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RCN says it will “challenge all parties” to fund the NHS properly in election run-up

Sarah J

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The Royal College of Nursing says it will challenge all parties to give health and care services the funding and staff they need for safe patient care.

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Theresa May announced that she would call an early general election which, subject to parliamentary approval, is to be held on the June 8th 2017.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is prompting members and the general public to remember the NHS when they place a mark on the ballot paper this June.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “Brexit is not the only issue the country faces – we will make sure that NHS and social care are on the ballot paper this June”.

She goes on to explain “The RCN will challenge all parties to give health and care services the funding and staff they need for safe patient care. We will be consulting our members on the RCN’s manifesto and the commitments they want to see from election candidates”.

The RCN is currently embroiled in an on-going row with the government over the NHSPRB recommendations to extend the 1% pay cap.

Primary Care

NHS trusts pressuring staff to help meet vaccination targets

Sarah J

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Front-line staff are reporting that NHS trusts are pressuring staff into receiving the influenza vaccine in order to achieve governmental targets.

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Front-line NHS staff claim they are getting ever-increasing pressure to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine as cash-strapped NHS trusts strive to hit the ‘Flu Fighter’ CQUIN, which provides significant financial incentives for trusts who vaccinate a proportion of their staff.

This news follows last weeks announcement that NHS England will write to all healthcare workers reminding them of their “professional duty” to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine.

One member of staff, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims she was forced to sign a ‘Declination of Influenza Vaccine‘ document by their NHS Trust which states refusal of the vaccine may have ‘life-threatening’ consequences and asks for the reason for refusal.

A spokesperson for NursingNotes said;

“While receiving the vaccine is an important part of infection control, like any patient, staff must provide informed consent and have a right to refuse the vaccination”.

A spokesperson for the RCN said:

“We encourage all nursing staff to have the vaccine. It plays an important part in infection control and preventing sickness absence”.

The NHS Employers ‘Flu Fighter’ campaign is part of an initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of NHS employees.

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Patients could be banned from A&E unless a healthcare professional refers them

Ian Snug

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The “talk before you walk” scheme could see patients barred from using A&E without first seeking healthcare advice elsewhere.

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Under “talk before you walk” proposals, patients would need to gain approval from either their GP or the NHS 111 advice line before self-presenting to an accident and emergency department and could be turned away without this.

The scheme is intended to improve compliance of the 4-hour target by sign-posting patients to more appropriate services.

The news comes as health services prepare, for what many experts claim will be, the “worst winter on record” for emergency care services.

Dr Helen Thomas, National Medical Advisor for Integrated Urgent Care at NHS England, said:

“Jeremy Hunt has mentioned to some of my colleagues, maybe we should have a ‘talk before you walk’ and we may well pilot that.

“I think it’s been done in other countries where they’ve actually said you can’t come to the emergency department until you’ve talked on referral or you have to have that sort of docket that you’re given by having talked down the phone and being told you should come in.”

But the British Medical Association (BMA) said forcing ill patients to go through an extra layer of bureaucracy would cause further delays and could compromise emergency care pathways.

A spokesman for NHS England said there were no current plans to go ahead with the scheme.

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