How Scotland’s NHS would be affected by a yes vote

Scotland has controlled its own health services since devolution in 1999, but independence could affect policy and funding

How would social care be different in an independent Scotland?

Today and tomorrow, I will be writing updates on Scotland’s referendum on independence every few hours for Beacon. To clarify, in the title ‘The end of Britain, possibly – LIVE!’, Britain refers to the country also known as the UK, not the islands we’re sitting on just off the north-west coast of Europe…

Whatever happens, the sun is going to rise over the islands tomorrow morning. Possibly behind some clouds, but that’s normal.

Below is my piece for Guardian Healthcare Professionals, published on Tuesday, looking at how NHS Scotland may fare under independence. Continue reading “How Scotland’s NHS would be affected by a yes vote”

Duty of candour: a fear of whistleblowing still pervades the NHS

Whistleblowers have been promised changes to support them but many people still worry about speaking out

Last week, Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network focused on how the NHS deals with complaints. Dr Nick Clements of the Medical Protection Society noted that doctors are more likely than ever to receive complaints, and put at least some of the blame on ‘production’ targets for healthcare. Richard Vize, and Dr Suzanne Shale and Murray Anderson-Wallace, wrote about workplace culture, and how that can welcome or repel complaints. Richard Vize concluded:

NHS services which welcome complaints, discuss them with an open mind and embrace them as an opportunity to secure a better experience for patients are likely to be confident, trusting organisations that value their staff and patients. Ultimately it is about distributing power – enabling those who both give and receive care to make the system better. Continue reading “Duty of candour: a fear of whistleblowing still pervades the NHS”

Reporting the local NHS: credit where it’s due

The National Union of Journalists has started a campaign to support reporting of health and the NHS, especially in the local and regional media. It’s a good choice – and there’s a good article about it in the NUJ magazine The Journalist (starts on page 14), with contributions from Shaun Lintern, who covered Mid Staffordshire relentlessly for the Express and Star, and now works for Health Service Journal.

As one of my colleagues at EHI says, the NHS isn’t national. She also says it doesn’t deal with health and doesn’t provide much of a service, but leaving that aside, the point is that the health service is essentially local: you are normally cared for by your local GP, then your local NHS trust (or board, in Scotland and Wales). Trusts and boards vary greatly in quality – some are brilliant, a few are awful, many are somewhere in between. Continue reading “Reporting the local NHS: credit where it’s due”

CSUs: NHS commissioning support units set to spend around £670m a year

Other maps of the new NHS: clinical commissioning groups (CCGs); local area teams (LATs); specialised commissioning hubs and clinical senates.

I’ve previously written about the development of CSUs on this blog, and it’s now one of the main subjects of my first report for EHI Intelligence. Budgets and staff numbers from a sample of the 22 CSUs suggest they will set a total budget of approximately £670m for the 2013-14 financial year, and employ about 8,500 staff. It’s been covered by my colleagues on the EHI newsdesk, and there’s more details on the report here. Continue reading “CSUs: NHS commissioning support units set to spend around £670m a year”

Yorkshire NHS jobs cut by 4% since election, East and NW also down

The Yorkshire and the Humber region has lost more than 4% of its NHS jobs since the election, more than double the national rate, according to data published last week by the NHS Information Centre. The East of England and North West regions lost more than 3% of their NHS jobs.

With a couple of exceptions, the poorer areas of England lost more NHS jobs than average while richer regions lost fewer, between May 2010 and October 2012. Two NHS regions actually gained NHS jobs over this period: South East Coast, up 0.75%, and the North East (which has the most NHS jobs per resident of any region, with more than 24 full-time equivalent (FTE) health service staff per 1,000 residents), rising 0.53%. London and South Central reduced FTE staff numbers by less than 1%. Continue reading “Yorkshire NHS jobs cut by 4% since election, East and NW also down”