4.35pm The NHS Confederation has also responded to the State of Care report.

Specifically addressing the CQC’s finding that there had been no improvement in the NHS treating people with dignity and respect since last year’s report Director of Policy Dr Johnny Marshallsaid:”Our Dignity Commission has revealed some of the excellent progress that has been made to ensure patients and their families are treated with the highest levels of respect. It is disappointing there has been no overall improvement in patients being treated with dignity and respect following Francis, but there are still 91 per cent of NHS hospitals meeting this standard.”

He added: “It is absolutely critical that we continue to focus on delivering the highest levels of care and compassion across the entire health system in hospitals, in communities and at home. There is no excuse for not treating every patient as an individual, with the highest levels of dignity and respect. Nine out of 10 is good, but not good enough.”

4.16pm The Social Care Institute for Excellence has offered its own insight into reducing avoidable admissions.

“SCIE’s evidence shows that more effective joint working between community-based health and care services can reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. 

“We also know that good infection control, management of hydration and nutrition, and the involvement of falls prevention services can help to reduce the need for hospital treatment for care home residents, as well as those living in their own homes.

“There are examples of good integrated working out there - but we know it can be challenging.”

4.02pm The Alzheimer’s Society says that the State of Care findings should be “a wake-up call” for NHS leaders:

“It is a national disgrace that people with dementia are being let down so profoundly. With a quarter of people in hospitals and 80 per cent of people in care homes living with dementia, caring for them should be core business of health and care services. These findings should be a wakeup call to leaders in the NHS to make dementia their number one priority and ensure that staff have the time and skills to care for people with dementia.

“People with dementia need better support in the community to reduce avoidable admissions and readmission rates.”

3.52pm Helipads have recently been built at a number of hospitals by HELP, a charity set up by the County Air Ambulance Trust.

A new helipad at St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight was recently opened and more helipads are set to be built at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool and Hull Royal Infirmary next year.

3.43pm Our sister title Nursing Times reports that a nurse who left a four-day-old baby face down in a cupboard has been given a three year caution order.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council disciplinary panel decided to impose the sanction on Ms Musonda-Malata after ruling that her fitness to practise was impaired.

2.53pm The Department of Health has responded to the State of Care report’s finding that ‘avoidable’ elderly emergency admissions have increased.

Norman Lamb MP said: “We know too many older people don’t get the right support in the community, leaving them at high risk of repeated admissions to A&E. We want to make the whole health system work together around the patient, so that more people get the help they need before emergency treatment is required.

“No-one should fall through the cracks between health and social care systems. We are bringing in a more joined up and integrated approach to care – building a health service for the future which has patients, not process, at its core.”

2.38pm The Guardian reports that David Cameron is failing to fulfil his two-year-old pledge to combat liver disease according to the British Liver Trust. The charity is concerned that if funding gets moved out of deprived areas then liver disease numbers will rise.

Chief executive Andrew Langford accused the government of “dither and delay in the development of a national liver disease strategy, which David Cameron promised two years ago but has still to be published”.

2.27pm Sir Bruce Keogh found his medical expertise unexpectedly called upon during a recent TV appearance according to The Telegraph.

2.22pm Another interesting comment from a reader on our pharmacy story:

“As NHS England now commission community pharmacy services there is no link between CCGs and community pharmacy which is a huge impediment. And let’s not forget that a GP on a CCG board is not going place a service that makes them or their practice colleagues a nice income to Pharmacy are they? (Unless of course that GP is the major shareholder in a pharmacy)”

1.46pm Here’s another response to the CQC’s State of Care report, which comes from the Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations.

AIHO Chief Executive Fiona Booth said: “We welcome the CQC’s latest ‘state of care’ report, and the evidenced high levels of performance in care quality provided by the independent sector.”
“We were also pleased to see that 92 per cent of independent hospitals met the safeguarding and safety standards in 2012/2013 and our members will be working over the coming year to drive this even higher.”
“The report confirms that NHS resources in England are under significant pressure. While the NHS performs very well in the vast majority of cases, it’s critical that we make much better use of our independent healthcare sector in order to help relieve the burden on the health service. This is especially important at a critical time for the service when pressure on accident and emergency services is approaching its peak.”

1.42pm The Daily Mail reports that British GPs are the best paid in the western world whereas nurses are paid less than the average wage. The report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that GPs’ pay is 3.4 times the size of an average wage. Nurses’ pay was found to be the third lowest out of 24 countries.

