Doctors to strike for first time in 40 years

Doctors have announced that they will refuse all non-urgent care for 24 hours on 21st June after they voted in favour of strike action over pension changes.

Some 79% of GPs, 84% of hospital consultants and 92% of junior doctors who responded voted in favour of the strike action on a BMA ballot.

Meanwhile, HSJ (subscription required) reports that hospital managers should start cancelling operations ahead of the strike.

The new pension plans, which apply to England and Wales, could see the age doctors retire rise from 65 to 68 by 2015. The contributions doctors have to make are also due to rise.

Lansley said the NHS pension would remain “one of the best available anywhere”, pointing out a new doctor joining the revised scheme could still expect a pension of £68,000 a year on retirement.”

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Guidance on procurement published while more evidence on improvements sought

Guidance aimed at improving healthcare procurement has been published by the Department of Health. ‘NHS procurement: raising our game’ sets out proposed actions and areas for improvement for NHS trusts and the DH such as transparency and data management, clinical engagement and reducing variation as well as collaboration and use of procurement partners, suppliers, innovation and growth.

The guidance is launched in advance of a ‘full and far-reaching’ procurement strategy planned for later in 2012 that will be developed following a wider call for evidence. The call aims to identify issues and actions that require immediate attention. People wishing to respond to the call for evidence can do so here.

A&E waits highest in eight years

The number of patients spending more than four hours in accident and emergency has increased by a quarter to reach its highest level since 2004, according to a report by the King’s Fund.

The report shows that 4.2% of patients spent more than four hours in A&E before being discharged or admitted from January to March, compared with 3.4% in the same period last year.

The government’s national target that no more than 5% of patients face more than a four-hour wait in A&E was met last year but 48 NHS providers breached the threshold in the final quarter of last year compared with 18 in the second quarter.

However, Andrew Lansley said the figures did not reflect the amount of time people spent waiting for treatment in A&E but also include time spent being treated. The study found the NHS was performing well against a number of other key indicators, including hospital treatment waiting times and superbug infections.

Northern Ireland rolls out £9m care record system with Orion Health

Health minister Edwin Poots announced this week that a new electronic care record (ECR) will be rolled out across Northern Ireland saying that “it will contribute to the delivery of the key proposals within ‘transforming your care’, which is about improving the quality, sustainability and safety of patient and client care.”

Under a seven-year contract worth £9m, Orion’s ECR will be deployed in 18 acute and community hospitals, all GP practices, community, mental health and social care organisation across the five regional trusts in Northern Ireland, reports The Guardian.

The announcement follows a pilot of Orion Health’s ECR at Ulster hospital, the Belfast City Hospital and two general practices in 2009 and 2010, involving 200 clinicians and more than 9,000 patients.

According to Public Technology ‘Northern Ireland does what England couldn’t – and deploys a national care record system’.

First mental health trust live with Lorenzo

Humber NHS Foundation Trust has become the first mental health trust in England to go live with CSC’s electronic patient record system Lorenzo. A statement from the trust said that more than 500 staff across 50 sites began using the system when it went live on 28th May.

EHI has reported that the go-live means that CSC has now met a key milestone in the deployment of Lorenzo that it is contracted to deliver across the North, Midlands and East under the National Programme for IT.

News in brief

  • Capita buys Clinical Solutions for £20m: EHI was the first to report Capita’s announcement of its acquisition of Clinical Solutions for £20m cash. The purchase adds to Capita’s existing services for the NHS, which includes support services for health providers and commissioners, clinical performance management services, finance and accounting solutions and health informatics service. This follows a series of acquisitions in healthcare IT services including CHKS and iSOFT Business Solutions.
  • Highest fine ever for data breach issued to NHS trust: Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has been served with a Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) of £325,000 following a serious breach of the Data Protection Act (DPA), the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today. The fine is the highest issued by the ICO and follows the discovery of highly sensitive personal data belonging to tens of thousands of patients and staff – including some relating to HIV and Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) patients – on hard drives sold on an Internet auction site in October and November 2010.
  • Information Governance Review ready for take-off: The steering group of the Information Governance Review has announced the 15 panel members that will study the new landscape in health and social care information protection and sharing. A review of information governance rules was recommended by the NHS Future Forum earlier this year. BJHC reports Dame Fiona Caldicott saying that “a balance has to be struck between confidentiality and the need to access information.”
  • Sir Derek Wanless dies aged 64: The Guardian obituary says that Sir Derek became hugely respected in the health and social care world for his commitment to using evidence to tackle major policy conundrums. It was his 2002 report for the then chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown, that first brought Derek to the attention of those involved in healthcare. Securing Our Future Health: Taking a Long-Term View made the case for a significant and sustained investment in the NHS, the like of which had not been seen since the service was created in 1948.
  • CCGs still unsure over CSS choice: A report commissioned by the NHS Commissioning Board and carried out by NHS Clinical Commissioners found that more than one in ten CCGs claim the emerging NHS offer for commissioning support services is not affordable. CCGs, however, still doubt a NHS CSS’ ability to provide support in a new and innovative way with 42% claiming they are not confident they will succeed.
  • Logica agrees to be bought by Canadian rival CGI: The BBC reports today that computer services company Logica has agreed to be bought by Canadian rival CGI Group for £1.7bn. The news has seen Logica’s shares jump 65%, with some analysts suggesting that a rival bidder may come forward.
  • Dark delight but beware milk or white chocolate: Eating dark chocolate everyday could prevent heart attacks among those people considered at high risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, a study claims. The researchers, from the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Monash University in Melbourne, found that the daily consumption of dark chocolate should last for ten years in order for it to have the maximum effect, The Scotsman reports.

Opinion

Who will persuade hospitals to adopt the NHS Information Strategy?

Dick Vinegar applauds the aims of the Information Strategy ‘Power of Information’, and cannot fault what it is looking to achieve:

  • Consistent use of information standards
  • A culture shift – “in the way patients, users of services and professionals think, work and interact”
  • Data sharing across the NHS and local councils, to help “integrated care”
  • Information will “inform research and measure quality”
  • Easy patient access to their records, through a portal, and to letters from health and care professionals
  • Transparency, i.e. it will be easier for patients to answer back, electronically

But his big question is “who or what will drive the strategy, particularly the standards bit?”

In the article he makes comparisons with the National Plan for IT back in 2002 and asks “who will take responsibility for the local decision-making?”

Who will persuade hospitals to adopt the NHS Information Strategy?

Nine ways to avoid costly data breaches

Dawn Monaghan, group manager for public services, Information Commissioners Office, provides a nine-point guide for GPs on the practical systems that they need to have to ensure that they meet the obligations set out in the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act.

She says, “GPs will face increasing demands to share data – so it is essential to understand the regulations. Data protection is likely to become a hot topic as GPs enter the new world of clinical commissioning. Under CCGs, GPs are likely to be sharing more of their patient and other data with many other organisations – both within and outside the NHS.”

GPs need to be sure that they fully understand that they can share data, but must identify the risks associated with that sharing and mitigate them. The nine point guide will help GPs ensure practice data is protected and that they understand what information can and can’t be shared.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

From all of us at Highland Marketing we would like to wish all our readers a very happy and enjoyable diamond Jubilee weekend. Look here for all the national and local news about the events and celebrations taking place over the next four days.

Have fun and watch out for our blog to be issued over the long weekend.

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