Patient satisfaction in NHS plummets

Public satisfaction with the NHS has seen its largest fall since it was first recorded in 1983 the think-tank The King’s Fund has warned. In an analysis of the annual British Social Attitudes survey, which sampled 1,000 adults between July and November last year, the King’s Fund said satisfaction with the NHS had fallen from a record 70% last year to 58%.

However, John Appleby, the fund’s chief economist, said the drop could not be attributed to rising expectations or an actual reduction in the quality of NHS service. He added that hospital-acquired infection rates had remained stable and larger patient surveys, of two million or more, showed no large change in patient experience.

The King’s Fund commissioned the survey itself after the coalition stopped funding the survey last year.

Health minister Simon Burns, defended NHS satisfaction levels announcing the results of its own polling of the general public, undertaken independently by Mori. This survey of over 70,000 patients showed that an overwhelming majority – 92% – say that their overall experience of the NHS was good, very good or excellent.

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Ten-year anniversary of NPfIT

Ten years ago this week, the Labour government published the IT strategy that launched the National Programme for IT. The document ‘Delivering 21st century IT support for the NHS: national strategic programme’ put national contracts at its heart and the national ‘data spine’ and key services, such as the Personal Demographics Service, on which e-prescriptions, e-booking, and “lifelong” health records could be built were born.

In September 2002, Richard Granger was appointed as director general of NHS IT and it was announced that England would be split into clusters for which local service providers would contract major IT suppliers to provide healthcare technology systems across the country.

In a two-part feature, EHI looks back on ten years of NPfIT and what it has meant for the NHS.

Great Ormond Street Hospital deploys iPads and iMacs

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has deployed iPads and iMacs to cardiology staff to instantly access 3D images of patients’ hearts while planning for surgery, or in theatre.

The implementation of the devices is part of an ‘Apple architecture project’ taking place at the trust, which has seen around 350 Apple devices introduced on the network, reports The Guardian. Future Labs Group has worked with GOSH to create a secure, resilient, Apple architecture which is now being used by staff including organ donor nurses, paediatric intensive care specialists, heart surgeons, hospital technicians and the Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS) team.

Mark Large, GOSH IT director, said: “Our clinicians told us that they want to use Apple technology, so it is something we are embracing, and have created one of the best infrastructures in the world to make it happen. What is particularly beneficial is that they can now do things like join conference calls, or access information, no matter where they are.”

Healthcare IT News also reports that GOSH has been trialing a ruggedised, fluid-proof, clinical case for iPads, known as Flipad™ developed by Future Labs Group. CEO Mike Casey said: “The infection control team at GOSH work to an absolute gold standard, so I wanted their input. I also wanted to work with clinicians so they could contribute to its design.”

