Matthew Honeyman, The King’s Fund Blog. Published online 27th january 2016.
To kick off 2016, we published ‘The digital revolution’ co-authored with Dr Cosima Gretton, looking at new and developing digital technologies that will change health and social care. These technologies could potentially be put to use in the NHS, but the main challenge lies in persuading health care providers to take up new models and methods of care.
On the NHS Confederation blog, Roz Davies recently looked back at NHS activity on digital health in 2015 and saw new progress in central programmes and in pockets of innovation across England. But the kind of care enabled by new technologies remains out of reach for most of the NHS.
There are policy developments afoot that aim to change this; some new for 2016 and others building on existing work.
A number of areas are setting up shared patient record systems, ensuring health professionals have the right information at their fingertips. The Connecting Care partnership covering Bristol, south Gloucestershire and north Somerset links up three acute trusts, two mental health trusts, three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and more than 100 GP practices, the out-of-hours provider, three local authorities and three community healthcare providers. It allows professionals to see, but not change, elements of the data held by the other organisations.
England’s inspection programme for GP surgeries is having a damaging effect on patient care, with NHS resources wasted on employing extra locums and staff, a survey by the BMA has found.
Over 1900 general practices in England responded to the survey, which asked a range of questions covering practices’ experience of Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. Some 62% of the practices had undergone an inspection under the Ofsted-style rating system, which was launched in October 2014.1
In the survey 80% of practices reported that preparing for a CQC inspection had resulted in less time available to care for patients. Seven in 10 had had to spend funding on staff overtime while preparing for the inspections, and 30% had been forced to employ locums.
On the day of the CQC inspection 87% of GP practices surveyed had had to reduce GP services available to patients, and 67% had had to reduce nursing time. Three quarters of general practices reported that staff had experienced significantly increased stress in preparing for and undergoing inspections.
Only one in 10 respondents regarded the final CQC rating as a fair assessment, and 74% of GPs who responded thought that the inspection regime could make them more likely to leave general practice.
The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership has published The National Diabetes Audit 2014-2015. It presents findings for the care of 1.9 million people in England and Wales with diabetes. The audit also provides information on how many diabetes patients are now meeting blood pressure targets set by one of the three NICE recommended treatment targets. The audit also highlights wide regional variation in care and treatment.
Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is an approach to behaviour change that utilises day to day interactions that organisations and individuals have with other people to support them in making positive changes to their physical and mental health and wellbeing. MECC enables the opportunistic delivery of consistent and concise healthy lifestyle information and enables individuals to engage in conversations about their health at scale across organisations and populations.
These practical resources will support people and organisations when considering or reviewing MECC activity and aid local implementation. They were developed by Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England and the national MECC advisory group.
Royal Society of Medicine. Published: January 22nd 2016.
Professor John Wilding discusses a series of challenges and approaches to dealing with obesity in the UK. John provides insight into the psychological and biological causes of obesity, as well as the strain a high BMI puts on individual health and NHS costs. John also talks about the way obesity can be tackled through lifestyle management, interventions, surgery and pharmacotherapy.
This lecture was part of the ‘Cardiovascular disease prevention – a global approach to risk’ event at The Royal Society of Medicine in London.