Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2012): National Health Service - Reform - General

1 in 7 patients waits six months for hospital bed

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 25th 2012, p. 1 + 2

A patient survey by the Care Quality Commission brought to light a perception that waiting times for hospital treatment were increasing. An extra 150,000 people reported increased treatment delays since the Coalition government came to power in 2010. Another survey, by the union Unison, claimed that three-quarters of responding members working in the NHS said that they could not spend enough time with patients to deliver dignified, safe and compassionate care. The Department of Health said that, despite patient perceptions, official figures showed that numbers of people facing long waits for treatment were at a record low.

Depending on the kindness of others

P. Joshi and P. Foster

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 18, 2012, p. 182-183

In recent years attempts have been made to 'industrialise' the health service by relentless regulatory and structural reforms. Many feel, however, that these attempts have failed to take account of the individual humanity of professionals at work in the NHS. The authors discuss how the book Intelligent Kindness argues the case for putting kindness at the heart of healthcare reform.

Give them the power to do it differently

P. Carter

Health Service Journal, Apr. 12th 2012, p. 22-23

The NHS is facing the challenges of saving money while caring for more patients and improving service quality. The only way the NHS will be able to meet these challenges is through radical service redesign and the move of more treatment out of hospital and into the community. This article presents examples of staff-led redesign which have improved the patient experience while saving money.

NHS team to test English of foreign doctors

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 18th 2012, p. 1 + 2

Following a series of scandals involving foreign doctors with poor English making serious mistakes, the government consulted on a plan to appoint 500 responsible officers (i.e. senior doctors) who would have to ensure that all doctors working in the NHS had the necessary language skills to communicate with patients. If an unsuitable foreign doctor was approved and a patient's treatment suffered, the responsible officer could be held liable for the mistake. Responsible officers could be banned from practising for a serious breach.

Public health policy and politics. 2nd ed.

R. Baggott

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

Public health continues to pose ideological, economic and moral dilemmas for policy makers. For example, how involved should health care practitioners become in ensuring the absence of illness or promoting wellbeing? To what extent should health be a matter of state, rather than individual, responsibility? This new edition of the book, visits the contemporary debate surrounding public health, exploring the many facets of health improvement and promotion within their historical, socioeconomic and political contexts. The book:

  • examines the successes and limitations of current health strategy and public health campaigns,
  • assesses the impact of factors such as lifestyle, environment and socioeconomic inequality on public health
  • investigates international dimensions and global issues including environmental health, climate change and world poverty
  • evaluates the past 13 years of Labour policy and considers the future under a coalition government.

Putting friendly faces back on the wards

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 17th 2012, p. 4

The Nursing Care Quality Forum met for the first time in Downing Street on April 17th 2012. The Forum, made up of 22 nurses, patient groups' representatives and other medical experts was tasked with drawing up new nursing guidelines. It was set up after regulators had raised serious concerns about the basic care offered to patients, particularly the elderly.

Shortage of consultants working at weekends 'putting lives at risk'

S. Adams

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 3rd 2012, p. 7

A survey of 91 acute trusts by the Royal College of Physicians found that, in more than a third, there was inadequate weekend consultant cover. Specifically, in 38% of hospitals, there was at least one day a week when consultants were present on acute wards for a maximum of four hours. This tended to be the case at weekends when consultants were often on call. The study also found that in nine out of ten hospitals consultants did not have to work blocks of two or more days, but could choose to work a day here and a day there if they wanted. Moreover in half of hospitals consultants only made one ward round per day. It was concluded that these traditional working patterns were unsafe for patients.

The Twitter challenge

D. Carlisle

Health Service Journal, Apr. 19th 2012, supplement, 7p

Report of a roundtable debate in which experts discussed where technology would make the most significant impact on the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the next three years. The discussion focused on the use of technologies such as telecare for people with long term conditions, information sharing to promote integrated care, and social media to facilitate communication between patients and clinicians. It was acknowledged that in order to exploit the technologies staff would have to adopt new ways of working. The debate ended with a discussion of the barriers to the adoption of new technologies.

Warning for watchdog after it complains about abortion clinic visits

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 6th 2012, p. 6

In April 2012 the Care Quality Commission wrote to the Department of Health raising concerns about the impact of its being ordered to undertake an emergency inspection of more than 300 abortion clinics which were suspected of illegal practices. It said that the investigation of the abortion clinics had cost 1m and had led to the cancellation of 580 pre-planned visits to hospitals and care homes as resources had to be diverted. In response, the Department warned the regulator that it must be operationally capable of responding quickly to new evidence of illegality or unsafe practices.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Apr. 5th 2012, p.1; The Guardian, Apr. 5th 2012, p. 2; The Guardian, Apr. 6th 2012, p. 11)

Why the NHS could miss the next care revolution

A. McLellan

Health Service Journal, Apr. 19th 2012, p. 18-19

Report of an interview with John Dineen, President and Chief Executive of GE Healthcare, in which he identifies technological developments that could transform healthcare. The introduction of personalised molecular medicine is promising to transform care quality. Advanced diagnostics are enabling the precise targeting of these new therapies, which offer much greater efficacy than scattergun approaches like chemotherapy. Digitisation of information has the potential to industrialise the delivery of healthcare, driving out variance and increasing efficiency.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web