Tag Archives: NHS

Paul Burstow MP writes… Making the pursuit of happiness as important as GDP

cf reportOver the past 12 months I have been working with mental health experts and the think-tank CentreForum, grappling with the challenge of how we can improve mental health care.

Today sees the publication of our final report, The pursuit of happiness: a new ambition for our mental health. It reflects the expertise of many, makes a number of recommendations to transform not just health services, but the mental health of the nation, and it has one overarching call – that the pursuit of happiness should be a priority …

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NHS under pressure across whole UK – how do we fund the health service we need?

StethoscopeA clinical commissioning group in South Warwickshire was heavily criticised last week for suggesting that it might charge patients for use of mobility aids like crutches, walking sticks and neck braces.  A rather hyperbolic Guardian column screamed that this was the “first painful step towards the dismantling of the NHS” which seems a bit strange given that they’ve been telling us for the past two years that the NHS had been all but privatised anyway.

The furore over this idea made me think, though. While you don’t and never should …

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Norman Lamb: “As a Lib Dem, I want to eradicate gay conversion therapy”

Norman Lamb, Minister for Consumer AffairsNorman Lamb has told the Guardian that he will do all he can to eradicate referral to gay conversion therapy in NHS England:

Gay conversion therapy is abhorrent and has no place in a modern society, according to the health minister Norman Lamb, who has asked for assurances from NHS England that GPs do not make any referrals for such treatment.

photo by: bisgovuk
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Norman Lamb MP writes… Improving patient safety in the NHS

Nurse jokes with patientBack in 2012, an independent study of NHS case notes from hospitals concluded that in about 2.3% of hospital deaths there was strong evidence that death could have been prevented. In practice, this equates to around 6,300 preventable deaths in hospitals every year.

This is a shocking statistic. As Liberal Democrats, we should never fall into the trap of talking down the NHS – our health and care services do fantastic work day after day savings lives and providing excellent care.  But we must also be willing to confront …

photo by: NHSE
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Paul Burstow MP writes…Government makes concessions on Care Bill

nhs sign lrgOver the last week I have been working with 38 degrees who ran a strong campaign raising concerns about a key clause in the Care Bill that made changes to the way in which a hospital in serious financial or clinical trouble would be handled in the NHS.

Trust special administration (TSA) as it is known, was introduced by Labour in 2009.  It is a blunt process that should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances of financial or clinical failure.

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Kirsty Williams AM writes… An important step towards minimum nurse staffing levels in Wales

Today, the National Assembly for Wales voted to give me permission to bring forward a Private Members Bill to set minimum nurse staffing levels in law.

I believe this is necessary in Wales because we currently have the highest number of patients per nurse in the UK, which means that all too often our nurses are unable to give the time to perform their role to their highest caring ability.

Evidence is increasing from across the world on the positive impact that nurse staffing levels have on patient care and the recruitment and retention of staff. Nurses who have fewer patients to …

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Opinion: Let individuals control who uses their health information

Alongside pizza flyers and estate agent adverts, you may have received a leaflet on Care.data.

This April, GP surgeries were going to upload data from GP records onto a national HSCIC database – unless you opted-out. The leaflet had no opt-out form or Freepost return address.

If you don’t opt-out, medical data, including prescriptions and your conditions, will leave the surgery and go to HSCIC. HSCIC then centrally pseudo-anonymise it – removing your name. Your birthdate and postcode stays.

HSCIC’s own risk assessment warns patients could be identified if the pseudo-anonymised data was joined up with other easily-available data. And centrally …

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Norman Lamb writes… Working together for better mental health crisis care

When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, it essential that they feel able to access the help they need – and quickly. They will probably be in a state of extreme distress and confusion. Without help, people may be at risk of causing harm to themselves and those around them (cases of injury to others are actually very rare). They often end up in police cells – completely inappropriately. They may even commit suicide – and all too often, I hear tragic cases of suicide after someone has repeatedly been unable to access mental …

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The Independent View: Clause 118 of the Social Care Bill must be defeated

nhs sign lrgIn the post-Lansley NHS the Secretary of State for Health no longer has the duty to provide a comprehensive health service. Such responsibility as remains has been handed to the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). CCGs do not have a responsibility for everyone in the neighbourhood – there is no universal state responsibility to provide us with healthcare any more – but they do at least have the responsibility for commissioning the care needed by their own registered patients.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups are about to be undermined.

When Jeremy Hunt, the current Secretary …

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Opinion: Managing the NHS

nhs sign lrgI agree with Norman Tebbit. There, I’ve said it. The antique rottweiler was writing in the Telegraph in response to a number of intemperate comments made on another column about the service received from staff at the NHS. He said, among other things, “when things go wrong, as they have often done in the NHS, I believe it is right to blame the officers, especially the more senior ones, rather than the troops”. I agree with him whole heartedly on that point, though not on …

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The Independent View: Could Ireland’s emerging healthcare reforms test David Laws’ NHIS vision?

