Health and Wellbeing Policy News 11th-15th July 2016

Here are some of the bigger stories from last week.  A fuller list (in date order) is available here.

 

14 July 2016
Jeremy Hunt remains as health secretary,  one of only four Cabinet ministers to retain their role, in the new prime minister, Theresa May's government.  Justine Greening replaced Nicky Morgan as Secretary of State for Education.  Savid Javid moved from Business to Communities and Local Government.  Damian Green becomes the Work and Pensions secretary.  The Department for Energy and Climate Change has been scrapped.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36790710
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/13/who-theresa-may-cabinet-boris-hammond-rudd
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3691248/MARCH-MERITOCRATS-loads-new-Cabinet-state-educated-Ministers-brutal-day-level-sacking-modern-history.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/political-news/jeremy-hunt-remains-as-health-secretary-despite-previous-reports/20032304.article
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/7006422.article
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/07/14/nicky-morgan-sacked-education-secretary/

12 July 2016
The UK is poorly prepared for the impacts of global warming in the coming decades according to a report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).  The Government is required by law to use the CCC report to develop its adaptation plan.  The 2,000 page report was prepared over three years by 80 experts.  The main analysis is based on what will happen even if the 2015 Paris agreement is fully delivered.  It says that what we now think of as extremely hot summers will be typical by mid-century with hospitals and care homes struggling to cope.  Amongst other risks are water shortages, difficulties producing food, flooding, new diseases and international unrest.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/12/uk-poorly-prepared-for-climate-change-impacts-government-advisers-warn
https://www.theccc.org.uk/2016/07/12/new-report-provides-authoritative-scientific-assessment-of-climate-change-risks-to-uk/

14 July 2016
The latest NHS England monthly performance figures have been published showing that responses to the most serious, Red 1, ambulance calls have not met the 75% target for the 12th month in a row.  The figure for May for Red 1 calls was 70.5%.  Six out of eight cancer targets were met but the target of 85% of cancer sufferers treated within 62 days was missed, at 81.4%: the target has only been met once since January 2015.  The number of delayed discharges reached a record number for the third month running.  The target of 95% of A&E patients treated within four hours was also missed.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36788620
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/14/nhs-england-cancer-waiting-list-targets
https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/2016/07/14/combined-performance-summary-may-2016/

13 July 2016
Adult social care services are facing cuts this year as the £382m raised from the new 2% council tax precept is outweighed by additional costs such as the new national living wage and increasing numbers of older people, leading to a shortfall of £940m, according to a survey of directors of adult social services.  The overall social care budget rose by 1.2% last year from £13.65bn to £13.82bn but there was variation between councils with 70 of 151 reporting a fall.  However since 2011 it has fallen by £4.6bn, or 31%.  It is estimated that 39% of the £940m shortfall will be met by cuts to services, with the rest met by rationing, increased charges and other means.  Only 31% of directors were confident they could make the required savings and still meet their statutory duties.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36776681
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/13/vulnerable-adult-social-care-risk-england-councils-face-1bn-shortfall
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/07/13/personal-budgets-services-face-cuts-say-directors/
Press release: https://www.adass.org.uk/council-tax-precept-fails-to-close-adult-social-care-funding-gap/

13 July 2016
The Government's plans for reform of children's social care have been criticised by the Education Select Committee which says it should scrap its plans for setting up a new social work regulator set out in the Children and Social Work Bill.  It says that social work is being pulled in different directions by the DfE and DH.  It attacked structural reforms and said improvements were more likely to come from such things as reducing social worker caseloads and stopping experienced professionals leaving the service.  Ministers have argued that improvements will come from taking services out of local authority control.  The committee said that the negative rhetoric about social workers from government was contributing to high stress and low morale.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/13/government-plans-to-reform-social-work-could-make-services-worse-rule-mps
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/07/13/government-social-work-reforms-risk-destabilising-fragile-workforce/
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news-parliament-2015/children-social-work-reform-report-published-16-17/

