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Primary Care

4-Hour A&E Targets & Fines to be Scrapped

Nursing Notes

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Some Hospitals in England have had key fines scrapped with the aim of improving their financial position and to help meet financial savings goals. 

This announcement comes on the same day the Department of Health announced NHS Student Bursaries are to be cut.

Previously, NHS trust in England were fined £120 for any patient who had to wait for more than 4 hours in A&E. This time-frame starts from the second of admission to departure.

Fines however were capped so that when performance drops below 85% or a major incident declared no more penalties were imposed.

In this controversial agreement between NHS England and the Department for Health these and other fines such as those for routine operations and access to cancer services have also been scrapped.

The move was criticised by the Patients Association. Its chief executive Katherine Murphy said: “This is the slippery slope back to the bad old days of never-ending waiting times and uncertainty – with patients left endlessly on A&E trolleys and waiting for life-changing operations. Where is it all going to end?

Each hospital will be given it’s own target for improvement and it allows them to access funding without achieving the official targets.

You can read a full breakdown of the changes on the BBC website.

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Primary Care

Morning after pill can now be bought online for £4.99

Sarah J

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Online pharmacy Chemist 4 U has revealed they will be selling the morning after pill to women for just £4.99 per pack.

Initially, the online-only pharmacy was praised for making the morning after pill more accessible for women at an affordable price but some have criticised the move.

Women will be able to buy as many as three packs of Levonelle, a generic version of the pill, from the online pharmacy in six months.

Campaigners on reproductive ethics have been quick to condemn the initiative, explaining that the accessibility presents the morning-after pill as regular contraception, when professional advice is to only use it in emergencies.

Shamir Patel, Managing Director of Chemist 4 U, told The Independent;

“We always advise women in an emergency situation, to go to their nearest pharmacy that day, rather than waiting a day to receive it from an online pharmacy.

“However our belief is, an advanced supply from us avoids the panic in the unlikely event of barrier method failure. We advise all patients that EHC should not be used as a regular contraceptive method”.

Other retailers such as Boots and Superdrug have recently drastically reduced the cost of the morning after pill following calls from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

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Primary Care

May set to end public sector pay cap

Sarah J

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Reports indicate that Theresa May and Phillip Hammond are drawing up plans to remove the public sector pay cap.

Experts say that Theresa May is drawing up plans to end the seven-year cap on public sector pay, which currently restricts annual public sector pay increases to 1 per cent. It is thought mounting from public sector unions and finally contributed towards this change in policy.

Despite voting against the removal of the pay cap earlier this year, several senior ministers, including Boris Johnson Michael Fallon are in reportedly in support of dropping the unpopular policy.

The announcement is expected to take place when Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, sends guidance letters to the pay review bodies, including the NHSPRB, later this month.

Removal of the pay cap for all 5 million public sector employees would cost an estimated £4 billion a year.

A Downing Street spokesperson said;

“We are listening.

“We know that many people in the public and private sector feel they are just about managing.”

Many claim removal of the pay cap will help with staff shortages in certain areas, such as nursing, teaching and the senior civil service.

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