Nearly a decade ago now, David Laws MP raised the idea of evolving the NHS into a continental-style universal ‘National Health Insurance Scheme’ (NHIS), where healthcare would be progressively funded from dedicated income contributions, individuals could choose insurers and everyone would be entitled to a comprehensive package of set treatments within a decentralised but heavily regulated system. It was a bold and interesting proposal, which for better or worse helped define the 2004 Orange Book in eyes of many, though it has perhaps also been misunderstood and straw-manned to a degree.

However, besides substantive criticisms and the understandable sensitivities that talk …

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Norman Lamb writes… How Liberal Democrats are promoting safety and openness in the NHS

nhs sign lrgAs a Liberal Democrat, my priority for the NHS is simple. I want patients to have the best possible care. When people are ill and vulnerable, they deserve safe and compassionate care provided by doctors and nurses with the best possible training and medical expertise. And people need to know that, when mistakes are made, doctors will be open with them – and that lessons will be learnt.

What happened at Mid Staffs Hospital was a shocking scandal. The stories of neglect sent shock waves across the country. This Government …

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Norman Lamb writes … The start of a revolution in joined-up care

Back in May, I wrote on Lib Dem Voice, about the launch of a programme of “Integration Pioneers” to drive forward the revolution in joined-up care that is desperately needed across the NHS and social care.

On Friday, I announced the final outcome of a rigorous process to select the very best leaders in integrated care. A panel of experts, including some of the global leaders in integrated care, scrutinised the bids. Now, 14 Pioneers spread across England covering rural and urban areas will lead a movement of change joining up a horribly fragmented system which too often let’s …

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Opinion: Clinical Commissioning Groups – don’t hold your breath

nhs sign lrgWe are now 6 months into the much touted reorganisation of the health service, with the advent in April this year of Clinical Commissioning Groups to replace Primary Care Trusts, the only real difference being that GPs run the Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The reorganisation did ensure a reduction in cost by the simple expedient of setting Clinical Commissioning Group administrative budgets one third below historic  Primary Care Trust administrative cost, yielding a Clinical Commissioning Group admin cost of £25/head of population. There are 211 Clinical Commissioning Groups. The adjusted population figure is 53.8m, and so total Clinical Commissioning Group admin spend is £1.345bn. Clinical Commissioning Groups are administering a total health budget of £60bn, averaging £284m per Group. Clinical Commissioning Group admin costs are therefore 2.24% of total health service expenditure.

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Norman Lamb writes: A huge leap forwards in delivering personal health budgets

nhs sign lrgAt the heart of the Liberal vision of a fairer society is the belief that people should be in control of their lives – the belief that the state does not always know best.  For decades in the NHS and the social care sector, we have had a situation where the government will spend tens of thousands of pounds a year providing care for an individual, but giving that individual little or no control over the design and commissioning of their package of care.  We need to achieve a …

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Norman Lamb MP writes…The Better Care promise – driving up standards of care across our NHS

It is clear that no single institution has done more to improve people’s lives than the NHS, and its generosity and expertise is something of which we are rightly proud. Yet events which have come to light, such as the abuse of people with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View or the grave neglect of patients at Stafford Hospital, have highlighted serious problems within our health service.

This week in particular we have seen the publication of two key independent reviews on NHS care, both of which highlight areas in need of urgent improvement. The outcome of the review by Baroness Neuberger …

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Norman Lamb MP writes…Tackling Mental Health stigma and discrimination: the NHS 65 years on

65 years ago today, the foundations of our modern National Health Service were laid based on the recommendations of a Liberal, William Beveridge. The founding principle that our NHS should always be free at the point of use endures today. The NHS now treats around a million people every 36 hours, with 300 million GP appointments each year. It is a national institution of which we are rightly proud.

However, the National Health Service is far from perfect. Significant changes are needed to cope with the challenges faced by the fact that people are living longer, and are living with an …

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Norman Lamb MP writes: Ensuring transparency and accountability in the Health Service

In recent months we have seen some shocking examples of failures of care within the health service. Tragic events such as those which occurred at the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital and the Winterbourne View Hospital have demonstrated a desperate need to ensure that people are held to account when awful things happen across the NHS and care services.

It is clear that we need to restore trust in health and care services. When a serious failing occurs it is simply unacceptable for patients and their families to be left in the dark or to feel that those responsible have not had to face …

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Opinion: Should we offer to pay university fees for doctors who commit to NHS?

The dire need in the NHS for qualified high level medical staff could be given a much needed boost by offering medical students free university fees if they commit themselves to working solely for the NHS for a number of years after qualifying as a junior doctor.

Even as they progress through the NHS as junior doctors they are still being taught and trained in NHS hospitals by senior doctors, surgeons, anaesthetists and registrars. Some then go on to be the elite in the world of medicine, being in demand to do heart and liver transplants, neuro-surgery, plastic surgery etc – …

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Farron on alleged CQC Morecambe Bay NHS Trust cover-up: “Justice must now take its course”

Tim FarronHere’s the question Tim Farron — in whose Cumbrian constituency Morecambe Bay NHS Trust falls — asked of Health secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday, after it was reported that senior staff at the NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), sought to cover-up a critical review of their conduct following a series of baby deaths at Furness General Hospital:

Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD): My constituents can be forgiven for wondering whether, when the watchdog chooses to muzzle itself, it is time to put it to sleep. The report shows that

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Opinion: Some thoughts on the NHS from a recent patient

I’ve just spent 3 weeks on a trauma ward in a northern hospital after a nasty accident, and coming from an industrial background, here are some thoughts on the NHS and a Lib Dem approach.

