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  • NHS vacancies a 'national emergency' here even the BBC notes the scale of the problem as "NHS Improvement" sits on its hands after setting impossible "control totals" aiming to force further cuts in spending. "The latest figures have been published by the regulator, NHS Improvement, for the April to June period. They showed:
    ◾11.8% of nurse posts were not filled - a shortage of nearly 42,000
    ◾9.3% of doctor posts were vacant - a shortage of 11,500
    ◾Overall, 9.2% of all posts were not filled - a shortage of nearly 108,000
    This is slightly worse than this time last year and comes after improvements at the end of last year and start of this year."

  • Pharma chief defends 400% drug price rise as a ‘moral requirement’ A useful reminder to anyone who thinks big Pharma is in it for the sake of our health rarher than their shareholders' balance sheets.

  • Finally NHS Improvement acknowledges £4bn underlying deficits: how about more honesty on other policies and issues Short, sharp comment piece by Richard Bourne asks the obvious questions that so many in the media have not yeat asked.

  • GPs demand faster CAMHS access as mental illness soars in young people GP online artyicle quotes an Imperial College academic: ": ‘We know that there is already a growing crisis in the availability of CAMHS, with many more children and young people needing treatment than there are services to provide it. Our study suggests that this need is likely to continue to grow in future. Without more radical action to improve access to and funding for CAMHS, as well as a wider strategy to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, we may be letting down some of the most vulnerable in society.’"

  • Rapid rise in patients over 85 highlights need to invest in general practice In normal times this GP online story might simply be stating the obvious: but in these times of constant and tightening pressure on NHS budgets it's clear that the demands of caring for more older patients many of whom have more complex needs puts more pressures on GPs as the front line.

  • GPs demand equal treatment as NHS rolls out £145m hospital winter fund Important reminder from BMA in GP online: "The funding announcement comes after an extreme NHS crisis during the 2017/18 winter, which forced the NHS to cancel tens of thousands of elective operations across England, with hospitals almost entirely full for several weeks in a row. GP practices faced a major knock-on impact as they managed patients facing extended waits for operations - as a heavy flu season also drove up workload."

  • How to respond to NHS England's consultation on restricting access to elective treatment The consultation (discussed in the front page of Health Campaigns Together newspaper) ends at the end of this month. In this link, Tony O'Sullivan of Keep Our NHS Public suggests that answers and the reasons for them that would best respond to the NHS England challenge. Urgent action needed.

  • Epidemic of poor mental health among low-paid workers Report analysing data from over 4,000 UK workers of different job ranks, aged 16 to 65. "We found a worryingly high prevalence of mental health problems among low-paid workers in non-managerial roles.
    "Among all workers, we found that 19% showed signs of depression, 15% had thought about suicide in the last month, 10% felt paranoid, 7% had a psychotic or a personality disorder and 4% had hallucinations. Low-paid workers were significantly more likely to have symptoms of paranoid personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder than those whose jobs were managerial."

  • UNISON calls on Salisbury NHS trust to rethink wholly owned subsidiary plans Another battle to prevent desperate trusts disintegrating their own workforce in the hopes of making savings through dodging tax.

  • RCEM factsheet shows nearly 300 emergency medicine doctors have left to work abroad since 2015 Another hard hitting fact sheet from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. It notes that hospital trusts are not being paid the full cost of A&E treatment:
    "According to NHS Reference Costs the average cost of an ED attendance in 2016-17 was £148.
    "NHS Trusts are paid for the services of Emergency Departments through something called the National Tariff system. Historically, national tariff payments have not reflected the full costs of treatment in Emergency Departments."
    "Because tariff payments have not kept pace with inflation and because of what is known as the ‘Tariff Efficiency Factor’ the gap between the actual cost of treatment and what Trusts are paid to deliver it has grown."

  • Patients dying on NHS waiting lists 'surges by 10,000' Pulse report follows up on Daily Express figures charting another symptom of decline in under-funded NHS.

  • 40 Percent of Connecticut Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs One of the wealthier US states has rising numbers of families that cannot earn enough to get by. The report shows that between 2010 and 2016 the cost of childcare for families has increased 13 percent. The cost of housing during that same time period increased 9 percent and the cost of healthcare increase 82 percent.

  • Toddler dies while gran reads Mr Men books to him after 'urgent' surgery delayed for 3 DAYS at busy hospital Mirror story: "The little boy went into cardiac arrest after waiting at ‘extremely busy’ Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH) for three days. The inquest heard he required an ‘urgent’ procedure at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital but it kept being ‘put off’, the coroner was told."

  • NHS bill for hiring non-UK staff could hit £500m post-Brexit, say doctors Guardian report on another shocking hidden cost of Brexit: "The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has calculated that the costs of recruiting EU and non-EU staff could more than triple from the current £150m a year if freedom of movement ends as a result of Brexit."

