Nursing workforce is heading for a ‘perfect storm’

The RCN has published research today which indicates that the nursing workforce is heading for a ‘perfect storm’ | RCN

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Data analysed by the RCN for its Labour Market Review and evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body reveals that half of nurses are aged 45 or over and within 10 years of being eligible for early retirement.

Ten years ago just a third of the nursing workforce in England was aged 45 or over. This means the health service will be more reliant than ever on finding new staff. The research also highlights an unprecedented number of risk factors which will affect the future supply of safe staffing levels.

These include the ageing workforce, rising demand, uncoordinated workforce planning, changes to student nurse funding, real terms cuts to nurse pay and the impact of Brexit on international recruitment.

To alleviate the retention crisis, the RCN is calling on the Government to scrap the 1% pay cap for NHS staff, warning that unless nurses’ pay reflects the increase in cost of living, trusts will struggle to attract enough staff to provide safe patient care.

Read the full release here

Every Voice Matters: Annual Report to Parliament 2015-16

Heatlhwatch | Published online: 18 October 2016

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Image source: Healthwatch

In 2015/16, the 152 local Healthwatch across England engaged over 380,000 people to find out their views about health and social care, and helped to signpost a further 220,000 people to the right place for their needs.

Collectively they also visited more than 3,500 local hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes to find out if they are working for people, and published over 1,450 reports about what people want and need from health and care.

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Image source: Healthwatch

This demonstrates a substantial public appetite for involvement in shaping health and social care services. Local Healthwatch help to bring people and professionals together to put these views at the heart of changes to the NHS, resulting in services beginning to respond to local people

With big changes ahead, Healthwatch is committed to helping people voice what they expect from future health and care services and supporting those in charge of NHS reforms to act on these views.

Drawing on the wealth of evidence collected by the network, we have been able to bring local views to national attention, helping to inform ongoing changes to primary, secondary and social care services across the country.

Read the full report here

Inequalities In Mental Health, Cognitive Impairement And Dementia Among Older People

UCL Institute of Health Equity | Published online: 30 September 2016

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Image source: IHE

This report focuses on inequalities in the experience and prevalence of poor mental health, cognitive impairment and dementia and the impact of social isolation, lack of mental stimulation and physical activity, before and after retirement, and in later old age.  These issues can exacerbate the risks of poor mental health, cognitive impairment and dementia in later life and are experienced disproportionately by people in lower socio economic groups.

The report also provides a brief summary of life course social determinants that increase the risk of poor mental health, early onset of cognitive decline and the symptoms of dementia.  In particular, the report examines the role of ‘cognitive reserve’, built throughout the life course, through educational and employment opportunities, and providing older people with a wider and more flexible set of skills, abilities and resources to delay onset of cognitive decline and dementia, and to cope better with the conditions should they occur.

The report also makes recommendations, at a national and local policy level, in addition to providing example interventions for action on the social determinants of poor mental health, cognitive decline and dementia.

Read the full report here

Primary and acute care system (PACS)

NHS England launches frameworks to increase integration of health and care services

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NHS England has published Integrated primary and acute care systems (PACS) – Describing the care model and the business model

A PACS can be defined as a population-based accountable care model, with general practice at its core. It is organised around patients’ needs and aims to improve the physical, mental and social health and wellbeing of its local population.

However, it will also include most hospital based care, as well as primary, community, mental health and social care services. By aligning the goals and incentives of hospitals with other health and care providers, it offers the potential for a radical new approach to population health.

The integrated (PACS) Framework outlines the next steps required to set up the model – including the need to develop new contractual, funding and organisational form. It sets out three contractual options that will help make a phased transition towards a fully-fledged PACS – a single provider with a single contract for all local health and care services.

This puts clinicians in the driving seat by pooling and allocating resources to areas that will have the greatest impact on the health of their local community and creates a shared responsibility towards the most vulnerable patients.

Enhanced Health in Care Homes model

One in seven people aged 85 or over is living permanently in a care home. The evidence suggests that many of these people are not having their needs properly assessed and addressed. As a result, they often experience unnecessary, unplanned and avoidable admissions to hospital, and sub-optimal medication.

The enhanced health care homes model  lays out a clear vision for providing joined up primary, community and secondary, social care to residents of care and nursing homes, via a range of services.

Seven key components and eighteen sub-components which define the care homes model are put forward, with practical guidance explaining how organisations and providers can make the transition and implement the whole model.

These plans can help transform the way care is delivered, with staff from across health and social care organisations working together as part of multidisciplinary teams  to deliver high quality and financially sustainable care.

The enhanced health in care homes (EHCH) care model is one of a number of new care models that are delivering whole population healthcare. It will become a core element of the multispecialty community provider (MCP) and primary and acute care system (PACS) models.

Unsafe discharge from hospital

hospital-1338585_960_720The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has published Follow-up to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) report on unsafe discharge from hospital.

The inquiry found that the discharge failures identified by the May 2016 PHSO report are not isolated incidents but examples of problems that patients, relatives and carers are experiencing more widely.  The committee identified a need for more data to be gathered on the scale and impact of these discharge failures.  It identified a lack of integration between health and social care is preventing seamless discharge processes, coordinated around the patient’s needs.

NHS staff sickness absence figures

The latest figures released by NHS Digital show that NHS staff sickness absence has increased from May 2015, where it was 3.09 per cent, to 3.84 per cent in May 2016. The data considers sickness absence rates and total days lost supplied by staff groups, Health Education England (HEE) regions and organisations.

  • The lowest sickness rate groups for April 2016 were nursing, midwifery and health visiting learners, with 0.95 per cent
  • The highest sickness rate groups were healthcare assistants and other support staff at 5.87 per cent
  • The North Central East London HEE region had the lowest regional sickness absence at 2.98 per cent for May 2016
  • The North West HEE region had the highest sickness absence at 4.45 per cent.