British Geriatrics Society Suggests Inpatient Falls Response Still Sub-Optimal

A unique and innovative report on the extent of inpatient falls has just been revealed at an event in Brighton.

The British Geriatrics Society’s Autumn Conference in the southern seaside town revealed that this low-key issue is actually a significant problem in the health service.

This latest report, entitled The National Audit of Inpatient Falls, at least reveals that many trusts across the NHS have suitable policies in place to offer fall prevention.

However, the report also suggests that there is often little relation between the supposed policies and the actual care that patients receive once admitted to hospital and other healthcare institutions.

And 20 percent of patients in the study were unable to access their call bell, and almost one-third of patients could not safely access their walking aid.

Both of these issues would have a significant impact on the ability of patients to mobilise safely.

The report also discusses some of the positive work that is currently being undertaken by trusts within the NHS to prevent falls in hospitals.

Such measures included assessing medication, providing safe footwear, or checking for any visual impairment which might increase the risk of falling.

However, the British Geriatric Society was also keen to emphasise that not all trusts are assessing falls risk optimally, and thus may be missing opportunities for prevention.

Although falls in hospitals may be considered a relatively trivial issue by many, the reality is that they are in fact the most commonly reported patient safety incident within the NHS.

Previously published research has demonstrated that 700 falls occur daily across hospitals in England; the equivalent of around 250,000 annually.

Despite the fact that this innovative and important report has not been followed up on since, back in 2007 when it was published, it was estimated at that time that this would cast £15 million to NHS trusts in order to rectify.

It is reasonable to assume that this figure has increased significantly since then.

The National Audit of Inpatient Falls covers nearly 5,000 patients aged 65 years or older across 170 hospitals.

It critically encompasses an assessment of the patient’s environment and the falls risk assessments that they received.

Commenting on the importance of this research, and speaking on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society, Professor Adam Gordon had the following to say.

“High quality data about how individual hospitals perform is an essential part of driving up standards in all aspects of clinical care. The National Audit of Inpatient Falls provides exactly this type of information and represents an important resource for trusts striving to improve their practice. 

Many of the interventions described, such as ensuring availability of call buzzers, seem straightforward but can easily slip by the wayside in busy clinical settings. This audit will allow hospitals which are doing less well to reflect on their current practices and policies, and learn from those parts of the country which are doing better.”

Dr Shelagh O’Riordan NAIF Clinical lead, stated:

“This is the first time there has been a national audit of falls prevention in hospitals across England and Wales. Our results show that although there are pockets of really good care, many hospitals are not doing everything they can to prevent falls.

I hope this inaugural audit is the first step to help reduce the number of falls currently happening in hospitals in England and Wales.”

The National Audit of Inpatient Falls is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).

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Major International Dementia Conference to be Held in Birmingham

A major international conference tackling dementia will take place at Birmingham in November.

Held between 3rd and 4th November, 2015 at the Vox Centre, the International Dementia Conference will bring together leading medical figures from around the globe.

In addition, attendees from a variety of different industry backgrounds will be on hand in order to learn and share ideas on the best ways to tackle this global issue.

Issues facing managers in the NHS, care homes, social care and housing providers will be on the agenda, with a particular focus being placed on best practice, changing cultures and planning for dementia.

International speakers will include:

Professor Timothy Kwok, Director of Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing, Chinese University of Hong Kong, who will focus on improving hospital care through prevention strategies and psycho-social interventions for dementia. The prevention strategies under investigation will include vitamin B, nutritional supplement, TaiChi and cognitive training;

Helen Matheny, Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Outreach Program, USA, who will discuss the first private-public state-wide partnership to support living well with dementia;

Professor Tara Cortes, New York University College of Nursing, who will share success in online training and offer an exclusive preview into the forthcoming US National Alzheimer’s Strategy.

The number of people affected by dementia is expected to double in the next couple of decades on the basis of the ageing population alone.

This is therefore a critical issue for the NHS going forward, and this insightful international conference in Birmingham will provide the opportunity for experts in the field to examine the issue in depth.

There will also be a focus on economic issues related to commerce, and Professor June Andrews, Director, Stirling University’s Dementia Services Development Centre, and a leader in developing this exclusive conference, commented that “understanding how your business best interact with people diagnosed with dementia can have significant impact on long term success.”

The international dementia conference has been established as an interactive, educational platform, in order to drive understanding of this critical and debilitating condition.

