RECRUITMENT WORKFORCE SHORTAGES
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ADDRESS THE SKILLS GAP?
RECRUITMENT WORKFORCE SHORTAGES
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ADDRESS THE SKILLS GAP?
I’VE ABSOLUTELY LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF MY NHS CAREER...
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The NHS has set out its plans for the winter with new measures to help speed up discharge for patients and improve care.
The measures include care ‘traffic control’ centres to speed up discharge, additional ambulance hours and extra beds.
It is hoped the new measures will boost capacity and resilience across the NHS as well as building on the recent improvements in ambulance response times and A&E performance.
‘Care traffic control’ centres will provide one stop for staff to locate and co-ordinate the best and quickest discharge options for patients –either at home or into social or community care. The centres will bring together teams from across NHS, social care, housing, and voluntary services.
Sarah-Jane Marsh, NHS national director of urgent and emergency care, said: “Winter is always a busy time for the NHS and our teams are already under significant pressure – so today, we are launching a plan to further increase resilience across the country.
“Thanks to the hard work that goes on day in day out and the ambitious measures in our urgent and emergency care recovery plan, patients are seeing significant improvements in ambulance and A&E services over recent months.
“Ahead of winter we will not only have more ambulances and beds in place, but we will also be continuing to work more closely as an entire NHS and social care system, increasing the capacity of community services that help keep patients safe at home...
The government has announced a £600 million package for help with recruitment and retention in social care.
The fund is intended to support the social care workforce and boost capacity in social care and support the NHS throughout winter and into 2024.
The care minister will also be writing to local authorities about preparations for winter. NHS England has already written to NHS organisations encouraging contingency planning to prepare for winter demands on the health service.
Local health and care systems are being encouraged to jointly prepare for winter earlier this year and increase resilience and preparedness for seasonal viruses including flu and covid.
The £600 million funding for adult social care will include a £570 million workforce fund over two years, distributed to local authorities and £30 million for local authorities in the most challenged health systems.
Minister for care, Helen Whately said: “Hundreds of thousands of older people, disabled people and their carers depend day in, day out on our social care workforce. Care workers deserve a brighter spotlight to recognise and support what they do. That’s why we’re reforming social care careers and backing our brilliant care workforce with millions in extra funding.
“Our workforce reforms will help more people pursue rewarding careers in social care with nationally recognised qualifications...
The government has announced a new package of measures to boost the health and wellbeing of women and girls on the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Women’s Health Strategy.
The government has announced the launch of a women’s health area on the NHS website. The area brings together over 100 topics on women’s health, including periods, gynaecological conditions, fertility, pregnancy, heart health and cancers. There is also a new hormone replacement therapy (HRT) hub on the site.
The government has also announced the development of a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool to identify early risks in maternity units. £25 million will be distributed across England for every area to create a women’s health hub, with each integrated care board (ICB) set to receive £595,000.
A new tool on gov.uk will provide greater transparency on IVF and enable people to look up information about NHS-funded IVF treatment in their area.
The women’s health ambassador for England, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, has also formed a new network of women’s health championsmade up of senior leadership in every local care system and co-chaired with NHS England - who will use their leadership and experience to drive forward wider work to improve women’s health.
Professor Dame Lesley Regan, women’s health ambassador said...
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced its recommendations on who will be eligible for a Covid booster vaccine in autumn 2023.
The announcement follows interim advice published in January.
The JCVI has advised that the following groups be offered a vaccine this year: residents in a care home for older adults; all adults aged 65 years and over; persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, as laid out in the Immunisation Green Book, COVID-19 chapter (Green Book); frontline health and social care workers; persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts (as defined in the Green Book) of people with immunosuppression; and persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers (as defined in the Green Book) and staff working in care homes for older adults.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 immunisation on the JCVI, said: “The autumn booster programme will continue to focus on those at greatest risk of getting seriously ill. These persons will benefit the most from a booster vaccination.
“It is important that everyone who is eligible takes up a booster this autumn – helping to prevent them from hospitalisations and deaths arising from the virus over the winter months.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, director of public health programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “The COVID-19 virus has not gone away and we expect to see it circulating more widely over the winter months with the numbers of people getting ill increasing...
The government has announced 13 new community diagnostic centres (CDCs) to be launched across the country, eight of which are to be independently run.
The new centres are part of a plan to cut NHS waiting lists.
Five of the independent sector-led CDCs will operate in the South West of England, with permanent sites fully opening in 2024 in Redruth, Bristol, Torbay, Yeovil and Weston-Super-Mare. Three others will open in Southend, Northampton and South Birmingham.
Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said: “We must use every available resource to deliver life-saving checks to ease pressure on the NHS.
