How much has the NHS saved by holding down pay?

Pay restrictions meant £2.6 billion less for NHS staff last year | Nuffield Trust

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With the NHS in England in recent years on a savings drive, this comment from Mark Dayan of The Nuffield Trust asks how much staff have contributed through freezes and caps on their pay packets. But the question is a tricky one. To answer, we need to be able to compare what has actually happened to pay with what would have happened if the NHS hadn’t been trying to make any savings. This data blog explores further and puts a figure on it.

Read the full blog post here

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“Important improvements” for race equality in health service workforce

The Chief Executive of NHS England has welcomed signs of progress in tackling discrimination among health service staff, but warned of “hard work still ahead” in improving equality for all its workers.

NHS Equality and Diversity Council has published its latest annual report into race equality. The audit provides a comprehensive assessment of the experience of NHS employees from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, including whether or not they have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment at work.

The 2017 Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) shows that an increasing proportion of senior nursing and midwifery posts is being filled by people from BME backgrounds, and that there has been a rise in senior BME leaders. The report confirms that an increasing number of trusts has more than one board member from a BME background, with 25 trusts being represented at board level by three or more people from BME communities.

However, the report highlights areas where the NHS needs to make further progress. Despite significant improvements in board and senior management representation, the overall number of BME background leadership positions is still not proportionate to the number of BME workers at other levels in the organisation.

Full report: NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard: 2017 Data Analysis Report for NHS Trusts

Health & Care workforce strategy

This draft strategy sets out the current workforce landscape, what has been achieved since 2012, and describes an approach to shaping the face of the NHS and social care workforce for the next two decades |  Health Education England

Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future – a health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027 considers the outputs of major workforce plans for the priorities laid out in the Five Year Forward View – cancer, mental health, maternity, primary and community care and urgent and emergency care.

The consultation starts 13 December 2017 and finishes on Friday March 23, 2018.
To take part in the consultation, click on the website link below and complete the survey.
consultation.hee.nhs.uk

Related: Health Foundation responds to new workforce strategy

‘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

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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,

 

More cancer specialists to be employed by the NHS

New specialists will speed up cancer diagnoses and improve access to treatment

The UK is facing increased demand for cancer treatments based on the growing number of cases of cancer diagnosed each year and the fact that people are living for longer with cancer. Around 357,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with cancer in 2014. In the year 2022, it has been projected that there will be around 422,000 new cases.

The NHS is to employ more cancer specialists, to speed up cancer diagnoses and get more people into treatment more quickly. The specialists will be trained in areas where there are shortages. It is part of Health Education England’s new Cancer Workforce Plan.

Announcements of extra provision include:

  • 200 clinical endoscopists – to investigate suspected cancers internally
  • 300 reporting radiographers – to identify cancers using x-rays and ultrasound
  • support for clinical nurse specialists – to lead services and provide quality care

The plan is part of a campaign to make sure patients are diagnosed quickly and get better access to innovative treatments that can improve survival rates.

Further detail at HEE: Health Education England unveils plan to transform the future NHS cancer workforce

Advanced clinical practitioners framework

Health Education England has published National Framework for Multi-Professional Advanced Clinical Practice.  This document sets out a vision for the further development of Advanced Clinical Practitioners.  It provides national definition of the role as well as requirements for entry.  It will provide ACPs with guidance and principles to follow throughout their careers.

How will our future relationship with the EU shape the NHS?

This briefing from the Nuffield Trust explores five key areas where the deals the UK government reaches with the EU – or lack of them – will impact upon health and social care.

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The report argues that an exit deal will be needed to make sure:

  • The rights of tens of thousands of EU doctors and nurses are guaranteed, minimising the chances of an exodus making already concerning staff shortages across the NHS worse;
  • A sudden legal vacuum does not risk supplies of already approved medicines, and human substances like blood plasma;
  • Expat pensioners who access healthcare under EU schemes do not feel forced to return, potentially requiring up to £500 million more in annual spending, and 1000 extra hospital beds;
  • British patients do not face slower access to life saving drugs, and British and European taxpayers do not have to pay more for duplicate regulation in medicines.

Full briefing: How will our future relationship with the EU shape the NHS?