Posts Tagged ‘doctor shortage’

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) spending £1.5bn a year on temporary nurses as staff leave in droves, study reveals

May 14, 2018

Patients’ health could be put at risk by constant changing of staff, says report

By Colin Drury

The Independent Online

The NHS is spending almost £1.5bn a year on agency nurses while its own staff are leaving in droves, a new report suggests.

The vast outlay on temp workers would be enough to pay the wages of 66,000 full-time positions for a year, according to the study by The Open University.

It claims the health of patients could be put at risk because of the constant churn of staff.

And the report – compiled using a series of Freedom of Information requests – says the trend is only set to continue with 70 per cent of nurses leaving the NHS within 12 months of qualifying.

Low pay, heavy workload and lack of access to professional development are all blamed for the outflow.

Jan Draper, professor of nursing at the university, said: “The sector is facing challenging times. Relying on temporary nurses to plug gaps is just sticking a plaster over the problem, and costs considerably more than if vacancies were filled permanently.

“We know that poor retention and low recruitment results in inefficiencies and ultimately puts patient care at risk, so it’s vital we look to a more strategic and sustainable approach.”

The study, Tackling The Nurses Shortages, asked 241 of the UK’s health trusts about their use of agency nurses.

It found in total they had spent £1.46bn on temp workers in 2017. Because such nurses are paid 61 per cent more on average than in-house staff, if vacancies had been filled by permanent employees, the NHS would have saved £560m, the report concluded.

But a corresponding survey suggested the problem may become more pronounced still: it found 35 per cent of nurses are thinking of leaving the NHS.

The shortages had been compounded by a 28 per cent rise in EU nurses quitting Britain since the Brexit referendum, while overseas applicants have almost halved in the same period. The introduction of loans instead of grants for nursing students has also seen applicants fall by a third.

Prof Draper said that new degree apprenticeships should help ease the issue but more needed to be done.

She said: “Taking advantage of recently introduced degree apprenticeships that offer flexible work-based learning is one solution. Not only can this approach inspire and motivate the workforce, it can also increase future nursing supply and reduce retention issues in local communities, helping to reduce the strain on the sector.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was training more nurses from this year and had increased pay.

A spokesperson said: “The NHS would collapse without our wonderful nurses – the fact that the NHS is ranked as the safest healthcare system in the world is a testament to them. From this year we will train 25 per cent more nurses, are committed to helping them work more flexibly to improve their work-life balance and have awarded a pay rise of between 6.5 per cent and 29 per cent, in a deal backed by the Royal College of Nursing .”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nurse-shortage-nhs-staffing-uk-healthcare-cuts-temporary-nursing-a8349586.html

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Record numbers of NHS operations cancelled at last minute (Single-Payer HealthCare)

May 12, 2018

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

The figures are the worst for almost 25 years  CREDIT:  CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGES

By Laura Donnelly
The Telegraph
May 10, 2018

he number of patients who had NHS operations cancelled at the last minute is the highest in almost 25 years, new figures show.

The Royal College of Surgeons said the situation had become “unacceptable,” with too many people left to suffer in pain or while their condition deteriorated.

The NHS figures show 25,475 operations cancelled on the day they were due to happen between January and March of this year. The quarterly figure is the highest since quarterly records began in 1994.

The last-minute cancellations happened despite advice from NHS officials to cancel thousands more operations for the month of January, as services came under increasing pressure.

And targets to treat 92 per cent of patients within 18 weeks have now been missed for more than two years, the NHS statistics show.

In March, just 87.2 per cent of patients were seen within 18 weeks, leaving more than 360,000 patients facing longer waits.

Surgeons said the situation was being fuelled by shortages of beds because too many elderly people were stuck on wards, for want of social care, as pressures mounted in Accident & Emergency departments across the country.

The data also shows that 2,755, patients waited more than 52 weeks for NHS treatment compared to 1,528 in March 2017.

Mr Ian Eardley, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons and Consultant Urologist, said too many patients were being left to suffer.

“Patients are being forced to wait too long for planned surgery and an unacceptable number have suffered the stress of having their operation cancelled at the last minute,” he said.

