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

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by NursingNotes.
4-Hour A&E Targets & Fines to be Scrapped

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.

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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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‘Red bags’ will get patients home from hospital quicker

Innovative ‘red bags’ will help community patients admitted to hospital be discharged quicker are being rolled out across the country.

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by Matt Bodell.
‘Red bags’ will get patients home from hospital quicker

The ‘Hospital Transfer Pathway’ or ‘Red Bag’ helps provide a prompt, safe and efficient transfer of care.

Innovative ‘red bags’ will help community patients admitted to hospital be discharged quicker are being rolled out across the country.

Red bags will contain contains a copy of their personal information, past medical history, a supply of medicines and a change of clothes for when they are ready to be discharged.

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The simple initiative started three years ago in Sutton, South West London, and now all areas of the country are being urged to adopt the scheme with a toolkit launched today to help.

As well as giving reassurance to patients, the red bags will provide hospital staff with quick, up-to-date information and medication requirements for the patient, avoiding unnecessary phone calls.

The personal touch makes a big difference.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England National Medical Director, said: “This is an example of where a joined up approach is helping to improve patient care and speed up a stay in hospital for all the right reasons. Sometimes it’s the personal touch that makes a big difference to patients, especially if they’re elderly, and the red bag helps people feel reassured and more at home. Doing more of the obvious is key to improving all our experiences of care.”

Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Care at the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “This scheme is an excellent example of the NHS and social care system working together to improve care and support for vulnerable older patients. Not only is this more efficient – saving valuable resources – but it’s a much better experience for patients leaving hospital when their treatment has finished.

“It’s encouraging to see this scheme being rolled out across the country as we move towards our ambition of joined up care that is centred around the individual.”

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Patients will suffer as NHS deficit spirals out of control

NHSI blamed acute hospitals for the overspend due to an increased patient demand.

Published on

by Chloe Dawson.
Patients will suffer as NHS deficit spirals out of control

NHS trusts in England have reported a combined financial deficit of nearly twice the amount planned.

The figures, released by NHS Improvement, showed a system under systematic strain and an NHS deficit of £960m in the last financial year - nearly double what the organisation had planned for.

NHS Improvement pointed out that 156 of the 234 trusts finished the year either reaching or exceeding their financial targets and said that acute hospitals were responsible for the overspend due to an increased patient demand. It added that other NHS organisations including ambulance services and mental health trusts had collectively underspent.

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During January, February and March alone, there were 1.1 million people who attended A&E who needed to be admitted for treatment – 70,000 more than the same period last year.

Heavily reliance on temporary workers.

The Royal College of Nursing has said that the chronic staffing shortage is partly to blame for the overspend with high vacancy rates and a heavy reliance on expensive temporary workers.

Offical figures show the sector is faced with 92,694 staffing vacancies - including 35,794 nursing vacancies and 9,982 medical vacancies.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “These figures reveal both sides of the same coin – a cash-starved NHS forced to run without enough staff to treat people safely. For as long as hospitals remain £1 billion in the red, patients will pay a heavy price.

“The number of nurses missing from England’s NHS remains stubbornly high – hospitals cannot afford to recruit and inadequate numbers are being trained too.

“Theresa May and Philip Hammond cannot allow this financial knife-edge to continue. Whether the Chancellor announces the extra funding in time for the NHS anniversary this summer or waits until the Autumn Budget, it must be both substantial and genuinely new money. It would not be enough just to wipe these deficits – health and care budgets must be boosted to reflect genuine demand. Anything less exposes patients to unacceptable risks and leaves care increasingly unsafe.”

'Incredible resilience'

Ian Dalton, Chief executive of NHS Improvement, said: "Despite epic challenges, NHS staff up and down the country displayed incredible resilience and saw more patients than ever before within four hours.

"More than two-thirds of providers ended the year on budget or better than planned. Given rising demand and record vacancies, this is an important achievement."

Chris Hopson, Chief executive of NHS Providers claims a 5% annual increase in NHS funding is needed to maintain the same levels of care seen in Europe.

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Primary Care

RCN launches first-ever protocol for animals in healthcare

The protocol will help hospitals and other health settings introduce animals into the environment.

Published on

by Ian Snug.
RCN launches first-ever protocol for animals in healthcare

The Royal College of Nursing has launched the first-ever nationwide protocol for animals in health care.

The protocol will provide an evidence-based best practice criteria so that hospitals and other health settings can introduce animals into the care environment.

By following the RCN’s protocol, services will be able to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare staff as well as the animals and their owners, whilst allowing patients to reap the benefits that interaction with animals can bring.

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The project was prompted by an RCN survey last year which found that although the majority of respondents thought animals were hugely beneficial to patients, most nurses said animals were not allowed in their workplace.

Animals improve care.

Research has shown how animals can improve patient care. The RCN survey found that nine out of ten (90%) nurses believe animals can improve the health of patients with depression and other mental health problems, and 60% said the presence of animals could speed patient recovery.

At the launch event, Lyndsey Uglow, a pioneer in animal therapy, will discuss how she and her golden retriever Leo have changed the lives of hundreds of children at Southampton Hospital.

The development of the new protocol was led by RCN professional lead for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, Amanda Cheesley.

Amanda said: “Anyone who’s worked in this area can see the amazing impact animals have on the health of adults and children alike. However, there are so many myths around the dangers of having animals in health care settings that most organisations are too concerned to try it out.

“This protocol will help to dispel these fears by supporting hospitals to include animals in the care they deliver in a safe and professional way. We hope that it will encourage all health services to consider how animals can help their patients and help us to remove the taboo from what is a really remarkable area of care.”

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