500 babies were saved in the fours years after the ban.  The research involved universities in Scotland, England, the Netherlands and the US and was published in Scientific Reports.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3196676/Smoking-ban-saves-hundreds-babies-lives-Number-stillbirths-newborn-deaths-falls-four-years-legislation.html
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/aug/13/england-stillbirths-dropped-since-smoking-ban

There has been a decline in the quality of children’s services and children’s homes according to Ofsted inspection ratings, with more declines than improvements.  Local authority homes on average scored better than those run by the private or voluntary sectors.
www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/13/inspection-data-reports-decline-quality-childrens-services-homes/
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/childrens-social-care-in-england-2015

E-cigarettes should be promoted more to help people quit tobacco smoking the Royal Society of Public Health has said, arguing that nicotine addiction is far less harmful than the inhalation of smoke in cigarettes.  They also propose more exlusion zones for tobacco smoking in public places with smoking made to seem abnormal, more use of e-cigarettes to help people quit smoking, licensing of tobacco sellers, mandatory selling of nicotine replacement products anywhere selling cigarettes and renaming e-cigarettes to something like ‘nicotine sticks’.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/13/health-bosses-promote-e-cigarettes-harmful-tobacco-smoking-experts
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33883188
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3195854/Call-smoking-ban-OUTSIDE-pubs.html

Emergency hospital admissions were cut by a third in a Cornish scheme where volunteers helped people dependent on health and social care services. Under the scheme volunteers help people become more physically and socially active.  The evaluation, for Age UK, involved 325 people who had been on the scheme between January 2014 – January 2015 with comparisons made to the period before the support began.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/accident-and-emergency/volunteer-support-programme-cut-admissions-by-a-third/5089627.article

Music can reduce pain before, during and after surgery including under general anaesthetic according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of 70 trials involving 7,000 patients, by Queen Mary’s College London, Barts NHS Health Trust and Brunel University  and published in the Lancet.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33865448
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/Music-can-help-ease-pain-and-anxiety-after-surgery.aspx

The Government is proposing to make it harder for health commissioners and providers to object to changes in tariff arrangements in a consultation which suggests increasing the threshold for the proportion of objections required to trigger a review of the national tariff from 50% to either 66% or 75%.  Under the new arrangements each provider would have an equal ‘vote’ rather than it being weighted by their share of supply.
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/08/tariff-objection-threshold-consultation-launched
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/objections-to-how-prices-for-nhs-services-are-calculated

CCGs should be able to privatise, merge and compete for patients with patients able to register with any CCG in the country and access any of their primary care services according to a report from the right wing Institute of Economic Affairs,  ‘A Patient Approach: Putting the consumer at the heart of UK healthcare’.  It argues that the indifference amongst almost half the population as to who provides their health care should be built on to promote a market based, competitive approach.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning-news/patients-should-be-allowed-to-register-with-any-gp-practice-they-want-says-think-tank/20010744.article
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11799196/Abolish-GP-catchment-areas-and-let-patients-choose-any-doctor-says-Thatcherite-thinktank.html
Press release: http://www.iea.org.uk/in-the-media/press-release/government-shouldn%E2%80%99t-be-the-sole-provider-of-healthcare
The report: http://www.iea.org.uk/publications/research/a-patient-approach-putting-the-consumer-at-the-heart-of-uk-healthcare

The CQC is said to be launching a thematic review into end of life care according to the Daily Telegraph.  It also says, “The Care Quality Commission revealed that 50 of the 105 hospitals it has inspected since November 2013 have been criticised over patient safety.”
DH publish a progress report on care in the last days and hours of life: ‘One Chance to Get it Right: One Year On Report’. [As far as I can see, this review was launched in April.  I can’t see any more up to date information about it on the CQC site.]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11802113/Hospitals-act-like-conveyor-belts-for-dying-patients.html
(14/8/15) www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3197379/Hospitals-end-life-care-not-good-Nearly-half-causing-harm-unnecessary-suffering-dying-patients.html
(07/05/15) http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/themed-review-end-life-care
It is not clear that this report is the source of the Telegraph story but it seems likely as it covers the same general area on the same day:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improvements-to-care-in-the-last-days-and-hours-of-life

The privatisation of support services for GPs and other primary care is leading to disruption such as the provision of misleading financial statements and the failure of IT projects, according to a Birmingham CCG.  Capita are due to take on the seven year, £330m contract from 1st September.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/commissioning/practices-suffering-significant-and-unpredictable-disruption-due-to-privatisation-of-support-services/20010738.article

The Government claims it made savings of £18.6bn in 2014-15, but this was against a baseline of 2009-10 so includes savings made in previous years.
(25/08/15) Blog critiquing the claims: http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/blog/12299/the-numbers-behind-the-efficiency-savings/
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/quart-conc-to-women-und-18/q2-2014/index.html

The annual Patient Reported Outcome Measures for 2013-14 (sic) covering hip and knee replacements, groin hernia and varicose vein surgery have been published by HSCIC.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6643/Health-outcomes-from-four-common-surgical-procedures-annual-patient-survey-results-published

~

12 August 2015

Diabetes accounts for 10% of the NHS’s drugs bill with £869m spent on drugs for both Type 1 and Type 2 last year according to figures from the HSCIC.  Between 2005-06 and 2014-15 the number of prescriptions rose from 27m to 47m while the proportion of the drugs bill rose from 6.5% to 10%.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33720333
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/diabetes/diabetes-drugs-now-account-for-tenth-of-primary-care-prescribing-bill/20010735.article
(13/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3195779/Diabetes-drugs-bill-eats-10-GPs-prescription-budget.html
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6640/Diabetes-medicines-account-for-one-tenth-of-all-prescribing-in-primary-care

The proposed spending cap on health agency staff will have a number of exceptions including to ensure patient safety a consultation from Monitor suggests.  [It has been argued that the increased use of agency staff has been to meet increased safety requirements.]  The consultation is only for eight days, from 12th to 20th August.
(13/08/15) (Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/trusts-will-be-able-to-breach-spending-cap-on-agency-nurses/5089607.article
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/helping-nhs-foundation-trusts-adopt-best-financial-practice

The number of children’s care applications received by CAFCASS is at the highest recorded level for the second month in a row with the numbers having increased every month since July 2014, increasing the pressure to be able to meet the 26 week target for care proceedings.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/12/care-applications-reach-time-high-second-month-row/

Ideas for how to better integrate community pharmacies and general practice, such as aligning contractual frameworks and making pharmacies the first port of call for minor ailments, are being consulted on by the National Association of Primary Care and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.  The aim of the consultation is to produce ideas to inform policy makers, commissioners and providers.
(13/08/15) http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/08/proposals-community-pharmacy-general-practice-integration
http://www.rpharms.com/what-s-happening-/news_show.asp?id=2724

The Government has been arguing for weaker European air pollution laws on the grounds that it would lead to pit closures and therefore job losses and the need to import coal.  This has to be set against the health risks of pollution and the effect on the climate of burning coal.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/12/uk-lobbying-for-even-weaker-eu-air-pollution-laws-leaked-papers-show

The NHS Safety Thermometer for July 2014 to July 2015 setting out the number of pressure ulcers, falls, urinary tract infections from catheters and new venous thromboembolisms is published by HSCIC.
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB17986

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11 August 2015

Health inequalities reduced in the second part of the last Labour Government with the gap in life expectancy between the 10% richest and10% poorest areas having fallen from 6.9 to 4.4 years between 1999-2003 and 2006-10, according to research by the King’s Fund.  Policies to directly impact on the problem were thought to have helped but there was probably a bigger impact from factors such as employment, housing and poverty.  For the future, the report suggests a need to look at the interrelationship of a wide range of public services on the causes of poverty and inequalities.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/11/life-expectancy-gap-richest-poorest-cut-labour
(31/12/14) Press release: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/press/press-releases/gap-life-expectancy-between-rich-and-poor-shrinks-new-report-finds
Report: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/inequalities-life-expectancy

Plans for multi-agency inspections of child safeguarding this autumn have been criticised by ADCS, the LGA and Solace on the grounds that they lack clarity and transparency, duplicate the single inspection framework and create a burden that will draw staff away from front line work.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/11/council-chiefs-warn-ofsted-inspection-plan-will-divert-child-protection-staff-frontline/

A care home company is being taken to an employment tribunal for paying below the minimum wage on the grounds that there is no payment for travel between visits although it is argued that this is an integral part of the work.  The company is MiHomecare, the fourth biggest homecare company in Britain, and part of the Mitie group.  There are also questions about whether it is possible to do everything needed in 15 minute visits.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/mihomecare-one-of-uks-biggest-care-agencies-being-sued-for-paying-below-minimum-wage-10450780.html

A Welsh pilot scheme where pharmacists can provide free treatments to reduce GPs’ workloads has been found to provide a return on investment with an estimate of savings of £1.4m (with a possible range of £0.3-4.3m) compared to a cost of £1.1m of the scheme,  over five years in the area of North Wales covered, according to the Welsh Government.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/pharmacy-care-saved-hundreds-of-gp-consultations-a-month/20010726.article
(30/07/15) http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/evaluation-choose-pharmacy-common-ailments-service/?lang=en

There is wide variation in the non-clinical care environment for dementia patients according to the results of the Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) published by HSCIC.  Scores out of 100 for the dementia environment (e.g. uncluttered, clear signposting, appropriate flooring) varied from 42 to 98.  Other, more general, aspects covered by the assessments include cleanliness, quality of the food, privacy and dignity and condition of the buildings.
(12/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3194470/Hospitals-not-doing-safeguard-dementia-patients-Warning-noisy-cluttered-wards-causing-sufferers-distressed-suffer-harm.html
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6639/Patient-led-assessments-of-healthcare-premises-now-consider-non-clinical-aspects-of-dementia-care

Draft guidance on community engagement to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities has been published by NICE.  The consultation is open until 24th September.
Press release https://www.nice.org.uk/news/press-and-media/encouraging-communities-take-more-active-role-improve-health-and-wellbeing
The consultation https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-phg79/consultation/community-engagement-update-draft-guideline-consultation

Numerous policy initiatives have had little or no impact on social workers’ ability to control their jobs according to analysis by King’s College London on data from over 5,000 practitioners across 22 local authorities between 2009-13
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/11/support-job-control-social-workers-improved-despite-multiple-policies/

Informed: Issue 44 is published.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/11/informed-issue-44/

The Welsh Government and care inspectors have been criticised for poor care of elderly people in care homes and how they plan to improve things, by the Older People’s Commissioner, Sarah Rochira, whose 2014 review highlighted the extent of care homes institutionalising people and being seen as places of irreversible decline.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-33853282

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10 August 2015

The failure of pacemakers and similar devices could be responsible for the death of 2,000 people a year in the UK, if figures from US research are extrapolated to this country.  Research by the University of San Fransisco examined 517 cases of sudden death and found 30% were the result of mechanical flaws (such as batteries running out or incorrect programming).  According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency there were 2,400 adverse incidents, including deaths, involving pacemakers and other devices between 2010-14.  Such devices are estimated to save about 50,000 lives a year.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3191708/Faulty-pacemakers-killing-2-000-year-unexpected-deaths-patients-thought-caused-malfunctions.html

Cancer survival is three times higher with early diagnosis for eight common cancers, with 90% of people surviving for 10 years for cancers caught at ‘stage one’, but only 5% when it is not diagnosed till ‘stage four’ according to research by Cancer UK based on figures from the East of England.  (The stages are based on the sizes of tumours and how far they have spread through the body.)
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/10/cancer-survival-rates-higher-early-diagnosis
(09/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3191637/How-spotting-cancer-early-TRIPLES-chance-survival-80-patients-eight-common-forms-survive-ten-years-disease-spotted-initial-stages.html
http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/08/10/five-reasons-the-uk-must-diagnose-cancer-earlier-and-four-ways-to-do-it/

A report, “People, Places, Possibilities: Progress on Local Area Coordination in England and Wales” has been published by ‘The Centre for Welfare Reform.  The report proposes using community workers to help build resilience locally and get more involved in their localities.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/10/core-social-work-approach-offers-better-outcomes-reduced-cost-says-report/
Press release: http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/news/
The repor; http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/type/pdfs/people-places-possibilities.html

Touch screen tablet computers to get instant feedback on services from residents, relatives and staff have been installed in 174 care home reception areas by HC-One, the third largest care home provider for older people.  The aim is to identify good practice and respond to any concerns.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/older-people/tablets-allow-staff-to-give-feedback-on-care-homes/5089523.article

Two Conservative MPs have expressed concern about the scale of proposed cuts to tax credits suggesting more needs to be done to protect the poorest, working in low paid jobs, and expressing concern that this will reverse the stated policy intention of making work pay.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/10/two-tory-mps-question-tax-credit-cuts-bebb-percy

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09 August 2015

Pharmacists are to be given access to customers’ summary care records as a pilot scheme is extended this autumn.  This has led to fears that commercial companies would be tempted to use this information to increase profits but this was denied by companies such as Tesco and Superdrug. The information will only be available to pharmacy professionals through a private, encryped network.  The pharmacists have to ask the person for permission to view their record. The scheme was piloted in 140 pharmacies but only 15 questionnaires were received from customers, so these were not analysed.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11790711/Boots-Tesco-and-Superdrug-to-get-access-to-NHS-medical-records.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/pharmacies-to-be-given-access-to-peoples-medical-records-under-nhs-england-plans-10447780.html
(10/08/15) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3191732/Now-Tesco-access-medical-records-Chemists-supermarket-pharmacies-allowed-access-data-attempt-boost-care-standards.html
(10/08/15) Response from HSCIC: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6637/Statement-from-NHS-England-and-the-Health-and-Social-Care-Information-Centre-in-response-to-the-Daily-Telegraph-article-Tesco-can-see-your-medical-records
(23/06/15) Report of the pilot (pdf): http://systems.hscic.gov.uk/scr/library/poc_report.pdf
(10/08/15) http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/10/response-dt-article/
(11/08/15) Response from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and Pharmacy Voice: http://www.rpharms.com/what-s-happening-/news_show.asp?id=2723