“It is very distressing for patients who are often in pain, or immobile, and the delay could mean that their condition deteriorates.”

The Prime Minister is expected to announce an increase in funding for the NHS later this year.

Mr Eardley said it was vital that it was used to “transform” the way care was provided for elderly patients, with more care closer to home, as well as increasing bed numbers and improving access to hospital services.

Britain: NHS accused of breast cancer screening ‘cover up’ — Health Secretary blames computer algorithms for the error

May 3, 2018

A nurse has accused the NHS of a “cover up” after she and thousands of others fell victim to the biggest cancer scandal in the health service’s history.

Patricia Minchin, 75, developed breast cancer after the NHS failed to offer her a screening appointment. The disease has since spread.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health and Social Care Secretary, has admitted 450,000 women could be affected by the scandal and up to 270 may have died as a result.  The women should have undergone screening but were not notified.

Mr Hunt blamed a computer algorithm for the error which began in 2009 and went unnoticed for almost a decade.

The apparent IT glitch means that women whose cancer could have been spotted early…

The Telegraph:

Read the rest (Paywall):

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/02/nhs-accused-breast-cancer-cover-nurse-asks-dont-know-survive/

NHS accused of breast cancer screening ‘cover up’ as nurse asks: ‘I don’t know if I’ll survive… why did this happen?’

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Breast cancer screening scandal: How many women have been affected by NHS ‘failure’?A BREAST cancer screening failure was revealed to the House of Commons by Jeremy Hunt today. The failure means up to 270 women have had their lives ‘shortened’ after they did not receive an invitation to attend a screening for the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Jeremy Hunt addresses breast cancer screening failure

Breast cancer screening letters which were not sent out due to a technological failure may have extended the lives of a number of women, it has been revealed.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt, 51, told the House of Commons today that “a serious failure” had taken place.

Hunt told those present today that up to 270 women may have had their lives ‘shortened’ by the failure.

He said: “Earlier this year PHE (Public Health England) analysis of trial data from the service found that there was a computer algorithm failure dating back to 2009.

“The latest estimates I have received from PHE is that as a result of this between 2009 and the start of 2018 an estimated 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71 were not invited to their final breast screening.”

Breast cancer screening scandal: NHS UK scandals means women’s lives ‘shortend’

The Health Secretary told the Commons that up to 270 some women “would have been alive today” if the error had not occurred.

However, he did point out that the number may be far lower than this, and has been calculated using statistics and not patient data.

Hunt added: “At this stage it is unclear whether any delay in diagnosis will have resulted in any avoidable harm or death and that is one of the reasons I am ordering an independent review to established the clinical impact.

“Our current best estimate, which comes with caveats as it’s based on statistical modelling rather than patient reviews and because there is currently no clinical consensus about the benefits of screening for this age group, is that there may be 135 and 270 women who have had their lives shortened as a result.

“I’m advised that it is unlikely to be more than this and may be considerably less, however, tragically there are likely to be some people in this group who would have been alive today if the failure had not happened.”

Breast cancer screeningGETTY

Breast cancer screening scandal: NHS UK scandals means women’s lives ‘shortend’

The next of kin of those how may have missed a scan and later died of breast cancer will be contacted by the government.

This will advise the loved ones of the deceased on whether they may receive compensation, and also offer an apology.

Mr Hunt was made aware of the issue in March by PHE, and was advised not to make the facts public until a plan to remedy the situation was put in black.

The 309,000 women who are still alive and have not received their final letter will be contact by the government and 65,000 letters will be send this week.

At the moment the NHS offers breast screening to two million people every year.

Cancer cellGETTY

Breast cancer: Up to 270 women have had their lives ‘shortened’ Jeremy Hunt revealed

Jeremy HuntGETTY

Breast cancer: At the moment the NHS offers breast screening to 2 million people every year

What is the breast cancer screening age?

The breast screening programme invites women between the ages of 50 and 70 to receive a screening every three years up to their 71st birthday.

According to Cancer Research UK, screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs that could show that a cancer is developing.

Breast screening uses a test called mammography which involves taking x-rays of the breasts. Screening can help to find breast cancers early, when they are too small to see or feel. These tiny breast cancers are usually easier to treat than larger ones.

