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  • NHS scrambles funding to help hospitals with winter crisis (£) HSJ report on the fact that ministers have left it far too late for any extra cash to be found or to affect the performance this winter:
    "In previous years there has typically been pot of winter pressures funding announced by the government – sometimes up to £700m - with money distributed widely among acute providers.
    "The government has not done so this year – and the money of offer, thought to be a smaller amount, appears to be on an ad-hoc basis, targeted at providers that can use the resources most effectively.
    "The purdah period leading up to the general election on 12 December would now be likely to prevent any national announcement of a fund."

  • It’s Narnia on the wards: the NHS is in permanent winter crisis now Polly Toynbee in the Guardian paints the picture of growing crisis:
    "Will there be an NHS crisis during this winter election? There already is, everywhere. It’s Narnia on the wards: permanent winter, as the pressure never lets up in the summer now, with performance figures rapidly worsening year after year. The condition of the NHS is already critical, before the Australian flu epidemic predicted for this winter has even arrived."

  • Is the NHS facing unprecedented demand? BBC attempts a partial 'fact check' of the excuses from ministers for the latest dip in performence of the NHS, noting that:
    "Looking back, from 2006 to 2019 there has been an average 2.2% annual increase in patient attendances at A&E.
    "In October this year, there were about 2.2 million attendances at A&E departments - an increase of 4.4% compared with October 2018 (although just short of the all-time record)."

  • Hospital waiting times at worst-ever level BBC report on performance figures does not try to embellish the picture:
    "Key targets for cancer, hospital care and A&E have been missed for over three years - with delays for hospital care and in A&E hitting their highest levels since both targets were introduced.
    "The monthly figures - the last before the election - prompted Labour and the Liberal Democrats to attack the Tories' record on the NHS."

  • Figures show we could be on track for 100,000 trolley waits Nuffield Trust chief economist John Appleby comments on latest NHS performance figures: “These figures show the next Government will immediately be faced with one of the bleakest winters in the NHS’s history. We have many months to go until seasonal pressures really hit the NHS, but October has already seen an unprecedented slump with performance against the main A&E target worse than ever. The health service is seeing far more patients, yet one in six is now waiting more than four hours in A&E. If the usual trends continue after Christmas, that would head towards one in five.

  • So what would an NHS without private sector provision look like? Propaganda from Independent health Provider Network against Labour's commitment to phase out the use of private hospitals to treat NHS patients begs the even more revealing question: what would the private hospital sector look like without the NHS? Spoiler alert: the NHS deals with all emergencies and complex cases, trains all the medical and nursing staff who work in private hospitals, and also provides back-up care for private hospital patients needing emergency treatment when things go wrong. Without the NHS no private sector would be possible.

  • New inpatients banned at mental health unit rated unsafe Guardian reports on the latest scandal of private mental health provision:
    "The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has stopped the Cygnet Acer Clinic, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, from accepting new inpatients. It declared that the facility was “not safe” for people to use.
    "Inspectors found that clinic patients had opportunities to hang themselves, and the unit had soaring levels of patient self harm, and a huge shortage of trained staff."

  • Nigel Edwards responds to Labour's 'NHS Rescue Plan' Nuffield Trust boss Nigel Edwards argues "This new money would mean the NHS could breathe a sigh of relief. The extra money for investment in building and equipment is desperately needed and it is particularly encouraging to see some of this go towards general practice.
    “A 4% increase a year will make a big difference compared to the 1.4% average the NHS has grown used to in recent years. It is enough to get most waiting times back on track over time, but tough decisions will still have to be made."

  • Brexit Party NHS spokesman says privatisation in the NHS can be “brilliant” Scram reports "Speaking in an interview with party leader Nigel Farage, Dr David Bull, a Brexit Party MEP, MP candidate and medical doctor, said that private provision in the NHS can be a “brilliant” way of funding the service, which needs an urgent “redress”.
    "In the same interview, party leader Nigel Farage reiterated that, “those who can afford it should be encouraged to take out private insurance”.

  • IEA: Hiking taxes to fund the NHS “won’t sustain the institution” The obscurely funded neoliberal "think tank" the IEA argues that the 1948 NHS model is outdated -- and should be replaced by the more expensive 1890s Bismarck-style systems applied in Germany, France and other countries. The constant factor is their hostility to the NHS and its values.
    "The structure of the NHS is fundamentally outdated, and no amount of money is going to get the health system to function and operate at the level patients deserve."

  • General election 2019: Labour vows to outspend Tories on the NHS Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Labour's policy of taxing the "richest in society" and reversing cuts to corporation tax would release money to spend on healthcare.

  • Childhood pneumonia cases up 50% in 10 years, NHS data shows Guardian report notes: "Emergency hospital admissions for children with pneumonia have risen by more than 50% in England over the past decade, figures suggest, with admission rates highest in more deprived areas."

  • Why is life expectancy faltering? Guardian report:
    "Statisticians first noticed in 2013 that rises in life expectancy in the UK had begun to slow down. Gradually, the graph – which been rising for decades – flattened out until, a few years ago, it started to decline for increasing numbers of people. The elderly, the poor and the newborn were worst affected. For example, life expectancies for those over 65 have dropped by more than six months."

  • NHS cancellations of child mental health sessions jump 25% Guardian report on more evidence of decline in mental health service despite constant promises of improvement:
    "Figures obtained by the mental health charity Mind reveal that CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) in England cancelled 175,094 appointments with vulnerable patients between August 2018 and July 2019.
    "That was 25% more than the 140,327 which were cancelled during the same period in 2017-18.
    "Experts think staff shortages and the growing demand from young people for help with anxiety, depression and other conditions, lie behind the trend."