It is possible to fraudulently obtain an EHIC card allowing treatment abroad to be charged back to the UK, without having to demonstrate having worked in this country or being a legal resident, according to undercover research by the Daily Mail.  The EHIC card is available to anyone ordinarily resident in the UK, and who is of EU, EEA or Swiss nationality. It allows holders  treatment for illness, accidents, long term conditions or routine maternity care, on the same basis as a resident from the country being visited.  The potential benefits of, and extent of, the fraud are therefore unclear.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3191557/Foreigners-charge-NHS-care-country-Loophole-lets-thousands-migrants-free-treatment-card-GP.html
(10/08/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33843758
(10/08/15) http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/aug/10/ehic-loophole-letting-non-uk-residents-to-charge-nhs-unacceptable-minister
(11/08/15) Fact check http://www.theguardian.com/society/reality-check/2015/aug/11/are-foreigners-gaming-nhs-pay-medical-treatment-abroad-ehic

~

08 August 2015

DBS checks will no longer have to disclose if someone has been detained under the Mental Health Act under new guidelines.  The decision as to whether it should be disclosed will depend on factors such as how long ago it happened and the behaviour of the person during the incident.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/employers-need-not-be-told-know-job-applicant-was-previously-detained-under-mental-health-act-says-new-government-guidance-10446906.html
(09/08/15) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33837419
(09/08/15) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/09/mental-health-background-checks-home-office-guidelines

There will be no extra money for winter emergencies in A&A the Government have confirmed in a written answer from health minister Jane Ellison on 20th July.  £380m was included in CCGs’ baseline funding for this year [so they could use the money to start preparing earlier rather than only having it once the problems already strike].  This is only just over half the £700m made available for operational resilience in 2014-15.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/no-extra-cash-for-ae-when-winter-strikes-government-confirms-10446900.html

Sniffer dogs are to be used to detect prostate cancer in new NHS trials
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/prostate-cancer-dog-sniffer-trials-approved-by-nhs-10446754.html

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07 August 2015

The DWP has been asked to publish more comprehensive information on benefit sanctions by the UK Statistics Authority, after a number of complaints.  It has also been asked to ensure its statements are objective and impartial.  The Government has only been publishing monthly figures arguing that it is too expensive to publish annualised ones.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/07/statistics-watchdog-asks-dwp-for-clearer-statements-on-sanctions-benefits-jobseekers

The English diabetes strategy should be broadened to tackle underlying causes rather than relying on sending people for cooking and exercise classes, which though found to be effective under tightly controlled conditions are unlikely to work in practice, according to a letter from two academic experts published in the British Journal of General Practice.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/diabetes/diabetes-prevention-policy-is-too-selective-leading-academics-warn/20010705.article
(11/07/15) http://bjgp.org/content/65/636/336.e-letters

A support programme to help GPs create local federations of practices is being developed by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs, with support from the Nuffield Trust.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/rcgp-and-nhs-england-to-produce-guidance-on-becoming-federations/20010703.article

A report on risky behaviours in children and young people drawing on the views of academics, practitioners, policy officials and young people, has been published by the Cabinet Office and DH.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-and-young-peoples-risk-behaviours-discussion-paper

Two consultations have been launched on the role of the voluntary and community sector in health and care by NHS England.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/07/vcse-consultations/

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

7th August 2015

An online campaign increased hand washing which reduced infections with a fall in respiratory, flu-like and gastrointestinal illnesses, a randomised control trial involving 20,000 British adults has found.  The results are due to be published in the Lancet.  There was a reduction of 14% in the risk of catching a respiratory tract infection (from 59% to 51%), and a 20% lower risk of catching a flu-like illness, amongst those given access to the materials compared to a control group.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33804625
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/07/hand-washing-really-does-reduce-infection-trial-scheme-finds
(11th August) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/infectious-diseases/web-programme-on-handwashing-cut-spread-of-flu-and-number-of-gp-visits/20010720.article

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6th August 2015

Health regulators in the UK are not fit for purpose and need to be reformed according to a report by the Professional Standards Authority, ‘Rethinking Regulation’, which says the current framework is out of date, over complicated and too expensive.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/regulation/health-regulators-are-not-fit-for-purpose-says-new-report/20010686.article
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/18/damning-report-finds-social-work-regulation-fit-purpose/?cmpid=NLC|SCSC|SCDDB-2015-0819
Press release: https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/footer-pages/news-and-media/latest-news/news-article?id=962f5b9e-2ce2-6f4b-9ceb-ff0000b2236b
The publication: http://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/library/document-detail?id=f32e5b9e-2ce2-6f4b-9ceb-ff0000b2236b

The proposal to put the price of medicines on packaging could have perverse consequences with elderly and vulnerable people feeling they are a burden and people thinking that more expensive drugs are more efficacious and therefore more important to take, an editorial in the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin says.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/06/price-tags-nhs-medicines-patients-burden-society-jeremy-hunt
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/plan-to-put-price-tag-on-nhs-medicines-is-a-headlinegrabbing-gimmick-says-journal-10444508.html

In May 2015, 49% of 22,456 households affected by the benefits cap were single mothers caring for at least one child under five, according to government figures.  It is argued that this group find it particularly hard to find work, for instance, because of the high costs of childcare.  Single parents with a child under 5 can claim income support without having to look for a job, but are still affected by the cap.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/06/benefits-cap-hits-single-parents-with-children-under-five-figures-show
Blog: http://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/2015/08/benefit-cap-failing-tackle-cause-high-benefits
Press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/benefit-cap-thousands-of-people-move-into-work-or-off-housing-benefit
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-may-2015

Prosecuting individual doctors for negligence risks missing systemic failures and the opportunity to learn from mistakes according to a letter from 300 doctors and medical staff to the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, particularly referencing the case of David Sellu, a surgeon sentenced to two and a half years in prison for gross negligence manslaughter in November 2013.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/06/doctors-sign-letter-expressing-worry-over-criminalisation-of-surgeon

Listening to music eases pain by releasing natural painkillers, opioids, so makes exercise more pleasurable and could be used for medical pain relief according to Canadian and British research.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3187243/Why-easier-work-music-Tunes-help-dull-pain-exercise-producing-chemicals-similar-morphine.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/music-during-exercise-decreases-exertion-and-releases-natural-painkillers-in-the-brain-10445010.html

~

5th August 2015

A CIPFA briefing says that charging patients or a reduction of services will be required if more money cannot be found to deal with the NHS financial crisis. It says that even if the £22bn efficiency savings can be found, the £30bn identified as needed in the Five Year Forward View will not be sufficient because, for instance, of the 7 day working pledge.  It notes the importance of services such as housing, transport, leisure and benefits on health and says there has been insufficient will in the NHS to improve productivity.  (CIPFA is the Chartered Institute of Finance).
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/05/nhs-patients-may-face-widescale-charges-warns-financial-thinktank
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/political/political-news/seven-day-gp-appointments-not-possible-without-patient-charges-financial-experts-say/20010680.article
http://www.cipfa.org/about-cipfa/press-office/latest-press-releases/nhs-not-on-track-to-achieve-%C2%A322bn-savings-target-cipfa-warns

A recommendation to end a pay supplement to trainee GPs would be a disaster at a time when more need to be encouraged into GP training, the BMA have said.  The recommendation came from the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/05/ending-pay-supplement-gp-trainees-would-be-disaster-warns-bma
(8th August) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cutting-trainee-gp-pay-subsidies-will-put-patients-at-risk-doctors-tell-jeremy-hunt-10446870.html

People who believe they are overweight, whether or not they are, are more likely to put on weight for psychological reasons such as comfort eating, according to an analysis of three data sets covering 14,000 adults in the UK and US and published in the International Journal of Obesity.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/05/obesity-awareness-may-be-causing-overeating-finds-international-study

Older people following a specific diet which included leafy vegetables, beans, berries and whole grains were 7.5 years younger cognitively after 4.7 years according to a study by researchers in Chicago involving 960 adults with an average age of 81, published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This only demonstrated an association, not causation.  The diet, ‘Mind’ was a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets.
(6th August) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/08August/Pages/new-brain-diet-slows-mental-decline.aspx
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/05/diet-high-in-leafy-green-vegetables-may-slow-cognitive-decline-in-elderly-study
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3185863/The-anti-ageing-MIND-diet-halves-risk-dementia-Wholegrains-daily-glass-wine-no-red-meat-sugar-makes-brain-8-years-younger.html

Current guidelines on drinking alcohol do not reflect the tendency to binge drink at weekends and tend to be ignored according to research by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies involving 66 people in focus groups in England and Scotland published in the Addiction Journal.  Drinkers tend not to understand units of alcohol.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3185486/Binge-drinkers-ignore-unrealistic-alcohol-guidelines-30-year-old-official-limits-deemed-irrelevant-Britons-drink-excess-weekends.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-33786859

Cancer survival rates in England lag behind Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden for six cancers, colon, breast, lung, ovarian, rectal and stomach, according to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published in the British Journal of Cancer.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33772892
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3185559/England-lags-cancer-survival-rates-Patients-likely-die-six-common-types-Western-countries.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/cancer/england-struggling-to-close-gap-in-cancer-survival/20010677.article

~

4th August 2015

The Government has launched a consultation on how to increase people’s participation in sport.  Participation in sport has been falling since the 2012 Olympics.  DCMS says inactivity kills as many people in this country as smoking.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/04/government-consultation-sport-participation-fall
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3184468/Idleness-end-killing-people-smoking-Study-finds-quarter-adults-don-t-manage-30-minutes-exercise-week.html

58% of GP practices do not have space for any more staff and 10% have problems which could be hazardous to health such as sewage problems, infestations and the presence of asbestos, according to a survey of 527 practices by the company Cogora which publishes Pulse.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/premises/one-in-ten-practices-say-premises-could-be-hazardous-to-health/20010669.article

The number of ‘deprivation of liberty safeguard’ (DoLS) cases dealt with by councils reached a record level in April to June this year.  There has been a constant rise since the Cheshire West and Cheshire Case last year that effectively changed the threshold for when deprivations of liberty had to be authorised.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/04/deprivation-liberty-safeguards-caseloads-reach-record-level/

Smoking continues to decline amongst young people but is high amongst young white people with e-cigarette use amongst 15 year olds higher in more deprived parts of England, according to figures from the HSCIC.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/04/e-cigarette-tobacco-white-black-teenagers-england
(6th August) (Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/public-health/worst-local-areas-for-teenage-smokers-revealed-by-new-data/5089444.article
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6568/New-report-publishes-figures-about-smoking-among-15-year-olds

A 3-d printed pill has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration, reportedly the first case in the world.  3-d printing the drug means particular compositions can be tailored for different patients.  It is also said that the technology “allows layers of medication to be packaged more tightly into precise dosages.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33772692
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/first-3d-printed-pill-approved-for-prescription-drug-use-in-the-us-10437976.html

A report on ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’ has been produced by the LGA.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7415470/PUBLICATION

Informed: Issue 43 is published.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/04/informed-issue-43/

~

3rd August 2015

NHS Trusts have been told to fill vacancies only where necessary by Monitor and the TDA, it is reported.  Safe staffing guidance is to be followed in a ‘safe and proportionate’ way, and it is said that NHS England will tell CCGs to suspend fines and penalties for missing referral to treatment targets.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-hospitals-told-not-to-fill-vacancies-as-cash-crisis-bites-10436265.html
(4th August) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33767791
(4th August) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/04/nhs-told-to-fill-vacancies-only-where-essential-due-to-looming-funding-crisis
(4th August) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/government-backs-letter-sent-by-national-regulator-urging-nhs-to-freeze-recruitment-10438378.html
(5th August) www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/monitor-claims-it-is-not-telling-trusts-to-stop-hiring-nurses/5089418.article

Less than 1% of hospital consultants use the ‘opt-out’ from weekend working that Jeremy Hunt says is a block to 7 day working and is trying to end, according to foi requests by a junior doctor, with replies from 23 hospital trusts showing 35 out of 5,661 opt-out.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/less-than-one-per-cent-of-nhs-consultants-use-control-loophole-to-opt-out-of-weekend-work-10436080.html

A fifth of GP training places may still be unfilled according to information from the Scottish counterpart to Health Education England (HEE).  HEE has not released or acknowledged the figure but is running a third round of recruitment.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/government-target-for-5000-more-family-doctors-by-2020-jeopardised-as-training-places-for-new-gps-left-unfilled-10436120.html

Everyone should take vitamin D supplements a consultation from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is proposing.  It is said that many people do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight and that the risk of having too much is low.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33757929
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/clinical-news/government-experts-want-everyone-to-take-vitamin-d-supplements/20010670.article

The Chancellor is asking public sector workers to submit ideas for efficiency savings in a survey to be completed by 4th September, in a reprise of a similar initiative in 2010.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/03/george-osborne-public-sector-workers-survey-money-saving-ideas

Cornwall Council and CCG have shelved plans to outsource children’s health and social care services and will instead work on integrating them.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/03/cornwall-council-scraps-privatisation-plans/

A report on the use of contractual mechanisms in the local commissioning of health services has been published by PRUComm (which provides evidence to DH on commissioning policy).  It finds that having a national standard contract is helpful but in practice local areas had more flexible arrangements with most contractual relationship being outside the national tariff rules.  (The report is 164 pages).
http://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/prucomm/2015/08/03/study-on-the-use-of-contractual-mechanisms-in-commissioning-final-report/