Overall, the breast screening programme finds cancer in about 8 out of every 1,000 women having screening.

Women should receive letters from their GPs telling them to attend an X-ray test called a mammogram, in a programme run by Public Health England.

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 https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/954202/breast-cancer-screening-scandal-uk-nhs-jermy-hunt-signs-symptoms-treatment-news

U.K.’s National Health Service Is in Trouble — Is There a Global Doctor Shortage?

April 21, 2018

Long waits, lack of beds, dearth of doctors plague beloved system, prompting calls for overhaul

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LONDON—After 94-year-old Enid Stevens was treated for a spinal fracture at a hospital in Northern England last month, she was wheeled out from the overcrowded ward to a hallway, where she lay on a gurney, unable to easily alert nurses, for six days.

“The health service is failing,” said Wayne Stevens, Mrs. Stevens’s 40-year-old grandson. “It’s not just my grandmother—there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of grandmothers going through the same indignities.”

Britain’s Health-Care Beacon

In many respects, the National Health Service ranks ahead of 10 systems in other major Western countries.

Seventy years after its foundation, Britain’s beloved National Health Service, which delivers free care for all, is in trouble. Hospitals were so overcrowded last month that a record 24% of patients waited for more than four hours in emergency rooms to receive medical attention, the worst monthly showing since the service began tracking that metric in 2010. Thousands of operations have been delayed or suspended, patients are being left to recover from major operations in hospital corridors, and the system is struggling with a severe shortage of doctors and nurses.

Opposition politicians are calling for the Conservative government of Theresa May to pour in more money, with many saying the system is a victim of unnecessary austerity. But policy makers say the solution requires more than just additional funds: Public-health spending in the U.K. is already at its highest level in history, at 7.4% of gross domestic product last year compared with 4.7% two decades ago. Focusing on the system’s short-term financial survival, a parliamentary committee determined last month, raises the risk that the government will ignore deep-seated structural issues that pose a graver threat.

“The National Health Service continues to scrape by on emergency handouts and funds that were intended for essential investment,” said Meg Hillier, a Labour lawmaker on the committee. The committee’s report said the NHS needed to shift more care out of hospitals and into communities and focus on ways to boost recruitment and retention of general practitioners.

Rising Costs

Expenditures on health care in the U.K. have more than tripled in the last two decades.

Many of Britain’s health-care problems are ones it shares with other Western countries. The country’s growing population is also getting older. The percentage of Britons aged 65 and over is expected to increase by 6 percentage points over the next two decades to 24% of the population. Older people require more health services than younger ones, and advances in medicine and medical procedures are also becoming more costly.

Because health spending and the means of delivering efficient care hasn’t kept up with those challenges, the NHS is facing its greatest strain in decades. “We’re at the point when more fundamental change is needed,” said Siva Anandaciva, a former Department of Health adviser and chief analyst at The King’s Fund, an independent charity focused on improving health care in England.

“From a politicians’ standpoint, it’s not the sort of thing you can solve through small amounts of funding, raising taxes or cutting spending,” he said. “We’re out of the realm of easy decisions.”

Mrs. May has acknowledged concerns about the NHS. Late last month she said the government needed to guarantee funding over several years, rather than annually as at present, and would soon outline a long-term plan to address its problems. “I think in this 70th anniversary year of the NHS’s foundation, we need an answer on this,” she said.

Protesters in London call for an end to the crisis in the National Health Service on Feb. 3.
Protesters in London call for an end to the crisis in the National Health Service on Feb. 3. PHOTO: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Britons have such pride in the NHS and its core principle of providing free-at-the-point-of-access medical care to all, Mr. Anandaciva said, that attempts by politicians to reform it are met with resistance and suspicion. As a result, lawmakers view the NHS as a “third rail” and worry that peril lurks in any suggestion they might make to streamline services.

Cheap by Comparison

The U.K. spends less than half as much on health care per capital as the U.S., whose residents pay more than those of any other major economy.

