Health Sector News


19 May 2014: End of life care “deeply concerning”

A review of end of life care in hospitals in England has found that it is ‘deeply concerning’. Only 1 in 5 hospitals provide specialist end of life care seven days a week, despite this recommendation being introduced 10 years ago. The report was a joint endeavour between the Royal College of Physicians and Marie Curie. Some of the 6,500 cases looked at were on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway. This covers care in the final stages of life and can involve the withdrawal of medication, food and fluid, but it is being phased out following criticisms. Key report findings include:

  •  3/4 relations asked said they felt supported during the last two days of their loved ones life.
  • Mandatory training in end of life care for doctors was only required in 19% of trusts
  • Only 45% of patients were assessed for artificial nutrition needs, and 59% for hydration
  • Nearly half of trust boards had not discussed end of life care in the previous year

7 May 2014: Nurses tell survey they are underpaid, overworked and undervalued

A survey carried out by Nursing Times and ITV has found that 8 out of 10 nurses believed they did not have enough time to give patients adequate care and 1/4 believed they had put a patient’s life at risk because they were too busy or overwhelmed. Despite the negative responses, those questioned remained positive about their motives. One said, “Although my responses are negative, I love my job.” Another said, “Despite all the pressures, the public should understand that as nurses we do try our best.”

14 April 2014: Public services ‘must learn from Stafford hospital scandal’

A committee of MPs have found that public services are still not handling complaints effectively. They say that there is still a “culture of denial and failure” in public services. The Francis inquiry published in February 2013 flagged up massive failings at Mid Staffs hospital despite concerns being repeatedly raised, and was it was hoped that this would prompt other trusts to evaluate the way they listen to patients and staff.  However, there is still “complexity” and “confusion” surrounding the reporting of complaints, and the word “complaint” is shunned over “appeal”, “review” or feedback”.

Poor complaints handling lead to a loss in faith and prevents improvements at organisations. The MPs have called for a minister for government policy on complaints handling, and a revolution in the way public services are run. “As things are,” committee chairman Bernard Jenkin said, “most people believe there is no point in complaining… unless and until we have a culture of leadership in public services… there will always be the potential for tragedies like Mid-Staffs, and opportunities to improve services and public confidence will be missed again and again.”

2 April 2014: NHS facing biggest challenge ever, says new boss

NHS England’s new CEO, Simon Stevens, is warning that the NHS is facing its biggest challenge yet, because of the budget squeeze. Mr Stevens says that only by “radically transforming services” can the NHS continue to thrive. The UK’s ageing population is one of the key challenges the NHS will face going forward. He says “our traditional partitioning of health services – GPs, hospital outpatients, A&E departments, community nurses, emergency mental health care, out-of-hours units, ambulance services and so on – no longer makes much sense.”

4 March 2014: Thousands pledge to ‘do something different’ for the NHS

Yesterday was NHS Change Day, where thousands of people who work in the NHS are encouraged to do something different to improve care. Examples include doctors spending a day in a wheelchair to better understand disabled patients, and a manager helping dementia patients eat their lunch. CEO of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent partnership NHS Trust has pledged to visit patients in their hospitals who do not have any other visitors.

The day is all about making a difference, breaking down traditional barriers and making people across the NHS aware of their power to make a difference. Healthcare HR Solutions works with healthcare providers to improve standards of care and compassion through organisational development, HR solutions and training. Clive Lewis’ most recent handbook Leadership with Compassion was specifically written to help healthcare professionals evaluate their working practice and make small but important changes to improve compassion, dignity and respect in healthcare management. Order your copy today.

14 January 2014: Sharp rise in spending on A&E locum doctors

New figures obtained by Labour have shown a massive rise in spending on locum doctors to fill the missing places in England’s Accident and Emergency units. At up to £1,500 per shift, locum doctors cost four times as much as permanent staff, and with a rise of 60% in the three years, this a worryingly big spend. Temporary staff are employed for nearly 1 in 10 consultant shifts and up to 1 in 6 more junior posts.

The Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham links this rise to the Coalition government’s “disastrous” reorganisation of the NHS. He says “This government is guilty of gross mismanagement of the NHS.”

“This sort of spending is very unwise. It is not an efficient way of spending NHS money and can be damaging for morale when doctors work alongside other, sometime less qualified doctors, who are earning much more,” says Dr Cliff Mann from the College of Emergency Medicine.