First and most importantly, hospitals are large, high tech and high skill businesses. They are continually investing in equipment, and the best hospitals will have motivated doctors, nurses and managers who take ownership of their jobs and are part of the process to continually improve the clinical excellence and effectiveness of the hospital. Hospitals share many of the challenges of excellence with manufacturing businesses.

What are the …

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Norman Lamb MP writes… Integrating Care – Joined up thinking in the NHS

Many of you will have seen last week the headlines following comments by David Prior, the Chairman of the CQC, about the unsustainable pressure on Accident and Emergency wards in the UK. The truth is that patients are getting excellent care in A&E departments up and down the country. The NHS is coping well with the increase in demand. But there is no denying that there has been a big increase in demand on our emergency services. There is no easy fix to this situation, especially at a time when the NHS needs to make limited resources go further. But …

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Opinion: Why Greg Mulholland MP is wrong to criticise the NHS Medical Director

When I heard yesterday that the local MP had called for the NHS Medical Director to resign following his decision to suspend all paediatric heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary I dismissed it as predictable populist rabble rousing in search of a good local headline. On realising it was our own Greg Mulholland I felt angry and ashamed. How could one of our MPs have got this so wrong? Or as Stephen Thornton, the Chief Executive of the Health Foundation put it last night, “How low will local MPs stoop? Why does ‘local’ always trump quality in their eyes”. Quite.

In …

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Norman Lamb, Newsnight and Jeremy Paxman’s bedpan

Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb wrote about the Government’s response to the Francis Report for this site yesterday. Later he was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. Paxman started by asking how long it would take before the NHS is fit for purpose.

Norman replied:

We have to recognise that a lot of fantastic work goes on in the NHS

Most people who work in health and care do so because they want to care for people

We shouldn’t denigrate NHS because of what’s happened in this one report, but anyone who cares passionately about the NHS has to face up the

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Norman Lamb writes … Culture change – the foundations

How do you change the culture of an organisation – particularly one as large as the NHS? That was one of the key questions posed by the Francis Inquiry into the appalling failings at Mid Staffordshire Hospital. Today we set out part of the answer.

The overriding message of the Francis report was the need for a culture change across the NHS to make sure that patients always come first. That change will take time, leadership, and engagement from staff. But the measures announced today set the tone, and signal what I hope will be the start of a transformation. They …

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On Budget day: What Lib Dem members think of the Coalition’s economic policy and ring-fencing of spending

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 650 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012

Just 26% of Lib Dem members support Osborne’s ‘Plan A’

Thinking of the current state of the economy and the Coalition’s approach, which of the following statements is closest to your own view?

    20% – Cutting the deficit isn’t enough: alongside public spending cuts, the Coalition should be

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Opinion: People don’t care who provides their healthcare

nhs sign lrgThe publication of a new poll by ICM for Civitas on the NHS should give encouragement to those in the Lib Dems who believe that we should not be bound by a single provider approach to the NHS.  The poll shows that people are proud of the NHS but not concerned by who provides their healthcare.

The key question is:

“It shouldn’t matter whether hospitals or surgeries are run by the government, not-for-profit organisations or the private sector, provided that everyone including the least well-off has access to care”.

83% o agreed with …

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The Independent View: The case for ending unfair, out of date prescription charges for people with long term conditions

We are now just over two years away from the next general election and political parties are starting to develop their manifestos.

In this age of austerity, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s team has already identified “alarm clock Britain” as a key demographic in need of help – these are the basic rate taxpayers who get up early, take their children to school and then go to work only to find their living standards squeezed by current economic circumstances. If Liberal Democrats are indeed committed to helping this section of the population, they need look no further than delivering reform on …

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Opinion: Where is evidence based decision making about the NHS?

One of the great things about growing old is that life becomes much simpler. Those raging passions of youth give way, very gradually, to an acceptance that, in the grand scheme of things, we are pretty insignificant. Imagine my surprise when I found my blood pressure rising and my normally equitable mood being replaced by a growing sense of outrage. What exceptional event caused this? Well, it was the  Health and Social Care Act, 2012.

I am not sentimental about the NHS, or any other public body for that matter, and believe that we should constantly be trying to improve our …

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Opinion: Our NHS – the good, the bad and the ugly

nhs sign lrgIt is a week since Robert Francis’s report on the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust exposed massive failures in the NHS, from top to bottom.

The silence from the political left is deafening. Of course there has been the usual horror and condemnation, and calls for heads to roll. But this wasn’t just a case of lax professional standards, which can be sorted out with a bit of culture training, it was complete system failure from cleaner up to Prime Minister.

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