Sources: OECD (spending per capita, life expectancy); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. infant mortality), Office for National Statistics (U.K. infant mortality);

Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative lawmaker and former NHS doctor, said successive U.K. administrations have failed to be open about the scale of the challenges the system faces.

“We need to get much better about not only being realistic about current need across the whole system, but also even more importantly what happens about long term—that huge demographic change,” she said.

Ms. Wollaston said the government should look at integrating health and social care into one system. She also advocates a shift to more preventive, long-term health initiatives to lessen the steeper costs of acute care.

Other difficult issues that need addressing, some experts say, include whether services such as blood analysis and surgery need to be more centralized, creating greater efficiencies at the cost of less convenience for patients used to getting care locally.

Some experts say the only way to achieve real reform is to depoliticize the health-care issue altogether. A London-based think tank, the Center for Policy Studies, called for an independent royal commission to evaluate the NHS, a proposal one lawmaker has raised to the prime minister in Parliament.

Still, there are reasons for Britons to be proud. The NHS ranked first among health systems in 11 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, France and Germany, based on measures including access, equity and efficiency, according to a survey last year by the Commonwealth Fund, a national health-care philanthropy based in New York. (The U.S. system came in last.)

But by some measures, the NHS compares badly to other European health-care systems, with lower ratings on cancer survival rates, stroke deaths and infant mortality. In the past year, the Office for National Statistics reduced its estimate for life expectancy in the U.K. by almost a year, and infant mortality rates for those born into the poorest families have risen since 2011.

The NHS is also grappling with staffing shortages in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Nationals of other EU countries make up almost 10% of doctors in England’s hospital and community-health services, and many of them were among the some 130,000 Europeans who emigrated from the U.K. in the year ended September 2017—the highest outflow since 2008, according to the latest figures. The NHS employs about 1.1 million people in England, but almost 1 in 10 positions remains vacant, according to figures released in February.

Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the system’s decline will be difficult to overcome without major reform. As a physician, Dr. Scriven said he had seen the pressures over the past winter firsthand when a frail, elderly man in his 80s had to wait 12 hours in the emergency room with pneumonia before being treated.

“There’s been no let up—every day, there are never enough beds open,” Dr. Scriven said. “The NHS has always been a highly sensitive political thing. The politicians’ answer has been to pump in money, but it perhaps hasn’t been spent in the right way.”

Write to Jenny Gross at jenny.gross@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-s-national-health-service-struggles-with-chronic-shortages-1524308400

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European Doctors Are Giving Up on the U.K.

February 15, 2018

Bloomberg

Just under 3,500 registered to work in 2017, a 26 percent drop from 2014.

Andrea Pevere had a great job offer: a permanent position as an anesthesiologist in the U.K., where she had previously worked and lived. But she worried about what would happen to her immigration status—she is Italian—once Britain formally leaves the European Union in 2019.

Instead, like an increasing number of European doctors, she decided against the move, accepting a limited-term contract in France.

“If you want to build a future,” said Pevere, 35, “you just think twice about choosing the U.K. for a long-term job.”

 Image result for Britain, NHS, A&E, photos

The number of doctors coming to the U.K. from the European Union fell 9 percent in 2017 to an eight-year low, according to new figures from the U.K.’s General Medical Council obtained by Bloomberg through a freedom of information request. There were 3,458 new doctors from EU countries who registered to work in 2017, down 26 percent from a peak of 4,644 in 2014, the council’s data show.

Doctors who have considered working in the U.K. say it will only get worse, thanks to Britain’s 2016 decision to leave the EU. Non-Brits haven’t had a clear answer on whether they’ll be able to live and work in an independent U.K., despite attempts at reassurance from Theresa May’s government.

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NHS patients often fill up the hallways waiting for attention at overcrowded NHS hospitals. This man waited so long in the A&E (emergency room) that he jumped into an empty trolly to get some attention from medial staff….

The figures come at a time of intense soul-searching for the U.K.’s National Health Service, whose mission to provide government-funded health care to all is deeply linked with the British identity. The campaign to leave the EU—prominently supported by British politicians Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage—promised that £350 million ($487 million) per week would be redirected to the NHS by freeing up cash used for EU membership. (The U.K. Statistics Authority called that claim “potentially misleading,” and the re-allocation never had the backing of the government.)

