Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Election Impact on NHS, Nurses from the EU, Carers' Week

Three issues in tonight’s DriveTime:-

·         Impact of the Election
·         Impact of BREXIT on Nurse Recruitment
·         It’s Carers Week

1.    Impact of the Election
In a nutshell – SHORT-TERMISM! There are some critical issues that need to be resolved and only adequate funding can do it. Funding is largely dependent on the economic strength of the country, competing claims for Government money, and a medium-term plan that will have a real impact. A minority Government could well make all three worse!

There are four factors that are critical for us locally in terms of healthcare provision:-
·         Sound financial operation – but our hospital trust (WHHT) is in deficit, still needs improvement according to CQC, and the state of buildings and facilities is a concern. In addition our Commissioning Group is facing a financial challenge and is both making cuts and rationing healthcare to a significant extent. Cuts are already having a real an impact on patient experience – e.g. ination over upgrading the Minor Injuries Unit and the withdrawal of the winter pressures allowance for GP Surgeries.
·         Investing in Change – the Your Care Your Future programme covering both hospital services and primary care has been running for almost three years now and still there is no clear strategy.
·         Transformation Plans – money is going into these, but our plan (for Hertfordshire and West Essex) does not appear to be well formulated and is lagging behind when it comes to endorsement (and money!) from NHS-England
·         Staff Motivation – we saw instances through the election campaign where the impact of pay restraint is taking its toll on both motivation and ability to manage. For example, midwives have lost over £6,000 pa in real terms since 2010.
Whilst we can’t know how long the minority government will last, we can expect more analysis paralysis!

2.    BREXIT and Nurse Recruitment
Some shocking figures came out over the weekend highlighting that there has been a staggering drop in nurses from the EU coming to the UK; last JUL 1,304 nurses came to the UK; last month it was just 46! Whilst the uncertainty over BREXIT must be the main factor, the pay freeze and the introduction of an English language test will also have been contributing factors.

Reductions in nursing numbers lead to an increased reliance on agency nursing (NB cost) and also a reduction in standards as a result of a loss in continuity.

·         Making cuts that are already having a real an impact on patient experience – e.g. the closure of respite beds at the City Hospital and the withdrawal of the winter pressures allowance for GP Surgeries.
·         There are better ways to deliver services; but there’s no money to “pump prime” to enable the changes to be made.

3. Carers’ Week
A Carer – anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Really broad definition – and it’s believed that in Hertfordshire there are still some 80% of carers who soldier on without support. The NHS recognises that healthy, well supported carers is in everyone’s interest:-
·         Access the Carer’s Champion at your surgery
·         Get priority access to GP services
·         Benefit from the Carer’s Passport scheme
·         Develop new coping strategies
·         Carer’s Breaks
·         Network with others.
For full information – your Surgery and the Carers in Herts web site.

And for information on Carers Events week locally go to http://www.carersinherts.org.uk/how-we-can-help/carers-week-2017

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