A joint award of £16m to develop molecular pathology tests to help deliver stratified medicine in a wide range of disease areas has been made by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
In 2014, the MRC warned that while UK investment in stratified medicine reached nearly £200m in the last four years, the UK capacity for molecular pathology needed to be increased in order to capture the potential patient and economic benefits stratification offers.
In support of molecular pathology, the MRC and EPSRC have supported six nodes led by the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham. Each node brings researchers, clinicians and industry together to develop molecular diagnostic tools, to enable stratification, in disease areas such as cancer, respiratory diseases, digestive disease, infections, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and lupus.
The six nodes are collaborating with 20 industrial partners, including leading diagnostic and instrumentation companies and innovative technology and data SMEs.
“As an integrated healthcare system underpinned by our £1billion per annum National Institute for Health Research expenditure, the NHS is perfectly placed to pioneer this field”, said minister for life sciences George Freeman. “This £16m investment will enhance our UK-wide capability to deliver 21st Century diagnostics and complement initiatives such as the Precision Medicine Catapult Centre to make sure that ground-breaking medicines and technologies are adopted by the NHS and delivered to patients as quickly as possible.”
Professor Sir John Savill, chief executive at the MRC, added: “These new tools are critical for selecting the right treatment for the right patient. Being able to precisely target a treatment means maximum benefit for the patient – they receive a treatment that works for them and with fewer unpleasant side-effects. But it also delivers economic benefit because money and time are not wasted on ineffective treatments.”
Health Education England (HEE) has extended their call for information to help investigate and identify the extent of shortages in the ultrasound workforce.
Friday 31 July is the new deadline for organisations to submit their information.
The survey has been developed by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) to be completed by services or departments who perform ultrasound either as a direct service or as a tool within another service.
HEE recommends that the survey be completed by the department lead along with HR or the workforce planning lead.
By encouraging departments and leads to complete the survey, you will help ensure that the NHS has the right number of trained staff available to deliver both current and future ultrasound services.
Information is required for all staff groups who are involved in ultrasound service provision, not just sonographers. Departments are asked to provide numbers and levels of full-time equivalent (FTE) posts, including individuals in training, vacant or frozen posts, temporary/agency staff and any expected retirements.
The survey is available to complete on the CfWI website until Friday 31 July 2015.
Health services in England need “a dedicated fund to finance and drive forward essential changes”, according to a new report launched this week by the Health Foundation and The King’s Fund.
The report – ‘Making change possible: A Transformation Fund for the NHS’ – arrives as the Department of Health releases its 2014/15 accounts which reinforce the financial challenges facing the NHS at this time.
The purpose of the Fund would be to enable the shift to new models of care as set out in the NHS five year forward view, as well as helping to unlock the efficiency savings required to balance the books.
The report explains that the Fund would not only deal with the current urgent need for service change but would, in the long-term, become a fundamental part of the NHS and the way it is funded.
Key findings from the report include: (i) the NHS needs a single body (whether within an existing organisation or newly created) to oversee the investment for transformative change in the NHS. It should have strong, expert leadership which is credible to clinicians and managers; (ii) the Transformation Fund requires £1.5–£2.1bn a year in dedicated funding between now and 2020/21.
“While we recognise that it is challenging to provide additional funding for the NHS in the context of other services receiving cuts, the alternative is to risk a decline in quality and safety in NHS-funded care and a reduction to the services currently available”, said Anita Charlesworth, Chief Economist at the Health Foundation. “Without more resources specifically for transformation, the NHS will be unable to become more productive and the bill for additional running costs will only get larger. The Transformation Fund should become a fundamental part of the DNA of the health service from here onwards.’
Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, added: “The fundamental task is to get a workforce of more than one million people to work differently. This would be a huge challenge at the best of times but is an even bigger task when services are under such intense pressure. This cannot be done within the existing resources – dedicated funding is required to deliver the changes needed.”
NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens alongside NHS Five Year Forward View partners today (Friday 24 July) announced the launch of eight new vanguards that will transform urgent and emergency care for more than nine million people.
The new vanguards, eight in all, are being introduced to build on recent success in improving trauma survival rates; they are tasked with changing the way in which all organisations work together to provide care in a more joined up way for patients.
It is planned that urgent care will be delivered, not just in hospitals but also by GPs, pharmacists, community teams, ambulance services, NHS 111, social care and others, and through patients being given support and education to manage their own conditions.
Another aim of the vanguards is to break down boundaries between physical and mental health to improve the quality of care and experience for all.
“Starting today, the NHS will begin joining up the often confusing array of A&E, GP out of hours, minor injuries clinics, ambulance services and 111 so that patients know where they can get urgent help easily and effectively, 7 days a week”, said NHS England’s Chief executive, Simon Stevens.
“That’s why we’re backing what our frontline nurses, doctors and other staff, in partnership with local communities, to radically redesign our urgent and emergency services.”
Today’s launch of the vanguards comes in the face of pressure on all NHS frontline emergency services, with increased A&E attendances and emergency admissions, and both ambulance and NHS 111 services facing rising demands.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is asking people using steel cannula infusion sets to check them before and after use as the regulator believes there is a small risk of its needle breaking.
The needles are part of infusion sets, manufactured by Unomedical, which are used in hospitals and by people at home for the infusion of medicine through an external pump. They are primarily used by patients with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and for the treatment of chronic pain.
The following steel cannula infusion sets are affected: (i) SURE-T; (ii) SURE-T Paradigm; (iii) Contact Detach; (iv) Contact; (v) Sub Q; (vi) Neria; (vii) Neria Detach; (viii) Neria Multi; and (ix) Thalaset.
Users are being requested by MHRA to check the specific lot numbers of infusion sets prior to and after use and to follow our advice contained within the medical device alert. A healthcare provider should be contacted if a needle has broken off in-situ as medical attention may be required.
“This is a precautionary measure and the risk of the needle breaking is low”, said Dr Neil McGuire, clinical director at MHRA. “There are millions of these needles in use and we have had only a very small number of reports of them breaking.
“The manufacturer improved the design of the device over a year ago but we advise anyone who has had this problem or who is concerned to contact their specialist nurse or GP.”
The foundation trust sector ended the year in deficit with over half of all foundation trusts losing money and a record one-fifth in breach of their licence according to health sector regulator Monitor’s annual report and accounts for 2014/15.
In his review of the year, Dr Bennett, Monitor’s chief executive, states that foundation trusts faced unprecedented demand for services, with a 6.5 percent growth in GP referrals and a 7.5 percent rise in ambulance calls.
“Experience has taught us that struggling trusts cannot resolve their difficulties alone: they need a concerted, long-term response from the various providers, commissioners and users of services who make up their local health economy,” he notes.
“Individual trusts, however, each need a reliable plan for the future and many are falling short on this. A review of trusts’ five-year strategic plans showed that only 30 percent would secure a sustainable future.”
The annual report also sets out how Monitor has developed capacity amongst foundation trusts to deal with the challenges they face and support them to prevent operational problems.
Dr Bennett continued: “Our priority has been to help local commissioners and providers redesign the way they deliver healthcare for longer-term sustainability while continuing to maintain their operational performance. All this has to be done by the sector in the face of increasing demand and constrained funding.”