More flexible working patterns, extra holidays and more training opportunities are seen as key ways to try and attract and retain permanent A&E doctors.

20 November 2013 Government publishes ‘blueprint for trustworthy’ NHS

Following the Francis report released earlier this year, the Government has announced its plans to shake up practices in the NHS, particularly surrounding staffing levels and complaints procedures. Jeremy Hunt told how he wants an ‘open, honest and learning culture’ in the NHS. Some of they key recommendations include:

  • Hospitals publishing staffing levels online
  • Quarterly reports on how they are handling complaints
  • Legal duty of candour on organisations to be open and honest about complaints

Critics worry that such measures are going to create more bureaucracy in the NHS, not solve any of the problems such as what happened with Stafford Hospital.

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals enter the caring profession because they are passionate about helping those who need it most. But external pressures from rising demands, budget cuts and targets have resulted in compassion and care for patients being pushed down the priority list. Leadership with Compassion is the new book by Clive Lewis that seeks to inspire frontline healthcare workers to reassess their practices and make small, manageable steps to redefining the culture of care at their organisation. Call 0333 200 4701 for more information.

12 November 2013Union claims nursing hit by “hidden workforce crisis”

An investigation by the Royal College of Nursing has found there are nearly 200,000 unfulfilled nursing posts in England. The average vacancy rate reported by trusts who responded to their survey was 6%, up to 16% in some cases. This is a significant increase on the last recorded Government figures in 2011 which reported a vacancy rate of 2.5%. The RCN also found that 22% of trusts that responded were recruiting nurses from abroad.

“Unsafe staffing levels have been implicated in a number of high profile investigations into patient safety” says Dr Peter Carter, the chief executive and general secretary of the RCN.

6 November 2013 New essential handbook for healthcare managers available end of November

Hospitals, care homes and other parts of the health sector are packed with caring and compassionate nurses, doctors, midwives and other professionals. They chose to enter a caring profession so they could make a difference to people who are unwell or who need special care. Does this sound like you?

And yet, despite the number of kind and compassionate people who enter the profession, it has been getting a bad press. What is preventing healthcare professionals from providing optimum care? How can you ensure the patient is at the centre of everything you do? Can you feel as passionate about healthcare again as the day you started your first job?

Packed with practical tools and resources to ensure care stays your number one focus, this essential guide will help you improve relationships with your team, manage your own responses and communicate better with co-workers and patients.

Author Clive Lewis has applied his expertise to create an accessible, inspiring and practical guide for all managers and staff.

A must have for today’s health worker!

13 October 2013 London hospitals at breaking point, NHS England warns

NHS services in London are under significant and particular pressure and, unless something there is a “radical and urgent overhaul” patient care will suffer, according to NHS England this weekend. Various factors including increased life expectancy, increased birth rate and the prevalence of smoking, obesity and alcohol-related health problems, are combining to make the situation in London worse than most other parts of the country. NHS services in London may face a shortfall of £4 billion by 2020, if things are not done now.


8 October 2013 A&E doctors say pressure is threat to patient safety

Details of a new survey by the College of Emergency Medicine have been released, with some worrying statistics for the state of the UK’s Accident and Emergency departments, particularly with winter looming. Of just over 1,000 doctors who responded, 60% believe their jobs to be unsustainable and 94% believe they are working excessive hours. Increasing demand and complexity of work is attributing to an increase in staff sickness, burnout and the loss of doctors from the UK healthcare system to overseas.

3 October 2013 GP care in England ‘faces funds catastrophe amid cuts’

The Royal College of GPs today announced that their analysis has found significant cuts in investment in general practice: a fall of £400 million over the last three years – or a 7% cut in spending per patient. Dr Clare Gerada, chairwoman, said “cuts mean doctors were being required to do more work with fewer resources, damaging services for patients.

This warning coincides with an announcement this week that Government wants to extend surgery opening hours to 8pm at night. Patients are finding it harder and harder to access their GP, and experiencing cuts in enhanced services such as counselling, as GP surgeries struggle under increasing workloads.

30 July 2013 Nurses “ration care due to time pressures”

A study published today by the British Medical Journal Quality & Safety found that 86% of nurses in the survey admitted to having neglected at least one of thirteen care activities because of lack of time.  The Department of Health maintains it is down to each hospital to manage their own staffing levels.

