The value of patient support programmes

NHS Confederation | January 2019| The value of patient support programmes

The NHS Confederation recently partnered with AbbVie to explore the value of industry-led patient support programmes and some of the barriers to greater use of them for NHS patients with long-term or chronic conditions. 

The recent publication of the Long Term Plan clearly demonstrates NHS England’s commitment to person-centred care, allowing people to better manage their own health and access personalised care when they need it.


NHS Confederations’ briefing looks at what action is needed to overcome these barriers with the aim of encouraging more decision makers to consider whether they could contribute to improved and more personalised care of patients (Source: NHS Confederation).

The value of patient support programmes 

All.Can patient survey

All.Can UK | December 2018| First findings of All.Can patient survey revealed at UK Parliament event

More than a third (36 per cent) of cancer patients reported the greatest inefficiency as being their diagnosis finds the All. Can patient survey sought patients’ and carers’ perspectives on inefficiencies in cancer care.  40 per cent of people who participated in the survey had been initially diagnosed with something else. A similar proportion (34 per cent) also responded to say that they had a surplus of medication left over following treatment.


All.Can worked with Quality Health to develop the patient survey. Quality Health was responsible for all aspects of survey administration and data analysis, with input from All.Can national initiatives and the international research and evidence working group.

The UK piloted the All.Can patient survey ahead of roll-out in other countries throughout 2018. The survey closed in the UK in August, but continued running until 30 November in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden.  Data from an international version is also being analysed (Source:

Further details from All.Can

Bowel cancer waiting times figures revealed

University of Edinburgh | November 2018 |Bowel cancer waiting times figures revealed

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer type, now researchers from the University of Edinburgh have shown that it takes 10% of  patients in England and Wales more than a year from recognising the symptoms to receiving treatment for their bowel cancer. They found that 10% of people with bowel cancer in Scotland waited more than 8 months to start treatment. 


This international study included anonymised medical data from 3000 patients and their doctors in Australia, and Canada alongside the UK. Among their findings people in Wales took the longest to contact their GP once they had a health concern. Patients in Wales also waited the longest time (168 days)  to commence treatment,  which contrasts with Denmark (77 days. Researchers found that men and women in Wales took the longest to contact their doctor once they had noticed a health concern or symptom (Source: University of EdinburghUniversity of Edinburgh).

Full details from University of Edinburgh 

Advice line for GPs saves hours of travel for patients and £100k to be reinvested back into NHS

NHS England | November 2018 | Advice line for GPs saves hours of travel for patients and £100k to be reinvested back into NHS

The Walton Centre in Liverpool – the only specialist hospital trust in the UK dedicated to providing comprehensive neurology, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services-   runs an advice line which means GPs in the Cheshire and Merseyside area can call neuro consultants for fast advice any weekday reducing extra patient appointments. 


So far the service has received 181 calls 37% were resolved by the GP saving £51,698 which over a year saves around £100k.

Programme Director Julie Riley said: “We want to deliver services closer to home and when patients do come into hospital, support them so they can recover and go home quicker. From a patient point of view, we want to work in partnership with them. We, our consultant colleagues and GPs want to support them in self-management, where appropriate – rather than taking a paternalistic approach.”

Read the full case study at NHS England 

Noise pollution in hospitals

Xyrichis, A. Wynne, J., Mackrill, J.Rafferty, A. M.Carlyle, A.| 2018 | Noise pollution in hospitals| 

A new editorial in the BMJ calls for more qualitative research into the issue of noise in hospitals. An NHS Inpatient survey has previously stated that 4 in 10 patients are upset by noise levels during their stay in hospital. It is a problem not limited to patients as staff are also affected by noise levels, as it impacts on the ability to interpret speech, impairing communicating and also causes annoyance, irritation, and fatigue ultimately reducing the quality and safety of healthcare. Similarly, in intensive care noise levels have been measured at 100 decibels (DB) equivalent to listening to loud music through headphones. 