Earlier this month, thousands demonstrated in London to demand more funding for the health service. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted about the apparent state of distress, calling the NHS “broke” and prompting rebuttals from British politicians.

Image result for Britain, NHS, A&E, photos

The NHS needs more doctors and has relied heavily on overseas migrants in recent years to fill gaps in staffing, with almost 10 percent of its doctors in England hailing from Europe alone. A study last year said 190,000 new positions were needed by 2027 to meet demand. Brexit could make those shortages more acute.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health—which oversees health care in England, but not Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland—called the registration data “misleading” and pointed to data showing that 212 more doctors from Europe were working in the NHS in England in September 2017 from a year earlier.

However, a parliamentary report on that data released earlier this month cautioned against making comparisons over time because of gaps. “Some apparent increases in staff numbers for particular nationalities and nationality groups is likely to be due to improved data coverage rather than genuine increases,” the report said. “To present this as the full story would be misleading.”

A Downing Street spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the government had plans to address the decline and directed questions to the Department of Health.

Image result for Britain, NHS, A&E, photos

High-quality scientific research, the ability to work and live without a visa and widespread knowledge of English have made it easy and appealing for European doctors to relocate to the U.K., despite some downsides, said Elias Mossialos, professor of health policy at the London School of Economics.

“Pay is not necessarily the best, and living standards elsewhere are not as expensive,” Mossialos said. European doctors often find Scandinavian countries or Germany more attractive than the U.K., he added.

Competition to attract doctors will only heat up, globally. By 2020, the EU alone will need 230,000 more practitioners than are available, according to estimates by the European Commission. Worldwide, that shortage is about 2.6 million, the World Health Organization says.

The number of doctors coming to the U.K. started falling sharply in 2015, the year then-Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party laid out plans to hold the Brexit referendum. Doctors often have to make career plans several years in advance.

Image result for Britain, NHS, A&E, photos

It’s not just doctors. A continuing, steep decline in the number of European nurses coming to the U.K. prompted the government to promise to create more spots for trainees. NHS figures released in September showed 10,000 EU employees—including nurses, doctors and other staff—had already quit. This winter, medical students have been drafted to plug staffing gaps at emergency rooms, the Guardian reported.

It will be difficult for the U.K. to find a way to overcome the compounded issue of NHS shortages and Brexit, Mossialos said. Even if British universities took more students, it could take a decade for doctors to be fully trained, he said.

Francesca Mursia, 26, trained in London before the vote but chose to move to Spain to pursue surgery. “Specialisms can take up to nine years in the U.K.,” she said. “Tying myself hand and foot to a country that does not want to stay in the EU seemed unwise.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-15/european-doctors-are-giving-up-on-the-u-k

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Britain’s Health Secretary says NHS winter crisis is ‘worst ever’ but says doctors and nurses ‘knew what they signed up for’ — Doctors say NHS does “not currently have a sustainable model” — No mention of patients, sick and elderly

February 9, 2018

Health Secretary says doctors and nurses knew what to expect

By Alex Matthews-King

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Jeremy Hunt admits NHS winter crisis is ‘worst ever’

Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged the NHS winter crisis is the “worst ever” but said staff knew what to expect when they “signed up” to work in the health service.

Official figures released today confirmed that A&E waiting time performance is at its worst level on record, and more than a thousand patients were left waiting for 12 hours or more in trolleys waiting for a bed.

Experts said patients are dying prematurely because corridors have become “the new emergency wards” this winter, despite unprecedented efforts and planning by staff and the cancellation of tens of thousands of operations.

The Health Secretary described this winter as the “worst ever” for the NHS, saying the flu outbreak had been “very, very tough” on frontline services, and adding: “In terms of pressures on the system, I think it probably is the worst ever because we’ve got very high levels of demand.”

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But when asked in an interview with ITV News whether he would apologise to under-pressure NHS staff, he replied: “I completely recognise the pressures they have been going through and when they signed up to go into medicine they knew there were going to be pressurised moments.”

Mr Hunt did go on to say sorry to patients, telling the programme: “I take responsibility for everything that happens in the NHS. I apologise to patients when we haven’t delivered the care that we should.”

