HCL Issue 10 - Page 7

7 Four-hour target reaches worst level in 15 years, figures show A &E performance for January hit the that is on its knees, buckling under lowest level since the target was first unprecedented pressure.’ introduced in 2004, official NHS Royal College of Emergency Medicine figures published in February have shown. (RCEM) president Dr Taj Hassan said: NHS England’s monthly A&E figures ‘These are the worst figures on record, revealed that 84.4% of patients were seen showing that despite the positivity around within four hours of arrival across all the NHS long-term plan, the suffering A&E departments. affecting our patients in emergency NHS England said the figures were ‘the departments in England has not gone lowest since this collection began’ and that away at all. the service last met the 95% four-hour ‘Sadly, the situation afflicting our A&E target in July 2015. emergency departments has become It means 83,519 patients waited longer seemingly normalised with a “chronic than four hours before being crisis mode” that does not allow admitted to hospital in January. staff to deliver the quality of The statistics also revealed care they would wish.’ a sharp increase in the Dr Hassan said that RCEM number of emergency believes NHS England’s admissions. NHS England said of patients were assisted suggestion to scrap the four- within four hours of there were 564,000 emergency hour waiting time target is arrival across all A&E admissions in January – ‘7.2% ‘wholly inappropriate’ but departments higher than the same month last ‘eagerly awaits NHS England’s year, and the highest number proposals for the standard’s on record’. replacement’. Leading doctors have warned that RCEM has recently warned that the latest figures are representative of a removing the four-hour A&E target would ‘chronic crisis mode’ within the NHS. have catastrophic consequences for patient BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul safety and would only serve to ‘bury’ the said: ‘We are seeing a health service health service’s problems. 84.4% Kark review: current tests fail to ensure NHS leaders’ competency S enior NHS directors should have to meet an objective set of competency standards before being hired, an independent review of the fit and proper persons test (FPPT) has recommended. The review, led by Tom Kark QC, was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care in July 2018. It had been recommended by Dr Bill Kirkup in his report on severe bullying and harassment at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust in February last year. Mr Kark, who served as counsel to the Mid Staffordshire public inquiry, said in the review that: ‘Our extensive reading and discussions have revealed few fans of the FPPT as it is currently applied. ‘Essentially, it does not ensure directors are fit and proper for the post they hold, and it does not stop the unfit or misbehaved from moving around the system.’ Mr Kark made seven recommendations for improving the ability to ensure that NHS leaders have the skills and qualifications required for their roles. These include judging directors’ performance against objective criteria and setting up a central database where directors’ qualifications and career history can be viewed. Current leadership tests are not effective The database would hold information about directors’ historic and current assessments and details about any upheld grievances or disciplinary matters. The Government has ‘accepted in principle’ to set up the central database and implement new competency standards to increase transparency around what can be expected from senior managers. News in brief Hancock: ‘no privatisation of NHS on my watch’ Integrated care provider (ICP) contracts will be managed by public NHS bodies, not by private providers, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has said. Speaking to the Health and Social Care Committee in January, Mr Hancock confirmed that only public bodies will be able to hold ICP contracts. There had been some ambiguity around the issue of who could hold ICP contracts, with campaign groups fearing that giving private providers access to them would mean taking a step towards NHS privatisation. Mr Hancock said: ‘There is no privatisation of the NHS on my watch, and the integrated care contracts will go to public sector bodies to deliver the NHS in public hands.’ DHSC to spend £11m preventing medicine shortages in case of no-deal Brexit The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will spend around £11m on warehouse contracts to store medicines as a contingency plan for a no-deal Brexit, Healthcare Leader understands. In October last year, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told the Health and Social Care Committee that the Government had issued an invitation to tender for additional storage space to stockpile medicines. The DHSC said it ‘expects to spend around £11m on warehouse contracts to store medicines in preparation for a no-deal Brexit’. NHSI: expect deliveries from EU to take longer in ‘no-deal’ scenario NHS leaders should plan for deliveries from the EU to take longer in the event of a no-deal Brexit, NHS Improvement (NHSI) has warned. A letter it sent to NHS heads of procurement in February said trusts are still being asked not to stockpile medical devices and clinical consumables, as doing so ‘could cause local shortages in the supply chain’. However, when trusts depend on receiving products from the EU on a short lead-time – 24 to 72 hours – they should add at least three days, the letter said. More news online at healthcareleadernews.com Healthcare Leader 2019 Issue 10