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Involving, Engaging, Informing




Increasiing use of Antidepressant: Recent research  by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation shows how  the use of anti-depressants has rocketted during  the recession years. This  emphasies how the NHS acts as a lightining rod and pressure valve for wider social and economic problems  and how  these issues so easily become medicalised through presscribed durgs use.




















The total fertility rates of UK-born women increased by around 18% from1.56 in 2001 to1.84 in 2011. The total fertility rates of non-UK born women in England and Wales were the same in 2001 and 2011 (2.21 in both years respectively. In 2011 there were 724,000 live births in England and Wales, a 22% increase on 2001. For full information go to  Office of National Statistics


Now for the   'Summer Health Check' ?

Remember how the  Winter Health Check showed the increasing pressure on NHS Hospitals  compared to  previous years, with rising emergency admissions and delayed patient transfers. This was despite 2013/14 being a much milder winter. As the Monitor report referred to elsewhere on this page shows, growing financial pressures are causing an increasing number of NHSFTs problems and to 'miss targets',while Local Authorities  increasingly struggle to provide social care as their budgets are cut.


As might have been predicted delayed transfers from hostpital have continued to rise  even with the onset of summer and July 2014 reporting the highest proportion (65.4%) of delayed transfers  since the collection of data began in August 2010. The number of emergency admissions  through A&E Departments also continued to rise. thoughout the Summer. As winter approaches once again and the dull machinery of Government plods on trying to find a solution to problems it itself has created there is little chance that 'service integration' or 'technology' can produce the NHS 'turnaround miracles' pretended of them. There is no substitute for a healthier and more equitable society that alone would ensure  a decline in use of the NHS as we now know it


NHS Policy Cracks Begin to Show?


While Monitor's Report on Foundation Trusts for 2013/14 headlined  an increase in staffing it also showed a big increase in NHS Hospitals missing waiting time targets, including GP cancer referral waiting times. With an increase in Trusts experiencing financial difficulties, 40 (almost a third) reporting budget deficits for the year, there was also  a total of 29 in 'breach of their licence'.


The majority of Trusts continue to do an excellent job but an increasing number are finding the going hard from  a combination of increasing demand, budget cuts  and shortages of skilled staff. Generally it is the smaller hospitals that are finding it most difficult to survive-ironically considering Simon Stevens  statement  that  the NHS should focus more on delivering through  smaller hospitals.   In this sense the Monitor Report illustrated how a marketisation strategy concentrates provision with the 'biggest and strongest'. Any study of markets shows how they drive 'consolidation' and centralisation into fewer larger enterprises  focusing on 'economies of scale' as small 'less economic' units fail.


The present  policy environment appears to have reached contradiction point in evolving the NHS towards a model of delivery leading to more centralisation,and  fragmented services, completely at odds with the health needs of communities and the avowed intentions of Government and NHS leaders.So perhaps the NHS is about to enter an  impasse (or prepare for a major reversal.Monitor Report in Full



Preventing suicide in England: one year on The  first annual report on cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives while indicating that suicide rates had shown a slight increase in recent years also stated that  the Policy Research Programme is investing £1.5m over three years into six projects:

• Understanding and helping looked-after young people who self-harm

• Understanding lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans adolescents' suicide, self-harm and help-seeking behaviour

• Self-harm in primary care patients: a nationally representative cohort study

examining patterns of attendance, treatment and referral, and risk of self-harm

repetition, suicide and other causes of premature death

• Exploring the use of the Internet in relation to suicidal behaviour and identifying priorities for prevention

• Understanding the role of social media in the aftermath of youth suicides

• Risk and resilience: self-harm and suicide ideation, attempts and completionamong high risk groups and the population as a whole.

To read the full  report click on link  Preventing suicide in England: One year on



Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat - Improving outcomes for people experiencing mental health crisis

When the Government announced  a new concordat to impove outcomes for people experiencing  mental health crisis  we also read of  children being sent many miles from home to be treated in adult mental health beds due to shortages of appropriate care. At the same time the number of people detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act continues to rise with a dramatic increase in DoLs applications this year. As a survey  by Community Care showed the severe pressure being placed on mental as health services beds close.  



Securing a health service fit for the future

In early February it was announced that Monitor, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority  had agreed to fund a series of projects to help groups of commissioners and providers in  11 'financially challenged  areas work together to develop integrated five-year plans that effectively address the particular local challenges they face.


However there was no mention of  local patient and service user involvement  or reference to how or if  initiatives  such as 'People Powered NHS' or 'Call to Action'  would inform  this project work.






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Local Authority Excess Weight data published by Public Health England confirms 64% of adults overweight or obese. To view information go to PHE Obesity