Justin Madders, Labour’s shadow health minister, said: “This startling admission shows how entirely out of touch with the reality of the NHS winter crisis Jeremy Hunt is.

“It follows the Prime Minister’s bizarre comment last month that cancelled operations were ‘part of the plan’ for the NHS and that ‘nothing is perfect’.

“The truth is that our hardworking NHS staff provide the best possible care in the face of unprecedented pressures and are all that stand between the current crisis and total collapse.”

He was speaking as figures released by NHS England showed just 85.3 per cent of patients were seen at A&E departments within the waiting time target of four hours in January.

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NHS England said the “worst flu season in years” had put a strain on services, but the result was an improvement on December and January last year – the joint worst months since records began.

More than 1,000 patients had to wait more than 12 hours to be seen – more than double the previous month, described as “shocking” by Royal College of Nursing chief executive Janet Davies.

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“There’s no more graphic illustration of how tough this winter has been for NHS patients and staff than the fact that last month, over 81,000 people going to A&E had to wait more than four hours for a bed in the hospital – the worst figure on record,” she added.

“Over a thousand of those had to wait a shocking 12 hours or more.”

She said “distressing scenes of frail elderly people in corridors on trolleys have become an all too familiar sight this winter”, which is pushing people to quit the NHS.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the figures demonstrate how the NHS does “not currently have a sustainable model” to cope during the busy winter months when illnesses such as flu and norovirus are more prevalent.

Figures also released by Public Health England (PHE) on Thursday showed there were 22 confirmed flu-deaths last week, taking the total deaths so far this winter to 215.

“The last six weeks has seen the acute services of the NHS under a sustained period of stress due to ‘normal’ winter pressures along with a surge in influenza,” Dr Scriven added.

“Last year we coined the phrase ‘eternal winter’, but the last month and a half has shown an even steeper decline in performance as demonstrated by all the data available – particularly around ambulance delays, the four-hour emergency target and bed occupancy both in acute beds and critical care.”

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NHS England said more than 1.7 million patients were seen within four hours last month, an increase of 5.72 per cent on the daily average for the same month last year.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-winter-crisis-jeremy-hunt-health-secretary-flu-hospitals-ae-waiting-time-doctors-nurses-a8201706.html

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Jeremy Hunt has a very uncomfortable reaction to NHS doctor’s honest admission about health service

 https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jeremy-hunt-very-uncomfortable-reaction-11994982
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Hunt looked visibly awkward as he heard that one doctor ‘would not have trained’ if he knew what the state of the NHS was really like on ITV news

Britain: NHS A&E waiting times hit worst levels on record, show latest figures

February 8, 2018

The Independent

A record number of patients were kept waiting on trolleys in A&E departments as four-hour target performance hits new lows

By Alex Matthews-King Health Correspondent

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‘Extensive winter planning’ has not averted most severe A&E pressures on record as experts warn funding and capacity ‘inadequate’ Getty

Record pressures in NHS A&E departments last month were confirmed by official statistics today that show waiting times in emergency departments have hit their worst ever levels.

Just 77.1 per cent of patients were seen by “Type 1” A&E departments within the four-hour target in January 2018.

This is a fall from the previous record waits set just a month earlier, when 77.3 per cent of patients were seen within four hours.

Type 1 departments are “traditional” A&Es, for patients in cardiac arrest or after major trauma, and have a 24-hour service led by a consultant with full resuscitation facilities for acutely ill patients.

Figures also show 1,043 patients had to wait more than 12 hours on trolleys before being found a bed, double the previous month and exceeding the old record of 989 patients in January last year.

NHS England pointed to a slight improvement in overall A&E performance figures, which include waiting times at minor injuries units and walk-in centres.

It shows that 85.3 per cent of patients waited more than four hours, its second worst on record, compared to 85.1 per cent the previous month and in January 2017.

However, this still remains well below the target of 95 per cent of patients at all A&E sites being seen inside four hours – a target which has not been hit since 2015.

The figures confirm that A&E departments have been facing record-breaking pressures this Christmas.

