Latest Sector News

RSPH responds to NAO investigation outlining decline in pre-school vaccinations

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published an investigative report on the decline of pre-school vaccinations. The report comes after public concern was raised regarding NHS England not delivering the 95% performance standard, set by the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC), for the uptake of nearly all pre-school vaccinations in England since 2012. The report identifies that in order to reverse the decline in uptake of pre-school vaccinations, there needs to be better access to appointments, improved data recording and more positive public campaigns. According to NHS England and Public Health England, potential factors responsible for the decline include inconsistent communication with parents regarding children’s vaccination appointments, lack of timely access to healthcare professionals, inadequate engagement with minority groups including traveller communities, migrants and some religious groups and incomplete data on vaccination uptake. NAO has cited the Royal Society for Public Health’s (RSPH) Moving the Needle report in their investigation, placing some responsibility on the timing and availability of appointments for the decline in child vaccinations. It also found that 41% of parents are exposed to negative messages about vaccines on social media. Today the RSPH is calling for government to release its new Vaccine Strategy and do more to reassure parents of the importance, safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Including using the use of positive campaigns. Click here to have access to the full report and more details.

New national academy for social prescribing launched

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed his ambition to make social prescribing schemes as accessible as medical care on the NHS. Health, wellbeing and social welfare will all be addressed through social prescribing by connecting the public to their community services. Activities including art and singing classes in the community could be available to improve aspects of health amongst patients. The National Academy for Social Prescribing will work to standardise the quality and range of social prescribing available, increase awareness using evidence-based results and develop and share best practice. Other aims including the uniting of all partners from health, housing and local government with arts, culture and sports organisations to enhance the range of options available and the developing, training and accreditation across all sectors. The government will invest £5m in funding into the academy, which will be led by Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, outgoing Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners. In additional to the benefits made available to patients in need, the social prescribing could reduce the burden on the NHS. This is all part of the NHS long term plan which is available to view here

NHS England secures new deal for all three UK-licensed cystic fibrosis medicines


NHS England has today announced it has secured a definitive agreement to make three of the UK-licensed cystic fibrosis medicines available on the NHS.  The new deal with Vertex Pharmaceuticals will see patients will now have full access to Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco, and around 5,000 people may now take up these treatments. With no cap on patient numbers, every patient in England who might benefit can now get these treatments, and within 30 days clinicians will be able to begin prescribing these drugs. NHS England has been able to finalise this negotiation because the company agreed to confidential commercial terms that ‘constitute good value for British taxpayers’, and has agreed to submit its drugs for full NICE appraisal. The agreement provides access to all three drugs for current licensed indications, as well as future license extensions too. Announcing the agreement, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: “The UK has the second highest prevalence of cystic fibrosis of any country in the world, so today is an important and long hoped for moment for children and adults living with cystic fibrosis. The agreement has also been backed by NICE, and a key part of the deal is that Vertex will submit its full portfolio including in due course its new triple therapy to NICE for comprehensive appraisal. “This deal – on the back of several others this summer – shows why we get some of the best value drugs in the world, and is another reason to be so proud of our NHS.” Click here to read more on this article. 

Liverpool’s first council care home in 25 years to open this week

The first of two, Liverpool City Council commissioned care homes to be built in over 25 years, is opening later this week. The city council committed to the £8m Brushwood on South Parade in Speke to meet the demands for dementia care services in the area. The establishment is the first local authority-built care home to open in the city since the early 1990’s, and next month will see the opening of another; Millvina House in Everton. Brushwood is home to 60 beds, 48 of which are for long term care, and the other 12 are for assessment. Care at these centres will be provided by Shaw healthcare, a company majority-owned by employees, who have signed up to the Liverpool Social Value Charter and pay their workforce above the national living wage. All staff who will work at these facilities have undergone specialist training in safeguarding and dementia awareness. 80% of the staff have been recruited from the local areas of Speke, Garston and Hunts Cross, with almost a quarter of them being unemployed before joining the care home. Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The decision to invest in these two new purpose-built care homes that will offer residential and nursing dementia beds and carer respite is part of our invest to save strategy and will help ease pressure on other, more costly parts of the health service such as hospital beds, and save the public purse money.” Click here to read more on this article. Click here to read more on this article.

Cancer patients’ health could be at risk due to NHS staff pressures, report warns

A new survey carried out on cancer patients by Macmillan Cancer Support has found that their physical and mental health is being harmfully impacted by current pressure on the NHS workforce. 300, 000 people in the UK are currently being treated for cancer. Nearly seven in ten people, recently diagnosed with or being treated for cancer, say they are not getting all the support they need with issues related to the disease. Physical and emotional needs include issues such as depression, anxiety, pain and trouble sleeping. They are also nearly a third more likely to say they are not getting all the support they need with these types of issues. Around one in five people recently diagnosed with or being treated for cancer say the healthcare professionals who cared for them seemed to have an impracticable workload. It has been noted on numerous occasions that patients believe that the healthcare professionals they came into contact with seemed to be over-worked. This results in patients being approximately a third more likely to have physical and emotional needs that are not being addressed compared to staff with more realistic workloads. Macmillan is concerned that this means that some patients are afraid to ask for information or support because they are worried about the NHS healthcare professionals looking after them, rather than putting their needs first. Click here to view the survey from Macmillan and more details.

CQC report finds care quality ‘improving’ but work still to be done


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published their annual State of Care report recently highlighting the overall quality of health and social care in England. Certain concerns were raised, particularly with regards to ease of access to care and wait times for an appointment, often chasing different care services just to access ‘basic support’. Another area that was deemed unacceptable was the care given to individuals with a learning disability or autism, saying that too many people are in hospital because of a lack of local, intensive community services. July 2019 saw the highest proportion of emergency patients spending more than four hours in A&E than any previous July for at least the last five years. Although these statistics are worrying, the positive thing is that the care is continuing to improve, slight as it may be, under these enormous pressures on staff and facilities. The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said: “We share CQC’s concerns about the fragility of social care and the wider impact this has on the NHS, and the need for more prevention services and greater support for people at an earlier stage.” Click here to read more detail on this report.

Specialist clinic treating children for gaming addictions


The NHS have now launched the country’s first specialist clinic to help children and young adults who are addicted to computer games.  This service is part of the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions which will also provide support for internet addiction and is located alongside the National Problem Gambling Clinic. The World Health Organization has recently classified gaming disorder as a mental health condition for the first time. The new Centre for Internet and Gaming Disorders launches at the same time as the children and young person’s gambling addiction service goes live. These services now available are part of an extension of treatments which have been promised in the NHS long term plan. Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists at the services will work with patients aged between 13-25 whose lives are being wrecked by severe or complex behavioural issues associated with gaming, gambling and social media. Click here for more information on the plans NHS have in place for the ever changing society.