1.27pm A UK brain injury specialist provider is set to pilot smartphone technology to help speed up the rehabilitation of people with acute and long-term neurological conditions.

The technology works by allowing people to use their smartphones to access clinically proven cloud-based technology. Anxiety levels are monitored using a ‘one touch traffic light’ system – green, amber, red. High anxiety responses trigger help from a mentor support team.

1.26pm The Institution of Engineering and Technology has announced the winners of its Innovation Awards. Team Consulting Ltd and OrganOx Ltd picked up three awards for their OrganOx metra innovation in the Healthcare Technologies, the Intelligent Systems and the Emerging  Technology Design categories.

1.23pm Labour responds to Public Health England’s HIV figures by calling for increased public awareness and earlier testing.

Luciana Berger MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health, said: “The fact that fewer people are living with HIV without knowing they have the virus is a welcome step and shows progress is being made in tackling this serious condition. We can’t allow for one ounce of complacency however – especially when around half of people who tested positive for HIV last year were diagnosed late.

“We cannot let the future fight against HIV and AIDS be compromised by this Government’s fragmentation of sexual health services. There are already serious concerns about the negative impact this is having on access to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

“That’s why we need to do much more to increase public awareness and understanding of HIV and the importance of getting tested earlier and more frequently. National HIV Testing Week is a great opportunity to do this and I urge everyone to support the campaign in the build-up to World Aids Day on December 1.”

1.16pm The Royal College of Nursing have given their response to the CQC’s State of Care report.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN said: “As we approach the busiest time of year for A&E departments it has now become evident just how urgently we need to improve preventative community care.

“It is easy to be distracted by these worrying statistics and forget about the consequences they are having on people’s lives. Thousands of older and vulnerable patients are waiting for hours in A&E corridors with conditions which could have been prevented. Thousands more are battling loneliness as paid carers are forced to reduce the time they spend visiting patients due to financial cutbacks.

“We support moving care from hospitals to communities because it is better for patients. However, far too often we have seen decisions made based on financial necessity rather than patient need, with services being removed from hospitals while community teams are still pitifully short-staffed. One in five care homes has staffing pressures and this means that vulnerable patients are not getting the care they deserve.

“A&E departments cannot be expected to continue soaking up demand from the rest of the health service. More importantly, society owes it to its most vulnerable citizens to put an end to the fragmented state of health and social care which is undoubtedly causing a huge amount of suffering.”

1.11pm Our story on pharmacies possibly easing the burden on GPs by providing basic care has given one reader a feeling of deja vu:

“Back to the future!! Pharmacy has been proposed as a solution to GP capacity and accessibility issues every few years for 20 years and still no traction. I can only conclude that the disparate ownership groups from Boots down to one guy with a shop make commercial contracting at a meaningful scale impossible…”

12.51pm Councils joining the government’s £3.8bn health and social care integration drive will be expected to enforce “substantial” cuts to their back office budgets, a local government minister has said.

In an interview with HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle, Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams for the first time directly linked the Department of Health’s integration transformation fund with job cuts in local government.

12.45pm The Care Quality Commission has uncovered major concerns at a children’s ward run by Cambridgeshire Community Trust, which is facing a battle for survival.

The CQC revisited Holly Ward, based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in September to investigate “sustained concerns around staffing and care planning”.

It followed a routine inspection in February which identified problems with how nursing care was recorded and the number of nurses of duty, according to the regulator’s inspection report.  

12.36pm Next Wednesday, a free HSJ webinar will explore the complex issue of balancing clinical efficacy of treatments with quality of life for patients. Areas of discussion will include:

  • How can we decide where the balance should lie between clinical efficacy and quality of life?
  • How can we ensure that patients are sufficiently involved in the development of medications, and in health research and development more generally?
  • Will academic health science centres and networks make a difference in this area?

The webinar is on Wednesday 27 November at 12.30pm.

12.29pm Cancer patients who were denied access to a cutting edge therapy under NHS England’s specialised commissioning policies will be able to access it again if they agree to take part in a clinical trial.

Under policies which came into force in April, NHS England stopped routinely paying for selective internal radiotherapy, a treatment for cancerous tumours of the liver, arguing there was not enough evidence of its effectiveness.

12.24pm As first reported by HSJ on Tuesday Colchester General Hospital is facing fresh claims of fiddling data on waiting times for cancer treatment.