12 July 2016
Sex education is inadequate or missing in many schools according to an online survey of 914 young people aged 16-24, by the Terrence Higgins Trust.  It found that half rated the sex and relationship education (SRE) as 'poor' or 'terrible', 95% were not taught about LGBT relationships, 75% were not taught about consent, 97% had no discussion about gender identity, and nearly 60% didn't receive, or didn't remember receiving any information about HIV.  It was suggested that this was causing a safeguarding crisis for young people.  The Government, in February, refused to make SRE compulsory.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jul/12/sex-education-in-schools-unfit-for-smartphone-generation-survey-finds
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3685459/Sex-education-unfit-smartphone-generation-Lack-information-causing-sexual-health-crisis-young-people-charity-warns.html
http://www.tht.org.uk/get-involved/Campaign/Our-campaigns/SRE

13 July 2016
Suspected sepsis should be treated as an emergency in the same way as heart attacks, NICE has said.  There are about 150,000 cases of sepsis each year and 44,000 deaths of which it is estimated between 5,000 and 13,000 could be avoided.  The symptoms can be vague, making it hard to diagnose.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/13/sepsis-should-be-treated-same-as-heart-attacks-health-watchdog
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36774751
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3687357/Now-NHS-gets-tough-silent-killer-sepsis-Mail-exposed-scandal-baby-William-s-death-staff-told-treat-blood-poisoning-urgency-heart-attack.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/sepsis-should-be-treated-with-same-urgency-as-heart-attacks-says-nice-a7132616.html
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/clinical-news/gps-should-treat-signs-of-sepsis-as-urgently-as-chest-pain-advises-nice/20032296.article
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/7006401.article
https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng51

12 July 2016
The Government's vision for adult social work has been published by the Department of Health (7pp).
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vision-for-adult-social-work-in-england

12 July 2016
Integration of health and social care services for older people is generally poor despite some good examples, according to a report from the Care Quality Commission, 'Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers'.  It says that despite widespread commitment substantial progress is needed.  Problems included: a lack of culture supporitng collaboration; difficulties in identifying older people at risk; short term initiatives; poor monitoring and evaluation of integrated care; a lack of connection resulting in older people and their carers having to navigate complex local services themselves and falling through the gaps.  It says that the GP enhanced service for avoiding unplanned admissions has not been effective.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning/commissioning-topics/emergency-admissions/gp-care-plans-to-prevent-hospital-admissions-not-effective-warns-cqc/20032297.article
Press release: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/older-people-denied-personalised-effective-and-responsive-care-due-poor-integration-across

14 July 2016
Being overweight or obese puts men at a greater risk of dying early than women according to a study by a global consortium of researchers, pooling data from 189 studies involving almost 4m people published in the Lancet.  It excluded people who smoked or had a serious illness who might therefore have reduced weight because of that.  It found that for men the risk of death before the age of 70 was 29% for an obese man but 19% for a man of normal weight.  For women the respective figures were 15% and 11%.  On average, overweight people lose one year of life expectancy and moderately obese people lose three years.  They said that obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of premature deaths.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36783235
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2016/07July/Pages/Obesity-now-a-leading-cause-of-death-especially-in-men.aspx
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/13/obesity-causes-premature-death-concludes-study-studies
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3689142/Being-obese-DOES-increase-likelihood-ll-die-early-risk-increases-extra-pound-weight.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3689420/Overweight-men-50-likely-die-reach-age-70.html
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)30175-1/abstract

15 July 2016
The disproportionate growth in spending on specialised services threatens the financial sustainability of the NHS according to a report from the Public Accounts Committee.  Between 2013-4 and 2015-16 the budget for specialised services rose from £13bn to £14.6bn, an average annual increase of 6.3% while the overall NHS budget rose by 3.5% a year.  It says that NHS England should take action to ensure drugs and medical equipment are affordable, that services are cost-effective and that demand for the services is better managed.  There are 146 specialist services, usually for people with rare conditions.
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning/spending-on-specialised-services-risks-financial-stability-of-nhs/20032312.article
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/nhs-specialised-services-report-published-16-17/

13 July 2016
Some NHS trusts may need to reduce staffing to meet financial targets the Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, Jim Mackey has suggested in an interview with the Health Service Journal.  That could include telling those trusts that exceed one nurse per eight patients that it cannot be afforded.  He is also reported to have said that if demand rises by 2% it doesn't mean that costs need to go up.  The comments were subsequently criticised from a number of quarters.
(Rgn) http://www.nursingtimes.net/7006391.article
(14/07/16) http://www.nursingtimes.net/7006422.article

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