“By making use of the available capacity in the independent sector, and enabling patients to access this diagnostic capacity free at the point of need, we can offer patients a wider choice of venues to receive treatment and in doing so diagnose major illnesses quicker and start treatments sooner.
“The Elective Recovery Taskforce has identified additional diagnostic capacity that is available in the independent sector which we will now use more widely to enable patients to access the care they need quicker.”
Health minister and Elective Recovery Taskforce chair, Will Quince, said: “We have already made significant progress in bringing down waiting lists, with 18 month waits virtually eliminated.
“I chaired the Elective Recovery Taskforce to turbocharge these efforts and help patients get the treatment they need.
“These actions will bolster capacity across the country and give patients more choice over where and when they are treated.”
Deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden has published the National Risk Register, which outlines the risks facing the UK.
The register includes 89 threats that would have a significant impact on the UK’s safety, security or critical systems at a national level.
Threats listed include disruption to energy supplies following the invasion of Ukraine, malicious uses of drones to disrupt transport and other critical operations and threats to undersea transatlantic telecommunications cables used for internet and communications.
The risk register also includes a section on cyber attacks to the health and social care system, with the sector being a target for cyber criminals. The register states: “The reasonable worst-case scenario would involve significant systemic service disruption due to ransomware moving quickly across the health and care IT estate. Systems would become inaccessible and organisations would move to offline services. Data loss would be widespread across the affected estate, with data also compromised and/or stolen. Some data would be unrecoverable from backups.”
In this case, additional staff would be needed to handle paper records and communications team to provide public and responders with clear information, and, possibly, third-party IT support depending on the type and severity of the incident.
The register also includes terrorist attacks and “accidents” like rail accident or large passenger vessel accident which would also have a significant impact on the NHS...
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Crown Commercial Service has launched a new agreement for procuring food and drink for the public sector, including in hospitals.
A single online portal will make it easier for public sector customers and small businesses by offering a simplified route to marketsopening up access to a range of food and drink suppliers for the public sector.
The agreement is intended to create more choice for customers, while improving standards and providing better access to locally-sourced produce.
All suppliers available through the portal will have to adhere to the updated Government Buying Standards for Food, which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are set to update in due course.
Parliamentary secretary for the cabinet office, Minister Alex Burghart, said: “Delivering better value for the taxpayer and driving up food and drink standards are key priorities for government.
“This new system will deliver better quality food to our schoolchildren and care home residents, while creating a level playing field to help small businesses win more contracts from the public sector.
Mark Spencer, food minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “The UK produces world leading quality food and drink, demonstrating excellence in animal welfare and sustainable production standards.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the public sector to lead by example, showcasing our great food and drink and supporting small businesses. We look forward to working with CCS on the agreement.”
NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has released a new framework agreement entitled ‘Patient Discharge and Mental Health Step Down Beds Services’ to support hospitals when discharging patients, and free up beds for those waiting to be admitted.
The news comes as NHS England set out plans to speed up discharge of patients and improve care in preparation for what it expects to be a “difficult” winter for the service.
The new framework will allow NHS hospitals and health and care providers to access services like Virtual Ward support, Brokerage, and Discharge to Assess services.
The agreement also supports additional care in mental health settings with a Mental Health Step Down Care Beds Services offer.
Elaine Alsop, head of category - health, at NHS SBS said: “Delays in discharge processes and limited capacity in social and community care, are making it challenging for NHS hospitals and mental health services to discharge patients appropriately.
“They remain inpatients, placing further strain on hospital resources, reducing the number of hospital beds available for new admissions, and at higher risk of hospital-acquired infections, loss of mobility, independence and re-admission.”
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A commercial buying system funded by the Crown Commercial Service has has helped NHS procurement teams identify millions in potential savings.
The Atamis system brings together each element of the commercial process in one location. Previously many NHS-affiliated organisations used different platforms to buy goods and services and these systems weren’t possible to integrate. This made it difficult for buying teams in the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS to share insights and data between organisations in order to make effective commercial decisions.
According to the government and NHS England, the new system has removed burdensome manual processes and saved millions of pounds in administration costs. This has also freed up capacity in NHS teams while helping health services run more efficiently.
NHS services in North West London were able to identify £34 million of savings by grouping nine organisations on the same e-commerce system. This has helped them to identify £34 million of potential savings in the past 12 months.
Cabinet office parliamentary secretary Alex Burghart said: “To meet the Prime Minister’s goal of reducing national debt, we’re making efficiencies for the taxpayer.
“This platform, funded by the Crown Commercial Service in the Cabinet Office, is a major force for good, helping public bodies like NHS Trusts identify significant savings across the country as we continue working to deliver on the Prime Minister’s commitment to cut waiting lists in the health service.”...