2nd July 2013 NHS must get tough on consultants

A new report by MPs has concluded that the failure to implement effective performance management strategies for consultants is a “crucial factor” in poor standards of care. The report highlights issues with weekend and evening cover, payrise increases and a significant lack of NHS trusts assessing if consultants were meeting their objectives.

10th May 2013 NHS sets out new A&E plan to cope with crisis

The launch of a new strategy to deal with the crisis in accident and emergency units, which will see urgent care boards established across the country to devise local recovery and improvement plans, has been marred by leaked emails showing panic among health officials about how much money could be made available, according to the Independent. Internal NHS England messages indicated that health secretary Jeremy Hunt wanted to announce a £300m-£400m rescue fund to solve the A&E crisis but had to be dissuaded due to confusion about finances. The plan, announced today, does not mention such a fund and the Department of Health has denied that Hunt ever intended to announce such funding. Commenting in the HSJ FTN chief executive Chris Hopson said that the government’s NHS reorganisation is in part to blame for the failure to maintain low accident and emergency waiting times. He highlighted the combination of the Monitor and NHS TDA letter; NHS England’s publication of a framework for local reviews of emergency care; and HSJ’s coverage of internal NHS England discussion about an apparent Department of Health intention to release funds to help A&E. He believes the organisations were not “aligned” in addressing the issue, and had not consulted providers enough.


9th May 2013 A&E Care In Crisis

The independent reports that David Prior, head of the Care Quality Commission, has claimed that NHS emergency care is out of control across large parts of the country, with too many patients, especially the elderly, arriving in hospital as emergency cases when they should have received help much earlier. As a result, he claimed the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse and regulators cannot promise to prevent further scandals such as Mid Staffs. In his first major speech since being appointed to lead the CQC, Prior called for large-scale closures of hospital beds and investment in community care. He said almost half of hospital are providing care that is either poor or ‘not terribly’ good, and criticised the decision to allow GPs to opt out of out-of-hours care.


March 2013 – Healthcare Innovation Expo

Clive Lewis OBE DL, author of ‘Difficult Conversations In Dementia’ attended the Health Care Innovation Expo last week and engaged with hundreds of clinicians, who have an interest in the book and the one day training workshop that underpins it. He also delivered a well received presentation to an audience on the second day of the Expo. ‘Difficult Conversations In Dementia’ aims to support the Department Of Health objective of increasing diagnosis rates. For more information please contact us on 03332 004701.


** Healthcare HR Solutions will be one of the companies attending, and hosting a stall at, the Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013! **

The Healthcare Innovation Expo is Europe’s largest and most exciting innovation event. Healthcare HR Solutions founder, Clive Lewis OBE DL, will also be giving a session on the work underpinning his most recent book : ‘Difficult Conversations in Dementia.’

The event will take place on the 13th and 14th March in London. If you would like more information about the event please click here.


 19th March 2013 – Dementia ‘affects 80% of care home residents’

Only 41% of family-members and carers thought loved ones’ quality of life was good.


5th February 2013 – Wards dangerously understaffed, say nurses in survey 

More than half of nurses believe their NHS ward or unit is dangerously understaffed, according to a survey.


3rd January 2013 – Prostate cancer research ‘lagging’

Prostate cancer is the poor relation when it comes to funding for research to find a cure, says a charity. Though it is the most common male cancer, prostate cancer is 20th in the league table of research funding, says Prostate Cancer UK, which is launching a campaign to highlight the issue.

It has been said that the disease will be the UK’s most common cancer by 2030


18th December 2012 –  Why bus drivers are being taught about dementia

Thousands of bus drivers around Britain are being given special training so they can help passengers with dementia. It’s part of an initiative by the Prime Minister which is trying to encourage everyone to be more aware of the needs of older people who have dementia, to help them in their daily lives.


30th November 2012 – ‘Cash for care’ rolled out 

Care minister Norman Lamb has unveiled further details of an initiative that will enable thousands of people the opportunity to get funds from their doctors to choose exactly what care they need for their condition or disability.


6th November 2012 –  Alzheimer’s detected decades before symptoms

A team of researchers at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Arizona have found some of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease, more than two decades before the first symptoms usually appear- potentially paving the way for earlier diagnosis of the disease in the future.