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2nd August 2015

The Government has been criticised for its plans to remove financial support for children in families which have not succeeded in their request for asylum.  This is to bring such families into line with those without children where benefits are already withdrawn.  The Refugee Council expressed grave concerns, noting that 30% of appeals were successful.  The Home Office Minister said they wanted to signal that the UK is not “a land of milk and honey.”  The payment to parents and children is £36.95 a week each.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/02/concerns-raised-plan-strip-failed-asylum-seeker-families-benefits
(4th August) http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/04/failed-asylum-seekers-home-office-appeal-rights-uk

~

1st August 2015

The battle between Jeremy Hunt and the BMA over 7 day working continues.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/doctors-declare-war-on-jeremy-hunt-over-weekend-working-myths-10431783.html

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31st July 2015

A consultation on how the proposed £200m, (6.2%), cuts to public health for the current year should be spread amongst local authorities has been issued by DH, with the preferred option the same, flat rate reduction for each.  The LGA said it would impact on councils’ ability to improve public health at a time when there needs to be a move to preventing sickness, given the cuts to public spending.  The consultation is for four weeks until 28th August.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/31/sweeping-cuts-will-harm-efforts-improve-public-health-councils-warn
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7415556/NEWS
(6th August) Blog: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/08/cuts-public-health-spending-falsest-false-economies
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/local-authority-public-health-allocations-2015-to-2016

A ‘support package’ for the new models of care vanguards has been published by NHS England and its Five Year Forward View partners.  The document discusses issues which are arising on areas such as system design, commissioning, finance, empowering patients and communities, technology, workforce, leadership, communications and evaluation.  At various points in the document it also talks about what sort of support will be available from NHS England and others.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning-news/gps-to-be-offered-simplified-conditions-under-plans-to-tempt-practices-away-from-national-contract/20010657.article
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/details-vanguard-support-funding-published
https://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/31/vanguard-support/

The Government is to spend £143m on children’s mental health this year, as compared to the £250m originally planned, as part of the £1.25bn promised in the March budget.  It is still intended to spend the full amount over the course of the Parliament.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33740709
(3rd August) http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/03/cyp-mh-prog-launch/

An autumn obesity strategy is likely to focus on primary school aged children, David Cameron has said, on the grounds that this is when a large increase in weight occurs.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/31/primary-school-children-to-be-target-of-anti-obesity-strategy-jamie-oliver-cameron

Professor Sir Malcolm Grant has been reappointed Chair of NHS England for the next three years.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/31/malcolm-grant/

A briefing paper on health inequalities has been produced by NHS Health Scotland.
http://www.healthscotland.com/documents/25780.aspx

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

31st July 2015

The devolution of health to Manchester and other places will be more constrained so they still have to meet national standards and be subject to national regulators, as a result of a Labour amendment passed in the Lords last week, unless this is reversed in the Commons.  This raises issues about the right balance between national control and devolution.
Feature and comment: http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/jul/31/government-defeat-limits-nhs-devolution

The 23% of people seen three or more times before their cancer was diagnosed were more likely to be dissatisfied with their overall care than those seen once or twice (at 39% dissatisfied compared to 28%), according to an analysis by Cambridge and UCL researchers of 60,000 survey responses published in the European Journal of Cancer Care.  One in seven said that the news of their cancer had been broken to them insensitively.
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3180610/Quarter-cancer-patients-GP-THREE-times-diagnosis-Sufferers-say-sent-away-painkillers-drugs-high-blood-pressure.html
http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/cancer-patients-lose-faith-in-healthcare-system-if-referred-late-by-gp
http://www.cruk.cam.ac.uk/news/latest-news/cancer-patients-lose-faith-healthcare-system-if-referred-late-gp

NICE has issued advice for new mothers on losing weight, suggesting that those who are obese should be given a structured weight loss programme by their GP.  The advice focuses particularly on providing support for disadvantaged mothers and families.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3180721/Six-weeks-shed-baby-weight-GPs-diet-Tens-thousands-new-mothers-considered-overweight-given-weight-loss-plan-birth.html
(Rgn) www.nursingtimes.net/5089341.article

A report on best practice in improving the environment for the care of children and their families commissioned by NHS England has been published by the charity Healthcare Play Specialist Educational Trust.  (As the blog notes, this isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ but can have a physiological and therefore therapeutic impact).
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/31/kath-evans-alison-tonkin/
http://www.hpset.org.uk/environmentsofcare2015.html

CCG Bulletin: Issue 91
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/31/ccg-bull-91/

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30th July 2015

36% of GPs said their ability to refer patients to services had been restricted by their CCG in the last 12 months in a self-selected survey of 652 GPs by Pulse magazine.  Restrictions included refusing hearing aids to people whose hearing loss was not severe enough and requiring patients to go on weight loss programmes before they could have knee or hip replacements.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/commissioning/commissioning-topics/referrals/gps-face-increasing-restrictions-as-nhs-rations-care-to-save-money/20010640.article
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-treatments-such-as-vasectomies-and-hip-operations-to-be-rationed-due-to-costcutting-10424891.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3179327/Vital-surgery-rationed-NHS-bosses-Patients-needing-joint-replacements-hearing-aids-fobbed-managers-desperately-try-save-money.html

NICE is no longer to publish its guidance on safe staffing in A&E.  Last month it was reported that NICE had been told to stop this work, which would be taken on by NHS Improvement (nee Monitor and the TDA).  Then NICE said it would publish its work so far.  It is now reported (and denied) that they have come under pressure from DH and NHSE not to publish, so as not to pre-empt the other work.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5089289.article

An increasing number of NHS trusts are not meeting their targets for the number of registered nurses on day and night shifts with 83% of 135 acute trusts not having met their planning levels in April, compared to 76% in the same month the previous year.  [It looks as though this may be partly due to higher targets after NICE produced staffing guidance for acute wards last year].
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5089260.article

Black men have twice the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with and dying from prostate cancer than white men while Asian men have half the risk compared to white men, according to research by Prostate Cancer UK and Public Health England, published in BMC Medicine based on data on 25.6m men of whom 26,521 died from prostate cancer.  The lifetime risk of dying from prostate cancer is 1 in 12 for black men, 1 in 24 for white men and 1 in 44 for Asian men,
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/30/prostate-cancer-twice-likely-kill-black-men-white-men-study
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3178699/Black-men-TWICE-likely-develop-prostate-cancer-white-men-study-warns.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/prostate-cancer-twice-as-likely-among-black-men-than-white-men-study-finds-10426426.html
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/13/171

The Health Select Committee of the House of Commons is to hold an enquiry on primary care covering issues including: quality of care; access; funding; future models of care; and workforce issues.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/mp-committee-launches-enquiry-into-primary-care/20010653.article
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/news-parliament-20151/primary-care-inquiry-terms-of-reference-15-16/

DH is said to be reconsidering its funding to meet Care Act obligations for two councils, West Berkshire and Wokingham, after they took the government to judicial review.  [They were two of only three councils that previously had a threshold for care of ‘critical’ now reduced to ‘substantial’ under the Care Act.  They claim this will cost them several millions more but that this funding was spread amongst all councils rather than given to them.  I should perhaps declare an interest, being on the Health and Wellbeing Board at West Berkshire].
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/30/government-reconsider-care-act-funding-allocations-bid-quash-legal-challenge/

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29th July 2015

Increasingly overworked GPs are a risk to patient safety, which wouldn’t be allowed for other professionals such as airline pilots or lorry drivers, Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs has said in a discussion paper.  In the five years from 2008-09 to 2013-14 the number of GP appointments rose by 19% but the number of GPs by 4%.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/29/royal-college-gps-dr-maureen-baker-overworked-risk-causing-harm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33680993
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/battling-burnout/gp-fatigue-endangering-patient-safety-rcgp-warns/20010638.article
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3178088/Tired-GPs-pose-threat-patients-health-Medical-chief-warns-growing-risk-doctors-misdiagnosing-illnesses-giving-wrong-medication.html
http://www.rcgp.org.uk/news/2015/july/gp-fatigue-a-risk-to-patient-safety-warns-rcgp.aspx

Draft guidelines for end-of-life care, to replace the Liverpool Care Pathway have been produced by NICE for consultation.  Amongst other things, the new guidance encourages engagement with patients and relatives, better communication, shared decision making and more personalised care.  There are also recommendations around hydration, to ensure patients can drink if they wish to.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33693619
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33701339
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/29/end-of-life-decisions-doctor-new-guidance-nice
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/NICE-produce-new-draft-guideline-on-the-care-of-the-dying.aspx
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/drugs-to-prevent-death-rattle-of-dying-patients-not-justifiable-if-intention-is-only-to-reduce-distress-of-relatives-says-new-guidelines-10422573.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3177974/NHS-forced-tell-doctors-water-dying-watchdog-fears-banned-care-pathway-use.html
(30th July) Rehydrating a patient using a sponge is not necessarily wrong (Rgn): http://www.nursingtimes.net/5089314.article
http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/GID-CGWAVE0694/consultation/care-of-the-dying-adult-draft-guideline-consultation

A review has been launched on whether benefits should be refused to those who refuse treatment for obesity or drug or alcohol dependency.  The review, for which a consultation paper has been issued, is being led by Dame Carol Black and is to be completed by the end of the year.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/29/benefits-drugs-alcohol-obesity-refusing-treatment-review
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/obese-people-who-refuse-to-lose-weight-could-see-benefits-cut-david-cameron-to-announce-10422995.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3177969/Obese-treatment-lose-benefits-says-PM-Cameron-launches-review-work-cost-taxpayers-preventable-conditions.html
Comment piece suggesting that forcing people to receive treatment is probably illegal, unethical and impractical: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/29/coercing-people-mental-health-problems-work-treatment
(31st July) More criticism of the proposals from professionals: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/31/proposals-to-strip-obese-claimants-of-benefits-flawed-and-unethical
(1st August) Comment piece: those addicted to drugs, alcohol or overeating have a responsibility to help themselves: www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3181951/DR-MAX-MIND-DOCTOR-Cutting-benefits-drunks-obese-isn-t-cruel-s-kind.html
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-increase-support-for-benefit-claimants-with-addictions-and-treatable-conditions
(31st July) statistics on the numbers on benefits and getting treatment for drugs or alcohol by local authority area: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/working-age-benefit-recipients-in-drug-or-alcohol-treatment

Antibiotic resistance is widely misunderstood by the public hampering attempts to tackle the problem, according to qualitative research by the Wellcome Trust.  There is a common perception that the resistance is in the individual rather than the infection and so people don’t feel the problem affects them.  Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer is reported as saying that modern medicine is finished unless the problem is confronted.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3178432/Antibiotic-resistance-end-modern-medicine-UK-s-chief-doctor-issues-stark-warning-study-reveals-don-t-know-term-really-means.html
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2015/WTP059555.htm

A private GP service offering consultations via video link for £25, ‘Push Doctor’, has been launched.  It has a network of 7,000 GPs, available from 6am to 10pm.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/new-online-gp-service-offers-25-video-consultations/20010641.article

A report, “The determinants of health inequities experienced by children with learning disabilities” has been published by Public Health England.
http://www.improvinghealthandlives.org.uk/publications/313899/The_determinants_of_health_inequities_experienced_by_children_with_learning_disabilities

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28th July 2015

GPs in the north west are being offered incentives to not refer patients for procedures of ‘low clinical value’ such as hip and knee surgery and cataract operations, as a way of saving money.  It has been criticised by the BMA as potentially allowing financial considerations to influence clinical decisions.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3177409/GPs-offered-cash-incentives-worth-200-000-NOT-sending-patients-hospital-routine-op-hip-replacements-cataracts.html

A new draft ‘Service Model’ providing a national framework for caring for people with learning disabilities has been produced by NHS England, the LGA and ADASS.  It includes 9 overarching principles for what good care looks like.  There is to be further testing and consultation on the model before it is finalised in the autumn.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/28/ld-transforming-care/

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27th July 2015

Home care could face catastrophic failure from the new ‘living wage’ with many businesses going bust unless more funding is put into the sector, according to the UK Homecare Association.  Councils currently pay an average of £13.66 an hour for services, but the UKHCA says a minimum of £16.70 an hour is needed.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/27/cost-national-living-wage-trigger-catastrophic-failure-homecare
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33678919
(28th July) http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/28/cost-implementing-living-wage-leave-home-care-market-unviable-providers-warn/
The letter (pdf) http://www.ukhca.co.uk/pdfs/UKHCAOpenLettertoChancellor.Final.20150727.pdf

A petition call on Jeremy Hunt to resign has gained 196,000 signatures and Andy Burnham says he will apply for a debate on it when the House of Commons returns from its recess.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/burnham-promises-to-ask-for-hunt-no-confidence-debate/20010615.article

Hospitals have 77% fewer consultants working at weekends than during the week according to data on 14,500 consultants in English hospitals, analysed in an interim report from the High-Intensity Specialist-Led Acute Care project.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3175504/How-weekend-hospitals-66-cent-fewer-doctors-duty-just-tenth-number-consultants-week-row-seven-day-NHS-grows.html

Obesity is associated with a greater risk of getting Alzheimer’s because of greater Insulin resistance according to US research which looked at brain scans of 150 late middle aged adults, which found less blood sugar in areas susceptible to Alzheimer’s.  The research was published in the American Medical Association Neurology.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5089223.article

The NHS Constitution has been updated to take account of current policy and legislation, including on care standards, closing the gap between physical and mental health and the duty of candour.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nhs-constitution-and-handbook-updated

Tesco is to stop selling a number of added sugar children’s drinks from the beginning of September.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3175463/Sugary-Ribena-axed-Tesco-supermarket-removes-raft-popular-children-s-drinks.html

A scorecard showing local authorities’ success in getting 16-19 year olds into education, employment or training has been launched by DfE.  The intention is to publish the data every summer.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/scorecards-launched-to-help-councils-reduce-young-people-neet