Over the two days of the conference, 60 concurrent session presentations will be held.

The sessions are intended to address topics ranging from best practice, housing, design, understanding, caring and many more valuable areas for dementia discussion, with the overarching aim of stimulating debate.

Organisers have also stated that the conference programme will feature a series of individual talks, panel discussions and practical case studies highlighting the recent trends related to Best Practice; Inspection and Regulation; Training and Regulation; Law and Ethics; and Art and Culture; Housing; Financing Old Age; Living with Dementia; Research and Design; Care at Home; Families, Faith and Communities.

Professor Andrews concluded that the event will be vital for anyone wishing to gain an understanding of dementia.

“This is a conference for everyone who want to know how to better serve and care for those affected by dementia. Best practice ideas will be shared and trends revealed that will help many sectors prepare to confront this increasingly important subject.” 

For further information regarding attending the International Dementia Conference, please click here.

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Conservative Government Accused of Burying Bad NHS Financial News

A report in The Guardian newspaper suggests that Government ministers have taken steps to hide damning NHS statistics related to the funding of the organisation.

According to The Guardian report, there is an unprecedented £2 billion deficit in the NHS, and it is suggested that this has been buried in order to ensure that the Conservative party conference is not overshadowed by headline news.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is under pressure to explain why data that is in effect from the NHS’s own regular health checks has been withheld from publication.

Meanwhile, top NHS figures have suggested that the government is effectively attempting to bury bad news.

In particular, a senior figure at Monitor stated that the organisation had been “leaned on” by Whitehall to delay its report.

The Monitor report indeed confirms that the financial position in the NHS is declining.

Reports from both Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority were expected, with the Monitor quarterly report usually published around the time of the organisation’s board meetings last month.

It has been described by NHS insiders as extremely odd and significant that Monitor has departed from its usual practice.

Figures were apparently submitted to Monitor in time for the publication of the reports, and The Guardian quotes one boss of Monitor as stating that the publication was delayed due to political pressure.

“We are being leaned on to delay them and I have a suspicion that the sensitivity would be less after the Tory party conference,” the unnamed individual stated.

Thus, although data is not yet fully available, it is suspected, according to sources close to Monitor, that hospitals in England ended the first fiscal quarter of the financial year over £800 million in the red.

This would represent a gulf similar to last year’s £822 million annual deficit, and indicates that the NHS is on course to lose £2 billion by the end of the fiscal year in March.

Although the government has declined to comment on the subject, the Labour party certainly felt obliged to respond to the issue.

Heidi Alexander, the shadow health secretary, commented: “This appears to be a cynical attempt to suppress bad news ahead of the Tory party conference. It makes a mockery of Tory claims to be committed to transparency in the NHS, and leaves Jeremy Hunt with very serious questions to answer. These figures must now be published in full as a matter of urgency.”

Monitor has officially denied any political pressure related to the publishing of figures.

But the issue once again underlines the funding challenges that the NHS will face in the coming years.

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Unite Union Calls Conference to Discuss Future of the NHS

The Unite trade union has announced what it has described as “a key conference” to discuss the existing state of the NHS.

A particular subject of the conference will be what Unite deems to be the “right-wing ideological tide that is engulfing” the health service.

This open discussion forum in London comes at a time when there is a political schism occurring in Great Britain.

The new direction of the Labour party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn will likely contrast significantly with the existing Conservative government, despite promises that the Tories have made with regard to the NHS.

Unite have stated that the conference will broach a wide variety of topics.

These will include doctors planning to work abroad because of the proposed 24/7 working contracts for junior doctors, and healthcare for the victims of torture, asylum seekers and refugees. 

Other items on the agenda will be the devolution of healthcare to the countries and cities, private finance initiatives (PFI); torture, asylum seekers and refugees, 24/7 working, and bullying and whistleblowing.

The conference will be entitled “Doctors and Medical Students – our role in saving the NHS”, with the aim of bringing together passionate healthcare professionals from all over the UK.

Dr Clare Gerada, former chair, Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and former medical advisor to NHS London, is booked to address the conference, with numerous other prominent speakers also expected.

Several organisations are expected to provide speakers for the conference, among these Crash Call for the NHS, Doctors in Unite, Doctors of the World UK, Medact, Medsin, NHS Doctors for the NHS, NHS Survival, Patients First and the Socialist Health Association.

