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The primary care news roundup

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NHS launches national learning programme

The NHS has launched a national learning campaign to help staff maintain general aptitudes in maths, English, IT and other areas.

Evidence has found that these skills can improve health outcomes for patients and helps employees in their personal development, career progression and job prospects.

The Learning for Life toolkit gives organisations advice and tools to develop high-quality learning programmes especially, in support staff.

The NHS is working to ensure its staff meets regulated standards as well as compassion and good communication skills. The importance of these attributes has been highlighted in the Francis and Cavendish reports, as well as Professor Don Berwick's review into patient safety.

Long-Term Care

Minority believe NHS can provide long-term care

Just 12 per cent of participants in a study has faith that the NHS can meet long-term healthcare needs.

Instead, 69 per cent suggested that they want to be looked after by a combination of paid professional staff and family members, with 45 per cent accepting that nursing care homes will provide better support.

Business analysts, KPMG questioned 1,000 people on the future of the NHS and found that the majority also acknowledged that the current model of care needs to be refinanced if long-term care needs are to be met.

Around 74 per cent suggested teams of healthcare workers change too often to have a positive effect.

Domestic Violence

NICE guidance on domestic violence

Health and social care staff must look out for signs of domestic violence, says new NICE guidance.

The guidance covers ways to identify and prevent domestic abuse between family members or partners. It covers adults and young people who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence and children who are exposed to it.

Gene Feder, professor of primary healthcare at the University of Bristol and chair of the group which developed the draft guidance, said that it is important for health and social care professionals to identify and respond to domestic violence to prevent future violence. The guidance can help them to engage with the symptoms of abuse.


New position to improve research in organisations

Professor Christine Norton has been appointed as a Florence Nightingale Foundation chair in clinical nursing practice research at King's College London.

This position is part of a partnership between three leading nursing organisations: The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College, the Florence Nightingale Foundation and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Professor Norton will work across the three organisations to create a collaborative programme of research that advances clinical practice.

Appg Report

Enquiry report outlining priorities for NHS's future

Illness and disease must be diagnosed as soon as possible in primary care, recommends a new parliamentary report.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health (APPG) has outlined some priorities in its new enquiry report examining the future sustainability of the NHS.

Other priorities identified are to tackle problems such as smoking, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse and sexually-transmitted diseases, and to ensure that people receive the best treatment when they need it.

The APPG says that strong partnerships need to be established across local councils, CCGs and health and social care providers to ensure the priorities are addressed.

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Palliative Care

Specialist funding for palliative care in Wales

Specialist palliative care services across Wales will receive £6.5m in funding, confirmed the health minister, Mark Drakeford.

The funding comes as part of the Delivering End of Life Care Plan, published in April 2013. The confirmation of the funding came after Mr Drakeford visited two hospices, Cardiff's George Thomas Hospice and Newport's St David's.

The money will be distributed across 2013/14 with £2.4m of it being invested directly into hospices. The individual hospices that have received the funding are Ty Gobaith, Marie Curie (Penarth), Hospice of the Valleys, George Thomas and Gwynedd Hospice at Home.

The remainder of the funding will be given to the local health boards to support other hospices around Wales.


PCC guidelines for children's asthma care

Primary Care Commissioning (PCC) has produced a good practice guide on asthma in children and young people, which will guide health professionals on asthma care.

The report states that primary care is the 'cornerstone' of child-centred asthma care as it is usually the first point of contact a family will have in an emergency.

Primary care staff must be trained to deliver improved diagnosis. They should encourage self-management in young people with asthma.

They should also be trained to identify allergies and to refer children to specialist services appropriately.

Monica Fletcher, the chief executive of Education for Health, said that this guide emphasises that children with asthma have particular needs and nurses have an important role in reducing unnecessary days off school and asthma related deaths.

Child Measurements

New PHE guidance on children's measurements

Public Health England (PHE) has published new guidance on the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), which will be implemented from September.

The NCMP ensures that the height and weight of children in Reception and Year Six are measured annually.

The guidance supports local authorities to meet their new statutory duty to deliver the NCMP, which was previously the responsibility of primary care trusts until March 2013. PHE is working with local authorities to support them in delivering the programme.

The programme is important as it is a key resource in tackling the rising levels of childhood obesity and other health issues in England. The checks will mainly be administered by school nurses.

Nhs Spending

Price comparison website for the NHS

The NHS is launching a series of systems to cut down on wasteful spending on goods and services.

It comes after an investigationfrom the National Audit Office found that information was not being shared between trusts on the spending of items such as medical gloves, stitches and building work.

This meant spending on items was varied between trusts.

For example, the price for a box of medical forceps ranged from £13 to £23, while for blankets the costs went from £47 to £120.

It also plans to manage the number of non-permanent staff currently working in the NHS to help cut down on costs.

The programme aims to align spending between trusts so that money can be put back into frontline care. It hopes to save up to £1.5 billion by 2015-16.

The DH plans to implement the changes over the next three years.

Vital statistics

NHS procurement
£20bn is spent by the NHS every year on goods and services
£2.4bn is spent in the non-permanent staffing category
£3.3bn is spent on the NHS estates

The NHS Procurement Development Programme aims to align spending between trusts and save £1.5bn by 2015-16.

Source: Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care: A procurement development programme for the NHS. The Department of Health.


Blood glucose strips rationed to save money

People with diabetes are being denied the chance to monitor their blood glucose levels because test strips will be rationed to save money, according to a new report by Diabetes UK.

It found that 39 per cent of respondents had either been refused a prescription for blood glucose test strips or had their prescription restricted.

The DH recommended that access to test strip prescriptions be made on a case-by-case basis and based on a joint decision made between the person and the clinician treating them.

Diabetes UK has launched an advocacy pack for people with diabetes who have had access to their strips restricted.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said that test strips are the most basic of tools for managing diabetes so it is worrying that so many people are saying they are having their test strips rationed.


Meningitis B vaccination delay frustrates charities

The only vaccine that protects against meningitis B should not be introduced into the UK yet says the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

They said that there was not enough evidence to show whether Bexsero was cost-effective yet.

Not enough research has been undertaken to show how many cases of meningitis it would prevent or how it would control the spread of the disease. At the moment the vaccine has not been introduced anywhere else.

Meningitis charities, such as The Meningitis Trust and Meningitis UK, have expressed their frustration that the vaccine has not been made available. They will continue to campaign for its introduction..

New jobs in Derby

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust has created over 100 new jobs to boost patient care and support in the community. It has begun a national recruitment campaign for the new posts, which includes nurses, therapists and healthcare assistants, to fill the positions before winter.

The recruitment drive follows agreement with the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Derbyshire County Council to move towards greater community-based care. The CCGs have provided funding for the new positions.

Tracy Allen, chief executive of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, says having so many new posts will make a difference this winter to the level of care that will be available.

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