Increasing partnership working in mental health pathways and the rest of today’s news

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3.45pn: East of England Ambulance Service Trust is likely to miss its financial plans after recording a deficit position for the sixth consecutive month.

A report discussed at its May board meeting said there was “a high degree of risk against the delivery of the trust’s financial plans”, with the deficit position principally driven by an overspend on its emergency operations patient administration system.

The report, by the trust’s finance director, said there was a “potential net risk against the delivery of the trust’s financial plans in excess of £11m”.

Read the story by HSJ’s James Illman here.

2.50pm: The Health committee will tomorrow hold its second evidence session on emergency services and emergency care.

Witnesses include chair of the association of ambulance chief executives and chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service Foundation Trust Dr Anthony Marsh and Mark Docherty, chair of the National Ambulance Commissioners Group.

Later in the morning Royal College of General Practitioners Dr Clare Gerada will give evidence alongside Andrew Webster, associate director of integrated care at the Local Government Association.

2.35pm: The BBC is reporting that up to 70 posts could be lost at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The trust has said it has begun consulting staff over possible redundancies but said the cuts “would not directly affect patient safety”.

A spokesman said the plans would be discussed with staff until 17 July and were the first of three waves of proposed job losses.

1.30pm: The Royal College of General Practitioners has announced the results of its latest elections for members to join its ruling council.

Successful candidates include London GP Dr Una Coales and Glasgow GP Dr Margaret McCartney.

Also elected was deputy chair of the BMA’s GP committee Dr Richard Vautrey, Dr Bill Irish, Dr Terry Kemple and Dr Nigel Sparrow.

All six will take up their seats on the RCGP Council in November and serve for three years.

12.50pm: The Daily Mail’sfront-page story is headlined “Drug can halve the risk of breast cancer returning”.

The paper reports a study saying using tamoxifen for ten years rather than five halves the risk of women dying of the most common kind of cancer.

12.45pm: The Daily Mail carries a four-page spread headlined “A&E? it’s like a war zone”.

Half of the opening spread has a piece by MP Chris Skidmore and is headlined “How soaring immigration has piled on the pressure”

On Saturday the paper had reported “NHS hires record number of Spanish and Portuguese nurses while refusing Britons because of slashed training budgets”

The second spread carries a number of individual patient stories from Buckinghamshire Healthcare tRust, University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust and Central Manchester Foundation Trust.

The other half of the spread is headlined “Cancelled ops hit new high due to A&E crisis”.

11.05am: Children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau is calling on Government to ensure GP reforms put children’s health first by providing better paediatric expertise in GP practices and opening hours that meet the needs of working parents and their children.

This could help reduce avoidable child deaths and relieve the burden on A&E services it claims.

The charity has today published a report called ‘Opening the door to better healthcare’ which highlights evidence young people have a poor experience of GP services compared to adults and parents feel GPs cannot meet their child’s needs and are going to A&E instead.

Enver Solomon, director of evidence and impact at NCB, said: “GPs want to provide the best possible care for their patients, but the way these services are configured and commissioned means young patients are not getting the health service they are entitled to. We are calling on the government to rebuild GP services from the ground up with a focus on the needs of the child. This must start with confirmation of funding for extended GP training, but also look urgently at providing a GP service  at evenings and weekends, and ensure the current patient survey, used to hold GPs to account, takes into account the views of children and young people themselves.”

The report is available here.

10.55am: The future of medical research is under threat because of cuts to government funding, more than 170 scientists and medical research groups have warned.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph they describe their “grave concerns” that cuts to the science budget in this month’s spending review could cause “severe and lasting damage” to Britain’s work in finding cures for diseases such as breast cancer.

The science budget, which includes the Charity Research Support Fund, is vital in supporting the work of scientists and without it there would be direct consequences for patients, the group stressed.

Read the story HSJ story here.

10.45am: The Financial Times carries a front-page splash headlined “Hunt in warning over NHS ringfence”.

Sub-headlined “Health secretary battles fellow ministers”, the piece reports that the secretary of state for health has “warned fellow ministers against trying to undermine the ringfence” around the NHS’s budget” as the cabinet enters the final weeks of the process for deciding the next round of public spending.

The paper said the Ministry of Defence and Business Innovation and Skills department were among those trying to redfine parts of their departments’ work as health spend in order to offload the cost onto the Department of Health.

Vince Cable reportedly wants the costs of medical research funded by his department to be met by the DH.

