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Welcome to the Latest Health News online newsfeed. Here you’ll find all the latest research, news stories, policy updates and guidelines. View our other newsfeeds for more subject-specific news.

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Sexual health services

The Royal of General Practitioners has responded to the new sexual health campaign from Public Health England by publishing Time to Act.

This report highlights that fragmented commissioning practices mean that GPs are increasingly unable to direct patients to the most appropriate sexual health services for their needs, and GPs are not being given adequate training to administer all different types of contraception thgenerat might benefit patients.

Full report available here

Launch of sexual health campaign

Public Health England has launched Protect against STIs a new sexual health campaign to encourage condom use by young adults in order to reduce the rates of sexually transmitted infections.

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The campaign is the first government sexual health campaign in eight years.  To coincide with the launch of the campaign, a new YouGov survey of 2,007 young people reveals current attitudes towards condom use and what prevents them from using protection.

The findings revealed that almost half (47%) of sexually active young people said they have had sex with someone new for the first time without using a condom; whilst 1 in 10 sexually active young people said that they had never used a condom.

The new research also revealed that sexual health is a challenging topic for young adults to discuss, as 56% of men and 43% of women said that it is difficult to talk about STIs with friends. Furthermore, 58% said that if they had an STI they would find it difficult to talk to their sexual partner about it.

Visit the campaign website for more information.

How much has the NHS saved by holding down pay?

Pay restrictions meant £2.6 billion less for NHS staff last year | Nuffield Trust

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With the NHS in England in recent years on a savings drive, this comment from Mark Dayan of The Nuffield Trust asks how much staff have contributed through freezes and caps on their pay packets. But the question is a tricky one. To answer, we need to be able to compare what has actually happened to pay with what would have happened if the NHS hadn’t been trying to make any savings. This data blog explores further and puts a figure on it.

Read the full blog post here

Strategic commissioning

CCGs in the UK should move towards strategic commissioning if the healthcare system is to embrace a move toward integrated local care, claims a new briefing from NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC).

The publication brings out lessons based on evidence from the UK and health systems abroad. These are drawn from the perspectives of those implementing and developing policy around the new care models and from research of international models, primarily of high performing place-based systems of care that have developed in New Zealand, Sweden, Spain and the United States.

‘Making strategic commissioning work’ puts forward a number of recommendations aimed at easing the transition to strategic commissioning models.

  • The patient must be placed at the centre with a focus on quality – targets, payment incentives and prescriptive regulation have proved largely unsuccessful in driving system improvement and ensuring financial sustainability.
  • Clinical commissioning leadership and engagement must be retained – the evidence shows that success of population level planning is reliant on the engagement of clinicians in primary, secondary and community care, as well as the wider workforce.
  • National clarity on the ‘end state’ is essential – while local areas must lead the development of models for integrated health and care delivery, internationally, no system has been implemented without clear political consensus and a legislative framework to support it on an ongoing basis. In the UK, this could mean a national framework is needed – provided this is not too prescriptive to limit local development.

Full document: Making strategic commissioning work: Lessons from home and away

“Important improvements” for race equality in health service workforce

The Chief Executive of NHS England has welcomed signs of progress in tackling discrimination among health service staff, but warned of “hard work still ahead” in improving equality for all its workers.

NHS Equality and Diversity Council has published its latest annual report into race equality. The audit provides a comprehensive assessment of the experience of NHS employees from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, including whether or not they have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment at work.

The 2017 Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) shows that an increasing proportion of senior nursing and midwifery posts is being filled by people from BME backgrounds, and that there has been a rise in senior BME leaders. The report confirms that an increasing number of trusts has more than one board member from a BME background, with 25 trusts being represented at board level by three or more people from BME communities.

However, the report highlights areas where the NHS needs to make further progress. Despite significant improvements in board and senior management representation, the overall number of BME background leadership positions is still not proportionate to the number of BME workers at other levels in the organisation.

Full report: NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard: 2017 Data Analysis Report for NHS Trusts

Health & Care workforce strategy

This draft strategy sets out the current workforce landscape, what has been achieved since 2012, and describes an approach to shaping the face of the NHS and social care workforce for the next two decades |  Health Education England

Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future – a health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027 considers the outputs of major workforce plans for the priorities laid out in the Five Year Forward View – cancer, mental health, maternity, primary and community care and urgent and emergency care.

The consultation starts 13 December 2017 and finishes on Friday March 23, 2018.
To take part in the consultation, click on the website link below and complete the survey.
consultation.hee.nhs.uk

Related: Health Foundation responds to new workforce strategy

Waiting times in A&E departments

Waiting times in accident and emergency (A&E) departments are a key measure of how the NHS is performing. In recent years, patients have been waiting longer in A&E; this article from the Kings Fund explores the reasons behind this.

The article reports that not only are more people are attending A&E departments each year, but A&E waiting times have also increased substantially over recent years. The NHS has not met the standard at national level in any year since 2013/14, and the standard has been missed in every month since July 2015.

At the same time, longstanding staffing issues and continued reductions in the number of hospital beds have made it more difficult for A&E departments to admit patients.

Full article: What’s going on with A&E waiting times?