NHS staff who refuse flu vaccine this winter will have to give reasons

NHS staff who refuse to have the flu vaccine this winter will have to give reasons to their employer, as leaders make efforts to improve take-up rates|  BMJ 2017359 

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Image source: Daniel Dionne – Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

 NHS leaders are to write to all NHS staff urging them to be vaccinated against flu as soon as possible. The letter will make it clear that staff who refuse the vaccine will have to give reasons to their employing NHS trust, which will then be recorded.

The heads of NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health for England, and NHS Improvement said that they were writing to remind staff of their “professional duty to protect their patients.” Trusts are also being urged to make the flu vaccine “readily available” to staff.

Although last year saw record take-up of the vaccine among staff, more than a third of NHS staff members did not take up the offer, with just a fifth being vaccinated in some trusts.

Hospitals and GP surgeries are being warned by NHS England to be prepared for a big increase in cases of flu this winter after a heavy season in the southern hemisphere.

Full story via BMJ 2017359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4766

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The future of the mental health workforce

 The future of the mental health workforce | Centre for Mental Health

This report is based on insights from service users, carers and professionals and outlines a list of recommendations for a sustainable mental health workforce.

It emphasises the importance of prevention, including the role of GPs in supporting people before they reach crisis point. It describes commissioning of mental health services as in “crisis” with a “shrinking workforce, growing expectations and exhausting demands” putting pressure on staff across the country.

The report makes 22 recommendations for policy, practice, education and training, highlighting 4 key calls to action:

  1. For mental health careers to be promoted in schools and colleges: to build on growing awareness and understanding about mental health to encourage young people to aspire to work in the sector when they’re considering their career choices
  2. For all mental health service providers to support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff: to become ‘compassionate organisations’ that care for the people who work in them
  3. For mental health workers to get training in the skills they will need in the future, including in coproduction, community engagement and psychological interventions
  4. For people to be able to build their careers more flexibly, working in a range of different settings and sectors, and taking on new roles as they get older

Download the full report: The future of the mental health workforce

Plans announced to fast-track NHS digital technology

New technology designed to improve patient access, won’t solve the GP workforce problem, lead doctors have said today | OnMedica

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Image source: opensource.com – Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, has responded to health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s promise that every patient should be able to access medical records and book an appointment via an integrated app in 2018.

The health secretary is to outline the measures at today’s Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester.

The digital expansion plans include:

  • The expansion of the existing NHS 111 non-emergency phone line service to include a new online ‘triage’ service for less serious health problems.
  • An NHS-approved health apps to guide patient choice – NHS England will launch a library of NHS-assessed apps, as well as advising on other wearable devices, to ensure people can select reputable and effective products to monitor and improve their health.
  • A relaunch of the NHS Choices website to improve the range of services – it will be relaunched as NHS.UK with a fuller range of online patient services, including the ability to register with a GP, see and book appointments, and order and track prescriptions.
  • Instant access to personal health records online – inspired by the ‘blue button’ app in the US, the new NHS.UK site will also enable patients to securely download their personal health records.
  • More interactive, local information about the performance of health services.

Read the full overview here

NHS workforce pressures undermining cancer care : Macmillan poll

More than half of GPs and nurses fear that soaring workload means the NHS workforce is no longer able to provide adequate care to cancer patients, according to polling by charity Macmillan Cancer Support. | story via GP Online

A total of 52% of 250 GPs and nurses polled by the cancer charity said they were not confident that cancer patients could be offered the care they needed given current pressures on the NHS.

More than a third warned that some cancer patients are going to A&E because treatment is not available in the community. Some 44% of GPs and nurses said cancer was not being picked up as early as it should be and 31% said paitents were not receiving the care they needed after cancer treatment because of pressures on the NHS workforce.

Respondents to the poll cited growing numbers of patients, more complex workloads and growing problems with gaps or vacancies as their top concerns about the healthcare workforce.

Full report: From the frontline: Workforce pressures in the NHS

See also: Macmillan press release

Read the full story at GP Online

 

Stepping forward to 2020/21: the mental health workforce plan for England

Health Education England, July 2017

This plan sets out measures to expand the mental health workforce in England and fulfil ambitions to improve mental health services. By 2020 to 2021 local areas will need to create 21,000 new posts in priority growth areas to deliver the improvements in services and support set out in the Five year forward view for mental health.

Reality Check: More mental health staff for the NHS?

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said there will be 21,000 more nurses, therapists and consultants working in mental health services in England by 2021 | BBC News

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But the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has questioned whether there is enough money and how these posts are going to filled. BBC Reality Check looked at who’s likely to be right. We’re talking about England because the running of health services is devolved to the other nations.

The government has pledged to spend an extra £1bn already promised for mental health services in England on the new staff. This is not new money from the Treasury but comes from existing NHS budgets.

Experts from the Nuffield Trust, a think-tank specialising in health policy, say £1bn would be more than enough to fund 21,000 nurses. Although we don’t know how many of the new jobs will be for nurses and how many will be for consultants – and of course their salaries vary widely – it seems the plan is roughly affordable, albeit with money that has to be found from elsewhere in NHS budgets.

But that still leaves the question of whether staff can be recruited to fill the posts in such a short timeframe.

Read the full news story here

The Recruitment, Retention And Return Of Nurses To General Practice Nursing In England

This report, authored by Ipsos MORI, outlines the findings of qualitative research into the drivers and barriers to entry into general practice nursing (GPN) | NHS England

NHS Framework Documant 2008

It finds that the general perception is that general practice is more suitable for older or more experienced nurses. As student placements in general practice are rare, there is a lack of opportunity for students to develop an understanding of the GPN role. The research also highlights the need for greater support for GPNs and the lack of standardisation in pay for GPN roles.