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The Patients Association was founded in 1963 and continues to listen to patients and speak up for change.

Weekly News
Keeping you informed about the latest developments in healthcare

Nurse staffing fear

In a joint letter to the Times, Katherine Murphy (Chief Executive of the Patients Association) has called upon Ministers to urge the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to continue its vital work on safe nurse staffing levels.

The suspension of NICE’s vital work on safe nurse staffing levels is a damaging step back not only for nursing but for all who use the NHS and care about its future. Despite proven links between registered nurse staffing and patient outcomes, the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust failed to take account of the risks of low staffing levels, with tragic consequences.

You can read the full letter here
 

Care.data set to be Re-launched

After an initial failed bid to launch care.data last year and the issues identified by the Patients Association All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Care.data, GP practices will again try to implement this controversial programme.
 
Care.data is an IT programme which is intended to enable information on General Practitioner (GP) records to be shared with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). A report conducted by the Patients Association in November 2014 took evidence from a cross-section of healthcare charities, Royal Colleges, the research community and NHS England, resulted in strong support for medical data sharing in theory as long as Patients are fully informed.
 
Despite the benefits of Care.data, it was not universally welcomed when first launched in 2014. The key area of controversy was that the system was ‘opt-out’; patients’ data would be shared unless they state otherwise. As the report from our All Party Parliamentary Group on Care.data found, all organisations agreed that the public had been inadequately consulted in the early stages of the Care.data programme and that it was therefore correct to halt the programme to allow further public consultation. This time around, GPs will be contacting patients individually for their views, but it is likely that the issue of informed consent will still be contentious.
 
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:
 
“In a digital age, we should not be retrogressive in our approach to healthcare and instead embrace systems that allow better communication between primary and secondary care.”
 
“However, informed consent is a fundamental to good healthcare and an ill-informed patient is not an autonomous one. ‘Opt-in’ is unlikely to provide enough patients to make the system operable. But ‘opt-out’ must include rigorous measures to inform patients about the nature of Care.data.” 
 
For the afore-mentioned 2014 report on Care.data, follow the link: http://patients-association.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/APPG-Report-on-Care-data.pdf
 

Concerns over cancer care

Recovering patients continue to experience symptoms and side-effects, with calls for the government to fund long-term recovery packages.

Figures released by Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England reveal that Britain’s health service is not prepared for the issues faced by the growing number of cancer survivors who live on after being diagnosed at a young age with almost 80,000 people currently alive in the UK were diagnosed before the age of 45.

The figures come amid growing concern at how to fund treatment for 2.5 million people of all ages who have had cancer, a figure predicted to rise to 4 million by 2030.
 
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said today:
 
“We know that the decision making process for funding for high cost treatment - particularly cancer treatment - are difficult; prioritisation on the basis of clinical and cost effectiveness need to be weighed against affordability for the treatment. However, there is a concern from patients and Cancer charities, particularly that there are not the adequate systems and resources in place for those suffering with cancer to be supported effectively for the long term.
 
“The government must commit to ensuring that every person with cancer receives an assessment of their emotional, physical, spiritual and social needs. Only in this way will the NHS be able to support a rapidly growing number of cancer survivors and give the patients an adequate quality of life in the years after treatment ends.”
 
 
New Report: Time to Act – Urgent Care and A&E: the Patient Perspective
 
The Patients Association and The Royal College of Emergency Medicine have published a joint report: Time to Act – Urgent Care and A&E: the Patient Perspective.
 
The report is released following our survey of patients between September 2014 and February 2015 in relation to the choices, decisions and experiences of patients who accessed A&E services for urgent healthcare needs.
 
Findings of the survey include:
 
  • Patients are aware of alternatives to A&E, but many still attend A&E because they are unable to access help elsewhere
 
  • Substantial numbers of patients attend A&E because they are advised to do so by other healthcare providers
 
Our findings demonstrate that the NHS not only needs to ensure that patients are fully informed of services such as out-of-hours GPs, walk-in centres and the NHS 111 service, but must also ensure that these services have sufficient capacity and are available when required. Unless this issue is addressed, we will continue to see more pressure on an already overstretched A&E system.
 
Our findings also demonstrate the power of the A&E brand. As patients continue to attend even whilst being aware of the alternatives, the Patients Association and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine recommend co-location of other out-of-hours services with A&E departments to simplify patient decision making whilst ensuring that all patients are streamed to the most appropriate care provider in a safe and timely manner.
 
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:
 
“The arguments for co-location are compelling. Now is the time to act to decongest A&E departments and, in so doing, benefit all patients.”
 
Dr Cliff Mann, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
 
“Co-location of primary care services has previously been supported by many national organisations and the Keogh Review of Urgent and Emergency Care, but RCEM’s work has shown that in 60% of systems no such co-location exists. Co-location now needs to be implemented.”
 
 
You can read the full report here
 
 
NMC launches consultation on new language requirements for registration.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has launched a consultation on the introduction of new English language requirements for registration with the NMC for EEA nurses and midwives and a new ground of impairment for fitness to practise cases. Details of the consultation are available on their website at http://www.nmc.org.uk/about-us/consultations/current-consultations/consultation-on-the-english-language-requirements-and-process-for-registration-with-the-nmc/

The consultation runs through until Friday 22 August 2015.
 
 
Why our NHS should listen and be human

In February, the Patients Association published the report: Why our NHS should listen and be human. This drew together common themes from all the Helpline calls we received during 2014, plus other information from focus groups, listening events and surveys over that year.

Some people had really positive experiences, but a common theme among those who raised concerns was poor communication and a lack of information from health and social care staff. You can read the full report here


PHSO – “Labyrinth of Bureaucracy”

A recent report published by the Patients Association highlights the common complaint themes regarding the PHSO, as described by over two hundred people. Ranging from sub-standard investigation reports to patients not being listened to or believed, the themes all demonstrate that the PHSO is not always providing the service it should. People describe the experience as Kafkaesque.


NHS Constitution

In our latest “call to action” on creating greater awareness of the NHS Constitution, the Patients Association is urging the NHS, the Government and all health and social care professionals to actively raise awareness of the NHS Constitution among patients and staff through effective media campaigns and personally informing patients of their rights during all stages of care.
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About Us

The Patients Association’s motto is ‘Listening to Patients, Speaking up for Change’. This motto is the basis on which we build all our campaigns. Via our Helpline, we capture stories about Healthcare from over thousands of patients, family members and carers every year. We use this knowledge to campaign for real improvements to health and social care services across the UK. In addition, our Helpline provides valuable signposting and information for patients and supports them as they navigate the Healthcare service.
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Our Helpline

The Patients Association Helpline
0845 608 44 55 
We there to help.

This is a local rate number and if a phone provider charges, we are happy to return calls. The Helpline both informs patients and gathers their views. We are of course available online, providing advice, the latest health news, signposting to further information and general advice.

You can also email us at helpline@patients-association.com
 
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