Community health services explained

The King’s Fund | January 2019 | Community health services explained

Every year community services have around 100 million patient contacts, accounting for £10 billion of the NHS budget and 20 per cent of the total NHS workforce.  Community services are a diverse sector;  as they cover a range of services  from those targeted at people living with complex health and care needs – such as district nursing and palliative care – to health promotion services – such as school nursing and health visiting. Community services play a key role in keeping people well, treating and managing acute illness and long-term conditions, and supporting people to live independently in their own homes. 

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Despite their vital contribution, community services are poorly understood compared to other parts of the NHS. In this explainer, The King’s Fund set out what these services are, the challenges they are facing and how they are changing (Source: The King’s Fund).

Every 3 seconds a person in the UK could be having a life-threatening asthma attack, finds Asthma UK

Asthma UK | January 2019 | Every three seconds someone in the UK could be having a life-threatening asthma attack- new figures

Asthma UK has launched new guidance for people with asthma in the UK, figures released by the charity suggest that the incidence of asthma attacks in the UK could be 10 million, a figure much higher than previously indicated by research.

The charity suggests that this number could be reduced if people with the respiratory condition were able to recognise the warning signs of an attack.

Asthma UK advises that if people need to use their reliever inhaler three or more times a week, are waking up at night because of their asthma and have symptoms such as wheezing or a cough that is worsening or interfering with their work or day-to-day activities, they should contact their GP for advice.

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The clinical lead at Asthma UK, Dr Andy Whittamore says:

“It is shocking to think that every three seconds in the UK someone could be having an asthma attack, a terrifying experience than can cause distress and in some cases prove fatal. Asthma attacks do not come out of the blue and if people recognise the tell-tale signs that an attack is about to strike they can get the help that could save their life.

“We’re urging everyone with asthma to visit our health advice pages so they can understand what to do if an asthma attack is impending or strikes and get medical advice (Source: Asthma UK).

Find out more at www.asthma.org.uk/asthmaattacks

Asthma UK Every three seconds someone in the UK could be having a life-threatening asthma attack

In the news:

OnMedica Total number of UK asthma attacks could top 10 million, says charity

National Clinical Audit of Seizures and Epilepsies for Children and Young People (2018)

Health Quality Improvement Programme & Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health | January 2019 | National Clinical Audit of Seizures and Epilepsies for Children and Young People (2018)

Health Quality Improvement Programme have published The National Clinical Audit of Seizures and Epilepsies in Children and Young People, also known as Epilepsy12, shows incremental improvements in some areas of paediatric epilepsy service provision alongside a considerable need for improvement in others. 

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Image source: hqip.org.uk

The report shows incremental improvement in  some areas of paediatric epilepsy
service provision, including:
• overall numbers of epilepsy nurse specialists
• overall numbers of paediatricians with expertise and
• the number of specific clinics for children and young people with epilepsies

It also includes a number of recommendations, such as:

  • sufficient provision of defined general paediatricians with expertise in epilepsies to correctly
  • diagnose epilepsy and provide appropriate ongoing management for all children with epilepsy
  • sufficient provision of epilepsy specialist nurses to ensure ongoing input to all children with epilepsies
  • ensuring rescue medication training
  • ensuring epilepsy clinic capacity
  • fulfilling Best Practice Criteria
  • defining paediatric neurology referral pathways
  • facilitating local access to vagus nerve stimulation
  • co-locating mental health provision
  • improving ‘service contactability’  (Source: HQIP)

National Clinical Audit of Seizures and Epilepsies for Children and Young People (2018)

Understanding patient needs in switching from biologic to biosimilar medicines

The Patients Association | December 2018 | Understanding patient needs in switching from biologic to biosimilar medicines: Final report of survey and focus group findings

Understanding patient needs in switching from biologic to biosimilar medicines: Final report of survey and focus group findings, is a report from The Patients Association which finds that patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis are being switched to new medicines without being informed. 

Biologic drugs are administered by injection or infusion because they are proteins that
are quickly digested and inactivated if given by mouth. Therefore, biologic drugs are
supplied as powders for infusion or solutions for injection.

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The Patients Association reports that in their sample survey of patients (n=262)  and a focus group (n=7) who use biologic medicine- a  sub-set of these 69 had been switched to biosimilars, and more than one in three of these patients reported that they had not been consulted by their doctor prior to the change (Source : The Patients Association)

Read the report from The Patients Association

“Patients are being let down when they need to be supported” [press release]

How virtual reality is changing medical practice: “Doctors want to use this to give better patient outcomes”

BMJ | January 2019| How virtual reality is changing medical practice: “Doctors want to use this to give better patient outcomes”

A new feature in the BMJ describes how technology is having an impact on areas such as perioperative planning, medical training, psychiatry and palliative care and specifically how virtual reality is changing medical practice. 

Read the full piece at the BMJ 

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Healthwatch network reveals top priorities for 2019

Healthwatch | December 2018 | Healthwatch network reveals top priorities for 2019

Healthwatch has spoken to more than 400,000 people about their experiences of care, using the qualitative data generated from speaking to people at events and additional feedback gathered through high-street surveys, each local Healthwatch works with the community to identify priorities for their local area. From this Healthwatch analyses these local plans to produce a list of the issues faced countrywide. 

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Their analysis of these priorities at a local level puts improvements to primary care at the top of the list for 2019.

They have named their top five priorities for 2019:

  1. Primary care (including access to GPs) – (64 local Healthwatch)
  2. Children and young people – (57 local Healthwatch)
  3. Mental health – (50 local Healthwatch)
  4. Services working better together – (49 local Healthwatch)
  5. Adult social care, including residential care homes or care at home – (41 local Healthwatch)

Full details from Healthwatch