Army of workers to support family doctors

NHS England | January 2019 | Army of workers to support family doctors

According to experts 50 per cent of  GP appointments are not directly related to medical conditions. As part of the NHS’ Long Term Plan, NHS England intends to recruit 1000 social prescribing ‘link workers’. This army of experts will be recruited to help patients live fitter, healthier lives and combat anxiety, loneliness and depression under plans to ramp up social prescribing set to be launched by NHS England this week.


By 2023-24, social prescribers will be handling around 900,000 patient appointments a year. Within five years over 2.5 million more people will benefit from social prescribing, a personal health budget, and new support for managing their own health in partnership with patients’ groups and the voluntary sector.

Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s Acting Medical Director of Primary Care, said: “We will be recruiting a substantial number of people to support general practitioners over the next five years, to help ease the workload and pressures that we know general practice is under. But we see the network of social prescribers as a fundamental change to the way primary care operates and vital to the future. Recruiting social prescriber link workers will be a priority target as a part of the Universal Care Plan.”

Full story from NHS England

See also: GP Online NHS to recruit 1,000 social prescribers by 2021 to ease GP workload

In the news:

BBC News More ‘social prescribers’ to ease pressure on GPs

Sky News GPs to prescribe dance lessons and art classes on the NHS for ‘modern-life scourges’

Daily Mail NHS hires hundreds of ‘social prescribers’ to refer patients dealing with alcoholism, loneliness and depression to art classes, dancing lessons and chess clubs to reduce dependence on medicines


Addressing hospital handover delays: actions for local A&E delivery boards

NHS Improvement| January 2019 |  Addressing hospital handover delays: actions for local A&E delivery boards

Addressing hospital handover delays: actions for local A&E delivery boards is advice from NHS Improvement for ambulance trusts and A&E delivery boards on what action to take during busy periods and should ambulances begin to queue. This aims to help reduce delays in handover of patients from ambulance services to emergency departments.

This document sets out the main points from recent guidance documents, and separates them into actions to be embedded as part of normal working practice, and actions to be taken should ambulances begin to queue.

This summary is not exhaustive and local delivery boards should refer to more detailed guidance from NHS Improvement and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine as referenced within (Source: NHS Improvement).

Addressing hospital handover delays: actions for local accident and emergency delivery boards

New report focuses on recommendations to make ambulance transfers safer

Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch | January 2019 | New report focuses on recommendations to make ambulance transfers safer

A new report from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, Transfer of Critically Ill Adults shows that a lack of national guidance and standard practice for ambulance transfers could be putting patients at risk. 

The report puts forward key recommendations aimed at making transfers safer for adults that are critically ill.

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This investigation was launched after the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch were notified of the case of Richard, a 54-year old man, who died during an emergency transfer to a specialist care centre. He had been diagnosed with an acute aortic dissection after experiencing chest pain during exercise earlier that day. Aortic dissection occurs when the innermost layer of the wall of the aorta tears, allowing blood at high pressure to flow in between the layers forcing them apart.

Safety recommendations

The report sets out two safety recommendations:

A Model Employer: Increasing black and minority representation at senior levels across the NHS

NHS England | January 2019 | A Model Employer: Increasing black and minority ethnic representation at senior level across the NHS

A Model Employer: Increasing black and minority ethnic representation at senior level across the NHS outlines the ambitions set by NHS England and NHS Improvement and reflected in the Long Term Plan, for each NHS organisation to set its own target for BME representation across its leadership team and broader workforce. The strategy will provide accelerated, intensive support to local NHS organisations on increasing the recruitment of BME staff at senior levels (Source: NHS England).

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Related: NHS England [blog] Long term support for workforce race equality


See also: Workforce Race Equality Standard data reporting

Child health high on the agenda, but political uncertainty and public health cuts pose risk to progress, warns UK’s top paediatrician

Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health | January 2019 | State of Child health: Two years on scorecard

The scorecard, which describes progress against a series of recommendations made in the RCPCH’s landmark ‘State of Child Health report’ (2017), have been produced for each of the four UK nations and reveal a varied picture. While the scorecard reveals great progress in areas such as child and adolescent mental health; tackling child obesity; reducing child deaths.

The scorecard also reveals that England lags behind its European counterparts on a number of outcomes including  reducing child poverty and inequality, child deaths and breastfeeding (Source: RCPCH).


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See also:

Nuffield Health Child poverty and Brexit threaten improvements to children’s health outcomes, says Nuffield Trust

In the news:

The Independent Brexit threatens children’s health with concerns over recruiting specialist doctors, report warns

Managing Frequent Attenders

e- Learning for Healthcare | January 2019 | Managing Frequent Attenders

A new resource available on  e-Learning for Healthcare focuses on managing frequent attenders.

The e-Learning session,  includes reflective practice and how it can be useful when considering patients who frequently attend services or who may present with chaotic attachments and health seeking behaviours. 

More information at e-Learning for Healthcare

UK 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance

Department of Health and Social Care | January 2019 | UK 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance

This policy paper outlines how the UK will contribute to containing and controlling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2040.

The vision and plan were developed across the government, its agencies and administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with support from a range of stakeholders (Source: Department of Health and Social Care).