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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2012): National Health Service - primary and community care

Clinical commissioning groups in the new system

J. Hayden

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 17, 2011, p. 512-515

Clinical Commissioning Groups are a key feature of the Health and Social Care Bill, and their position has evolved as the legislation has moved through the Parliamentary process. The article is based on the version of the Bill brought from the Commons to the Lords. Once established and authorised, clinical commissioning groups will replace primary care trusts. As statutory public bodes, they will inherit many of the functions and duties that currently apply to the trusts. They will need to have robust governance arrangements and to understand and manage potential conflicts of interest.

Health care at home by remote control

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 6th 2011, p. 1

The prime minister announced in December 2011 that people with chronic conditions would be monitored at home by equipment that would transmit information to doctors. Up to three million patients with heart or lung conditions would have the equipment installed in their homes. Pilot schemes had found that telecare equipment cut deaths by up to half and reduced emergency hospital admissions and GP appointments.

Lansley unveils measures to compare performance of GPs

S. Boseley

The Guardian, Dec. 8th 2011, p. 18

Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, launched more than 60 'outcome measures' for the NHS, which he said would put GP performance under real scrutiny for the first time and give patients a more informed choice over which doctor they wanted to see. Labour accused the government of reneging on its pledge to scrap all targets, but Andrew Lansley, in a speech at Guy's hospital in London said his outcome measurements would deliver a more meaningful verdict on how well the NHS was doing than previous targets such as waiting list lengths and would indicate where there was room for improvement.

Poorest areas see more using A&E instead of GP

D. West

Health Service Journal, Dec. 15th 2011, p. 9

An analysis of official figure published in 2011 showed that patients in the poorest areas were 63% more likely than those in the richest locations to find it hard to see a GP quickly. They were also 53% more likely to attend accident and emergency. The analysis shows that if spending on emergency hospital admissions for the 40% of practices with the most deprived populations was reduced to average, it would save about 104m. If the rate of A&E attendance for those practices was reduced to the average it would save a further 78m.

Remote chance for virtual care

C. Blackledge

Health Service Journal, Dec. 1st 2011, p. 27-28

Telehealth involves the remote monitoring of a patient's vital signs in order to continuously assess their care needs. It is a promising approach to cutting costs and unplanned emergency hospital admissions, but is expensive to install and meets with resistance from patients, many of whom fail to use it properly. There is a risk that the new clinical commissioning groups will not see it as a priority, given tight budgets and a lack of national guidance from government.

Study finds 24,000 avoidable deaths a year from diabetes

D. Campbell

The Guardian, Dec. 14th 2011, p. 7

Up to 24,000 people with diabetes are dying avoidably each year because they do not receive the right healthcare or do not manage their condition properly, a government-commissioned report has revealed. The 'incredibly alarming' figure is the first estimate of the number of patients who die early because a failure to have health checks, take drugs at the right time and maintain a healthy lifestyle increased their risk of dangerously high or low blood sugar, heart failure or kidney problems. While three-quarters of the 24,000 deaths are among the over-65s, younger patients are most at risk. Two young people aged 15 to 34 in England are believed to die every week as a result.

True colours shining through

S. Bird

Health Service Journal, Dec. 15th 2011, p. 26-27

Proposals included in the Health Bill mean that public health professionals are faced with the prospect of leaving the employment of the NHS They will face significant challenges to their identity and self-image as they transfer to council control. While some professionals will successfully transfer to a local authority, others may leave. Directors of public health may not be graded at chief officer level in a local authority, and so will no longer have a voice at the top table. Successful leaders will need to foster a positive and productive team climate in times of considerable uncertainty and change.

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