4th October 2012-  Cancer, heart and stroke specialists face NHS axe

Charities and doctors warn that planned reductions in teams of experts will affect fight against killer diseases.

3rd October 2012- Shared decision making leads to a better patient experience

Shared decision making is the belief that patients and their clinicians bring equally valuable input to the table when patients reach a decisions crossroads in their healthcare.


20 August 2012- Number of older people living with cancer ‘to treble’ by 2040

Head of Macmillan Cancer Support warns of a ‘ticking timebomb’ for society if NHS and social care systems are unprepared

18th July 2012 – BMA lifts threat of industrial action

Doctors leaders have lifted the threat of industrial action to re-enter talks with government in their dispute over pension changes.


5th May 2012 – Clinical Commissioning Groups – HR Guide

The much awaited HR guide for clinical commissioning groups has now been published. Healthcare HR Solutions is supporting a range of healthcare organisations with various HR services. We would be delighted to talk to your organisation about the detail of the HR guide. To download a copy, please click here.


5 December 2011 – Cameron wants companies to have access to some NHS records

The BBC reports that the Science Minister David Willetts has said he wants to see closer collaboration between the NHS and private medical companies, to help speed up the availability of new treatments.


29 November 2011 – Operating framework seeks to strike the right risk balance

NHS providers will be able to earn a further 1% of contract value in 2012/13 if they meet five quality standards, the Department of Health announced.


29 November 2011 – DH reinforces mandatory basis for PBR system

The Department of Health has underlined that payment by results provides ‘one system and one set of rules’ and that these rules are mandatory.


28 October 2011 – ‘Social value’ trumps price in public services, EU says

The BBC reports that the European Parliament has said that price “should no longer be the determining factor” when awarding contracts, and the economic, social and environmental benefits of a bid should also be considered.


18 October 2011NHS ombudsman in England criticises complaint handling

The BBC reports that the NHS in England is still failing to deal with complaints properly, with poor communication a major problem, the Health Service Ombudsman says.


10 October 2011NHS shake-up: The sticking points

The NHS reforms in England have been one of the most controversial aspects of government policy. In the spring, ministers even had to halt the progress of the Health Bill underpinning the changes because of widespread opposition from MPs, doctors and unions.


7 October 2011NHS cuts: Managers urge government honesty

It has been reported by the BBC that health service managers have called on the government to be more honest about the financial challenges facing the NHS in England.


27 September 2011Hospital saves fortune just by swapping rubber gloves

The BBC reports that the government hopes smarter procurement can help the NHS in England to save more than £15bn over the next three years – and some hospitals are already proving it can be done.


22 September 2011NHS to overhaul £11bn IT project

The BBC reports that the government is to announce that the board running an £11bn IT project for the NHS is to be scrapped, allowing hospitals to choose their own computer systems.


22 September 2011Nurses’ leader calls for proper healthcare assistants training

The BBC reports that the NHS is becoming too reliant on untrained healthcare assistants, says a nurses’ leader.


21 September 2011Commissioning groups ‘concerned’ about size and budgets

The BBC reports that a survey of the groups due to take over commissioning NHS care is highlighting fears about their size and budgets.


16 September 2011GMC says more support needed for overseas doctors in UK

The General Medical Council says some overseas doctors come to the NHS with “little or no preparation” for working in the UK.


26 August 2011Slow ambulance turnarounds cost NHS more than £10m

The BBC reports that more than £10m has been lost to the NHS in Wales in the last three years because ambulances are not transferring patients to hospitals quickly enough.


20 July 2011 NHS competition extended to community care

The BBC reports on the ‘greater choice’ in treatments that will increase competition ‘the final step in the privatisation of the NHS’ says Dr Jacky Davis of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign.


19 July 2011 NHS services to be opened up to competition

The Guardian reports on the government’s plan to ‘open up more than £1bn of NHS services to competition from private companies and charities’.


15 July 2011 More patients waiting too long for NHS treatment

The Guardian reports that ‘the number of patients not being treated within recommended NHS waiting times has soared by a third since the coalition came to power’.


14 July 2011 NHS: Shakeup of public health body delayed until after Olympics

The Guardian reports that ‘the abolition of the NHS’s main public body has been delayed nearly a year’ to avoid upheaval around the Olympics.