It also shows that Theresa May’s claims of the NHS being better prepared than ever, and its “plan” to cancel non-urgent operations for tens of thousands of patients at the last minute, were not enough to counteract years of underfunding and a record flu outbreak.

NHS chiefs warned the health service is falling even further behind on waiting times, despite additional funding in the budget to put it back on track.

The Royal College of Surgeons highlighted that more non-emergency patients are waiting longer for treatment, just 88.2 per cent starting treatment 18 months from referral, below the target of 92 per cent.

“These performance figures show just how tough it was for hospitals this winter, with further lengthening of waiting times in A&E despite cancellation of planned surgery to free up capacity,” a RCS spokesperson said.

“Surgeons and other frontline NHS staff are working tirelessly to provide the best care possible to patients.

“But today’s figures show that these short-term measures to create extra capacity in the NHS are insufficient to meet NHS performance targets. We currently do not have adequate funding or capacity in our health or social care services and we need to urgently find a long-term solution.”

The work of front line NHS staff and managers to mitigate these pressures is evident.

Just 4,668 patients were delayed in hospital because of a lack of home support or capacity in community centres, according to figures on delayed transfers of care (Dtocs) for December.

This compares to 6,305 patients in December 2016, and is the lowest number since August 2015 – around the time the NHS was last able to hit A&E waiting times targets.

Delayed transfers, caused largely by a collapse in funding for social care and local authorities, impact all aspects of hospital performance as it means there is no space to move patients out of intensive care or admit them from A&E.

“A year ago we warned that corridors had become the new emergency wards,” said chief economist at the Nuffield Trust, John Appleby.

“It is deeply concerning that 12 months on the position has worsened, with many harrowing reports of patients being treated in busy corridors by stressed and overworked staff.”

 
Theresa May says 55,000 missed operations are part of the NHS plan

In December, A&E doctors running major emergency rooms across England and Wales signed a letter to Theresa May warning that patients were “dying prematurely in corridors” because of these pressures.

“Today’s figures provide hard evidence on just how bad a winter the NHS is having: over 80,000 patients waited on trolleys for more than four hours at A&E in January, of whom over 1,000 were waiting for over 12 hours. These are the highest numbers since records began.”

In papers ahead of its board meeting today, NHS England revealed it had again been allowed to drop the official four-hour A&E target for 2018-19, with ministers recognising that funding pressures are too far gone to restore performance in the next year.

Commenting on today’s figures, an NHS England spokesperson said: “Despite the worst flu season in seven years, A&E performance improved this month.

“It was better than both the month before, and was better too than the same time last winter. This was partly helped by the fact that NHS-related Delayed Transfers of Care fell to their lowest in four years, freeing up beds for patients needing emergency hospitalisation.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-ae-waiting-times-hit-worst-levels-on-record-show-latest-figures-a8200186.html

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) ‘should be funded by new tax’

February 5, 2018

BBC News

 Image result for NHS protests, february 2018, photos
A rally was held in London at the weekend calling for more funding for the NHS

A new ring-fenced tax to fund the NHS and social care has been proposed by a panel of health experts.

The panel, set up by the Liberal Democrats, says the NHS in England should be given an extra £4bn on top of inflation in the next financial year.

It has suggested replacing National Insurance with the new tax to close the funding gap.

Image result for NHS protests, february 2018, photos

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said NHS funding “is at a record high”.

“[It] was prioritised in the Budget with an extra £2.8bn, on top of the additional £2bn already provided for social care over the next three years, and an additional £437m of funding for winter,” the spokesperson said.

The future of NHS money has been hotly debated as hospitals struggle to cope with the pressure on resources.

Last month, tens of thousands of non-urgent operations were delayed.

The 10-member panel included former NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson, Peter Carter, former chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing and Clare Gerada, former chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs.

It said on top of the £4bn extra needed for next year, an additional £2.5bn would be required for both 2019 and 2020.

Prof Gerada said that one of the issues is that working people over the age of 60 benefit from a significantly reduced National Insurance contribution, and people over 65 do not pay it at all.

She said National Insurance, which currently funds the NHS and social care, is inadequate as older people are living longer, and not contributing to the ring-fenced tax.

