The Health News United Kingdom December 10 2017

  • BBC analysis shows that the number of long A&E waits across the UK has more than doubled in the past 4 years as hospitals struggle to cope with demand. According to figures, Northern Ireland has the worst performance, although England has seen the fastest deterioration. Over 3 million patients who visited UK A&Es waited over 4 hours in the past 12 months – up by 120% since 2012-2013.
  • The Universities UK lead on wellbeing has said that students should declare their mental health problems on their applications. Universities will be better able to support students if they have a full understanding of their needs, according to Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England. A number of universities are strengthening their mental health provisions, amid concern from parents about how their children will cope with settling in at university, and the pressures of student life.
  • Health service leaders have warned that hospitals are close to bursting point, even before winter sets in and while levels of flu are low. Chief executives warned that bed occupancy rates are already approaching 99% in some parts of the country, compared with recommended levels of 85%. A report by NHS Providers warns of “severe pressures” and “substantial risks” to patients amid fears that Britain could be hit by the worst flu strain in decades.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th of December 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42254413

BBC analysis shows that the number of long Accident and Emergency waits across the UK has more than doubled in the past four years as hospitals struggle to cope with demand. According to figures, Northern Ireland has the worst performance, although England has seen the fastest deterioration. Over three million patients who visited UK A and Es waited over four hours in the past twelve months – up by one hundred twenty percent since two thousand twelve and two thousand thirteen. By comparison the number of visits has only risen by just over seven percent to twenty six point nine million. Doctors and nurses said the findings showed the NHS could no longer cope with what was being asked of it and patients were being put at risk. And Doctor Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the A and E system had been “stretched to its very limits”.

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The data compiled by the BBC shows a significant difference in performance against the four-hour target for treating or admitting patients. In Northern Ireland, which has seen the biggest rise in people coming to A and E units, just seventy five percent of patients were seen in four hours in two thousand sixteen and two thousand seventeen, whereas Scotland saw ninety three point nine percent – only marginally lower than the ninety five percent target. In fact Scotland is the only part of the UK performing better than it was four years ago. England has seen the biggest rise in long waiters – a one hundred fifty five percent increase. In Scotland the number of long waiters actually fell by nine percent.
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In Scotland, for example, NHS budgets have been pooled with council funds to create a closer working relationship between hospitals and care in the community, which is one of the reasons why ministers there believe they have performed better than the rest of the UK. In England an extra one billion pounds is being invested in social care this year, while four hundred thirty five million pounds has been freed up to help with winter planning, including putting general practitioners in A and Es to deal with the more minor cases.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/12/07/students-should-declare-mental-health-problems-applications/

The Universities UK lead on wellbeing has said that students should declare their mental health problems on their applications. Universities will be better able to support students if they have a full understanding of their needs, according to Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England. Speaking at the Westminster Higher Education Forum, he said that universities are heading towards a mental health crisis and simply hiring more councillors will not solve the problem. Professor West urged students to inform their prospective university of any mental health issues they suffer from, adding: “It won’t affect their application. We want to be able to support them through their studies.”

A number of universities are strengthening their mental health provisions, amid concern from parents about how their children will cope with settling in at university, and the pressures of student life. Bristol University announced earlier this year that it is spending one million pounds on “well-being advisers” amid a raft of measures to counter growing concerns about mental health, following a recent spate of suspected student suicides. The university plans to hire a team of twenty eight full-time mental health advisers and managers who will be embedded in academic departments and cater for the welfare needs of students.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/07/hospitals-already-full-bursting-pressures-mount-warn-nhs-chiefs/

Health service leaders have warned that hospitals are close to bursting point, even before winter sets in and while levels of flu are low.  Chief executives warned that bed occupancy rates are already approaching ninety nine percent in some parts of the country, compared with recommended levels of eighty five percent. A report by NHS Providers warns of “severe pressures” and “substantial risks” to patients amid fears that Britain could be hit by the worst flu strain in decades. It comes amid growing tensions between health officials and Government over the funding boost awarded to the NHS in the recent budget.

Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, last week suggested that waiting list targets would have to be sacrificed in order that other services, such as Accident & Emergency, cancer and mental health, could be protected. Hours later, Jeremy Hunt last week insisted waiting times must still be hit. It came after the Chancellor awarded the NHS two point eight billion pounds over three years, including one point six billion pounds next year – less than the four billion pounds which NHS officials had asked for.

Latest published figures show general and acute bed occupancy levels averaging almost 89 per cent across the country, during the summer – and exceeding ninety nine percent in some parts of the country. NHS Providers said there was now “very little give” in the system, warning of shortages of paramedics, general practitioners, and A&E consultants and nurses. The body, which represents NHS hospitals, also said that an extra three hundred thirty five million pounds awarded in the budget for winter pressures had come too late for best use to be made of it.

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