6 July 2011 NHS reforms and the search for local solutions

The Guardian’s Ingrid Torjesen explores ‘one of the few health reforms proposed by the government that has been widely welcomed’.


6 July 2011 Will GPs rise to the challenge?

The Guardian’s Jo Stephenson observes that ‘Family doctors who dislike bureaucracy may be pushed to the centre of complex management systems’.


6 July 2011 NHS reforms: how to move forward with sure, safe steps

Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, the chief executive of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, ‘explains how his trust is creating £20bn savings within the NHS’.


6 July 2011This NHS U-turn was a fake

The Guardian’s Jacqueline Davis questions ‘a public relations smokescreen’ that has left ‘the core principles of the bill in place’.


28 June 2011 Doctors reject revised NHS plans

The BBC’s health correspondent Nick Triggle reports that British Medical Association delegates voted 59% in favour for ‘the bill underpinning the changes to be withdrawn.’


21  June 2011 MPs to reconsider changes to NHS reforms in detail

The BBC reports that ‘MPs voted by a majority of 73 to “recommit” parts of the Health and Social Care bill’.


17 June 2011 Failing hospitals should close says nurses’ union leader

The Telegraph reports on comments made by The Royal College of Nursing’s Chief Executive Peter Cater ‘shut underperforming hospitals which are a drain on the system’.


15 June 2011 How reforms could help patients

The BBC’s health correspondent Nick Triggle demonstrates ‘the potential of the NHS to provide more effective and revolutionary care.’


14 June 2011 How will NHS look after coalition changes

The BBC explores the reform changes suggested by a panel of experts – David Cameron told the Daily Mail that “some of the details were wrong”.


13 June 2011 Review recommends big changes to NHS shake up

The BBC reports that ‘Plans to reform the NHS in England have left staff, patients and the public with deep seated concerns.’


7 June 2011 NHS reforms: David Cameron unveils key changes

The Guardian details the alterations revealed by the Prime Minister – although Cameron ‘insisted real reforms would still be introduced.’


1 June 2011 GP consortiums ‘may not be accountable’ for £60bn NHS spend

‘Because of weaknesses in the coalition’s reforms’ The Guardian reports the concerns of health thinktank the King’s Fund.


23 May 2011 – Lansley hints at changes to role of key NHS regulator

The Telegraph reports the Health Secretary intends to ensure ‘Monitor promotes the interests of patients rather than full-blown competition between providers.’


20 May 2011 – ‘Radical change needed’ in NHS

The BBC interviews Sir Mark Walport, the director of The Wellcome Trust – ‘Britain’s largest medical research backer’.


18 May 2011 – NHS changes: Points of contention

The BBC explores the points of contention in the NHS reforms to be implemented in 2013, that ‘90% of GPs have signed up to’ already.


18 May 2011 – Q&A: The NHS shake-up

The BBC assesses the structure and provide answers about the changes, ‘designed to encourage greater involvement from the private sector and voluntary groups.’


18 April 2011 – Patients denied key treatments due to NHS cost-cutting

The Guardian details the open letter from the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations – ‘Increasing rationing of operations is forcing patients to endure pain’.


17 March 2011 – NHS reforms leave health ministers under attack from all sides

The Telegraph reports: ‘Ministers have already lost the support of the Lib Dems, the BMA and the former health secretary Alan Milburn.


16 March 2011 – NHS reforms: what will happen and why

The Guardian questions the ‘radical restructuring of the health service’.


15 March 2011 NHS shake-up: The basics

The BBC outlines the changes the government are proposing to make to the NHS, changes that ‘will cost 1.4bn to introduce’.


23 February 2011 – NHS to lose 50,000 jobs, including doctors and nurses

The Guardian reveals drastic job losses – with 320 doctors, dental staff, nurses, midwives and health visitors lost from just one hospital.


19 January 2011 – NHS reforms: government unveils radical pro-market shakeup

The Guardian reports on ‘plans to cull 24,000 management staff and let NHS hospitals, private firms and GPs compete for patients.


17 January 2011 – NHS bans on operations gamble with patients’ health

The Guardian states that the President of Royal College of Surgeons ‘accused NHS primary care trusts of pursuing a “dangerous” course by refusing treatment to patients.’


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