The emergency department of a Greater Manchester hospital is attempting to help out with malnutrition.
As economic difficulties continue to be felt across the country, Tameside hospital in Greater Manchester will distribute food boxes discreetly to patients suffering from a risk of malnourishment.
The institution is also planning to open a permanent food bank collection centre inside the hospital, thus assisting with the nutrition of both patient and local residents.
This latest news came on the day in which the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith announced his intention to locate job advisors within food banks.
Managers at the hospital stated that the decision had been made due to the concern of both doctors and nurses working within the Tameside environment.
As the issue is set to become an increasing problem, staff have even been trained in order to recognise symptoms of malnutrition among patients.
This is not the first recent example of a hospital in Britain chipping in with food contributions to needy people.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham previously opened a food and clothing bank, while the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle began offering parcels to parents using its neonatal care unit recently.
Aside from offering food parcels, it is also intended for the hospital to collect food in order to distribute it in the surrounding region.
Organisers hope that this will prevent patients who have been recently discharged from returning a a few days later due to nutrition-related reasons.
In order to carry out this particular scheme, the hospital is working closely with the Trussell Trust.
This Christian charity has set up food banks all over the UK, particularly in areas of high deprivation.
The number of banks that the trust has become involved with has risen to 1,200 during the current calendar year.
It is planned that the Tameside hospital will ultimately have a central collection point attached to it scanteen.
This will enable staff, visitors and people in the local region to leave contributions.
Gwen Drain, the centre manager of the Tameside East food bank, which is part of the Trussell Trust network, said she was delighted by the hospital’s approach: “Today in Tameside there are families struggling to put food on the table. For people on low incomes, a sudden crisis – redundancy, benefit delay or even an unexpected bill – can mean going hungry. Every day parents skip meals to feed their children and people are forced to choose between paying the rent and eating.”
Malnutrition affects three million people in the UK and costs the NHS an estimated £5bn a year.
Financial challenges facing organisations in Greater Manchester will require a radical upscaling of shared services across the acute sector, according to NHS health leaders.
The financial outlook for the region ensures that the trust will need to share back office, diagnostic and clinical support functions going forward.
Plans have already been put in place in Greater Manchester that will see the region’s emergency services consolidated into four single services.
But the document submitted as part of the region’s devolution bid prepares the ground for further “bold decisions” to be made.
The Manchester Health and Social Care Locality Plan aims to completely reorganise specialised services in Greater Manchester in light of significant financial difficulties.
According to the plan itself, a funding gap over £300 million in Manchester’s health and social care economy should be expected between now and 2020-21.
The document is intended to create a framework in which specialised services can be organised on a more efficient and effective basis.
As a result of efficiency savings suggested by the documents, the gap in expenditure is expected to be cut significantly to around £84 million.
Sharing will be a central part of the efficiency plans, and Central Manchester Hospitals Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust will partially merge with this aim in mind.
The two organisations will create a single service for emergency care as part of the ‘Healthier Together’ process.
However, it is worth noting that the plans for this concept cannot be finalised at the time of writing due to a legal challenge.
Nonetheless, the two foundation trusts have indicated that they intended to work together in a raft of other areas.
A spokesperson commenting on behalf of the two organisations stated that “the potential benefits of shared back office functions such as payroll or supplies are fairly clear – we are already working together to develop a joint approach to procurement.”
The spokesperson also stated that the two organisations were considering the prospect of expanding their agreement in the future.
“In principle there could be similar opportunities in diagnostic and clinical support services, which we will be exploring going forward but there are no plans for shared clinical support services at present.”
With regard to specialised services, the client also states that populations in south and central Manchester have “significantly higher rates of tertiary activity than areas where the local hospital is not also a tertiary centre”.
There is thus the intention of addressing this variation and inequality in the immediate future.
The Central Manchester Hospitals Organisation have also indicated that they are exploring partnership working arrangements with Salford Royal Foundation Trust across radiology and immunology.
It is clear that collaboration will be an important part of efficiency savings in the future.
The Monitor regulatory body has taken Tameside General Hospital out of special measures after significant improvement in its performance.
Monitor indicated that it was no longer necessary to regulate Tameside General Hospital to the same degree after the hospital began to move in the right direction.
Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the hospital, has made significant progress with regard to the running of it, and the healthcare that it provides the public.
The foundation trust, which is one of 151 spread across England, provides a range of elective, emergency and specialist services for around 250,000 people in the borough of Greater Manchester.
