The Patients Association
Weekly News
Fewer GPs prescribing antibiotics
The Patients Association supported an antimicrobial resistance parliamentary drop-in session event in parliament sponsored by Maggie Throup (Health Select Committee member and MP for Erewash) the event was also supported by the Royal College of General Practitioners, Public Health England and Alere. The event was attended by over twenty Members of Parliament, including Baroness Walmsley (Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson), Sir Kevin Barron MP (Antibiotics APPG Member) and Chris Green MP (Life Sciences APPG Member). 

Maggie Throup MP (Health Select Committee Member) and Professor Jonathon Cooke (Professor in infectious diseases and immunity at Imperial College) attending the Parliamentary drop-in session on antimicrobial resistance held in parliament this week. 
The Patients Association has welcomed figures from NHS Improvement on antibiotic use which shows that GPs have cut their antibiotic prescriptions by 2.6m in one year. This constitutes an overall reduction of 7.3%, compared to the 1% reduction target set for the NHS to reduce the use of antibiotics for infections where they are not usually required or for conditions where antibiotics don’t work. This work is part of the NHS commitment to improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of more infections and bacterial strains becoming resistant to antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats to patient safety and is already responsible for over 700,000 deaths each year. The Patients Association welcomes the latest figures from NHS Improvement, which follows the publication of the AMR Review’s important report last week. It is encouraging to see a reduction in the use of antibiotics but there must be a greater focus on reducing inappropriate prescriptions, rather than all prescriptions, to ensure that patients continue to receive the best possible treatment. 

The Patients Association also published a report last week on antimicrobial resistance, which can be accessed online here. This looks at how Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are implementing the necessary guidance to address the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics. There have been a number of recently introduced policy measures and financial incentives that encourage the delivery of improved antimicrobial stewardship at a CCG level, and this is something that should be welcomed. However, failing to provide this focus and support for improving the uptake of key guidance already in existence will severely undermine the aspirations for this country to be a global leader in the battle against antimicrobial resistance, and will jeopardise the safety of patients in this crucial area.

It is imperative that we take action now to address the global threat posed by AMR, with much-needed collaboration between all parties. All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Patient Safety, which the Patients Association established last year, will shortly be publishing a report on infection prevention and AMR with recommendations for all stakeholders. Whilst reducing the demand for antimicrobials is an important part of the solution, CCGs must also ensure that guidance is being adhered to and standardised best practice put in place to reduce the risk of infections.

At least 17,000 NHS staff members have moved to the independent sector
This week the scale of the transfer of NHS staff to independent sector providers was revealed by Health and Social Care Information Centre, which showed that at least 17,000 staff, mostly clinical workers, have moved since 2010.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre said that the shift was primarily down to two government policies. The first being the transforming community services initiative, which forced primary care trusts to divest themselves of their provider services, by either joining them with existing trusts, forming independent trusts or social enterprises, or passing them to private providers. The other policy, “any qualified provider”, which was pushed as a way of opening up some primary and community services to competition by the Department of Health between 2011 and 2013. Nurses were most affected by the change, with a 5,938 whole time equivalent increase in the number in the independent sector since 2010.
CQC Five Year Strategy
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. They make sure health and social care services provide patients with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care by monitoring, inspecting and regulating services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety.

In March The Patients Association asked for your views on the proposed CQC strategy using these views we responded to the CQC’s strategy. This week the CQC released their Five year Strategy setting out their ambitions and priorities for the next five years, guiding how it evolves in response to the changes providers are making in their organisation and delivery of care. It seeks to provide a more targeted, responsive and collaborative approach to regulation, ensuring more people receive high-quality care.

To deliver these ambitions, it focuses on four priorities. Encouraging improvement, innovation and sustainability in care means that the CQC will be working with others to support improvement and adapting its approach as new care models develop, as well as publishing new ratings of NHS foundation trusts and their use of resources. The CQC will also focus on delivering an intelligence-driven approach to regulation. This will use information from the public and providers more effectively to target where the risk to the quality of care provided is greatest, and to monitor where quality is improving.  The CQC will promote a single shared view of quality by working with others to agree a consistent approach to defining and measuring quality, collecting information from providers and delivering a single vision of high quality care.

The Patients Association believes that the vision cannot be delivered by the CQC alone, and requires the involvement of all stakeholders to create and nurture a culture of transparency and learning that is beneficial to patients. The CQC aims to improve efficiency and effectiveness by working more resourcefully, achieving savings each year and improving ways of working with the public and providers.

The main changes for the CQC will include putting more resources into assessing services with poor ratings and ensuring better monitoring of changes in quality through collaboration of information with users of the services, inspection and data from partners. Further to this, there will be more unannounced inspections targeted on areas where risk is greatest or quality is improving, following this these ratings will be updated where changes are found to better inform the public. Online processes will be introduced as the default so interactions between the CQC, providers and the public are more efficient and improve transparency. Shared data sets amongst partners, other regulators and commissioners will again add to the ease and efficiency of the process, reducing duplicative information requests.

For patients this means that there is more information and transparency about the quality of services as well as improved access and availability following inspections. Patients’ information will be used more efficiently to inform solutions to problems found within trusts, thus helping to prevent further poor care and abuses in the future. This forms a part of the improved customer service and communication that patients will benefit from.

The CQC’s NHS Patient Survey Programme consultation covers proposed changes to the survey programme that will enable patients to have a real say about the quality of NHS services they have experienced.  View the consultation here:
Our Latest Survey

Many doctors’ surgeries now employ a Clinical Pharmacist to help the GPs and patients manage their medicines better. Clinical Pharmacists have studied for a minimum of 5 years and are experts in medicines. They work as part of the practice team and may also run clinics to review medicines with patients to help them to manage their conditions. Many of these clinical practice based pharmacists are also qualified to write prescriptions.

The Patients Association and the Primary Care Pharmacy Association are keen to hear the views of patients and carers on the emerging role of Clinical pharmacists in doctors’ surgeries. We are asking for your views and experience of clinical pharmacists who are working in doctors’ surgery as part of the practice team.

Please fill out our latest survey by clicking here.
Become a ‘Mystery Shopper’ and help Improve Health Services
Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to recruit ‘mystery shoppers’ to gather people's comments about their experiences of local hospital services to help improve patient care.

The CCG has developed the project alongside the Patients Association to encourage patients to provide feedback straight after a hospital appointment or treatment they have received.  This will allow patients to better remember their experiences, and it will also enable the CCG to take action to improve hospital services.
Please note:

We want to hear from people who have been recent patients at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Churchill Hospital and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre which are all situated in Oxford, as well as the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and have the time to help, can obtain an information sheet and ‘mystery shopper’ questions in the following ways:
Email Jane Brooks at
For a printed version, call the Patients Association on 020 8423 9111 or write to
OCCG Mystery Shopper Project
The Patients Association
PO Box 935
We welcome this exciting opportunity to work alongside Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, as they implement creative ways of seeking patients' views of the care they receive and use the patients' feedback to drive up quality and improve outcomes for patients.
All information provided by patients will be confidential and used anonymously.
Our Helpline both informs patients and gathers their views.
☎  0845 608 44 55

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Carers strategy: call for evidence
Closes 30 June 2016 11:45pm


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.
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