The MoD reportedly wants the DH to foot the bill for servicemen’s medical care.

10.35am: The paper also carries an interview with Jeremy Hunt ahead of his appearance in front of US technology companies at the “Health Datapalooza” today.

He tells the paper 2We think that over the next three years Britain will become the most interesting country in the world when it comes to health technology.

“And we think that just as a few things came together that led to the birth of the internet and the whole Silicon Valley explosion, we are actively trying to create a series of conditions in the UK that mean we are the global hub of health technology”.

10.33am: In reponse to the A&E crisis Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has unveiled a £1.2bn plan to relieve pressure on hospitals by caring for elderly people at home.

The Sunday Mirror highlighted the plan pointing to the fact the number of A&E admissions in England has soared by one million between February 2012 and January 2013, to 18,300,190.

Mr Burnham said the plan is part of Labour’s aim of getting hospitals to work with other social care organisations to create one service. The £1.2billion would pay for 70 million hours of home care he said.

Read the story here.

10.30am: The Guardian reported at the weekend a surge in the number of cancelled operations in the NHS as a result of the A&E crisis.

More than 220 operations a day were cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice during the first three months of 2013, official figures show. A similar scale of cancellations of elective surgery has not been seen since 2004-5. NHS England figures further reveal that the proportion of those patients not treated within 28 days of being turned away from operating tables has crept up to 5.6% – a four-year high.

The number of urgent operations cancelled every month has also doubled under the coalition, from 172 in August 2010 to 401 in April this year.

You can read the story here.

10.15am: Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing has responded to the NHS Confederation survey.

He said: “We agree wholeheartedly with Mike Farrar – the NHS and its staff have much to be proud of. However he is also right to draw attention to the scale of the challenge the health service faces. This survey reflects real and profound anxieties felt throughout the system about the current financial pressures – pressures which most believe are going to get much worse. We are also highly concerned that 93% of NHS leaders have seen slight or no progress towards integration.

“Strong leaders, both locally and nationally, must prioritise integrating care in order for the health service to meet the demands of an ageing population with increasingly complex conditions. By empowering staff to work together and deliver care closer to home, the NHS can not only survive its current pressures, it can improve patient care in the long term.”

10am: Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, commented on the results of its annual survey saying: “NHS leaders clearly get the message that there needs to be real and lasting changes to improve the way we provide care and the way we involve patients and the public in all aspects of their care.

“The poor care highlighted by the Francis Inquiry was a wake up call to us all - we have to raise our game and commit ourselves to changing the culture of the NHS, being more open and transparent, genuinely listening to patients and their families when they raise concerns, and taking action to remedy our ills.

“These results also show that there is serious concern about the underlying challenges facing the NHS and the pressures building on services.”

9.30am: A survey of NHS leaders by the NHS Confederation has warned the lack of progress on integrating services will lead to services becoming unsustainable.

The survey, ahead of the annual NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool this week, found 93 per cent of respondents said that only ‘slight progress’ or ‘no progress’ is being made to integrate care with 61 per cent saying this would affect the sustainability of services.

The NHS Confederation annual survey was answered by the leaders of 185 organisations providing NHS services between April and May.

Two thirds of NHS leaders believe a culture change in the NHS is vital if the quality of care for patients is to improve although 91 per cent of chairs and chief executives said they had made good progress setting out how they plan to respond to the Francis report into the Mid Staffordshire scandal.

Only 40 per cent believe that quality of care will improve over the next 12 months but 74 per cent are confident of meeting their financial targets with more than one in five NHS leaders describing the pressures facing their organisation as the worst they have ever experienced.

Other key results:

  • 83 per cent of respondents believe that financial pressures on their organisations will increase over the next 12 months.
  • 50 per cent of respondents believe that financial pressures  have affected waiting times and access to care in the past 12 months.
  • 70 per cent of respondents believe that waiting times and access will be affected in next 12 months as a result of financial pressures

Download a copy of the survey and results here or see right

8.28am: Achieving the agenda of patient voice and partnership working within hard to reach and vulnerable groups is a significant challenge. However, My Shared Pathway programme has demonstrated that patients within secure mental health services − some of the most vulnerable and isolated groups of individuals in health services − have been given a real voice.

Today on HSJ’s Commissioning channel, Rosie Ayub and colleagues say that increasing secure mental health patients’ engagement in deciding their care pathways will be difficult, but it will improve outcomes and is the right thing to do.