Funding system failing people with continuing healthcare needs

Report suggests the Government must take steps to improve the complex process for obtaining funding which is beset with delays and poor-quality assessments. | Public Accounts Committee

NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) funding is intended to help some of the most vulnerable people in society, who have significant healthcare needs. This report finds that too often people’s care is compromised because no one makes them aware of the funding available, or helps them to navigate the hugely complicated process for accessing funding. Those people that are assessed spend too long waiting to find out if they are eligible for funding, and to receive the essential care that they need.

This report from the Public Accounts Committee finds that the Department of Health and NHS England recognise that the system is not working as well as it should but are not doing enough to ensure CCGs are meeting their responsibilities, or to address the variation between areas in accessing essential funding.

Full report: NHS continuing healthcare funding: Thirteenth Report of Session 2017–19


Funding and staffing of NHS mental health providers

The King’s Fund has published Funding and staffing of NHS mental health providers: still waiting for parity.  This report indicates the spending gap between NHS acute hospitals and NHS mental health providers is widening.  It includes an analysis of the annual financial accounts of NHS mental health, acute and specialist provider trusts; an analysis of the national workforce data; a review of CQC inspection reports for the 54 mental health trusts; and review of board papers of eight mental health trusts.

‘Severe pressure’ on NHS may put patients at risk this winter

New briefing says NHS trusts have done all they can to prepare for extra winter pressures, but the health service may be sorely tested in the coming months as it is already at or close to full stretch |  NHS Providers


An NHS Providers briefing,  Ready and resilient? How NHS trusts have prepared for winter, outlines what has been done locally and nationally to ensure safe, high quality care for patients.  The briefing provides details of specific actions by trusts and reports on the steps taken at a national level to improve NHS resilience

The report also highlights continuing difficulties and pressures that could jeopardise trusts’ ability to cope. These include:

  • Lack of beds – the NHS is already running at 87 per cent bed occupancy, which means there is very little give in the system. Too many patients still face delays in being discharged after they are ready to move on.
  • Shortages of key staff groups including paramedics, GPs and A&E consultants and nurses.
  • Funding pressures – the additional NHS funding for winter in the Budget was welcome but has come very late to be used to maximum effect.
  • Flu – this year’s strain is potentially the worst we have seen in two decades, having already placed health systems in Australia and New Zealand under severe pressure earlier this year.

Full report: Ready and resilient? How NHS trusts have prepared for winter,


‘Early warning signs’ that austerity will impact health outcomes

New report from the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) identifies early warning signs that austerity will affect health outcomes for decades to come.

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A team of researchers at ILC-UK has written ‘Public health in Europe during the austerity years’. Using a number of independent data sources, the report finds that progress on a number of key health indicators has stalled, including life expectancy and mortality rates. The report indicates that levels of subjective health have fallen among young people aged 15 – 24 across Europe, and in all age-groups in the UK.

Cuts to preventative medicine in England, such as tobacco control programmes and sexual health services, were highlighted as austerity measures which could impact the health of young people decades into the future.

Key findings include:

  • Improvements to life expectancy and mortality rates have slowed across Europe during austerity years (2009 – 13)
  • The UK has seen the greatest fall in subjective health, with people of all ages reporting a decline in their general health
  • As a result of increasing medical costs and declining personal income, a number of countries experienced rising unmet medical needs.

Full report: Public health in Europe during the austerity years

Individual funding requests

NHS England has published a series of documents in relation to Individual Funding Requests (IFR). The following documents update existing published standard operating procedures for the management of IFRs and outline how the process for managing IFRs for NHS England will operate:

Funding of children and young people’s services

Turning the tide: reversing the move to late intervention spending in children and young people’s services. | The National Children’s Bureau | The Children’s Society |  Action for Children

This report looks at current funding and spending across children and young people’s services.  It finds councils no longer have the resources to fund early intervention services and suggests that this is likely to increase demand for more costly ‘late’ interventions.

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The report looks at current funding and spend right across children and young people’s services, and  provides an estimate of how much councils are receiving for children and young people’s services and where this is being allocated.

New £15 million grant scheme to improve mental healthcare

The Beyond Places of Safety fund will focus on improving urgent mental healthcare in local areas | Department of Health 

The Department of Health has launched a £15 million fund to better support people at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme aims to improve support services for those needing urgent and emergency mental healthcare. This includes conditions such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders that could cause people to be a risk to themselves or others.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme will focus on:

  • preventing people from reaching crisis point in the first place
  • helping to develop new approaches to support people who experience a mental health crisis

Full story at Department of Health