The researchers  from King’s College London and University of the Arts London (UAL) suggest that the following areas need to be addressed:

  • Noise is often incorrectly associated with high sound pressure levels (SPLs). Dripping taps for example, may register low SPLs yet still be considered noisy. Prioritising SPL reduction does not ensure improved noise perception. Therefore, a new approach is needed, one that views the hospital soundscape as a positive and malleable component of the environment.
  • There are a number of potential sources of noise in hospitals. Alarms, televisions, rattling trolleys, and ringing phones, as well as staff, visitor, and patient conversations. However, not all of them are perceived as noise by patients – for example, some find the sound of the tea trolley pleasing, associating it with receiving a warm drink. Research has also shown that some ICU patients welcome ringing telephones as a sign that they are not alone. So far ways to measure patients’ perceptions of noise are limited, and more research investment is needed in this area.
  • Patients and families need clear information about likely noise levels during admissions, so they are better prepared in advance, and can consider simple solutions such as headphones with their own choice of audio content. Education for staff is also needed, to encourage a culture that considers noise reduction an integral part of safe high quality healthcare. (Source: King’s College London)

Read the King’s College press release  Noise pollution in hospitals – a rising problem

Describing noise pollution as “an intractable problem”, the authors argue that patient partnership in future research will help progress what has been a slow moving field.

The full editorial is available using OpenAthens  login

In the media:

The Telegraph Patients discharging themselves while still sick because wards are too noisy at night, research finds

ITV News Patients asking for early discharge to escape noisy hospital wards


Increasing continuity of care in General Practice

The Health Foundation is supporting five large-scale GP practices and federations to carry out targeted improvement work to increase continuity of care in their practices.

The Increasing Continuity of Care in General Practice programme will explore what continuity of care will look like, considering relationships between GPs and patients, and also examining whether better information and management practices can help increase continuity with the aim of bringing benefits to both staff and patients.


This programme is inspired by recent Health Foundation research which demonstrated that patients with ambulatory care sensitive conditions who see the same GP a greater proportion of the time have fewer unplanned hospital admissions. The programme has been developed with the advice and support of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Each project will run for up to two years and each project team will receive up to £250,000 of funding to support the implementation, evaluation and dissemination of findings from their work.

Full story at The Health Foundation

GP Patient Survey 2018

NHS England | August 2018 | GP Patient Survey 2018

NHS England has published the latest GP Patient Survey, the survey assesses patients’ experience of healthcare services provided by GP practices, including experience of access, making appointments, the quality of care received from healthcare professionals, patient health and experience of NHS services when their GP practice was closed. The survey also includes a number of questions assessing patients’ experience of NHS dental services.
Image adapted from GP Infographic; image source:

Overall Experience

  • The majority of individuals (83.8%) rated their overall experience of their GP practice as good, with more than two in five (46.2%) rating their experience as ‘very good’.
  • Almost seven in ten patients (68.6%) rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good, with three in ten saying it was ‘very good’ (30.0%).
  • Around one in five patients (21.6%) say they tried to contact an NHS service in the past 12 months when they wanted to see a GP but their GP practice was closed, either for themselves or for someone else. Of these, almost seven in ten (68.7%) rated their overall experience of these services as good, with just under three in ten (29.4%) saying it was ‘very good’.


  • Of patients who had tried, seven in ten patients (70.3%) say it was easy to get through to their GP practice on the phone
  • The majority of patients (89.6%) say the receptionists at their GP practice were helpful.
  • Just under two thirds of patients (65.9%) were satisfied with the appointment times available to them.
  • Over half of all patients (53.7%) have a GP they prefer to see, with one in two patients who have a preferred GP saying they saw them always, almost always or a lot of the time (50.2%). (Source: NHS England)

Read the full NHS England news release GP Patient Survey 2018

Visit the survey’s main website here 

GP Patient Survey 2018 infographic can be downloaded here 


RCGP’s response:  GP Patient Survey results ‘testament to the great efforts’ of practice teams, says RCGP