News in brief

  • All CCGs to be authorised by deadline: HSJ (subscription required) reports that Andrew Lansley expects to see close to 100 percent of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) fully authorised by next April. This optimistic take reflected his view that CCGs had “established themselves quicker than we’d expected”. Lansley added: “I don’t see large numbers of CCGs who appear to have serious reservations about their ability to be authorised.”
  • Michael J. Fox Trial Finder launched: A new Parkinson’s disease clinical trial matcher, which anonymously connects volunteers to trials in need of participants in the UK and Ireland has been launched by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, reports EHI. The Fox Trial Finder has been available in the US since April 2002 and aims to match volunteers with trials most likely to need them.
  • Mynors Suppiah awarded tender for patient guidance on safe record keeping: The British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT and the Department of Health (DH) has awarded Mynors Suppiah the tender to develop clear and easy-to-follow guidance for patients and the public on the subject of electronic health and social care records. The guidance is intended to support the increasing number of patients and the public accessing their records online and those making use of the growing number of electronic services to store and share personal health and care data.
  • 15 leading suppliers spearhead telehealth deployment bid: Paul Burstow, care services minister, has confirmed that the government’s bid to roll out telehealth technology to three million people with long-term conditions in England has been given a boost as 15 leading industry organisations including O2 Health, Tunstall Healthcare and Air Products have pledged their support.
  • Doctors’ checks ‘needed now to maintain trust in medics’, says Patients Association: Health secretary Andrew Lansley has been warned that patients’ trust in doctors will fall if doctors are allowed to holdup checks being brought in to ensure they are still competent. Katherine Murphy, chief executive of The Patients Association, said doctors had been allowed to get away with ‘a decade of delays’ in bringing in the system of five-yearly checks, known as revalidation.
  • One million calls made to NHS 111: Since its introduction in August 2010 NHS 111 has dealt with over one million non-emergency calls. The service, which will ultimately replace NHS Direct, allows patients to call the free number and gives them the chance to speak to a nurse, book a GP appointment or request an ambulance. Health minister Simon Burns said the 92% success rate is justification for the Department of Health’s decision to launch the service.
  • Former iSOFT UK boss Adrian Stevens departs CSC: EHI has reported that the former managing director of iSOFT UK is to leave CSC. A spokesperson for CSC has confirmed that Adrian Stevens has elected to leave CSC’s Healthcare Group on the 30th June 2012. CSC integrated iSOFT into its healthcare group in April this year, 12 months after buying the healthcare software business. Mark Thornton, who is currently operations director of the former iSOFT business and who has 27 years’ experience of healthcare IT, will now lead this part of the business.
  • GPs in England believe patient care will worsen: The NHS Staff Tracking Research for England http://www.gponline.com/News/article/1136463/gps-england-believe-patient-care-will-worsen/ published on Tuesday, revealed that compared with an NHS staff average of 53%, 61% of GPs thought that patient care will get worse ‘over the next few years’. A total of 1,130 NHS staff including 200 GPs were polled for the annual survey in October. They included practice nurses and managers, PCT managers, hospital doctors, secondary care nurses, clinical leaders, community workforce and health visitors. Click here to see the results in full.

Opinion

Let private firms compete for healthcare

“To continue down the tired track of preconceived judgments about public versus private is to miss a much larger point: now, more than ever, we simply need more pluralistic provision. With rampant healthcare inflation, a demographic timebomb and fiscal retrenchment in a low- or no-growth economy, the long-term threats to universal free healthcare are very real.

Evidence from the world’s most successful health systems – such as Holland, France and Germany – suggests that the most potent way to mitigate the risk of the NHS silting up under its own cost pressures is to open up the whole healthcare market to new entrants. This includes private firms and social enterprises.”

In this article Craig Dearden-Phillips, managing director of Stepping Out and chair of the Stepping Out Foundation argues the case that if we are to retain the cherished principle of universal free healthcare into the 2020s, we must finally embrace pluralism and, with it, an increased role for the private and social enterprise sectors.

Bringing order to the chaos of NHS reforms

Ahead of the annual NHS Confederation conference next week, Richard Vize looks at what we need to hear from leaders. Next week managers meeting in Manchester for the conference will be looking to the health service leadership to bring order to the chaos of the reforms. “Key signals on the way ahead will come from four major players – two new, one unassailable and one mortally wounded,” says Vize.

Speakers will include health secretary Andrew Lansley, commissioning board chair Malcolm Grant and David Behan, the newly appointed chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, amongst others.

Are independent commissioning support services the right way to go

“The lines on the map are gradually snapping into place. The NHS Commissioning Board has announced the full list of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) seeking authorisation. There are 212 in all, covering populations of between 68,000 and almost a million. These are not the commissioning groups most people imagined back in 2010 – they are far fewer and, on average, far larger.”

In his latest blog Chris Naylor, of The King’s Fund, outlines the future shape of support arrangements for CCGs as they are slowly becoming clearer. He also explores the issue of cost – commissioning support is a big business as outlined in a recent survey of CCGs – concerns around accountability and legal issues that could arise post 2016, as highlighted by legal experts.

Highland Marketing blog

This week our industry advisor, Jeremy Nettle, explores the need for the NHS to raise the issue of privacy and security up its agenda. He argues that unless action is taken to ensure privacy and Information governance is simplified then the future of electronic healthcare is at risk.

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