The Daily Mail reports that the scope of the NHS England investigation has been widened to include 25,000 cancer patients’ records.

12.19pm The Guardian reports that doctors across Europe are warning that the increased use of antidepressants is down to pressure to “medicalise” unhappiness.

Responding to a questrionnaire devised by the Guardian and other european newspapers doctors said that time pressures and a lack of alternative therapies meant they had to resort to prescribing medication for people with depression.

12.06pm The Nuffield Trust has responded to the CQC’s State of Care report findings.

Chief Executive Andy McKeon said: “The quality of care provided to people in England has improved in many key areas over the past decade. It generally seems to be holding up despite budget constraints as our joint QualityWatch programme with the Health Foundation has found.

“As today’s CQC report has identified, some aspects of care are causing concern, such as urgent care and the prevention of emergency admissions and need to be tackled immediately. The CQC’s report rightly identifies the need to ensure appropriate levels of nursing staff and the rising pressure on urgent care, especially for conditions that could be treated in the community and not in hospitals.

“Providing high quality and timely care outside of hospitals must therefore be a major priority. As is creating a culture that is open, supportive and patient-focused – something that is rightly at the heart of the Government’s planned response to the Francis Inquiry which we saw earlier this week.”

12.03pm The Telegraph reports that Britain is on a par with eastern Europe for cancer and stroke survival rates.

The findings from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that patients in Britain with breast, bowel and cervical cancer fare worse than in the vast majority of industrialised nations.

11.54am Two paramedics have been struck off after refusing to take a dying woman to hospital The Times reports. The Health and Care Professions Council heard that had Sarah Thomas been taken to hospital a simple injection would have saved her life.

The paramedics, who were working for the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, then fabricated a record to try and cover-up their failure to take action.

11.37am Pharmacies should be able to offer basic medical treatment like flu jabs or diabetes care to relieve the pressure on GPs, an MP has said.

Tory Ben Gummer (Ipswich) said Britain was behind other countries in Europe when it came to pharmacies offering additional services, pointing out that only one in 10 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) contract the chemist to offer treatment.

Mr Gummer partly blamed it on a state bureaucracy that would “make the North Korean government proud”.

11.32am Editor-in-Chief Alastair McLellan tweets about the exclusive HSJ broke yesterday on an extra £150m for A&Es

“Shame on the BBC for ripping off @sophieevebarnes A&E exclusive without credit bbc.co.uk/news/health-25… & hsj.co.uk/news/acute-car… #expectbetter

11.16amAvoidable’ emergency admissions are increasing among the elderly according to the Care Quality Commission’s State of Care report. The figures show that more than half a million people aged 65 and over were admitted as an emergency to hospital with potentially avoidable conditions in the last year and almost one in ten aged 75 and over were avoidable emergency admissions.

The number of ‘avoidable’ emergency admissions varies with some parts of the country managing better than others.

10.45am Middle-aged people who live through recessions are more likely to have slower brains in later life according to the findings of a study reported in The Times. The study looked at 12,000 people aged 50-74 in eleven European countries and the results were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

10.34am The NHS in England wasted more than £40m last year by paying too much for its energy and water, the TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group has claimed.

Money spent on excessive utility bills could have paid the salaries of more than 1,350 extra nurses, the right-wing campaigning group said.

The NHS in England spent more than £630m on energy and £80m on water 2012-13.

10.28am The National Aids Trust is calling for councils to offer regular HIV testing in response to Public Health England’s new figures on the number of people living with the infection unaware.

Chief Executive Deborah Jack said: “In April 2012 local councils were given the responsibility for HIV prevention and testing. These figures are a wake-up call. Local councils must urgently address how and where HIV testing is offered in their local area. This must include requiring sexual health clinics to always offer an HIV test to undiagnosed clinic attendees. Unless they do so we will continue to see the numbers of HIV diagnoses rise.”

10.11am Around a fifth of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware of their infection according to new figures from Public Health England published today. The figures also show that 47 per cent of the 6,360 people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2012 were identified late. New HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men also reached an all-time high, with 3,250 cases in 2012.

A small decline in the numbers of people living with the infection unaware was seen but PHE is calling for a greater decrease as early diagnosis and treatment can mean a near-normal lifespan.

Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE’s Health and Wellbeing Director, said: “National HIV Testing Week is a great opportunity to alert people to the benefits of testing – for individuals and for the UK’s public health. PHE is urging members of the public, clinicians, commissioners and community leaders to support and engage with the campaign.”