She said: “Old age is now between 85 and 95, so old age has significantly moved.

“Why shouldn’t I pay for my fair share of contributions if I’m working?”

As part of the recommendations, the panel also suggested reinstating a cap on the costs paid by individuals on social care.

In December, the government scrapped proposals to cap fees at £72,500.

It supported creating an office for budget responsibility for health and called for a series of incentives to get people to save more towards their adult social care.

The idea of a levy dedicated to funding the NHS was also suggested by former minister Nick Boles.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42940433

Related:

Young Chinese emergency doctor dies after treating 40 patients on long night shift

January 26, 2018

Guo Qingyuan, 43, collapsed after a busy evening at the Qinghai hospital

By Laura Zhou
South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 1:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 2:12pm

An emergency doctor in northwest China has collapsed and died after a long night shift during which he had treated 40 patients, a local newspaper reports.

Guo Qingyuan, 43, was coming to the end of a busy shift at the Qinghai University Affiliated Hospital on Wednesday morning when he started experiencing chest pain, palpitations and breathing difficulties, Xining Evening News reported on Friday.

As he was going through the procedures to be admitted as a patient himself, Guo had a seizure and collapsed. He underwent four hours of emergency treatment before he died.

Guo was the father of a two-month-old son and a daughter, 10, and his wife is also a doctor at the same hospital, according to Southern Metropolis News.

The night before he died, Guo had treated 40 patients then stayed on for an extra three hours so that he could ensure his work was properly handed over to colleagues, according to the newspaper.

The case has triggered an outpouring of grief and sympathy online, with many people expressing their condolences to his family, and their support for other doctors who work long hours.

“This is an unbearable loss for his family … his wife and two children,” one person wrote on news portal QQ.com. “Emergency doctors have a tough job and they have to work around the clock.”

Another wrote: “Many people don’t understand the work of doctors. But I know, after giving birth, that they don’t even get a set time to eat or rest because they don’t know when the next patients will arrive. I salute all medical workers.”

It is not the first case of a doctor collapsing while at work in recent years in China. The most recent case was on December 29, when a 43-year-old respiratory specialist in Shanxi province died after she reportedly worked an 18-hour shift without a break.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2130695/young-chinese-emergency-doctor-dies-after-treating-40-patients

Boris Johnson warns Theresa May she must commit to giving NHS extra £100m a week to defeat Jeremy Corbyn

January 17, 2018

Image result for nhs, a&e, photos

By 

Boris Johnson has warned Theresa May that the Government must make a public commitment to giving the NHS an extra £100million a week after Brexit if the Tories are to beat Jeremy Corbyn at the next election.

The Foreign Secretary believes that the Government must adopt the flagship Vote Leave pledge and spend £5.2billion a year that would have been paid into Brussels on the health service instead.

His intervention comes as hospitals struggle to cope with the winter flu crisis amid an ongoing row between the Government and NHS England over funding.

Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader, has put the issue at the forefront of his campaigning. Mr Johnson is likely to have the support of Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary and leading Leave campaigner, alongside senior Eurosceptic Tory MPs as he makes his case for the commitment.

Read more (Paywall):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/01/16/exclusive-boris-johnson-warns-theresa-may-must-commit-52bn-brexit/

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Boris Johnson suggests Brexit could fund NHS

Boris Johnson said Vote Leave had underestimated the amount that Britain gives to Brussels each week
Boris Johnson said Vote Leave had underestimated the amount that Britain gives to Brussels each weekMATT CARDY/GETTY IMAGES

Boris Johnson has suggested that additional NHS funding should come from the Brexit dividend rather than a new tax.

The foreign secretary joined the heated debate among senior Conservatives about how much to put into the NHS after the funding settlement runs out in 2020 and how to pay for it.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is prepared to look at a new tax among other options, The Times revealed yesterday. Nick Boles, the Tory MP for Grantham & Stamford, has backed an additional levy, as has Nick Macpherson, former permanent secretary to the Treasury.

However, Mr Johnson told The Guardian that the cash should come from funds now paid to Brussels that may be available after Brexit, depending on how much the UK continues…