I have been doing a weekly health and wellbeing policy update for some time now. The full details can be found here, but a few of the highlights from the past week include:
- The NHS has had its busiest year on record with many targets not met (12th)
- Workforce planning in the NHS has been criticised by the Public Accounts Committee, which questions whether the Government knows the staffing requirement needed to meet its policy objectives (11th)
- Two more studies have undermined claims about the so-called weekend effect, where more people admitted at the weekend die than those admitted during the week (11th). One suggests that while there are more deaths, and there are fewer senior doctors available, the two things are not related. And the other, found that there were all sorts of variations during the day and the week, but no 'weekend effect'. The consensus seemed to be that there needed to be better understanding of the evidence before leaping in to expensive solutions.
- Talks between the junior doctors and the Government are to be extended until Wednesday. There have been positive noises as to how they have been progressing, but no details (13th)
- Benefit sanctions on low paid workers could be counter productive according to the Work and Pensions select committee which warns the Government to proceed cautiously in extending sanctions to people in work but who receive universal credit (11th)
- Plans for Sunday opening of GP surgeries are to go ahead, Jeremy Hunt has said, despite an apparent lack of demand for them from the public (9th)
- Jeremy Hunt's claim that increased spending on the NHS this year is the 6th largest in its history have been disputed by the King's Fund, which suggest that it is the 28th out of 46 years since 1975-6 when looked at as a percentage and in real terms (11th)