CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals publishes findings on BMI Mount Alvernia Hospital

The Care Quality Commission's (CQC) Chief Inspector of Hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards has published his findings on the standards of treatment and care at BMI Mount Alvernia Hospital in Guildford. The hospital is one of the first independent hospitals to be inspected under CQC’s new methodology which looks at whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well led. CQC identified five areas for improvement: (i) the provider must ensure that CQC is notified... Readmore

Monitor and NHS foundation trust agree plan to improve emergency services and finances

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust has agreed to work with the health sector regulator Monitor to help improve its emergency care provision and to strengthen its financial position. As a result of the agreement, Colchester will: (i) develop and implement a focused and credible A&E improvement plan; (ii) take positive steps to improve nurse staffing levels; and (iii) work effectively with any future additional support arranged for the trust by Monitor. Colchester Hospital... Readmore

NICE’s new drugs cost-effectiveness ‘threshold’ too high claims new research

The ‘threshold’ used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) when scoping the cost-effectiveness of new drugs is “too high” claim researchers at the University of York. Currently, NICE utilises a threshold of £30,000 per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY is a widely used measure of health that combines length and quality of life) to measure whether the health benefits offered by a new drug are greater than the health likely to be lost because the additional resources... Readmore

Norfolk and Suffolk becomes first mental health trust placed into special measures

Health sector regulator Monitor has placed Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust into special measures – the first mental health trust in the country to have had such action taken against it. Monitor has acted following a Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection earlier this month which gave the trust an overall rating of ‘inadequate.’ The CQC identified a number of serious problems, including concerns about the safety of services, staffing levels and the leadership at the trust. “Patients... Readmore

NHS England approves first CCGs to take on commissioning of GP services

NHS England has given its approval for the first set of GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to take responsibility for commissioning the majority of GP services. 64 CCGs across the country have been approved to take on greater ‘delegated’ commissioning responsibility for GP services and others may follow. ‘Delegated’ responsibility from NHS England means that CCGs will be able to commission general medical services.  “This is a journey to enable local commissioning arrangements... Readmore

New rules on charges for overseas visitors to NHS announced by Department of Health

Overseas visitors who need healthcare while in England are to be charged differently for using the NHS the Department of Health has announced. The new rules are intended to recoup £500m over the next three years. The changes come into effect from April 2015 and will affect visitors and former UK residents differently as they depend on where someone now lives. However, treatment in A&E departments and at GP surgeries will remain free for all. Exemptions include UK Crown servants, British... Readmore

BMA symposium puts patient safety top of the agenda

Encouraging patients, families and carers to raise concerns about healthcare was the big issue under discussion at a British Medical Association (BMA) event earlier this week. The BMA’s Patient Safety Symposium event focused strongly on the report by Sir Robert Francis (Freedom to Speak Up) which makes 20 recommendations towards creating ‘an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS.’ During her opening of the symposium, BMA president Baroness Ilora Finlay said that it was important... Readmore

Department of Health announces transfer of 0 to 5 year olds planning and payment responsibilities

The Department of Health (DH) has announced that the responsibility for planning and paying for public health services for 0 to 5-year-olds, including health visiting, will transfer from the NHS to local authorities in October 2015. The DH has also said that, as part of the transfer, a number of universal health visitor reviews, which form part of the 0-5 Healthy Child Programme, will be mandated for a period of 18 months, depending on Parliamentary approval. These reviews are: (i) antenatal... Readmore

Ministers launch pilots to explore ways to relieve pressure on carers

Ministers have launched a series of pilots across the UK that will explore ways to help carers balance work with their caring responsibilities. Statistics show that there are currently more than three million people in the UK who have work and family caring responsibilities and, according to ministers, providing them with support to manage caring alongside paid work would benefit them and their families and give British businesses and the UK economy potential saving of up to £1.3 billion a year. The... Readmore

DH launches consultation on proposed changes to NHS Constitution

The Department of Health (DH) has launched a new consultation on proposed changes to the NHS Constitution. The proposed changes are a direct response to the recommendations made by Sir Robert Francis QC in his Freedom to Speak Up Review (published on 11 February). Amongst several proposals, the Government is looking to amend the NHS Constitution to: (i) give greater prominence to mental health; (ii) reflect the importance of access to transparent and comparable data; (ii) include the Armed... Readmore

NHS England sets out guidance on new mental health standards

Following the announcement (by NHS England and the Department of Health) in October 2014 of the need for measures  to improve access to mental health services, NHS England has produced guidance which sets out how new access and waiting time standards for mental health services are to be introduced. Created for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the new NHS England guidance explains the case for change in four areas and sets out the expectations of local commissioners for delivery during 2015... Readmore

TSA guidance review leads to new recommendations

The recommendations of a committee assembled to review the statutory guidance for trust special administrators (TSAs) have been accepted by the Department of Health and incorporated into new guidance issued by the Department and Monitor. The committee, chaired by Paul Burstow MP, put forward a package of proposals to amend the existing guidance to ensure it is clear, practical and meaningful. “I am pleased to have been able to accept the recommendations the committee made to me and believe... Readmore
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