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Social care: MPs seek cross-party group to 'sustain' NHS

Reported by the BBC (18 November 2017): Ninety MPs have signed a letter calling on the prime minister to set up a cross-party convention on the future of the NHS and social care in England.

They say a non-partisan debate is needed to deliver a "sustainable settlement". The letter to Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond said patients were being "failed" by the system. A government spokesperson said it was "committed" to making the sector sustainable.

The government had already provided an additional £2bn to social care over the next three years, the spokesperson added.

One-third of the MPs who have signed the letter are Conservative. They include Sarah Wollaston, chair of the health select committee, former education secretary Nicky Morgan and Andrew Mitchell, a minister under the last government.
Tories George Freeman, former policy adviser to Mrs May and Sir Nicholas Soames, are other signatories. Labour MPs to sign include Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna, Hilary Benn, Frank Field and Caroline Flint. Among the Liberal Democrats to have signed are Sir Vince Cable, Sir Ed Davey, Tim Farron and Norman Lamb.

A similar initiative with a much smaller group of MPs, including Ms Wollaston and Mr Lamb, was launched earlier in the year. The heads of three commons select committees also demanded "swift" action. This resulted in a meeting with Downing Street officials.

The latest letter, now backed by a broader range of senior parliamentarians, said the general election had interrupted these plans.

"The need for action is greater now than ever," it said.

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Dunhill Medical Trust Research Project Grant Scheme

The Dunhill Medical Trust is pleased to announce the latest call for applications to its popular Research Project Grant Scheme

Applications are invited from academics and clinicians from all health professions (including allied health professionals) who wish to undertake a research proposal aimed at improving the understanding of the mechanisms of ageing, the treatment of age-related disease and frailty or identifying and developing new and effective ways to improve the lives of older people.

Applications should be made by the Principal Investigator - PI - (Lead Applicant), as the person responsible for the research. As part of the application process, the PI will be expected to demonstrate that he/she is based in a strong research environment with a suitable skill mix in the research team (with other members of the team being named as Co-Investigators). The Trust does not consider single applicant proposals.

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Northern Ireland budget reveals health spend increase

Reported by the BBC (13 November 2017): Northern Ireland's budget for 2017/18 has been published and shows an increase in health spending of 5.4%. It will be passed into law at Westminster later this week after 10 months without a devolved executive at Stormont. NI Secretary James Brokenshire said that public services would begin to run out of money if a budget was not in place by the end of November.
The budget numbers were recently shared with the local parties.

It comes after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin failed to reach a deal in political talks. Overall, the amount of money available for day-to-day spending is up by 3.2%, meaning no real increase when inflation is considered.

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Patients face 'distressing readmissions'

Reported by the BBC, 26 Oct 2017: The number of patients in England being readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge has risen by nearly a quarter in the last four years, a watchdog has said.

Figures compiled by Healthwatch suggest one in five of these potentially distressing readmissions happen 48 hours after being sent home. The watchdog warns patients may be being rushed out early. NHS England says it is impossible to know the reasons for the readmissions. An emergency readmission occurs when a patient needs to go back into hospital unexpectedly for further treatment, within 30 days of having been discharged. Readmissions in such a short space of time raise concerns about patients being discharged unsafely, and about the pressure on hospitals to free up beds.

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Dementia assessment and improvement framework

Reported by NHS Improvement (17 October): An evidence-based framework to support and enable directors of nursing and medical directors to achieve ‘outstanding’ care standards for those living with dementia during their stay in hospital.

The framework consists of eight standards and draws on learning from organisations that have achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission, and integrates policy guidance and best practice with opinion from patients and carers. The latter was captured through existing resources, including Healthwatch UK (2017), Patient Voices, the Alzheimer’s Society and meeting people and their carers living with dementia.

Designed to be implemented using quality improvement methodology, embodying the principle of continual learning, We recommend it forms part of your quality improvement programme. The principles of the framework apply to all services and you should adapt it to meet your local population and workforce needs.

Click here for the full document

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