There was laughter in the room when John Lister ironically described the new NHS structure as “streamlined” and shared a Guardian graphic of the new bureaucracy. It set the tone for the NUJ’s Reporting on our health services masterclass, aimed at helping health reporters get to grips with confusing changes.
Lister, senior lecturer in health journalism at Coventry University, identified some of the main issues for journalists:
access to information
getting that information in a timely manner
getting a range of information – not just press releases, but also Board papers, statistics, other info that isn’t specifically targeted at the press
access to expert analysis. (You have the info, but can you make sense of it? Is there a specialist who can put it in context or add insight?)
He spoke about the slippery nature of transparency. For example, NHS England (the new name for the NHS Commissioning Board) is relatively open to reporting, but the real nitty-gritty decisions are made by Local Area Teams (LATs). Continue reading →
It is only in numbers that the ignored can hope to make an impression. When the first few women began to speak up about Savile's behaviour, his nephew, Roger Foster, was brutally dismissive, describing himself as "disgusted and disappointed" that such claims were being made. With a further 300 people now stepping forward, his tone has changed markedly.
The charity, Rethink Mental Illness, has launched an e-campaign to persuade the government to reintroduce the mental health inpatient survey. It can be accessed via its website rethink.org, and I would urge you to sign it.
new measures to improve care for patients with long term conditions and help prevent unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital
ensuring that quality rewards for GPs reflect expert advice, from NICE, so that patients receive the very best care in line with the most up to date evidence
stopping additional rewards for organisational tasks like good record keeping, which should be part of any good health organisation. This money will instead go into rewarding the quality of services that GPs offer patients.
ensuring that more patients benefit from best practice in areas such as keeping blood pressure low and reducing cholesterol levels, especially those in most need or hardest to reach.
HSJ Briefing: general practice services and policy – The DH also last week set out to make significant changes to the quality and outcomes framework. If they are enforced, practices would have to provide a new set of enhanced services, directed by the DH and NHS Commissioning Board, to continue earning the same income. They would also be required to step up performance on QOF measures, many of which are focused on population health and prevention.
The department has not said what the new enhanced services would be but it is expected they would include:
A requirement to risk-stratify their population for likelihood of illness and deterioration, and provide support/attention to them
Improving services for those with chronic conditions and for older people
Promotion of patients’ self care, including through access to their own records.
Here are the health-related links that have caught our eyes between October 5th and October 29th:
The Green Benches: Virgin Care represent the greatest conflict of interest in the history of the NHS – The GP Practices in Virgin Care’s network get to keep 50% of the profits they make. The total budgets over a 5 year period that these 21 CCGs are responsible for is £27.5 bn and this places an extraordinary amount of power in the hands of doctors linked to Virgin Care. See a full list of the committees and details below. I include a 5 year figure because many of the contracts they will award will be of that length. The spreadsheet I have created below lists the 21 CCGs on which doctors, who work in Virgin Care medical practices, have been mentioned in the CCG board minutes as connected with that CCG. For substantiation, click on any links you seen in green or writing that appears between brackets. Continue reading →