Decade of improved outcomes for patients thanks to Surgical Safety Checklist

NHS England | January 2019 | Decade of improved outcomes for patients thanks to Surgical Safety Checklist

The Surgical Safety Checklist, launched by WHO in 2008, was mandated for use in the NHS in 2009.  It is 19-item tool which addresses serious and avoidable surgical complications, by ensuring that critical steps outlined in the guidelines are done in every surgery, every time, everywhere. It also serves as a critical communication tool for the operating theatre team.


The checklist’s 3-pause point structure represents natural breaks in the surgical flow, and emphasises time points where changes can be made before it’s too late. Each item within these pause points serves either to trigger a process check of a critical safety step, or prompt a discussion to ensure a common understanding of the patient’s specific history, the surgical plan, and any potential problems that could arise during the procedure.

A wide range of studies and evaluations since 2008 have shown the checklist to reduce the rate of deaths and surgical complications by as much as one-third in the facilities where it is used (Source: NHS England).

Read the full news item from NHS England

Introducing a Children’s Health Smartphone App at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

NHS | January 2019 | Introducing a Children’s Health Smartphone App at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

NHS England shares a case study that considers the impact of a smartphone app  on the development and implementation of a children’s health smartphone application. The app has significantly improved patient, carer and family experience as well as better use of resources locally (Source: NHS England).

pexels-photo-238480.jpegRead the full case study at NHS England 

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. 


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.


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

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

NHS financial sustainability 

National Audit Office | January 2019 |  NHS financial sustainability

The National Audit Office (NAO) has produced its annual report into the financial sustainability in the NHS. It concludes that the existence of  substantial deficits in some parts of the system, offset by surpluses elsewhere coupled with growing waiting lists and year-on-year increases in waiting times, does not paint a picture that is sustainable. 


The current funding flows in the NHS are complicated and do not support partnership working, integration and the better management of demand. Trusts also told the NAO that Sustainability and Transformation Fund payments made by NHS England have encouraged trusts to prioritise short-term gains over long-term sustainability which also resulted in reduced collaboration with other local bodies.

The NAO has made a number of recommendations to the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure additional funding is spent wisely. This includes testing whether local plans to manage demand are realistic; ensuring key risks to delivery of the long-term plan are identified; and developing a sustainable long-term plan to support trusts in severe financial difficulty (Source: NAO).

Full report – NHS financial sustainability

Summary – NHS financial sustainability

ePub – NHS financial sustainability

NHS financial sustainability [press release]

Are patients benefiting from integrated care?

Nuffield Trust | January 2019 | Are patients benefiting from integrated care?

As QualityWatch publishes a scrolling data story investigating whether the drive in recent years to integrate services more closely has resulted in any tangible improvements for patients, Sarah Scobie puts the study in context and explains the findings. They find there is limited evidence that patients are benefiting from better integrated care: only one of the seven indicators has improved, three have deteriorated, and three show either no change or an inconsistent pattern (Source: Nuffield Trust).


Nuffield Trust Are patients benefitting from better integrated care?

See also:

Quality Watch Are patients benefiting from integrated care? 


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

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

NHS Improvement has published A Model Employer– a document that 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 black and minority ethnic (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). 

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