Uncovered McKinsey report challenged ‘free at point of delivery’ pledge

A report prepared by consultants McKinsey suggests politicians may need to “challenge the principle that the NHS is free at the point of delivery” in order to fund healthcare.

The report explores a number of options based on abandoning that principle including:

  • Patients paying to attend A&E 
  • Patients paying for access to primary care
  • Patients paying for inpatient stays
  • Enforcing tougher eligibility criteria for treatments, “e.g., hip replacements only for the over 80s, social care packages only for the acutely-ill, asking people who need it to buy their own equipment”
  • Means-testing patients
  • Denying “high-cost end of life treatments such as chemotherapy” and other treatments that are “high cost per Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY)” Continue reading

Hospital blunders investigated by Melanie Hall

Help Me Investigate user Melanie Hall has been using Freedom of Information requests to look at ‘hospital blunders’: serious untoward incidents (SUIs) and ‘never events’. She reports:

“Surgeons operating on the wrong side of the body, swabs left inside patients after surgery and the wrong implant being used were among the blunders happening at NHS health services across England last year”

Overall, her investigation reveals at least 6,000 serious untoward incidents (SUIs) and more than 100 ‘never events’.  Continue reading

What’s your local CCG doing? A quick guide

Philip John is one of the users of Help Me Investigate looking at his local clinical commissioning group (CCG), for which there isn’t much information (there isn’t even a website).

Here’s why: CCGs are being authorised in four waves, which take place from this month through to March 2013. In addition to those four waves, there are dozens of CCGs which were already operating as ‘pathfinder’ groups – in other words, pilots.

You can find out which wave your CCG is in by searching for it in this document (PDF). Continue reading

20 places to keep up to date on clinical commissioning and CCGs

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For our latest investigation into clinical commissioning (help still needed!) we’ve put together a starting list of 20 feeds to follow developments surrounding Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – and we’ve put them together into one convenient bundle which you can follow with one click here (Google account needed). Can you suggest others?

Here they are: Continue reading

Volunteers needed! scrutinising CCGs

CCG structure image from BBC

This year a collection of new groups will be given responsibility for £60bn of public health spending in England: Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

With over 200 of these groups and very few health journalists in the UK there’s an opportunity for student journalists and concerned citizens to play a key role in understanding what CCGs do – and scrutinising their activities.

There are a number of potential avenues to explore, from concerns about potential conflicts of interest in the new arrangements, to issues of accountability, whistleblowing, and efficiency.

In partnership with a number of news organisations and universities, we’re building a network of journalists, students and citizens to start pulling together information, exchanging tips and leads, and pursuing questions in the public interest.

If you want to get involved, contact me on paul@helpmeinvestigate.com or add your name via the form here.

*image from the BBC

Can you help? Researching the link between capsaicin (pepper spray) deaths and stimulants

I am looking for post mortem data on deaths caused by capsaicin (pepper spray). I intend to analyse the data for links to the involvement of stimulants (particularly pseudoephedrine, methamphetamine and cocaine). My rationale is based on Mendelson et al, (2009) as indicated in my blog post on the topic (duplicated below).

If you can help me find this information please use the comment box below or email me. Continue reading

AUDIO: Pharmacies competing with NHS dispensaries

You And Yours reports today on private pharmacies using the Freedom of Information Act to identify the most profitable regions in Scotland to set up shop – leading to the closure of practice-based dispensaries.

Sadly there’s no information online other than the full broadcast, but there’s some background on BBC News Scotland: Continue reading