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Tom Moberly: Showing patients what they are worth

3 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

tom_moberlyPrinting the cost of drugs on their packaging is one of Jeremy Hunt’s latest ideas for helping the health service save money.

Arguing that patients need to use NHS resources responsibly, the health secretary said that ministers “intend to publish the indicative medicine costs to the NHS on the packs of all medicines costing more than £20.” Alongside the price, the phrase “funded by the UK taxpayer” will be printed. “This will not just reduce waste by reminding people of the cost of medicine, but also improve patient care by boosting adherence to drug regimes,” he said. more…

Samir Dawlatly: When is a deal not a deal?

3 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

One of the questions I was taught to ask as a GP trainee when someone came to see me with symptoms that had been ongoing for a while was, “Why now?” What is it that has tipped the balance for the patient to make an appointment about something that has been bothering them for weeks and months?

The same question springs to mind with Jeremy Hunt’s latest “New Deal” for British general practice. Why now? Why make some big pronouncement weeks after the general election. I’m not sure I fully understand why he felt the need to make an announcement in the first place. After all the General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association negotiate the GP Contract with the Department of Health each year. Part of me wonders if this is the first sign that this is going to be more public than usual. more…

Juliet Dobson: Cutting support services for new mothers is a false economy

1 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

juliet_dobsonI was sad to hear that support services for new mothers are going to be cut across England. The Guardian reports that breastfeeding classes, home visits from midwives, and “babyfeeding cafes”—where mothers can drop in and talk to feeding advisers as well as other parents—are increasingly being scaled back or cut owing to pressures on local authority and NHS budgets.  more…

Martin Marshall: The travesty of the 10 minute consultation

29 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

martin_marshall“Perfunctory work by perfunctory men.” That’s how an eminent physician once described general practice. “A ridiculous claim” cried GPs, rising to the defence of their discipline, “specialists just don’t understand the nature of general practice. They don’t value our ability to make quick decisions based on a deep understanding of our patients and their context, our exceptional skill at managing risk and uncertainty, of using serial consultations to optimise the effectiveness of our diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.” more…

Barbara Harpham: CCGs are not adopting new technologies quickly enough

26 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

barbara_harphamIn December 2011, the NHS identified six ways technology could help patients and, ultimately, save money. A freedom of information request was sent to 211 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across England in October 2014 looking for a progress update; 189 (90%) responded.

How did they do? Well, it’s a mixed bag, with CCGs naturally opting to cherry-pick where to focus their efforts. But overall the picture is not healthy. more…

David Eedy: What lessons can be learned from the collapse of dermatology services in Nottingham?

23 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

david_eedy_picThe independent investigation into the near collapse of the acute and paediatric dermatology service in Nottingham has called the process an “unmitigated disaster.” This collapse was foreseeable and avoidable, and in the aftermath of the report it is important that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), trusts, and private providers nationally take on-board what went wrong to prevent similar mistakes being made in the future.

The report found that no one organisation was to blame for the collapse of the service, which is not quite the same as saying the organisations are blameless. more…

Paul Hodgkin: Is British healthcare ever corrupt?

17 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

Corruption is “the abuse of power or position to acquire a personal benefit.” For individual doctors corrupt behaviour would include ordering unnecessary tests, prescribing irrelevant medication, or performing unwarranted operations in order to make money. Such corruption may be commonplace in many countries where doctors charge patients real money for their services. Surely such things would never happen here in our dear old NHS—would they? more…

Jo Habben: Reducing pressure damage is everybody’s business

3 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

jo_habbenPressure damage isn’t new, Florence Nightingale herself identified that in some circumstances pressure ulcers could be attributed to deficits in nursing care. We have known about pressure damage for a long time, and although we have learned an awful lot about how to prevent and treat it, we still have a long way to go to get it right.

It is so important for us to understand the pain, the discomfort, and the significant life change it can mean for somebody when they develop a pressure ulcer. I truly believe that listening to patients is the most important learning objective for all healthcare and social care staff and the only way we can make true lasting improvements. more…

David Wrigley: A seven day NHS? My seven point plan for Mr Cameron & Mr Hunt

22 May, 15 | by BMJ

david_wrigleyThe media have called this the “first major speech” in this brand new Conservative majority government. Prime Minister David Cameron, with five years of power ahead of him, decided to focus on the NHS, and, in particular, he focused on one particular aspect—seven day working. Trailed in the Tory manifesto and now offered to the nation it sounds appealing, but as is usually the case with many things Mr Cameron does, most of it doesn’t stand up to proper scrutiny.

Here is my seven point plan for Mr Cameron’s seven day NHS: more…

Sue Hogston: “We only have one chance to get it right, so why are some still getting end of life care so wrong?”

20 May, 15 | by BMJ

Sue Hogston_Today’s report by the parliamentary and health service ombudsman demonstrates that end of life care could be improved for up to 355 000 people a year; highlighting tragic cases where people’s suffering could have been avoided or lessened with the right care and treatment.

Issues identified in the report as the most common within end of life care were: more…

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