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26th July 2015

Benefit sanctions should be put on hold because of a lack of evidence on their effectiveness in getting people back into work according to the Government’s Social Security Advisory Committee.  The Committee also raises concerns about plans for financial penalties if people on universal credit do not increase their hours or take better paid jobs when encouraged to do so.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/26/benefit-sanctions-review-urged-amid-concern-over-regimes-effectiveness

Minority ethnic Britons were twice as likely to lose out from the budget as white Britons with 4m black and minority ethnic people likely to be worse off, according to a report from the Runnymede Trust.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/26/black-minority-ethnic-britons-budget-george-osborne-benefit-cuts

Well off parents are creating a ‘glass floor’ for their children enabling them to succeed even if less capable than their more disadvantaged counterparts, according to research from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission based on data on 17,000 Britons born in 1970.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/26/well-off-families-create-glass-floor-to-ensure-childrens-success-says-study

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25th July 2015

Shelving the £72k care cap could cost £50-100m because of the work which has already been done preparing for it, including fees to Saatchi and Saatchi to promote it.  Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Health Select Committee has said Jeremy Hunt will be called before the committee in September to explain the change.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/25/jeremy-hunt-backlash-axing-elderly-care-cap-policy
Background and analysis on the care cap delay: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33624728
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/publications/

A new weight loss calculator has been produced by the US Government’s National Institute of Health, which works out how many calories you need to consume, taking into account physical activity, to reach a target weight.  [I wouldn’t normally include items like this but this one seems interesting: it’s a mathematical algorithm based on all the latest research].
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/new-weightloss-tool-designed-by-the-us-government-may-be-the-most-scientifically-accurate-dieting-guide-to-date-10415542.html

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

24th July 2015

Seven day working could cost the NHS £3bn a year according to calculations by Dr Morton’s, a new, online, medical helpline.  This is based on assessing the extra costs for one GP practice and applying that to all 8,000 practices.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/24/jeremy-hunts-seven-day-plan-for-gp-surgeries-could-cost-nhs-3bn-a-year

The NHS has announced 8 vanguard sites to pilot new approaches to urgent and emergency care.  The aim is to improve integration between primary, secondary and community services through such things as GP services in hospitals, mobile treatment centres using ambulance staff and more mental health street triage services.  The vanguard sites are: south Devon and Torbay; North East England; West Yorkshire; Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland; south Nottinghamshire, Cambridge and Peterborough; Solihull; the West Midlands; and East London (including Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge).
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/24/nhs-england-announces-eight-vanguard-areas-emergency-care-targets
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/commissioning/commissioning-topics/urgent-care/gps-to-work-in-aes-and-mobile-care-units-as-nhs-england-announces-eight-new-vanguards/20010601.article
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/24/nhs-launches-next-step-of-urgent-care-review/

The chances of surviving a major trauma injury have increase by 50% in 3 years according to research by the Trauma Audit and Research Network.  It is thought that the improvement may be due to taking people to major specialist hospitals rather than the closest ones.  The approach is now to be rolled out to 23 specialist centres for stroke, heart attack and aneurysm.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/trauma-survival-rates-rise-by-50-per-cent-according-to-nhs-england-10411918.html
https://www.tarn.ac.uk/Content.aspx?c=3477

There was an increase in waiting times for elective surgery last year according to the Patients’ Association, using NHS figures, with 50,000 people having waited more than 18 weeks for one of seven procedures.  According to the Patients’ Association, in 2010 none of the procedures had an average waiting time of more than 90 days, whereas they now all do.  The NHS is quoted as saying that waiting times for operations are near an all time low and that the average waiting time is less than 10 weeks.  [No, me neither …]
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/24/nhs-waiting-times-elective-surgery-spike-patients-association-report
(pdf) http://www.patients-association.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/crunch-time1.pdf

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23rd July 2015

The proportion of 11-15 year olds who have ever smoked has fallen to 18%, the lowest figure since records began in 1982, while 22%, had tried e-cigarettes, but only 1% ‘vaped’ at least once a week.  The survey of 6,173 pupils in 210 schools was undertaken by NatCen Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research and published by HSCIC.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33635571
(24th July) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3172822/Pupils-prefer-e-cigs-real-things-one-five-admit-trying-vaping-past-year-compared-18-smoked.html
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/smoking-drinking-and-drug-use-among-young-people-in-england-2014
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6555/More-than-a-fifth-of-young-people-have-tried-e-cigarettes

The proportion of 16-24 year olds who took ecstasy last year at 5.4% was the highest for 10 years, with increases also for cannabis, LSD and powder cocaine according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.  There was an increase over the year in those taking ecstasy of 84% and of LSD 175%.  Only 0.4% of young people had taken LSD.  About 3% of 16-24 year olds had taken new psychoactive substances (NPS) in the last year.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3172049/Young-people-taking-ecstasy-hits-11-year-high-cannabis-cocaine-use-rises.html
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/23/ecstasy-and-lsd-use-reaches-new-high-among-young

Over 50 year olds who are healthy, well educated, socially active and (for women) with a higher income have been found to be a greater risk of harmful drinking than others, according to a study of more than 9,000 over 50 year olds based on the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, published in the BMJ Open.  Around 3-7% of over 50s drank at ‘high risk’ levels.
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Is-there-really-a-middle-class-drinking-epidemic-in-over-50s.aspx
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/23/harmful-drinking-among-middle-class-over-50s-is-a-hidden-phenomenon
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3172734/Middle-class-drink-epidemic-Affluent-50s-sleep-walking-health-crisis-likely-consume-harmful-levels-alcohol-week.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/older-people-drinking-at-harmful-levels-is-a-hidden-middle-class-phenomenon-say-experts-10412562.html
http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/7/e007684.full

A new, national ‘Fit for Work’ service starts this week, offering help to those who have been signed off for 4 weeks or more, to avoid them going onto long-term sickness absence.  The DWP scheme had previously been piloted in several areas.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/national-service-for-gps-to-refer-long-term-sick-for-occupational-therapy-goes-live/20010593.article

Poor self-esteem and body image at an early age increases the risk of eating disorders in teenage years according to research by King’s College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Harvard, based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children involving over 6,000 children, and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/23/basis-for-eating-disorders-found-in-children-as-young-as-eight
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3171612/Children-young-eight-unhappy-body-image.html
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Unhealthy-thinking-about-body-and-weight-can-start-in-childhood.aspx

A new NICE quality standard on preventing obesity in young people says that health visitors and school nurses should be aware of weight management programmes available for young people in their area.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5088159.article
https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/QS94

Using the term ‘frail’ should be avoided as it can provoke negative reactions according to a survey of older people commissioned by Age UK and the British Geriatrics Society.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5088156.article

NHS Providers are launching a commission on how to reduce delayed hospital discharges, ‘Right Time, Right Place’ and will be calling for evidence.
Feature: http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/jul/23/patient-discharge-hospitals-frailty-factories

~

22nd July 2015

Two reports have called for an NHS ‘transformation fund’ to provide the initial investment to produce future savings.  The Health Foundation and King’s Fund are proposing £1.5bn a year (in addition to the £8bn promised by 2020).  The IPPR are also calling for such a fund.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33618556
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/think-tanks-echo-confed-call-for-transformation-fund
(21st July) http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/press/press-releases/making-change-happen-transformation-fund-nhs
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/making-change-possible

The GP workload could be better managed by employing a wider range of practice staff such as administrative assistants, paramedics to assess requests for home visits and physician associates, according to a review commissioned by Health Education England, ‘The Future of Primary Care: creating teams for tomorrow’.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/education/trial-admin-assistants-and-paramedics-to-reduce-gp-workload-says-landmark-review/20010575.article
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/primary-care-road-map-grounded-patient-provider-needs
http://hee.nhs.uk/work-programmes/primary-and-community-care-programme/primary-care-workforce-commission/

The rate of suicides amongst 45-54 year old men rose by 37%, from 179 to 245 per 100k, and that for 55-4 year olds rose by 29% (from 150 to 194 per 100k) between a low point in 2006 and 2013 across the UK, according to a report by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People With Mental Illness.  There was a particularly high rise of 73% in male mental health patients aged 45-54 (though this is for numbers rather than a rate, so the rise in the population plays a role).  There has been a rise of 29% since 2006 of suicides in men under the care of the mental health system, reaching 1,239 in a year.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/22/suicide-rate-middle-age-men-mental-health-up-73-per-cent
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33617635
Sending acutely ill mental health patients out of area increases the risk of suicide after they have been discharged: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/22/sending-acutely-ill-mental-health-patients-area-increases-post-discharge-suicide-risk/
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/national-confidential-inquiry-publishes-annual-report
Press release: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/article/?id=14874
The report: http://www.bbmh.manchester.ac.uk/cmhs/research/centreforsuicideprevention/nci/

Watchdog has made substantial progress says watchdog – that’s the NAO talking about the CQC.  After facing substantial criticisms in 2010-11, the CQC has largely turned itself around, although it now has to deal with having brought in many new staff in a short period of time.
http://www.nao.org.uk/press-releases/capacity-and-capability-to-regulate-the-quality-and-safety-of-health-and-adult-social-care-2/

A campaign group of GPs, GPSurvival has 2,900 members already and is due to be launched shortly to push for sustainable workloads, fairer funding and the promotion of general practice.  It started as a social media group.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/political/political-news/gp-pressure-group-launched-with-2500-members/20010574.article

A report, ‘Powerful people: Reinforcing the power of citizens and communities in health and care’ is published by IPPR.
http://www.ippr.org/publications/powerful-people-reinforcing-the-power-of-citizens-and-communities-in-health-and-care

~

21st July 2015

The spending review has been kicked off with government departments being asked to model spending cuts of 25% and 40% by 2019-20, with cabinet ministers setting out the proposals for their departments by October and the final review published on 25th November.  Health, overseas aid and defence continue to be protected together with spending per pupil.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/21/spending-review-george-osborne-20bn-savings-clear-deficit
(24th July) Comment and analysis: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/jul/24/six-reasons-20-billion-pound-savings-difficult-whitehall-spending-review

New standards for the provision of heart surgery are being proposed at the end of a two year review, which followed an earlier attempt to reorganise children’s heart surgery.  This review, which also covers adults, is proposing standards which will maintain specialisation and expertise.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33616595

Many vulnerable people are being discharged unsafely from hospital according to the results of a ‘special enquiry’ by Healthwatch England.  The study looked at the experiences of 3,000 older or homeless people or those with mental health problems.  More than half of hospitals did not record whether the patient had a safe home to return to, according to foi requests from 120 NHS trusts.  Examples given included: an 81 year old stroke victim discharged by taxi at 10.30pm without his family being told; a suicidal patient discharged in cold weather without a coat, food or money; and a homeless person discharged without being asked about her housing situation and without transport.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/many-patients-get-more-sick-because-hospitals-send-them-home-too-soon-patient-safety-group-claims-10403144.html
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/21/healthwatch-hospitals-discharging-vulnerable-patients-lack-of-care-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33598698
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3168955/Elderly-rushed-hospitals-unsafe-homes.html
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/healthwatch-calls-for-change-to-discharge-process
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5088099.article
http://www.healthwatch.co.uk/safely-home

The £146m provided to councils to implement the care cap should not be clawed back now that the cap has been delayed until 2019-20, ADASS and the County Councils’ Network have said.  There is also doubt about how much of the £6bn saved from the delay will find its way into adult social care budgets, (which was the reason the LGA proposed it to the Government).
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/21/government-must-claw-back-funding-care-cap-shelving-policy-warn-councils/

The proportion of people with dementia admitted to hospital in an emergency rose by 48% between 2008-09 and 2012-13, according to a report from Public Health England, which argues that more needs to be done to improve the care of people with dementia.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/improved-recognition-of-dementia-symptoms-by-health-professionals

The fit note programme has not helped get people back to work with 43% of 345 companies surveyed saying fit notes were not helping employees back to work.  The survey was commissioned by EEF, the industry body for engineering and manufacturing.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/gp-fit-note-programme-has-failed-to-get-people-back-into-work/20010570.article

There are cases of FGM in every local authority area, affecting 137,000 women and girls, according to research by City University and Equality Now.  The highest rates were in London, followed by Manchester, Slough, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/21/fgm-affects-females-in-every-local-authority-in-england-and-wales-study
(22nd July) http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/22/councils-urged-step-safeguarding-female-genital-mutilation/

Sugary drinks could help cause Type 2 diabetes independently of the effect on obesity according to a systematic review of 17 observational studies by Cambridge University researchers, although no causation could be proven.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/21/sugary-drinks-may-cause-type-2-diabetes-regardless-of-size-research-says
(22nd July) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33608726
(22nd July) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3170306/Sugary-drinks-linked-8-000-Type-2-diabetes-cases-year.html
(22nd July) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Sugary-drinks-linked-to-8000-new-diabetes-cases-a-year.aspx

Foundation Trusts as a whole were in deficit last year for the first time, with over half losing money and a fifth in breach of their licence, according to Monitor’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2014-15.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/regulator-helps-nhs-providers-ensure-sustainable-healthcare-for-patients

Public health messages could be spread via other occupations who have contact with the public including cleaners, hairdressers and postal workers, according to a report from the Royal Society for Public Health, ‘Rethinking the Public Health Workforce’.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/21/get-tip-from-barmaid-pub-staff-could-spread-public-health-message
https://www.rsph.org.uk/en/about-us/latest-news/press-releases/press-release1.cfm/pid/26C2063A-ADE4-4DD1-AD2B29626D32B7E9
http://www.cfwi.org.uk/news/new-report-offers-first-insight-into-the-size-and-scope-of-the-wider-public-health-workforce-in-england

Up to half of GP training places have not been filled in some parts of the country, according to figures from HEE seen by Pulse Magazine, which were subsequently withdrawn on the grounds that they had data errors.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/education/half-of-gp-training-places-unfilled-in-some-areas/20010555.article

