Nursing Times: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for “an immediate halt” to government plans to replace healthcare student bursaries with loans, warning the move would hit nurse recruitment and healthcare services in the capital. In a letter to the Department of Health, he warned London “will be impacted heavily by the decision to end the bursary system” and it that it would make recruiting and retaining nurses and midwives harder due to the higher cost of living.
The mayor’s appeal comes after the London Assembly passed a motion calling on him to urge the government to stop it plans, which will from autumn 2017 see students have to take out loans for both tuition fees and living costs.
The letter to the DH refers to a recent Royal College of Nursing survey, which found four in ten nurses employed in London may leave by 2021 due to the cost of housing.
Independent: Many might have welcomed the latest reports that a cure for Alzheimer’s could be just around the corner, to scrub the disease from the planet for once and for all. Currently, patients’ options are limited to treatments that reduce memory loss by replacing neurotransmitters eaten away by the condition. Now, researchers working in the US – where over $1.3 billion has already been spent on investigating dementia – believe that they have developed a “breakthrough” vaccine which uses the immune system’s antibodies to attack proteins believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Following tests on mice, experts from the Institute for Molecular Medicine and the University of California, Irvine published a paper on a vaccine that targets both beta-amyloid and tau proteins linked to the disease.
“If we are successful in pre-clinical trials, in three to five years we could be well on the way to one of the most important developments in recent medical history,” Flinders University School of Medicine Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, and co-author of the study published in Nature’s 'Scientific Reports' journal, recently said.
It certainly sounds revolutionary – particularly to those desperately afraid of the disease. But experts working in a field where only 0.4 per cent of the almost 250 potential treatments for dementia tested between 2002 and 2012 have been successful are cautious to celebrate. Some even warn that harnessing the immune system against Alzheimer’s could be dangerous.
Politics Home: If you are one of the estimated 1.6 million pensioners in poverty in the UK, you might be forgiven for hanging on to your copy of today’s IFS report on Living Standards and putting it on the fire this winter to save on your heating bills. Not that it isn’t sober and thought-provoking research, analysing masses of data to raise important concerns about working age poverty. Most older people – many as parents and grandparents - will share those concerns. But the sheer scale and complexity of its analysis inevitably leads to simplification of its findings and the simplest of those can be seen in the BBC report: ‘Young suffer as pensioners continue to prosper’.
It will be little comfort to you that your chances of being poor has fallen and that rates are higher in other groups. You are still one of the many older people trying to survive on less than £138 a week. You might also wonder why everyone over the age of 60 is regarded as one large homogenous group, with no attempt made to distinguish between the younger generation and the older, ‘silent generation’ of those 75+ among whom average incomes are much lower. Is that a failure of the data, or the analysis, you might wonder. Perhaps it is just easier to think of all people over 60 as ‘older’.
Even if you’re not in poverty, you might be annoyed that parts of the report are not explored more. For example, the report explains there are three reasons why fewer pensioners are in poverty: benefits, pensions and work income. The increase in private pensions cited is - at least in part - a result of people choosing to save more during their working life. And the final reason pensioners are less likely to be in poverty is that more of them are working beyond retirement age – nearly 1 in 10 of them. Again, you might think that pensioners continuing to work, support themselves and pay tax might be a source of congratulation rather than reproach.
BBC: Ministers in England have given the wrong impression about how much extra they are spending on health, MPs say. The government made big play of the extra £8.4bn on top of inflation it was giving the NHS this parliament when it unveiled its spending plans last year. But the Health Select Committee said the true figure was about £4.5bn.
The MPs said a different definition of spending was used to give the idea of more funding. Ministers have rejected the accusation. The cross-party group of MPs said instead of focusing on the whole health budget ministers highlighted the amount going to the frontline via NHS England.
In 2015-16 that was about £101bn, but that ignored £15bn of money set aside for other aspects such as training and public health.
Foreign NHS workers must be given “reassurance” by the Government that they are still “welcome in this country”, Simon Stevens says today. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the NHS chief executive calls on Theresa May’s new Government to protect the rights of all international employees in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union. Mr Stevens says that Britain’s NHS relies on “committed health professionals from other countries”.
