According to the OECD, the Government should reconsider the ring-fence around the NHS budget. Jorgen Elmeskov, Deputy Chief economist at the OECD, expresses doubts about the value of ring-fencing different budget areas, as “it tends to lead to deeper cuts in other areas which may not be warranted.”
End-of-week operations have a higher fatality risk
The Guardian reports that research published in the BMJ reveals that those whose operations are scheduled near the end of the week have a higher fatality risk than those earlier in the week, especially on Mondays. Patient safety campaigners have judged these risks to be “very alarming”, while the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has deemed them unacceptable.
Jeremy Hunt’s ‘war’ on GPs
The Observer ran an editorial commenting that Jeremy Hunt should not pick on GPs and instead should have engaged politically with the problems in the NHS, and arguing that the current Health Secretary is not picking the ‘right’ fights.
Richard Vize comments in the Guardian that Jeremy Hunt’s ‘war on GPs’ is driven by political point-scoring, while he constantly has his eye on the next election.
GPs are overstretched
The Telegraph reports that Claire Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practioners, has warned that GPs can no longer provide safe care because they are overstretched. GPs are often seeing over 70 patients in a day, and – Dr Gerada says – are unable to look after patients “in the way that they want”.
Government plans to boost number of GPs and community nurses
Jeremy Hunt has announced plans to boost the number of medical students trained as GPs, as well as moves to increase the number of nurses based in the community. The initiatives could ease pressure on A&E departments.
The Government has announced that the NHS in England will need more nurses and doctors trained to provide community health services to cope with a growing elderly population. This is one of the priorities for a new organisation called ‘Health Service England’ which will oversee future staffing and training needs for the NHS.
Pharmacy-first approach could improve health and wellbeing
Adopting a Pharmacy-first approach to healthcare could take the pressure off GPs and thus improve health and wellbeing, according to a report on the Guardian Professional network.
NHS urged to treat thousands in ‘virtual wards’
The NHS is being urged to treat thousands of patients in ‘virtual wards’ – at home, with visiting support from health staff – to alleviate pressure on hospital beds.