What may have been an inappropriate request for health data was made by the PM’s challenge fund as part of the process of developing seven day working.  Although there were asking for ‘de-identified’ information from IT companies, it is argued that individuals could have been identified and that GPs, as data controllers should have been asked.  The information is no longer being requested from the IT companies and is being sought from GPs instead.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/21/pm-plans-patient-data-grab-proposals-seven-day-nhs
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/nhs-england-to-ask-gps-for-information-on-appointments-to-support-seven-day-working/20010562.article

A report, ‘The NHS in 2030: a people-powered and knowledge-powered health system’, is published by NESTA.
http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/nhs-2030-people-powered-and-knowledge-powered-health-system

A report, ‘New organisational models of primary care to meet the future needs of the NHS’, looking at new models for delivering primary care, based on reports from professional bodies and policy-focused organisations has been produced for HEE by the Rand Corporation.
http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1181.html

Department of Health annual report and accounts for 2014-15 have been published.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-of-health-annual-report-and-accounts-2014-to-2015

~

20th July 2015

The new benefit cap levels will make large parts of the South East and South West unaffordable to many poorer families, according to research by Shelter.  Research by the CAB suggests 90,000 families will be affected immediately by the new cap.  The Government’s impact assessment says that 330,000 children will be affected by the cap.  59% of those affected will be single mothers.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/20/lower-benefit-caps-exclude-poor-families-make-cities-unaffordable
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/20/benefit-cuts-to-hit-huge-number-of-children-government-figures-show

A campaign to improve wheelchair provision has been launched by the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance.  70% of patients have to wait for more than three months for a wheelchair.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/20/wheelchair-users-to-launch-challenge-to-improve-nhs-service
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33595627

Two thirds (67%) of headteachers were concerned about their pupils’ mental health according to a survey of 1,180 headteachers by Key, an organisation that provides management support to schools.  Only 14% expressed a similar concern in last year’s survey.  The next biggest concerns were domestic violence (58%) and cyberbullying (55%).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33566813
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/headteachers-say-mental-health-issues-among-children-are-a-growing-problem-in-schools-10400395.html

The number of people donating organs after their death fell by 3% last year, the first fall in 11 years.  The number of transplants fell by 5% from 4,655 to 4,431.  Wales is to move to an opt out system from December 2015.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/20/organ-donations-after-death-falls-first-time-11-years
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/224-fewer-people-received-an-organ-transplants-over-201415-period-as-number-of-donations-has-fallen-for-the-first-time-in-a-decade-10400477.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3167612/Plea-organ-donors-number-transplant-operations-falls-time-decade.html

The number of people hospitalised for obesity related health problems has doubled in four years to 530,000 according to figures from the HSCIC.  It includes admissions for heart attacks, sleep problems and arthritis.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3167839/Number-patients-hospitalised-obesity-doubles.html

Access to weight management services is being rationed according to 49% of respondents to a survey of 100 people working in public health by the Royal Society for Public Health, with 44% saying exercise referral schemes were being rationed.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/20/rationing-weight-management-health-nhs
https://www.rsph.org.uk/en/about-us/latest-news/press-releases/press-release1.cfm/pid/DBD993A9-1590-4884-965F31860CB4A1C8

A twitter campaign reveals that many medics were working in hospitals over the weekend in response to Jeremy Hunt’s comments on 7 day working (#ImInWorkJeremy)
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/20/iminworkjeremy-doctors-working-weekend-selfies-open-letters-jeremy-hunt-nhs
Letters in response to the proposals: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/20/weekend-hospital-work-needs-weekend-backup-mr-hunt
Comment piece: http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/jul/21/doctors-decisions-ill-informed-jeremy-hunt-people-die-iminworkjeremy
21/7/15: petition calling for Jeremy Hunt’s resignation: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/petitions-for-hunts-removal-as-health-secretary-approach-100000-mark/20010556.article
22/7/15: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3170906/Now-doctor-reveals-gets-paid-minimum-wage-extra-work-Angry-consultant-blasts-Health-Secretary-paid-2-61-hour-call.html 

The full potential of community services could be missed in the development of new models of care according to a briefing paper from the NHS Confederation, suggesting that more links be made between community and primary care.  The paper is: ‘The art of the possible – what role for community health services in reshaping care?’
http://www.nhsconfed.org/media-centre/2015/07/the-art-of-the-possible-community-health-services-role-in-new-care-models
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/new-care-models-risk-overlooking-community-health

An annual report on government funded research on assistive technology for disabled and older people, has been published by DH.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assistive-technology-research-and-development

~

19th July 2015

A 5 year cancer plan, promising diagnoses within four weeks by 2020 has been proposed by an independent task force and accepted by NHS England.  The plan would cost £400m a year, but should produce savings of the same amount.  It should help an additional 30,000 patients survive for 10 years.  The plan proposes six strategic priorities.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/19/cancer-taskforce-tells-nhs-get-up-to-date-and-save-30000-lives-a-year
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33574233
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/cancer/patients-to-be-given-a-guarantee-of-a-cancer-diagnosis-within-four-weeks/20010544.article
(20th July) (Rgn) All cancer patients should have access to a specialist nurse: http://www.nursingtimes.net/5088061.article
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/19/57176/

~

18th July 2015

The £22bn in efficiency savings cannot be achieved and the Government will have to provide more than the promised £8bn a year by 2020, senior officials at NHS England are said to have told the Observer, with one saying that £15bn is the likely maximum.  The view is shared by others in the health world, but DH is saying that was what was agreed and the NHS must now keep its side of the bargain.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/18/nhs-short-target-22bn-savings

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

18th July 2015

Every restaurant, pub and cinema chain should display the calorie content of its food and drink on a voluntary basis, the LGA has said.  Such a mandatory scheme is currently being implemented across the USA.  The LGA is also calling for £1bn from VAT receipts to be given to local government for preventative schemes.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33567357
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/pubs-and-restaurants-urged-to-display-calories-on-their-menus-by-council-leaders-10397571.html
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7395971/NEWS

~

17th July 2015

The new cap on care costs of £72k is to be delayed until 2020, rather than being introduced in April 2016 as promised in the Conservative manifesto.  This follows a suggestion by the LGA that the implementation of the policy be delayed to find more money for social care which is struggling as a result of Government cuts.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/17/lifetime-cap-care-costs-deferred-2020
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33552279
Responses: http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/jul/17/care-costs-cap-delay-government-urged-to-resolve-funding-crisis
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/17/government-shelves-care-act-funding-reforms-2020/
(20th July) blog: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/07/paying-care-back-square-one
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delay-in-the-implementation-of-the-cap-on-care-costs

Services for young people in local authority care have deteriorated for seven consecutive years with cuts and poor management leading to a third of those leaving after the age of 16 doing so before they were 18 according to a report by the NAO.  Only 8 of 151 councils in England know where young people who have left their care are living.  The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier, accused councils of turning their backs on young people leaving their care.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/17/care-leavers-support-deteriorating-national-audit-office-report
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33551256
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/17/care-leaver-support-remains-ineffective-finds-spending-watchdog/
Press release: http://www.nao.org.uk/press-releases/care-leavers-transitions-to-adulthood-3/
Full report: http://www.nao.org.uk/report/care-leavers-transitions-to-adulthood/
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/chairs-statement-care-leavers-transition-to-adulthood-15-16/

The recommended daily consumption of sugar should be halved to 5% of daily calories, or about seven teaspoons, according to advice to the Government from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.  This excludes the sugar found naturally such as in fruit and milk.  The Government said it is accepting the recommendations and will use them in developing a national strategy on childhood obesity.
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Sugar-intake-should-be-drastically-reduced-says-report.aspx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33551501
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/17/cut-recommended-daily-allowance-sugar-5-percent-daily-calories-report
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/parents-urged-to-cut-sugary-drinks-out-of-their-childrens-diets-following-landmark-report-10395103.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3164107/Eat-no-SEVEN-teaspoons-sugar-day-say-Government-advisers-recommend-slashing-intake-HALF-just-one-Coke.html
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-urges-parents-to-cut-sugary-drinks-from-childrens-diets
Evidence and explanation for the recommendations (31pp): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacns-sugars-and-health-recommendations-why-5
The full report (384pp): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-carbohydrates-and-health-report

Simon Stevens suggests retailers should increase the price of junk food and sugary drinks to pay for the new ‘living wage’.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/supermarkets-should-charge-extra-for-junk-food-and-sugary-drinks-to-raise-money-to-pay-new-living-wage-says-nhs-chief-10396994.html

The indirect cost of physical inactivity is 9.4bn Euros a year in the UK and costs the European economy 80bn Euros a year, according to a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, commissioned by the International Sport and Culture Association.
http://www.ukhealthforum.org.uk/prevention/pie/?entryid43=42249
http://www.cebr.com/reports/the-costs-of-inactivity-in-europe/

~

16th July 2015

Jeremy Hunt’s vision for the next 25 years of the NHS, are set out in a speech at the King’s Fund.  As well as the bigger announcements, listed separately, were: a new Independent Patient Safety Investigation Service; work to continue on safe staffing levels at the new NHS Improvement (the old Monitor/TDA); an international improvement ‘buddying’ programme, initially with Virginia Mason in Seattle and increased choice in maternity and end of life services and for those with long term conditions. (See also Hunt issues ultimatum to BMA, GPs to give patients CQC ratings of hospitals and speculation on views about future funding of the NHS).
Useful summary with analysis and comment: http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/jul/17/jeremy-hunt-vision-nhs
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/hunt-unveils-plans-profoundly-transform-nhs-culture
King’s Fund blog – improvement to come from within rather than top down: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/07/no-more-inner-stalin-can-jeremy-hunt-deliver-his-vision-nhs

Jeremy Hunt has issued an ultimatum to the BMA on consultants working at weekends, saying he would impose new conditions forcing new consultants to work weekends without overtime, if an agreement could not be reached by September.  In the acrimonious verbal spat, Hunt says that 6,000 people a year die because of poorer services at the weekend and the BMA says the Government has not said how the changes would be paid for.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33542940
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/16/nhs-consultants-given-ultimatum-on-weekend-working
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/new-doctors-will-be-forced-to-work-weekends-in-sevenday-nhs-plan-10391641.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3163057/Top-doctors-told-work-weekends-Health-Secretary-takes-touch-consultants-halt-scandal-high-death-rates.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/access/hunt-ive-yet-to-meet-a-doctor-who-doesnt-want-seven-day-working/20010531.article
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/16/why-jeremy-hunt-wrong-nhs-medical-staff-respond
The speech: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/making-healthcare-more-human-centred-and-not-system-centred
(13th August) reference to the research justifying the figure of 6,000 excess deaths associated with weekend admissions:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-risk-of-death-associated-with-weekend-hospitalisation/higher-risk-of-death-associated-with-weekend-hospitalisation

Jeremy Hunt says GPs should tell patients the CQC ratings and waiting times of the hospitals they could be referred to, from next year as part of the new electronic booking system replacing choose and book.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/political/political-news/gps-told-to-inform-patients-of-hospitals-cqc-ratings-and-waiting-times/20010529.article
(17th July) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3164656/GPs-help-patients-choose-best-hospital.html

The new chair of both Monitor and the TDA is Ed Smith, currently vice-chairman of NHS England.  The new merged body is to be known as NHS Improvement.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/16/app-combined-chair/

Changes to arrangements for assessing safe staffing.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5087968.article

Jeremy Hunt says it would take a huge effort to maintain the NHS as a fully taxpayer funded service echoing comments last week by health minister David Prior that ‘if demand for healthcare outstrips growth in the economy for a long period’ then the taxpayer funded system would need to be questioned.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/a-huge-effort-is-required-to-keep-nhs-fully-funded-by-the-taxpayer-says-jeremy-hunt-10394226.html
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/16/jeremy-hunt-raises-doubts-about-long-term-future-of-free-nhs

Plans for 7 day working in health could be undermined by staff shortages and employees leaving if unsocial hours payments are cut according the NHS Pay Review Body which recommends pay levels for non-medical staff.  It said the experience of sites piloting seven day working was that there was a need for investment of extra resources, particularly staff.  There was a danger otherwise of damaging morale, motivation and employee relations, exacerbating existing staff shortages and risking existing good will.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/16/seven-day-nhs-plan-could-lead-to-big-staff-shortages-says-pay-review
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/enabling-the-delivery-of-healthcare-services-every-day-of-the-week

Two thirds (66%) of NHS trusts are predicting a deficit this year with more than 60% of trust finance directors saying the recent measures to control agency staff spending will not have a significant effect, according to the latest King’s Fund quarterly survey.  Three quarters of trusts are intending to recruit more permanent nurses this year suggesting quality of care and safety are being prioritised over finances.
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/press/press-releases/new-controls-unlikely-have-much-impact-agency-spending-nhs-heads-financial

Climate change and ‘the degradation of natural systems’ threatens to undo the health improvements of the last century according to the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3163920/Major-gains-human-health-150-years-REVERSED-climate-change-Earth-s-natural-resources-running-major-report-warns.html
http://www.thelancet.com/commissions/planetary-health

Lord Rose’s NHS leadership review, ‘Better Leadership for Tomorrow’, which was delayed before the election, has been published.  It says that the NHS has a chronic shortage of good leaders, that the pace of change in the NHS is unsustainably high, that the bureaucratic and regulatory burden is becoming unsupportable, that there should be more recruitment from outside the NHS and that the NHS Leadership Academy needs to be strengthened.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/33556649
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-has-a-chronic-shortage-of-good-leaders-report-claims-10394623.html
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/better-leadership-for-tomorrow-nhs-leadership-review

Almost two thirds of children in poverty are in working families according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies [it doesn’t say whether or not these were ‘hard working’ families].  This was the result of more children living in working families alongside falls in real earnings, leading to the proportion of children living in a working family rising from 54% in 2009-10 to 63% in 2013-14.  While average incomes are slowly rising, income inequality is back to the levels of a decade or two ago.  The report, ‘Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2015’, was funded by the JRF and ESRC.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/16/ifs-majority-poor-children-working-families-study
http://www.ifs.org.uk/events/1161
The report: http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7878

