Care quality measures

The Health Foundation and Nuffield Trust have published Quality at a cost: QualityWatch annual statement 2016.

This report looks at a range of care quality measures across the NHS in England. It highlights several areas of health care where standards have improved, but the authors point to slowing improvement in other areas, growing waiting times and continuing financial pressures.

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QualityWatch routinely monitors over 300 indicators spread across all domains of quality. This report considers a selection of areas from within this set, covering different stages of a patient’s experience of the health service, to give a picture of quality in 2016.

It looks across six main areas:

  • Public health
  • Primary care
  • Ambulances
  • Hospital care
  • Mental health
  • Condition-specific care (stroke and hip fracture)

The report observes that the pressure of austerity did not impact on quality measures straight away, but took a few years to be felt. Authors conclude that further ‘delayed decline’ could occur in other aspects of care quality, such as effectiveness of treatment or patient safety, given the extent of the challenges faced and ongoing austerity in health and social care spending.

End of life care for infants, children and young people

NICE has published new NICE guidance: End of life care for infants, children and young people with life-limiting conditions: planning and management (NG61).

This guideline covers the planning and management of end of life and palliative care in for infants, children and young people (aged 0–17 years) with life-limiting conditions. It aims to involve children, young people and their families in decisions about their care, and improve the support that is available to them throughout their lives.

Additional link: NICE news report

Pressure of 10-minute consultations undermining GP compassion, warns GMC

GPs are struggling to provide compassionate care to patients under the strict pressures of 10-minute consultations, a report published by the General Medical Council has warned. | GMC | GP online


Problems arising due to the professional isolation of doctors, fragmentation of care and poor communication are threatening the wellbeing of doctors, according to the GMC.

The Medical Professionalism Matters report, compiles feedback from more than 1,000 doctors who responded to polls online and at GMC events held to gauge the challenges facing the medical profession.

The report assessed issues relating to ethics, resilience, collaboration, compassion, scholarship and patient safety. Doctors said they did not believe their colleagues were any less compassionate than 20 years ago, but 44% felt that increasing time pressures and higher patient demand had undermined care.

Read more at GP Online or read the full GMC report

Improving the mental health of children and young people

Reports to support commissioners in improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. | Public Health England

These reports describe the importance of mental health and wellbeing among children and young people and the case for investment in mental health. They also summarise the evidence of what works to improve mental health among children and young people in order to inform local transformation of services.

The mental health of children and young people in England

The mental health of children and young people in London

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Trends in Adolescent Overweight Perception and Its Association With Psychosomatic Health 2002–2014

Whitehead, R. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: 6 Decmeber 2016


Purpose: Perceiving oneself as overweight is common and strongly associated with adolescents’ subjective well-being. The prevalence of overweight perceptions and their impact on well-being may have increased over the past decade due to an increase in the salience of weight-related issues. This study examines trends (2002–2014) in the prevalence of adolescent overweight perceptions and their association with psychosomatic complaints.

Evidence is presented which suggests that for adolescent girls in 12 Northern and Western European countries and for boys in four perceiving oneself as overweight may be increasingly deleterious for psychosomatic health.

Read the full abstract here

New go-to website for resources and learning in palliative and end of life care

Nicola Spencer introduces the enhanced Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care website which will be the new go-to place for resources and learning | NHS England


Struggling to keep up to date and informed on changes impacting on palliative and end of life care? Not sure where to find the latest resources and improvement examples?

Then you will be pleased to hear we have launched a tailor made national End of Life Care (EoLC) Knowledge Hub providing you with a ‘one stop shop’ of palliative and EoLC information.

This hub provides anyone involved in the commissioning or provision of palliative and end of life care with a quick and easy way to source information, including helpful tools and resources to drive delivery of the Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care – a national framework for local action.

Read the full overview here

Find the website here

The challenge and potential of whole system flow

Improving flow across whole health and care systems | David Fillingham, Bryan Jones, Penny Pereira (The Health Foundation)

Image source: The Health Foundation

Whole system flow is the coordination of all systems and resources, across a health and social care economy, to deliver effective, efficient, person-centred care in the right setting at the right time and by the right person.

Improving flow is seen by both practice leaders and policymakers as having a crucial role to play in driving up service quality and productivity, as well as improving the experience of care for patients and service users.

The challenge and potential of whole system flow introduces methods that local health and social care leaders can use to improve whole system flow. It also describes steps policymakers and regulators can take to create an environment conducive to change at this scale.

Read the overview here

Read the full report here