  • NHS chiefs warn Johnson’s visa scheme will do nothing to stop post-Brexit staffing crisis Independent report. "The Independent has obtained a document written by NHS Employers, the organisation responsible for recruitment across the entire health service, in response to a consultation on government immigration proposals due to come into force by 2021.
    "It sets out strong opposition to the Home Office’s planned points-based immigration system and new salary thresholds, pointing out many social care staff earn as little as half the proposed minimum of £30,000 per annum needed to obtain entry to the UK."

  • Election special: Don't trust him with our NHS Special 8-page issue of Health Campaigns Together newspaper brings together evidence to separate Fact from Fiction on the state of the NHS. 60,000 printed copies distributed so far.

  • Access to healthcare makes financial sense BMJ blog from September just recirculated in social media: Lucinda Hiam argues 'NHS charging regulations for people without adequate documentation are immoral, unethical, and cost the NHS far more in the long run'.

  • NHS winter crisis bites early after black alerts at Queen Elizabeth and Lewisham hospitals Winter arrives in early November in SE London:
    "Health bosses have moved to reassure patients after both Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Lewisham Hospital reached full capacity this week, triggering a “black alert”.

  • NHS Providers report: The state of the provider sector Some stark warnings in this latest survey of senior managers in England's NHS trusts.

  • General election 2019: Tory plan to attract more NHS staff from abroad BBC report tries to put positive spin on latest Tory charges for overseas NHS staff but has to quote The Royal College of Nursing chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair arguing it is "immoral and heartless" to continue to make nurses contribute towards "the same services they keep running" through the health insurance charge."

  • Boris Johnson promises fast track 'NHS visa' for overseas doctors and nurses Tory plans to cut a part of the huge new charges they are putting in place to deter health workers from EU and other countries from coming to the UK:
    "The Conservatives' new NHS visa will ultimately form part of the party's planned points-based immigration system to be introduced after Brexit.
    "The move reflects concern within the health service that it will struggle to attract the staff it needs when Britain is outside the EU.
    "Under the scheme, the cost of a visa for health professionals would be halved from £928 to £464, while applicants would be guaranteed a decision within two weeks."
    But the £400 per head surcharge for using the NHS will also apply to any health professional willing to brave an increasingly racist and unwelcoming UK: so the fee is not halved but cut by about a third, leaving overseas staff massively discriminated against.

  • Winter after winter, the NHS has been warned it cannot go on the same as before Independent report notes difference this time around: "What makes 2019 different is not only the unwelcome scrutiny of a general election but for the first time there has been no summer respite from high levels of patient demand. Typically, the NHS uses the summer months to catch its breath but this year there was simply no let-up.
    "Many of the biggest hospitals reported record-breaking numbers of patients turning up at A&E in July and August. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust had to declare a “black alert” incident in July – the most serious level of pressure normally reserved for the depths of winter."

  • Lincolnshire health visitors to strike for a month over pay BBC reports that: "About 70 health visitors are to stage a near month-long strike in a continuing dispute over pay and standards.
    "The strike by members of Unite at Lincolnshire County Council is due to start on 18 November and continue until 13 December.
    "The union said workers were significantly worse off since being transferred from the NHS in 2017."

  • Hundreds of mental health beds needed to end 'shameful' out-of-area care Guardian report: "The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for the NHS to urgently create hundreds of extra beds for people who are seriously mentally unwell in order to tackle a damaging shortage.
    “Cuts in the number of mental health beds have gone too far and patients and their families are suffering as a result,” said Prof Wendy Burn, the college’s president. “It is clear that some parts of England urgently need more properly funded and staffed beds. Hundreds more are needed.
    “Trusts struggling with dangerously high levels of bed occupancy are being forced to send seriously ill people hundreds of miles away from their homes for care. That must stop.”

  • The British Medical Association criticised ministers over the state of the health service as the Observer reported growing concerns in the Government ahead of the December 12 poll. The Independent reports: "The number of procedures called off by hospitals for non-clinical reasons has increased by 32 per cent in the last two years, the statistics obtained via a freedom of information (FOI) request. Almost 4,000 more were scrapped in 2018 than in 2016.
    "They also show that of the 79,000 operations to be cancelled last year, 20 per cent were scrapped because of staffing issues and equipment failures."

  • Doctors accuse Boris Johnson of only recognising NHS crisis because of election Daily Mirror report: "The British Medical Association criticised ministers over the state of the health service as the Observer reported growing concerns in the Government ahead of the December 12 poll."

  • Boris Johnson criticised for selective quotes about NHS in letter to voters Guardian picks up on protests by charities for misleading extracts of their statements being used by Johnson in his election handouts. Who is surprised?

  • Bristol Southmead Hospital: Racist patients could have treatment withdrawn Grim reminder of the scale of patient racism towards staff that appears to be increasing in frequency: now trust management and Health Secretary Matt Hancock appear to have got the message and beefed up the guidance on how to respond.

  • Time to rebuild NHS and create 21st century health service Article by NHS Providers chief exec Chris Hopson in Public Sector Focus magazine

  • Home Office decried for blocking NHS scheme to use more trainee doctors from overseas Guardian report notes obstruction of NHS plans by racist restrictions imposed by Home Office: "The Home Office is blocking plans already agreed by the health secretary and NHS bosses to let more overseas doctors come to Britain to help tackle the health service’s staff shortages.
    "It has refused to allow the planned expansion of the medical training initiative (MTI) to go ahead, despite its inclusion in the government-backed NHS long-term plan."

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