The Government’s response to three reports on patient safety, the Francis report, the report on Morecombe Bay and a select committee report on investigating clinical incidents in the NHS, is published by DH.  Common themes include openness and honesty, listening to patients, families and staff, finding and facing the truth, learning from failures and people and professionalism.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/learning-not-blaming-response-to-3-reports-on-patient-safety

A review on how to reduce regulation on care homes has been launched by the Government (alongside reviews in four other sectors: energy, waste, agriculture and mineral extraction).
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/16/government-launches-review-slash-red-tape-care-homes/
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/javid-launches-new-drive-to-cut-red-tape

One in 210 obese men and one in 124 obese women returned to a normal weight according to research on the records of 279,000 people between 2004-14 by King’s College, published in the American Journal of Public Health.  One in 12 obese men reduced their weight by 5% in any given year but of these 53% had regained the weight within a year.  The researchers said this meant efforts should be focussed on stopping people gaining weight.  [It is not clear whether these were people actually trying to lose weight]
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33551498
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/obese-men-have-just-a-1-in-210-chance-of-attaining-a-healthy-body-weight-10394887.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3164042/Majority-people-pile-pounds-never-lose-them.html
(20th July) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Claims-that-obese-people-have-a-slim-chance-of-weight-loss.aspx

A new ‘devolution deal’ for Cornwall will make it easier “to work with local health organisations on a plan for integrating health and social care services”, give some powers over bus franchising and some economic development powers.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cornwall-to-be-first-county-to-gain-historic-new-powers

Various payment methods to promote integration such as capitation and approaches to multilateral gain/loss are described in a series of guidance papers from Monitor.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/different-payment-approaches-to-support-new-care-models

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15th July 2015

Inpatient psychiatric patients are having to be cared for long distances away from home, according to interim findings from a review led by Lord Crisp, commissioned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, but this was thought to be mainly because about 16% of patients were well enough to be discharged but did not have supported accommodation they could move into, rather than because of the cuts the service has experienced.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33532591
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/15/cuts-acute-psychiatric-care-too-far-inquiry
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/15/mental-health-beds-crisis-driven-discharge-delays-finds-report/
http://www.caapc.info/

There was an increase of 23% in the number of mental health patients sent out of their local area for inpatient care in 2014-15 compared to the previous year, according to foi responses received by Community Care from 37 of the 56 mental health trusts, an increase from 3,611 to 4,447 patients.  This analysis suggests that local bed shortages rather than clinical need accounted for 88% of the out of area placements.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33535864
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/15/mental-health-patients-sent-hundreds-miles-beds-area-placements-rise-23-per-cent/

The number of teenage pregnancies is at its lowest level since 1946 according to figures from ONS.  The average age of mothers in the UK is now 30.2.  However the UK’s rate of live births for 15-19 year olds per 1,000 women is the fourth highest in the EU at 19.7, compared to a EU average of 12.6.
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/15/teenage-pregnancies-uk-drops-lowest-level-70-years

A consultation on the methodology for joint inspections into how local services work together to safeguard vulnerable children has been launched by Ofsted, the CQC, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Inspectorate of Probation.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-joint-inspections-to-hold-agencies-to-account
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/joint-targeted-area-inspections

‘Case management’ (or having a named GP) does not reduce costs, the use of secondary care or mortality, although it did increase patient satisfaction, according to a study from the University of Manchester reviewing 37 papers, due to be published in the journal PLoS ONE.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/case-management-has-no-effect-on-outcomes-or-costs-find-researchers/20010505.article

Guidance on the friends and family test has been updated to include provisions on making it more accessible to groups such as looked after children, people with learning disabilities, dementia, language and literacy issues and those who are deaf and deafblind.  The changes should be implemented from October 2015 at the latest.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/15/making-nhs-patient-feedback-more-inclusive/
http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/pe/fft/fft-guidance/

Children suffering even mild depression, anxiety or behavioural problems were six times more likely to be less successful later in life according to research on 1,420 people from North Carolina, published in JAMA Psychiatry.  In a separate piece of research two gene variants have been identified as being associated with severe depression.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3162535/Depression-really-run-families-Scientists-finally-discover-two-gene-variations-linked-condition.html

A third of hospital patients who needed help eating did not receive it and 23% of patients said they had encountered poor or inconsistent standards of dignity and respect, according to LSE research based on NHS data.  However the data was from the Adult Inpatient Survey 2012 and the CQC says the situation has improved since then and in its latest survey 5% reported not being helped with food and 81% said they were always treated with dignity and respect, although there was considerable variation between trusts.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/15/nhs-care-of-elderly-patients-often-poor-and-lacking-dignity-report-says
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33532483
http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2015/07/Older-hospital-patients-face-widespread-and-systematic-pattern-of-poor-care.aspx

The number of diabetics having amputations is around 7,000 a year, according to Diabetes UK, which although the highest level ever, represents a fall in terms of the proportion of the population.  About 3.9m people in the UK have diabetes.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/15/rise-diabetes-amputations-figures
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3161552/135-diabetes-amputations-week-Obesity-blamed-17-rise-operations.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/diabetes-causing-record-high-of-135-amputations-a-week-charity-warns-10389544.html

A five year experiment to test the effectiveness of mindfulness in schools is to start late next year.  Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the £6.4m study will be carried out by Oxford University, UCL and the Medical Research Council and will involve about 6,000 11-14 year olds in 76 schools.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33540242
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/15/mindfulness-study-meditation-7000-teenagers-impact

The CQC publishes examples of outstanding practice in GP surgeries that it has found in its inspections.
(16th July) http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/jul/16/outstanding-gps-patients-cqc-inspection
http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/cqc-publishes-examples-outstanding-practice-new-online-toolkit-gps

NESTA launches ‘Health Lab’ – a series of programmes building on its work on health and ageing.  It will focus on dealing with intractable health issues through relationships and behaviour (such as peer support) and the use of digital technology.
http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/nesta-launches-health-lab

A report looking at how financial incentives to health providers can improve engagement with patients, has been produced by the NHS South East Commissioning Support Unit.
http://www.southeastcsu.nhs.uk/Pages/News/CQUIN-report.aspx

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14th July 2015

One in 28 (3.6%) of deaths in NHS hospitals could be attributed to poor care according to research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published in the BMJ.  However, the two main measures used to assess mortality, the hospital standardised mortality ratio (HSMR) and the summary hospital-level mortality indicator (SHMI) are not reliable measures of how many deaths were ‘preventable’ or as indicators of quality.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/14/avoidable-deaths-nhs-hospitals-study
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/5087912.article
http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3239

Up to 35,000 people with learning disabilities could be being prescribed medication without appropriate clinical justification, according to a report from Public Health England, with two other reports on the subject from the CQC and NHS Improving Quality.  Antipsychotics and antidepressants can be used inappropriately as ‘chemical constraints’.  NHS England has promised to take action and has called an urgent summit to tackle the issue.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-promises-urgent-action-after-report-reveals-extent-of-inappropriate-use-of-psychotropic-drugs-in-people-with-learning-disabilities-10388124.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33526166
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/nhs-england-considering-patient-safety-alert-over-learning-disability-patients-on-psychotropics/20010516.article
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3161063/Scandal-thousands-people-learning-disabilities-wrongly-given-anti-psychotic-drugs-chemical-cosh-control-behaviour.html
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/14/urgent-pledge/
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/people-with-learning-disabilities-over-prescribed-psychiatric-drugs
http://www.improvinghealthandlives.org.uk/publications/1248/Prescribing_of_psychotropic_medication_for_people_with_learning_disabilities_and_autism

The pace of change in removing people with learning disabilities from hospitals post-Winterbourne View is unacceptably slow, according to Sir Stephen Bubb, in an interim assessment of progress since his review reported last November.  He says not enough is being done in local areas to enable people with learning disabilities to live in the community.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33510882

Two thirds of hospices have had their statutory funding frozen or cut in 2014-15 according to a survey by Hospices UK and Together for Short Lives with 17% having their funding reduced and 52% frozen.  CCG funding provides 10% of the care costs of children’s hospices and 30% of adult hospices.  23% of hospices received funding from councils for social care services.
http://www.hospiceuk.org/media-centre/press-releases/details/2015/07/13/fragile-outlook-on-statutory-funding-for-hospices-in-england
(15th July) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33512326

A report from WHO says that investing in public health is cost effective, with tobacco use reducing national income by 3.6% and obesity accounting for 1-3% of health expenditures in most countries.
http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Health-systems/public-health-services/news/news/2015/07/new-report-investing-in-public-health-offers-large-gains-in-health,-the-economy-and-other-sectors
http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Health-systems/public-health-services/publications/2015/the-case-for-investing-in-public-health

A report on technology and ageing argues that without investment in technological innovations the costs of an ageing society will be much higher (5% of GDP higher by 2063).
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/news/news_posts/press_release_health_costs_of_ageing_will_shoot_up_without_technological_in

A report on balancing local control and national standards in health, ‘The Local Health Service’ is published by the Fabian Society.
http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/jul/15/nhs-survive-10-years-local-health-service
https://www.fabians.org.uk/publications/the-local-health-service/

~

13th July 2015

There should be an additional 20% tax on sugary drinks, the BMA has said in a report on unhealthy diets, ‘Food for Thought’.  It suggests that poor diets are responsible for about 70,000 premature deaths a year and a cost to the NHS of £6bn a year.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33479118
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/13/doctors-tax-sugar-drinks-uk-obesity-bma-children
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/doctors-call-for-20-tax-on-sugary-soft-drinks/20010502.article
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/doctors-urge-20p-tax-on-sugary-drinks-to-fund-lowprice-fruit-and-vegetables-10384038.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3158589/Slap-20-tax-sugary-drinks-Doctors-demand-drastic-action-fight-obesity-crisis.html
http://bma.org.uk/working-for-change/improving-and-protecting-health/food-for-thought

Ministers are said to have delayed publication of a report by PHE on reducing sugar intake, examining the evidence on 23 policies.  It was due to have been published on Friday 17th July on the same day as the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is expected to reconfirm its advice that the target proportion of energy intake from sugar should be reduced from 10% to 5%.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/13/government-delays-publication-of-plans-for-reduction-in-uks-sugar-intake

Implementing the national living wage could cost councils £1bn a year by 2020, starting with £350m a year extra in 2016, according to analysis by the LGA.  The bulk of the additional costs would be for contractors such as for residential and home care, since 95% of the directly employed local government workforce is already paid above the £7.20 national living wage.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/07/13/living-wage-cost-councils-extra-1bn-year-2020-warns-lga/
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7386419/NEWS

The Government has said it is open to the idea of making people pay into personal accounts for sick or unemployment pay.  Both Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron have said they are prepared to consider this.  [Sounds like a good idea.  Of course, it’s probably cheapest, fairest and most sustainable if you get the state to organise it.  You could call it something like ‘national insurance’.]
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/13/david-cameron-open-to-workers-saving-up-fund-own-sick-pay
(11th July) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11733810/Iain-Duncan-Smith-the-unlikely-champion-for-workers-on-why-his-benefits-battle-is-far-from-over.html

£1.8bn a year is wasted on unnecessary operations, the NHS England Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh has said.  This is because of over-diagnosis, lowering the threshold for interventions such as for cataract operations and using more expensive treatments when cheaper options are available.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11733871/One-in-seven-treatments-not-necessary-warns-NHS-chief.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3158104/Thousands-hospital-operations-costing-billions-unnecessary-profligate-NHS-says-UK-s-senior-doctor.html

Less than half of women over 70 could name a symptom of breast cancer apart from a lump, according to a survey by PHE, which is encouraging older women to visit their doctor if they notice any changes to their breasts.  9,500 women die of breast cancer each year, of whom 5,400 are over 70.  About a third of women diagnosed with breast cancer report symptoms other than a lump.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/13/older-women-unclear-breast-cancer-symptoms
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33480866
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3158718/Fears-elderly-women-putting-risk-breast-cancer-half-symptom-apart-lump.html
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-england-launches-nationwide-breast-cancer-campaign

NICE/NHS guidance on safe staffing levels could be incorporated into CQC inspection methodology.
(Rgn) www.nursingtimes.net/5087857.article

Only 32% of GPs would be prepared to employ physician assistants, with 41% saying they wouldn’t and 27% answering ‘don’t know’ in a survey by Pulse magazine of 450 GPs across the UK.  The Government has said it will introduced 1,000 physician assistants by 2020.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/employment/less-than-30-of-gps-willing-to-employ-physician-assistants/20010480.article

Cardiovascular health checks could be offered in supermarkets if current negotiations in greater Manchester are successful.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning-news/supermarkets-set-to-offer-nhs-health-checks-at-the-checkout/20010503.article
(15th July) www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3162414/Your-weekly-shop-health-check-Tesco-Asda-set-offer-NHS-heart-checks-store-pharmacies.html

Inhaling smoke second hand can increase the risk of a stroke by 30% according to research on 22,000 people over the age of 45, of whom 428 suffered a stroke, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3158725/How-passive-smoking-raises-risk-stroke-nearly-adjusting-factors-heart-disease.html

~

12th July 2015

More needs to be done to reduce the number of children going into hospital to have rotten teeth removed, according to the Royal College of Surgeons, with the number of 5-9 year olds having to go into hospital having risen by 14% in the two years to 2013, up to almost 26,000.  DH says children’s teeth are healthier than 10 years ago.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33498324
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3157964/Child-tooth-decay-crisis-point.html

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

12th July 2015

The new ‘national living wage’ announced in the budget could help 700,000 care workers but it is not clear who will foot the £2bn cost over five years that analysis by the Resolution Foundation suggests will be required.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/12/social-care-workers-living-wage
Analysis and comment: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/14/george-osborne-living-wage-death-social-care

