The essential stories and talking points from Monday
- Today’s must know: Aftercare costs are eating into mental health budgets
- Today’s workforce shortage: Second opinion appointed doctors for mental health
- Today’s appointment: Ex Southern Health man heads north
Three’s a trend?
HSJ has revealed that United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has a waiting list of more than 600 neurology patients who are overdue a follow-up appointment.
This is the third week running HSJ has reported on a trust with excessive waiting lists of patients overdue follow-up neurology appointments. It follows stories about Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust (1002 patients waiting for a follow up) and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (369 patients waiting for a follow up).
So, we now know nearly 2,000 patients are waiting longer than they should for their follow-up neurology appointments across just three trusts.
It is, however, unclear what the picture is nationally because while initial referrals are collated under the closely watched referral to treatment target, there is no nationally collected metric or mandated target for follow-up appointments, that HSJ is aware of.
But perhaps there should be?
It is also noteworthy that all three trusts highlighted a lack of consultant neurologists as the biggest factor in their ability to meet demand, further underlining the NHS’s increasing workforce shortage across all areas.
Less than a year ago, Will Cavendish left a job at the Cabinet Office to work for Google’s artificial intelligence venture, DeepMind.
Now, as we exclusively revealed, he’s off again for as-yet-undisclosed pastures, although everyone wished everyone else “well for the future”, as is the custom.
During his brief tenure at DeepMind, Mr Cavendish headed the venture’s strategy for applying its technology to real-life problems, most prominently in health through partnerships with NHS hospitals.
The most controversial of these deals, with Royal Free London Foundation Trust, was drawn up before his arrival. A critical investigation into the trust’s sharing of patient data with DeepMind was completed just two months before his departure.
Mr Cavendish was director general for innovation, growth and technology at the Department of Health for two years. He has held various other leadership roles within government.
There will doubtless be no shortage of applicants to replace Mr Cavendish, given DeepMind’s expanding presence in the NHS and Google’s deep pockets.