Commenting on the potential of this conference, United chair Dr Ron Singer made reference to the ascension of Corbyn the position of Labour leadership.

“Recent political events show that many people want something hopeful and positive from politicians. This chimes with the enduring popularity of the NHS as publicly owned and providing a high quality service. In contrast, there is deep hostility from the public to the accelerating privatisation agenda,” Singer asserted.

The chair also placed into contact the importance of healthcare professionals with regard to this critical issue.

“Doctors and medical students will have greater impact on policy decisions and spearheading public opinion, if they can work closer together. We hope that by agreeing common ground and discussing ‘the difficult bits’ doctors and students will be more able to campaign for a better NHS and social care future for patients and staff,” Singer stated.

The conference will be staged on Saturday 17th of October, with the meeting to be held at Unite House, 128 Theobald’s Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8TN between 11.00 and 16.00.

Doctors and medical students wishing to book a place can do so via Eventbrite.

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London Conference Discusses Latest in Agile

A London conference will examine how to create, implement and sustain Agile in public sector organisations.

The 13th annual Agile Business Conference (ABC 2015) will focus on ensuring that an Agile environment can be sustained across an organisation.

Due to be held in the city of London on the 6th and 7th October, the conference will be aimed at public sector directors, senior managers, CEOs, CIOs, IT directors, senior programme and project managers and other change managers.

The conference comes in the context of continuous change within the NHS, with organisations forced to balance the complex demands of a contemporary health service with often diminishing budgets.

It was before this backdrop that the Agile approach to healthcare was first defined and introduced, presenting a reaction against traditional, heavyweight, regulated and regimented methods.

As a fundamental part of Agile is embracing adaptability and evolution, it is considered to be able to respond more rapidly and appropriately to a continually changing organisational environment.

Thus, the London conference will be exploring how it is possible for public sector organisations to introduce and sustain an Agile environment.

This will be examined not merely in relation to individual projects, but also regarding how an entire organisation can be structured around Agile principles.

The two-day programme of presentations, workshops and interactive sessions is intended to benefit not only those who manage programmes, but also individuals who influence corporate strategy.

With a location in the heart of the city of London at 155 Bishopsgate, ABC 2015 will be readily accessible to both local residents and those travelling from further afield.

Prominent at the conference will be a keynote speech by Stephen Denning, former Director of Knowledge Management at the World Bank, who also has a number of prestigious business accolades on his CV.

Denning will be discussing the ongoing transformation from hierarchical bureaucracy to the radically different staff management practices currently taking place.

Speaking about the forthcoming conference, Mary Henson, chief executive of the DSDM Consortium, which organises ABC together with conference partner UNICOM, stated:

“ABC 2015 recognises just how much Agile has now left the margins and become a mainstream management approach for public sector departments and organisations of all sizes. We will be focusing on the sharp end of this, looking at the challenges in introducing and implementing Agile across the organisation and, so important, the challenges of keeping an organisation truly Agile.”

Full details on the Agile conference are available by clicking here. ABC 2015 will also be sending out regular tweets during the event at ABC 2015.

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WMAHSN Health and Wealth Economic Summit 2015 Announced

The latest edition of the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) will offer insight to a wide variety of healthcare professionals.

This free event will take place on Tuesday 13 October from 9.45am – 4pm at the Garden Suite, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The 2015 edition of this event is particularly noteworthy as it will launch the SME innovation fund, Innovation and Adoption Service and industry gateway.

Professionals involved with the healthcare, along with relevant academics, will have the opportunity to gain important information on the latest opportunities in healthcare.

There will be a particular focus on improving health holistically and creating wealth within a healthcare environment.

Collaboarting with stakeholders in a wide variety of healthcare settings will be another major topic of the event.

The WMAHSN is a relatively new body, designated by NHS England on Thursday 23th May, 2013. The WMAHSN Network purports to “creates and support an environment in which the health and wealth of the population of the West Midlands can improve and prosper.”

This latest event will update attendees on the achievements of the organisation over the last twelve months, with particular attention given to the seven point growth plan that the WMAHSN has put in place.

Delegates will be given the opportunity to pose questions during an extensive question time session, with a particular focus on discussing the Innovation and Adoption Service and industry innovation support.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day. On-site car parking and Wi-Fi will also be made available.

Interested parties can register for the WMAHSN Health and Wealth Economic Summit by clicking here.

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