~

11th July 2015

The prospects of young people are falling in comparison to older people according the Intergenerational Foundation which finds a widening gap between under 30s and over 60s on its ‘fairness index’.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/11/uk-young-fairness-george-osborne-budget

~

10th July 2015

NICE has continued its work on safe staffing levels even though NHS England had said it would take over the work.  NICE is to publish its work at the end of the month on the safe number of nurses in A&E and is continuing evidence reviews relating to mental health, learning disability services and other community health.  NICE also said that they had been asked the wrong question in restricting their investigations to only nurses and not other professional staff and that in any case there was insufficient evidence on which to base recommendations.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/10/nice-publish-report-safe-nhs-staffing-levels-told-stop-work

The way the working time directive (WTD) is calculated could be subject to change after the European Court of Justice ruled against the European Commission’s case against Ireland which had excluded the training time of non-consultant hospital doctors from the WTD.  This has potential implications for junior doctors’ employment contracts in England.
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/european-working-time-directive

Cancer rates have risen by 2.8% in men but 8.3% in women in the eight years from 2005 to 2013, with regional variations meaning that people in the north west were 11.5% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than those living in London according to figures from ONS.  Survival rates continue to improve.  The ageing population, deprivation and lifestyle differences are thought to contribute to the variations.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3156022/Frightening-scale-cancer-UK-Soaring-cases-rates-disease-THREE-times-higher-women-men.html
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations–england–series-mb1-/no–44–2013/index.html

9% of British adults were prescribed anti-depressants in the last year, compared to a European average of 7.2%, with Britain’s figure the fourth highest in the 27 countries that ranged from 3% in Greece to 16% in Portugal, according to research from King’s College based on data from Eurobarometer 2010 with data from 27,000 people.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3156524/Antidepressants-sweeping-nation-Three-times-British-adults-prescribed-drugs-troubled-Greece-study-finds.html

A progress review on services for people with neurological conditions finds there has been mixed progress in implementing the proposals of the Public Accounts Committee in 2012 according to the NAO.  There has been good progress in setting up local neurological clinical networks and a national lead.  Progress has been poor in: using indicators, JSNAs and HWBs to ensure good access to services; mandating joint commissioning; and offering personal care plans covering both health and social care.
http://www.nao.org.uk/press-releases/services-for-people-with-neurological-conditions-progress-review-3/

A guide to 12 quality improvement techniques has been produced by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices.
http://www.hqip.org.uk/about-us/

~

9th July 2015

All tendering of NHS 111 services have been suspended until September, to allow for consultation and new commissioning standards to be drawn up with a view to having integrated procurement for 111 and out of hours services, following a Daily Telegraph under cover investigation which found call handlers under pressure not to send out ambulances.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11729347/NHS-111-helpline-service-to-undergo-major-revamp-following-undercover-investigation-by-The-Telegraph.html
(16th July) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/commissioning/commissioning-topics/urgent-care/gp-out-of-hours-could-be-integrated-with-nhs-111-across-england-pending-review/20010534.article

21 providers have been appointed who could step in to run GP practices at short notice, should they close because of a CQC inspection, because of the retirement of GPs or for other reasons.  The list includes public and private bodies as well as social enterprises.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/stop-practice-closures/federations-foundation-trusts-and-corporates-appointed-to-emergency-gp-practice-support-framework/20010491.article

39% of 13-15 year olds who were overweight or obese thought they were actually of a healthy weight (with 53% of boys and 68% of girls recognising that they were ‘too heavy’), although 83% of those of healthy weight answered correctly, according to research by Cancer Research UK based on responses from nearly 5,000 13-15 year olds between 2005-12 and published in the International Journal of Obesity.  Overweight adolescents were more likely to underestimate their weight than those who were obese (52% to 7%).
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/are-overweight-teens-unaware-of-their-size.aspx
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/09/overweight-teenagers-think-they-are-right-size-study
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33453456
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3154858/Generation-fat-blind-obese-teenagers-think-weight-right-study-warns.html

The NHS Choices symptom checker correctly identified 87% of emergencies, compared to an average of 80% across 23 systems internationally, according to research by Harvard published in the British Medical Journal.  The researchers used a set of symptoms for 45 clinical vignettes and found that the websites listed the correct diagnosis first in 34% of cases, in the top three in 51% and the top 20 in 58% of cases.
www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3154458/The-danger-online-diagnosis-Millions-emergencies-MISSED-symptom-checker-websites-study-warns.html
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Online-symptom-checkers-reliability-assessed.aspx

A report on competition and productivity, summarising the evidence is published by the Competition and Markets Authority.  It finds that competition is often associated with increased productivity and that competition policy interventions can therefore improve productivity.  [And the job of the Competition and Markets Authority is …]
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/productivity-and-competition-a-summary-of-the-evidence

People are being invited to contribute to NHS improvement through the NHS Citizen project.
http://www.nhscitizen.org.uk/nhs-citizen-build-has-started-whats-happening/

The results of the National Survey of Bereaved People 2014 are published by ONS.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health1/national-survey-of-bereaved-people–voices-/index.html

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8th July 2015

The budget confirmed the already promised £8bn a year for the NHS by 2020 together with the £2bn added last year, making a total of £10bn a year, with real terms increases each year until then.  Pay rises in the public sector are to be limited to 1% a year for the next four years.  The increased minimum wage should help many care workers but it is not clear how this will work with the 1% pay cap or how local authorities will be able to pay for it.  Sick and disabled people in the work related activity group [who are not fit for work] are to be paid the same rate as those on job seeker’s allowance to increase the incentives to get back into work [nothing like a financial incentive to help you stop being sick and disabled].
http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/jul/08/pay-cap-public-servants-budget-2015
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/budget-2015-george-osborne-promises-8bn-more-annual-funding-for-nhs-by-2020-10375397.html
The effect of the budget on on young people:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/10/budget-2015-how-young-people-lose-out
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/budget-confirms-10bn-funding-commitment
(21st July) comment on the effect on disabled people: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/21/conservatives-redefining-sick-disabled-welfare-bill
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summer-budget-2015/summer-budget-2015

Devolution for Cornwall.  Plans are being developed for a ‘devolution’ deal for Cornwall of health, care and welfare, worth around £2bn, following the Manchester example.  However it is suggested that NHS England would not devolve its share of the funding.
http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/update/2015-07-08/chancellor-announces-greater-devolution-for-cornwall/
(3rd July) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cornwall-set-to-win-nhs-devolution-deal-10365426.html
http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2015/07/chancellor-sets-out-progress-devolution-deals

Breast cancer screening may be less effective than previously thought, saving perhaps 10% of lives rather than the 20-25% previously thought, according to a re-analysis of Swedish research from the 1960s and 1970s which had been used to support screening programmes.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/08/breast-screening-does-not-reduce-cancer-deaths-international-study-warns

Walking in green, rather than urban, environments reduced activity in a part of the brain linked to mental illness and also reduced rumination according to research from Stanford University published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33368691

A report from Nesta on how patients’ organisations can play a role as knowledge brokers in a data-rich, increasingly complex healthcare system, ‘Collective Intelligence in Patient Organisations’.
http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/collective-intelligence-patient-organisations

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7th July 2015

The number of elderly people getting no help, statutory or informal, for their care needs has risen by 100,000 to over 1m according to Age UK, based on figures from the English longitudinal Study of Ageing.  The charity said that the immediate problem was Government cuts, with care funding having fallen from £8.1bn in 2005-6 to £5.5bn in 2014-15 and with a further £1.1bn of cuts planned for the current year.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/elderly-care-in-england-is-unacceptable-in-a-civilised-society-says-leading-charity-10370393.html

The number of prescriptions for medicines and other medical supplies such as bandages increased by 3.3% last year according to figures from the HSCIC.  There was an increase of 55% in the 10 years since 2004.  Among the possible reasons are the ageing population and more people with long term conditions.  The number of prescriptions for anti-depressants rose by 7.2%.  90% of prescriptions were dispensed free of charge.  Prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs rose by a quarter over the year.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/viagra-number-of-prescriptions-for-erectile-dysfunction-drugs-rises-by-more-than-a-quarter-10372318.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33427313
(8th July) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/08/erectile-dysfunction-prescriptions-rise-quarter-in-one-year
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3152382/The-rise-Viagra-Prescriptions-erectile-dysfunction-drugs-soar-nearly-25-12-months.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3152878/We-nation-pill-poppers-Prescriptions-50-past-decade-one-billion-handed-year-experts-warn-harmful-effects.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/prescriptions-up-by-over-50-in-past-decade/20010471.article
http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6498/Prescription-items-increase-by-over-50-per-cent-since-2004

The King’s Fund’s report, ‘Better Value in the NHS’ says more could be done to reduce prescribing costs although improvements have saved about £7bn in the last 40 years.
(9th July) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/gps-cut-nhs-prescribing-bill-by-billions-but-can-do-more-says-think-tank/20010490.article
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/better-value-nhs

A pilot scheme to increase the number of pharmacists in GP surgeries is being funded by £15m from NHS England, which is inviting bids for the scheme which will fund 60%, 40% and 20% of the pharmacists’ pay for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year respectively.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/07/gps-funding-recruit-pharmacists-surgeries
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/employment/gp-practices-offered-funding-to-employ-pharmacists-under-15m-nhs-england-scheme/20010473.article
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/07/pharm-supp-gp-surgeries/

The new ‘physician associates’ could have prescribing powers, as one of a range of issues being considered by DH.  1,000 new physician associates were promised as part of the ‘new deal’ to reduce pressure on GPs.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/new-deal-2015/16/physician-associates-may-be-given-prescribing-powers-says-dh/20010433.article#.VaExj0UXxeU

Patients admitted to hospitals at weekends for emergency treatment are 8% more likely to die than those admitted during the week, according to research from Imperial College based on data from 4 countries between 2009-12, eleven of which were in the UK, and published in BMJ Quality and Safety.  The rates were higher in the US (13%) and the Netherlands (20%) but there was no increased risk in Australia.
www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3151651/Patient-death-rate-8-higher-weekends-Lower-numbers-staff-hospitals-Saturday-Sunday-reduce-patients-likelihood-walking-alive.html

A combination of a heart attack and type 2 diabetes can shorten life expectancy by ten years and for someone in their 60’s it would be 15 years, according to research co-ordinated by the University of Cambridge looking at 135,000 deaths amongst more than a million people and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  A heart attack, type 2 diabetes and a stroke could shorten the life of a 40 year old man by 23 years.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/07/heart-disease-plus-diabetes-can-knock-more-than-a-decade-off-your-life
(8th July) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3153258/Unhealthy-lifestyles-cut-lifespan-23-years-d-suffer-diabetes-stroke-heart-attack-40.html
(8th July) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Heart-attack-stroke-and-diabetes-can-shorten-life-by-23-years.aspx

A large part of the difference in life expectancy between men and women seems to be due to a greater prevalence of heart disease in men, with the difference greatest between the ages of 50-74, according to research by the University of Southern California on people born between 1800 and 1935 in 13 developed countries.  The trend for women to live longer did not start until the 1870’s when deaths from infectious diseases started to decline.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3151696/Why-women-really-stronger-sex-Men-shorter-lives-prone-heart-disease-claims-study.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/women-live-longer-than-men-but-this-has-not-always-been-the-case-new-study-shows-10372406.html

The biological ages of a group of 38 year olds, measured by 18 traits such as weight, kidney function, gum health, balance and co-ordination, were found in some cases to vary widely from chronological age, according to research on 954 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972-3, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Although most people’s biological age was within a few years of the chronological, overall they varied from the late 20s to nearly 60.  It is hoped the research will help in understanding the ageing process.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33409604
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3151451/Have-got-old-time-Study-finds-dramatic-differences-way-age.html
(8th July) http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/People-may-age-at-different-rates.aspx

The cost to society of dementia in Wales is £1.4bn a year according to a report by the Alzheimer’s Society.
http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/news_article.php?newsID=2407

A self-assessment toolkit on local Healthwatch governance is published by the LGA and Shared Intelligence.
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7377596/PUBLICATION

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6th July 2015

A delay in introducing the £72k cap on the personal costs of long term care, from the start date of April 2016 promised in the Conservative manifesto, is being considered by the Government following a letter from the LGA proposing it, in order to divert funds to support adult social care, which is struggling from the level of cuts it has had to bear.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/06/ministers-consider-shelving-personal-liability-cap-long-term-care-costs

Three quarters of GPs say dementia patients have to rely on family, friends and neighbours because health and social care services are not available, according to an Alzheimer’s Society Survey of 1,000 GPs.  This led to the Royal College of GPs suggesting that early diagnosis of dementia may not be worthwhile if services are not available to help.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33382976
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/06/dementia-care-alzheimers-society-survey-health
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/clinical-news/nine-in-ten-gps-think-dementia-support-services-are-lacking/20010462.article#.VaEwS0UXxeU
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/charity-warns-of-a-deeply-worrying-lack-of-support-for-people-suffering-from-dementia-10367639.html

Nearly a third of women reported binge drinking while pregnant, though this was almost all in the first three months, and drinking generally was much reduced after that, according to research by University College Cork, King’s College London and others based on international data of more than 17,000 women, 651 of whom were from the UK, with the information collected between 2004-11, and published in BMJ Open.
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/Reports-that-1-in-3-of-UK-pregnant-women-binge-drink-unconfirmed.aspx
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/06/concern-over-levels-of-drinking-during-pregnancy-raised-by-studies
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nearly-a-third-of-pregnant-women-in-the-uk-binge-drink-research-reveals-10370362.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3151649/One-three-women-admit-binge-drinking-pregnancy-Experts-call-new-guidelines-advising-no-alcohol-following-findings.html
http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/7/e006323.abstract