  • Surprise Medical Bills Are What Americans Fear Most In Paying For Health Care A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 67 percent of people worry about unexpected medical bills – more than they dread insurance deductibles, prescription drug costs or the basic staples of life: rent, food and gas. 4 in 10 people said they had received a surprisingly large invoice within the past year. Thesame poll also found that a majority of the US public — regardless of political party — does not want insurers to be allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums because of someone’s medical history or health status. Both practices were standard in the health insurance industry until they were outlawed by the Affordable Care Act in 2010.


  • NHS charging for overseas visitors – wrong on every level Strong article from Prof martin McKee on Our NHS blog site explains that regulations that deny visitors NHS care – except for certain infectious diseases and to relieve death pains - are riven with contradictions. They will hit some unexpected victims as well as the intended scapegoats.

  • Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally A new joint report by the OECD, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank points out that poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels.
    Inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices, or providers who lack adequate training and expertise prevail in all countries. The situation is worst in low and middle-income countries where 10 percent of hospitalized patients can expect to acquire an infection during their stay, as compared to seven percent in high income countries.

  • Vital lifesaving NHS equipment in dire need of replacement with more than 1,000 machines more than decade old FoI requests by Labour have found 892 X-ray devices used in clinics were more than 10 years old, with 139 past their replacement dates; 295 ultrasound machines were more than a decade old, with 134 past their replacement dates; and 46 MRI scanners in use which were more than 10 years old, with 10 past their replacement dates.

  • Many serious surgeries cancelled on the day, study finds BBC report on research led by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and University College London, which looked at more than 26,000 cases in a seven-day period in March last year, across 245 UK hospitals.
    "They found one in seven operations were cancelled on the day of surgery."

  • CQC Enforcement Notice: A crisis in local healthcare Campaign blog defending hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford against reconfifuration plans responds to recent intervention by the CQC: "We applaud the courage of staff who approached hospital inspectors, and told them of the problems. It was staff who blew the whistle here.
    "A letter from the CQC to hospital trust SaTH reported: “Staff across all areas and grades raised concerns with us about this practice (‘boarding’) and told us they felt it was unsafe, demeaning, undignified, and disgusting. Two staff members told us they felt patients who were boarded were treated like ‘animals’ and ‘cattle’.”

  • Choice of Tory peer as NHS England chair 'risks politicising health service' Lord Prior has followed the same path as the incumbent Malcolm Grant, from chair of University College London to chair of NHS England. But Prior has previous as a Tory MP and as parliamentary undersecretary of state for health, a position he held until December 2017. His appointment entrenches Tory political influence in the key NHS body that controls commissioners and providers.

  • Public health chiefs to trial lifetime risk score rejected by NICE Dodgy science behind irresponsible Public Health England app that is urging millions of healthy people to go to their GP for a cholesterol check. There are 8.7 million people in the UK in their 30s. This PHE "heart age" tool seems to be incorrectly telling them ALL to go to their GP to get their cholesterol checked. If only one in 100 do so, that's 87,000 pointless GP consultations

  • Following the Money: Performance trumps transformation A patchy (£) HSJ update on STPs based on a survey with only half of STPs responding, but pretty much echoes findings of a May 2017 survey of all 44 schemes - available (free) at https://healthcampaignstogether.com/pdf/sustainability-and-transformation-plans-critical-review.pdf

  • Patients come clean: 'We have gone to A&E because we can't get a GP appointment' Service under strain, and a reminder that Staffordshire's NHS is still facing massive problems more than a decade after Mid Staffs. Local Sentinel reports "A whopping 23,044 patients went to the Royal Stoke University Hospital's A&E in just ONE month".

  • Focus on: People with mental ill health and hospital use Important report from Quality Watch

  • Revealed: Hundreds of children wait more than a year for specialist help A (£) HSJ reminder of the broken promises to improve CAMHS services.

  • Hospital A&E doctor shifts unstaffed BBC report on crisis in the capital's hospitals

  • Social care needs for over-85s predicted to double in next 20 years Guardian article highlighting new research published in Lancet Public Health with grim warnings for our complacent government:
    "Those who have dementia and at least two other major health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, will double over the next two decades, it estimated, suggesting an extra 500,000 people will need complex forms of care.
    "The study said health and social care services must adapt to the unprecedented needs of an older population with complex care needs, and warned the state should not rely on family carers as a sustainable solution to the problem."

  • Adult social care services on brink of collapse, survey shows This Guardian article by Patrick Butler appeared in June but supplies background to the latest warnings on the crisis in social care.

  • NHS bosses urge hospitals to send patients to private firms Guardian correspondent Denis Campbell's article quotes NHS Providers' CEO Chris Hopson warning against short sighted referrals to private hospitals:
    "As well as wasting taxpayers’ money it could also further de-stablise the provider sector’s already challenged finances.”
    It also quotes Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, warning of a “bonanza for the private sector”.

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