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Jeremy Hunt’s recent comments on what he called a “Monday to Friday” working culture within the NHS sparked fury amongst NHS staff and set off a mass response through social media sites with doctors being singled out as needing to “get real” about seven-day working. This was the backdrop that overshadowed the release of the long-awaited Rose Report[i] whose key messages were to enable better engagement of the clinical workforce with management of the NHS. This week’s guest blog is by a colleague who has spent most of her career in the NHS and explores some of the rhetoric and reality behind these events.
Since the turn of the 21st Century government has been supporting its citizens through on-line services and electronic data capture. More recently, the public sector has begun adopting digital processes and operating models in response to unpreceded cost pressures and rising public expectation. While previous Thoughts from the Centre blogs have focused on the use of technology in the health and social care sector, this week we consider Deloitte’s research into the progress made by the public sector as a whole in embracing the digital revolution, to identify the broader systemic issues and solutions which the NHS and social care might learn from.
Over the past few weeks, national and international media coverage has been rife with speculation about whether Greece will retain the Euro. At the time of posting this blog, Eurozone leaders have agreed to the conditions for Greece to seek a third bailout and the Greek government agreed to accept the bailout conditions - but several European Union (EU) members, including Germany, must ratify the deal in their parliaments before it can proceed.[i] Whatever happens over the next few weeks there is still some way to go and uncertainty about Greece’s financial future. This week’s blog does not attempt to predict the outcome but examines a key issue challenging the pharma industry, the impact of the current economic turmoil and continued uncertainty on pharmaceutical pricing.
On July 8th 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed his Government’s commitment to provide additional funding for the NHS however there was little if any mention of social care funding, suggesting that no new money will be forthcoming for social care unless it’s found from the healthcare budget. If you then factor in the budget announcement of at least four more years of pay restraint for NHS staff, which will inevitably affect recruitment and retention and likely increase the need for more expensive temporary staff, the financial challenges facing the NHS remain enormous. This week’s blog looks at some of the immediate implications of the 2015 budget in relation to health and social care in 2015-16.
In our report Connected Health: How digital technology is transforming health and social care we highlighted the increasing pervasiveness of health apps and an urgent need to help patients and clinicians understand the efficacy and effectiveness of individual apps. We noted that, depending on definition, there are more than 100,000 health apps available to download from the various app stores; with the sheer number and variety of apps confusing clinicians and patients alike. Research in October 2013 that focused on 43,000 wellness, diet and exercise apps found that only 23,682 had a legitimate health function and most had limited and simple functionality. Indeed around 50 per cent achieved fewer than 500 downloads. So far there are about 450 health apps that have been tried and recommended by patients’ organisations featured www.myhealthapps.net and even fewer approved by the NHS Choices Health Apps Library.i
Our report in 2012, ‘Primary Care ‘Today and Tomorrow: improving general practice by working differently’, highlighted the significant challenges facing general practice and the need for general practice to work differently to cope effectively with the increasing demands it was facing.i Some three years later the findings still resonate.
The number of people being diagnosed with and surviving cancer is increasing every year. As of 2015, an estimated 2.5 million people are living with cancer in the UK, an increase of 400,000 people in just five years.
This week the NHS held its annual NHS Confederation Conference in Liverpool, providing an opportunity for the NHS to set out its stall for the next five years. With clear endorsement from the new Conservative Government for the NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV), all eyes were on Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, as he set out his stall.
On Wednesday 27 May, Deloitte hosted a Cambridge Health Network event using our latest report ‘Connected health: how digital technology is transforming health and social care’ as a catalyst for the ensuing debate. Over 120 people from the public, private and voluntary sectors attended, from health and social care providers to life sciences and technology companies, including a number of digital health start-ups and social enterprises. What the majority of attendees had in common was a belief that the time has arrived for digital technology to be adopted at scale to help transform patient care and improve the efficiency, effectiveness and cost of care delivery.
This week is the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), Dying Matters Coalition, Dying Matters Awareness Week (DMAW), with the theme, ‘Talk Plan Live’. The aim being to highlight the importance of talking about dying and, importantly, of planning ahead. In October 2014, we published the Centre’s report on Transforming care at the end-of-life, so this seems like an appropriate time to consider developments since then and why raising the profile of dying really does matter.
This week is the Mental Health Foundation’si 16th Mental Health Awareness (MHA) week, which given its proximity to the resolution of the election, is a timely reminder of the need to honour the various pledges that suggest funding and provision of mental health should be given parity with physical health. The focus of this year’s MHA promotion is mindfulness - the meditative technique designed to “clear the minds, root oneself in the present and give respite from the stresses and anxieties of modern day living”.ii This week’s blog therefore explores this concept of mindfulness and considers why the new government should prioritise mental health more widely.