The Royal College of GPs has said it won’t co-operate with the Government in establishing a performance scorecard for GPs, though they will co-operate to improve the quality of services and outcomes for patients, working with the Health Foundation, which is doing the preliminary work,.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/rcgp-will-not-co-operate-with-dh-advisors-unless-plans-for-scorecard-are-dropped/20010440.article#.VaEupEUXxeU

Seven West Midlands authorities are to create a ‘combined authority’, following in the footsteps of Greater Manchester.  They would work together to bid for funding and to work on issues like skills and transport.  They are also setting up three commissions including one on mental health and public services.  The 7 authorities are: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/06/west-midlands-economic-powerhouse-leaders-councils-combined-authority

The risk of heart failure can be halved by following 4 or more healthy behaviours, not smoking, keeping active, staying slim, and drinking in moderation, according to research by Tufts University in the U.S. on 4,490 people aged over 65, followed for 20 years, published in the American College of Cardiology.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3151214/Get-active-stop-smoking-stay-slim-drink-moderation-HALF-risk-heart-failure.html

A green paper on health in Wales suggests that decisions on changes to the health service could be taken out of the hands of politicians, there could be a new duty of candour and the health and social services inspectorates could merge. They are also considering a care.data type scheme for sharing patient information.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-33384355
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/wales-considers-caredata-style-record-sharing/20010487.article

17 healthcare innovations have been selected from 120 entries in an NHS competition and will now be rolled out more widely.  They include a smartphone heart monitor, a genetic research programme, a tool to diagnose liver disease and a scheme to get more people involved in dementia research.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/06/healthcare-innovations-picked-for-nhs-backing
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/06/healthcare-innovations/
(7th July) http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/07/innovation-accelerator/

The health priorities for the new Parliament of a series of stakeholders in the form of a collection of essays is published by the King’s Fund and the All Party Parliamentary Health Group.
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/articles/health-policy-priorities-new-parliament

A briefing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is published by the House of Commons Library.
http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN06688

A briefing on the new fee arrangements of the health and care regulators is published by the House of Commons Library.
http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7247

Children, Families and Maternity e-bulletin for June 2015.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-families-and-maternity-e-bulletin

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5th July 2015

The Government is to set the benefits cap at £20,000 outside of London, alongside the promised £23,000 in London.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/05/george-osborne-cut-benefits-cap-20000-year-outside-london

The proposed legislation banning ‘legal highs’ will be unenforceable according to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which says that amongst other things: it is not possible to tell if a substance is psychoactive without (illegally) trying it; it doesn’t distinguish substances known to have beneficial effects so may unwittingly catch useful herbal remedies; and it may drive the market underground.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/05/theresa-may-legal-highs-ban-unenforceable-government-advisers
(3rd July) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acmd-letter-to-the-home-secretary-psychoactive-substances-bill
(13th July, further letter) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acmd-letter-to-the-home-secretary-psychoactive-substances-bill-13-july-2015

10% of London’s GP surgeries could close over the next three years, according to a survey of 431 of 1400 surgeries by the London ‘local medical committees’, providing an indication of possible reductions over the rest of the country.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/05/gp-surgery-closures-london-crisis-refugee-patients
(7th July) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/employment/-one-in-ten-london-practices-face-closure-in-the-next-three-years/20010468.article#.VaEzJ0UXxeU

A lobbying network for the private healthcare industry was on the advisory panel of the Dalton review in hospital management which included consideration of the private sector’s role.  Although the individual’s role on the panel was previously known, this had been declared to be in a private capacity but new documents released under foi, suggest he was representing lobbyists.  The review’s chair, Sir David Dalton, is quoted as saying he didn’t experience any lobbying for factional interests.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/05/private-health-lobbyist-nhs-privatisation-dalton-review

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3rd July 2015

Two thirds (66%) of NHS trusts are predicting a deficit by the end of the financial year, (compared to 25% at the same time last year), while for acute trusts the figure is 89% (compared to 21% this time last year), according to the King’s Fund survey of NHS finance directors, to which 100 responded. [See also HFMA survey 1st July]
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/03/financial-problems-now-endemic-in-nhs-england-says-kings-fund
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3148214/Osborne-urged-plug-growing-financial-hole-NHS-damning-report-reveals-90-hospitals-red.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-needs-more-funding-this-year-or-patient-care-could-suffer-say-health-experts-10361673.html
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/press/press-releases/king%E2%80%99s-fund-issues-stark-warning-ahead-budget-new-survey-shows-nine-out-ten
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/articles/briefing-budget-july-2015

Monitor says foundation trusts could find their freedoms coming under pressure unless they do more to find efficiencies, in the light of a forecast deficit of £1bn in the current year.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bennett-lays-down-billion-pound-challenge-to-nhs-foundation-trusts

The NHS is underperforming on deaths from heart attacks and strokes and recovery rates from cancer when compared to 15 other wealthy nations, according to a report from the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, although it does well on other measures and performance was improving.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33373019
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3148186/Is-NHS-worst-health-service-West-Cancer-heart-attack-stroke-patients-far-likely-die-says-damning-report.html
http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/qualitywatch-uk-faces-mountain-climb-improving-care-quality-new-compare

Jeremy Hunt says he wouldn’t be against charging patients for missed appointments in principle, and he is planning that when people do miss an appointment they will be told how much that has cost the NHS.  However, David Cameron later said there would be no charges for missed appointments.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/03/no-charges-for-missed-gp-appointments-says-cameron
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33375976
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/03/patients-charged-missed-nhs-appointments-jeremy-hunt
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3148327/I-ve-got-no-problem-charging-missed-GP-appointments-Health-Secretary-reveals-step-closer-introducing-fines-wasting-NHS-time.html

The Government sets out its policy for extending free childcare for children aged 3 and 4.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/childcare-bill-policy-statement

NHS England has launched an accessible information standard which provides a framework to simplify information provided to disabled patients and their carers.  The new standard is to be implemented on 31st July 2016.  It includes finding out about needs, ensuring information is available when needed, that it is in appropriate formats and that it is easy to understand.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/03/access-info-standard/

NHS England has set out its investment decisions for certain specialised services (which it, rather than the CCGs commission) on such things as the use of particular drugs for certain conditions, the use of gene tests, treatments such as robotic assisted surgery for early stage prostate cancer, and widening access to proton beam therapy.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/02/annual-investment-decisions/

A progress report on transforming care for people with learning disabilities is published by DH on behalf of NHSE, the LGA, ADASS, CQC and HEE.  [That’s 2 points for each abbreviation and a bonus 10 if you got them all right].
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/03/transforming-care/

Dame Barbara Hakin, National Director of Commissioning Operations at NHS England, is to retire.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/03/barbara-hakin-to-retire/

A guide on community health services is published by the NHS Confederation.
http://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/2015/07/what-are-community-health-services

In Touch: Issue 6
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/02/in-touch-issue-6/

[Weekly email sent out ————————————————————–]

2nd July 2015

A GP IT system, the General Practice Extraction Service, has been criticised by the NAO for being four years behind schedule, above budget (from £14m to £40m) and not doing what it is supposed to, in only supplying information to NHS England and not other bodies and is ‘unlikely to have a long term future’.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33354824
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/gp-extraction-service-was-fundamentally-flawed-government-auditors-find/20010424.article
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3146829/Four-years-schedule-26million-budget-NHS-computer-delivered-data-just-one-customer.html
http://www.nao.org.uk/press-releases/general-practice-extraction-service-investigation-2/

26% of patients could not get an appointment for at least a week and 11% not at all, according to the latest GP and dentistry survey results, based on questionnaires posted to 2.64m GP patients, to which there was a 32.5% response.  73% said they would like their GP surgery to be open on a Saturday and 40% on a Sunday.  85% rated their experience of the GP practice as good.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/02/gp-nurse-appointment-england-patient-survey
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3147394/10-patients-unable-GP-appointment-year-forcing-E-85-say-happy-service-receive.html
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/02/gp-patient-survey/
http://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/2015/07/02/gp-patient-survey-2014-15/
(3rd July) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/home/finance-and-practice-life-news/gp-appointment-waiting-times-continue-to-rise/20010450.article

A rapid evidence review on the effect of physical activity on 5-11 year olds has been published by PHE.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/study-finds-physically-active-children-are-happier-and-more-confident
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/change4life-evidence-review-on-physical-activity-in-children

Informed: Issue 38.  Including invitation to bid to be one of 15 pilots where CAMHS and schools link up to improve mental health services; NHS drive to tackle trans inequalities.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/02/informed-issue-38/

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1st July 2015

The Government is to scrap the statutory target to erase child poverty by 2020, measured as 60% below median earnings. The measure will still be reported on.  Measures on such things as worklessness, educational attainment and addiction are to be used as indicators of poverty instead.  The Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission is to be renamed the Social Mobility Commission.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/government-scrap-legal-requirements-child-poverty
Comment: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/tories-redefined-child-poverty-no-longer-finances
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-strengthen-child-poverty-measure

NHS England and PHE are offering to work with local areas to build in health to new housing developments.  They will initially work with 5 areas across the country.
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/01/healthy-new-towns/
(5th July) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-should-help-implement-radical-changes-in-town-planning-to-keep-us-fit-says-health-chief-10366441.html

A private members bill to reverse large parts of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 has been introduced by Caroline Lucas MP.  The Bill, similar to ones introduced previously, has little chance of being enacted but its significance may be in the attitude taken towards it by the Labour Party and its leadership candidates.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/caroline-lucas-cross-party-support-nhs-reinstatement-bill

Government policies risk stripping children of their rights, through their effect on domestic and sexual abuse, welfare, poverty and other factors, according to a review by the four UK children’s commissioners for the United Nations.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/government-stripping-uk-children-rights-report-un

78% of NHS Trust finance directors think they will have a worse financial position at the end of 2015-16 than the year before and 90% think there is a high or medium risk of not achieving this year’s financial plan, according to a survey of 200 finance directors and chief financial officers by the Healthcare Financial Management Association.  [These findings also appear in other news stories.  See also King’s Fund survey 3rd July.]
http://www.nhsconfed.org/news/2015/07/financial-pressures-turning-up-the-heat
http://www.nhsconfed.org/media-centre/2015/07/nhs-confederation-response-to-nhs-financial-temperature-check
http://www.hfma.org.uk/nhstemperaturecheck/

Bisexual people reported worse health than heterosexual or gay people, in US research on over 10,000 LGB people and over 405,000 heterosexual adults, published in the journal Demography.  19.5% and 18.5% of men and women respectively reported poor or fair health, compared to 11.9% and 10.6% for gay people and 14.5% and 15.6% for heterosexual people.  Factors leading to poorer health, such as levels of income, higher education and smoking, were also poorer for bisexual people.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3146132/Being-bisexual-bad-health-People-male-female-partners-report-poorer-wellbeing-sexualities.html

The cost of medicines of over £20 is to be displayed on the packaging as part of efforts to reduce medicine wastage, thought to cost around £300m a year.  The displays will also say that the medication has been funded by the UK taxpayer.  However representatives of pharmacists suggested there were better ways of dealing with the problem and that this could backfire with unintended consequences.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/nhs-prescriptions-drugs-health-cost-waste-price
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33345356
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/patients-to-be-told-price-of-prescribed-drugs-in-bid-to-save-nhs-300m-10359258.html
(2nd July) http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/medication-costing-more-than-20-to-include-price-on-label/20010439.article

Pride in the NHS remains high, at 78%, but more people think those with mental health problems are not well cared for, at 39% against 31% who think they are, while the equivalent figures for dementia are 31% to 29%.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/positive-view-of-nhs-marred-by-fears-over-dementia-and-mental-health-care
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-perceptions-of-the-nhs-and-social-care-winter-2014

A survey of the views of 8-15 year olds and of the parents of 0-9 year olds on the health services they receive, based on almost 19,000 responses of experience in 137 NHS acute trusts in England in 2014, has been undertaken by CQC and shows most think they received a good service.  However, 35% said they were not definitely encouraged to be involved in decisions about their children’s care and 41% of parents and carers said staff were not always aware of their child’s medical history before treating them.
http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/children-and-young-peoples-survey-2014
http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/01/cyp-health-survey/

Inadequate staffing in prisons has contributed to the suicides of young people according to an independent review by Lord Harris.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/prison-staffing-shortages-young-adult-suicides-lord-harris
http://iapdeathsincustody.independent.gov.uk/harris-review/

Fracking could affect health, as well as the environment and house prices, according to a DEFRA report published after a foi request.  The impact on health could be through contaminated water affecting agriculture and wildlife [though presumably the more significant effect would be through climate change].
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/01/fracking-could-hurt-house-prices-health-and-environment-official-report-says

Only 31% of government contracts have open book clauses allowing the commissioners to check profit margins and so scrutinise the contracts effectively according to a report by the NAO.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/01/whitehall-access-outsourcing-contracts-two-thirds

The assessment of the ‘minimum income standards’ that members of the public think various sorts of household need to live adequately, has been updated by JRF.  A single person would need an income of £17,100 and a couple with two children £40,000 between them, to meet the standard.  A single jobless adult currently gets 40% of the required amount in benefits.  For a lone parent with one child, benefits provide 60% of the required amount, compared to 70% in 2008.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/low-income-families-thousands-pounds-short-basic-standard-living-joseph-rowntree-foundation
http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/minimum-income-standard-uk-2015

Statistics on fatal injuries in the workplace show there were 142 deaths in 2014-15, broadly similar to recent years.
http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm

Monitor is anticipating health costs rising by an average of 2.8% over the next five years (from 1.9% to 3.6%), in its ‘Economic Assumptions 2015/16 to 2019/20, although this includes increases of 3% a year in the final three years in pay and pensions.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/economic-assumptions-201516-to-201920/economic-assumptions-201516-to-201920

A report on the effect of the NHS Constitution on those who use and work in the NHS, has been published by DH.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-on-the-effect-of-the-nhs-constitution

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