Setting out a post-Brexit blueprint for the health service, Mr Stevens also says that money should be diverted from hospitals to GP surgeries to help save the NHS. He calls on Mrs May to use the EU referendum as an opportunity for “radical change” in the health service. Urging the Government to focus resources on GPs rather than hospitals he says that “headlines about hospital deficits obscure the fact that over the past decade their share of funding has grown rapidly at the expense of primary care”.
And he warns that GP surgeries and hospitals across the country are “overcrowded and clapped-out” and calls on Mrs May to set up new infrastructure fund to replace buildings “buildings in need of a makeover if not a bulldozer”.
BGS Blog: The BGS is seeking to appoint a number of new committee members to progress our work in the area of Finance, Fund Raising and Corporate Affairs. These are voluntary, unpaid roles, though travel costs and other expenses will be covered. The posts are open both to new candidates and to those who are already serving on BGS committees. [Read more on the BGS blog]
King's Fund: Clinically led approaches to planning and designing health services are more likely to be both innovative and effective. For this reason, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were set up to put GPs at the heart of NHS planning decisions. What progress have CCGs made in implementing their clinically led model and what more needs to be done?
This report, published by the King's Fund, looks at what has been learnt – including strategies to overcome challenges and identification of the main barriers to effective involvement – and makes recommendations for the future. Its findings about clinical involvement are relevant not only to policy-makers and CCGs but also to other organisations across the NHS involved in planning and designing services.
- Effective clinical involvement and clinical leadership are essential for high-quality commissioning.
- CCGs have achieved better GP engagement than previous forms of commissioning.
- CCGs have faced significant challenges in embedding clinical involvement in commissioning and have developed a range of strategies to overcome these. The challenges include: engaging with all GPs in a local area; developing the next generation of GP leaders; managing conflicts of interest; and using links with GPs to improve the quality of general practice locally.
- CCGs identified three national barriers that are inhibiting effective clinical involvement: lack of autonomy to take decisions that meet local needs; budget and resource constraints; lack of support for tough prioritisation decisions.
- There are clear steps that NHS England and the Department of Health need to take to build on what CCGs have learnt, address the continuing barriers and embed clinical involvement in planning decisions across the NHS.
Health Foundation analysis of the impact on NHS finances of the UK leaving the European Union
The vote to leave the EU comes at a time when the NHS is facing a substantial financial challenge. The government’s pre-referendum plan to achieve a fiscal surplus by 2019/20 already means that there is less money available to help meet health system funding pressures than in previous decades. The 2015 comprehensive spending review confirmed the period from 2009/10 to 2020/21 as the most austere decade that the NHS has ever experienced.
The funding available for the NHS is highly dependent on the strength of the national economy; we cannot know with certainty how the UK’s decision to leave the EU will impact, with so much depending on the details of the deal negotiated with the remaining EU members and future trade arrangements with other countries. The major of forecasts in the event of a Brexit, forecast a negative effect on the economy. There was only one published forecast, from a member of the Economists for Brexit group, that didn’t estimate a negative impact.
The Health Foundation analysis uses the most optimistic scenario from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) modelling. This assumes that the UK joins the European Economic Area (EEA). In the short term this would see the economy grow at an average of 1.5% a year between 2015/16 and 2019/20, instead of 2.1% without leaving the EU. This would mean a total loss to the economy of £43bn in 2019/20 (£835m a week).
Click here to read the full report. See also: The UK voted to leave the EU: what now for the NHS? (NHS Confederation)
Listen to Prof David Oliver's extended interview, talking about older people, the specialty of geriatric medicine and the British Geriatrics Society. He described the history of geriatric medicine via Marjory Warren; the focus of geriatric medicine on the complex multiple health needs of oler people; the role of the British Geriatrics Society; and his role as President of the British Geriatrics Society. He speaks exhaustively on the need for better co-ordination between medical and social care.
Politics Home: NHS staffing levels must be cut if finances in the health service in England are to be controlled, the King's Fund has warned. Helen McKenna, the senior policy adviser at the King's Fund, said: "Politicians need to be honest with the public about what the NHS can offer with the funding allocated to it. "It is no longer credible to argue that the NHS can continue to meet increasing demand for services, deliver current standards of care and stay within its budget. This is widely understood within the NHS and now needs to be debated with the public. There are no easy choices, but it would be disastrous to adopt a mindset that fails to acknowledge the serious state of the NHS in England today."
See also: NHS budget control 'will require staff cuts' (BBC); Government can’t afford its seven-day NHS pledge, health think tank warns (Telegraph)