Although Monitor has taken the decision to formally remove the trust from the special measures process, the regulatory body has emphasised that it still expects the Tameside trust to continue to develop its operations.
In particular, the foundation trust agreed a raft of steps with Monitor in order to ensure that it can build on recent improvements.
The Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will firstly work with a raft of partners in the health economy in order to take forward the proposals outlined by the Monitor Contingency Planning Team.
This is intended to ensure that the trust remains clinically sustainable and becomes financially viable in the future as well.
The trust will also progress and develop the Contingency Planning Team’s proposed implementation plan in partnership with commissioners and local stakeholders.
Monitor has also indicated that the foundation trust must work closely with the commissioners in order to further examine how to address residual long-term challenges.
These were identified and outlined in a report submitted to Monitor by the Contingency Planning Team.
Speaking on the positive news for the Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, David Dean, Senior Director of Transformation and Turnaround at Monitor, commented that staff could be particularly pleased with their efforts in reversing the fortunes of this body.
“Staff at Tameside have worked incredibly hard to turn this organisation around and improve things for patients. It is good news we have been able to take the trust out of special measures and our decision reflects the progress that’s been made. However, there is still a lot of work to do and we will continue to support the trust to ensure that its progress maintains,” Dean warned.
The decision taken by Monitor follows on directly by a recommendation made by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Sir Mike Richards.
Richards indicated in his role of overseeing the Care Quality Commission that there was still room for improvement at the hospital, but that significant improvements have nevertheless been made.
With a model having been put in place to integrate healthcare and social care, the trust can look to the future following the implementation plan that it has put in place.
The full Contingency Planning Team report and summary can be read here.
Further to this week’s announcement that responsibility for the entire health and social care system in Greater Manchester (including a budget of £6bn) is to be handed to councils and health groups in the region, NHS England and council leaders in Greater Manchester have today unveiled a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines the scope of the agreement.
The memorandum, approved and countersigned by Chancellor George Osborne and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, involves NHS England, 12 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, 15 NHS providers and 10 local authorities making decisions on all health and care services in Greater Manchester.
The historic agreement helps to implement the vision set out in last year’s NHS Five Year Forward View – part of the Chancellor’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ strategy.
“Today’s agreement with the council leaders of Greater Manchester and NHS England is a major step forward in our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse”, said Mr Osborne. “When I signed the deal with local councils here to devolve more power to Greater Manchester and to create a new elected mayor, I always hoped that a bigger say over healthcare would be part of the package.
“Things have happened even more swiftly than we had all hoped at the time, and now we have a landmark agreement to bring the local NHS and social care much more closely together. I am excited about all this because not only does it mean the people of Greater Manchester having more control over the decisions that affect their lives; I believe it will also lead to better, much more joined up health care. This is just the start of the journey?.”
Lord Peter Smith, chair of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, added: “This is another defining moment in Greater Manchester’s devolution journey. The scope and nature of this unprecedented agreement means we are proudly breaking new ground once more.
“I want to make absolutely clear that this is not, as it has been wrongly portrayed in some quarters, a town hall takeover of Greater Manchester’s NHS budget. We will be working together with our NHS colleagues in the region to make joint decisions which reflect local priorities. Ultimately this will be via a new strategic health and social care partnership board. This is about decisions about Greater Manchester being taken in Greater Manchester in an integrated way, not being taken away from experts.”
Although the agreement is effective immediately, from 1 April 2015, a roadmap of investment proposals and a joint Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategy will be available before full devolution of health and care services takes place in April 2016.
BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter has responded to today’s announcement that responsibility for Greater Manchester’s £6bn health and social care budget is to be handed to councils and health groups in the region.
Dr Porter said: “There is no doubt that patients would benefit from more joined-up health and social care. However, any plans to do so would have to be underpinned by clear funding to ensure that an already dangerously over-stretched NHS budget isn’t used to prop up a woefully underfunded social care budget.
“These wide sweeping changes will affect millions of people. We need to look carefully at exactly how they will affect the commissioning and delivery of services, and what the impact on patient care will be. We must also ensure clinicians have a central role in decisions over health care, something which was undermined by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
“We need assurances on who is responsible if these changes go wrong. Doctors believe the secretary of state for health should have the duty to provide a universal and comprehensive health service, and must take responsibility for guaranteeing national standards in the of quality care across the country, especially if the delivery of care is to be devolved to local authorities.
“The NHS has just undergone unprecedented upheaval, there must be no more games with our health service and we need to avoid a situation where the NHS moves from being a national to a local political football.”