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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has unveiled its new Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC), which is intended to build on its pandemic legacy and help develop life-saving new vaccines for the UK and worldwide. The centre will be located at the UKHSA’s Porton Down site in over 2,800 square meters of laboratory space. Over 200 scientists will be working on around 100 wide-ranging projects, including tackling deadly pathogens with pandemic potential.
The centre will target pathogens for which a vaccine does not exist or is not regulated in the UK, or could be improved, such as avian influenza, mpox or hantavirus.
The teams are already working on clinical trials for what could be a world-first vaccine against Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Professor Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of UKHSA, said: “VDEC is a hugely exciting step-change for the UK’s vaccine research and development capabilities and a vital component of UKHSA’s critical work highlighted in our 3-year strategy, including preparing the UK against many of the biggest infectious disease threats...
Back in May, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that five hospitals that were built using mostly reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) would be rebuilt by 2030 as part of the New Hospital Programme
According to the Department, patients and staff would benefit from safe, state-of-the-art new facilities and improved care.
The government has also announced that over £20 billion is expected to be spent on new hospital infrastructure.
The hospitals included are Airedale in West Yorkshire, Queen Elizabeth King’s Lynn in Norfolk, Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire, Mid Cheshire Leighton in Cheshire and Frimley Park in Surrey, all of which have significant amounts of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
RAAC is a lightweight type of concrete used to construct parts of the NHS estate in the past. However, at the end of its limited lifespan, it deteriorates significantly.
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and James Paget Hospital in Norfolk, which are also
affected, have already been announced in the New Hospital Programme and these are set to be prioritised.
In May, health and social care secretary Steve Barclay reiterated the government’s commitment to eradicating RAAC from the NHS estate. He stated that seven hospitals in England were constructed, either wholly or in major part, with RAAC, and an independent assessment shows they are not safe to operate beyond 2030.
At the time of the announcement, Barclay said: “These five hospitals are in pressing need of repair and are being prioritised so patients and staff can benefit from major new hospital buildings, equipped with the latest technology.
“On top of this I’m strengthening our New Hospital Programme by today confirming that it is expected to represent more than £20 billion of new investment in hospital infrastructure. E
F “As we approach the 75th anniversary of our fantastic NHS, this extra investment will ensure it can care for patients for decades to come and help cut waiting lists so they get the treatment they need quicker.”
RAAC was used a lot to build hospitals between the 1960s and 1990s, however it was only ever meant to be a temporary fixture, as the material has a 30-year life expectancy. There is a large amount of air in RAAC, meaning that it is vulnerable to water ingress and it loses tensile strength over time. The material was used as a cheap and lightweight alternative to normal concrete. However, a lot of this RAAC has now come to the end of its lifespan.
Many hospitals are using emergency supports and monitoring systems. Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn was built in 1980 and 79 per cent of its hospital buildings have RAAC. Based on a national expert view, the hospital has an end-of-life date of 2030. In a modernising the hospital document published last year, it was stated: “There is no ‘plan B’ for QEH – after 2030 we may not be able to continue providing all core services to local people. The very worst-case scenario is that parts of the hospital may have to close if a long-term solution is not confirmed.
The situation at QEH has resulted in temporary closures of services, with the critical care unit closing for two weeks in 2021 and three theatres closing for four days in July 2022. At the time, props and failsafes were installed across 56 areas of the hospital – however, this only addressed 8 per cent of the RAAC issues.
Demolition has recently begun on the Inspire Centre at the hospital to be replaced by a multistorey carpark. A new hospital will then be built on the existing parking area.
There is no doubt that RAAC is posing massive problems for NHS estates across the country. It is hoped that this recently announced funding will be the catalyst to start addressing the problem. L
RAAC was used a lot to build hospitals between the 1960s and 1990s, however it was only ever meant to be a temporary fixture
Modular construction pioneer Wernick Buildings recently completed a new healthcare clinic located in Greater London
Due to the closure of a previous threestorey building on site, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was looking for a new purpose-built unit to house its growing outpatient services for Gynaecology, Audiology and Ear, Nose and Throat.
After a discussion with the Wernick Buildings team, it was decided that two separate modular healthcare buildings onsite would offer the most timely and cost-effective solution to accommodate all three hospital departments. The first building delivered by Wernick was the Gynaecology Outpatient Clinic (Willow Building) .
Through a competitive tender process, Wernick Buildings presented a full turnkey solution, which included a complete groundworks package and service connection. Designed for outpatient use, the twostorey BREEAM-rated block offers several HTN/HBN-compliant amenities including consultation areas, procedure and recovery rooms, staff offices, changing facilities and accessible toilets. The reception and waiting area feature an open floor plan, creating a spacious welcome area for patients. The building is comprised of 30 modules and showcases sleek cladding, PV panels, and a stateof-the-art plant room on the second storey.
Wernick worked closely with ADP Architecture during the design process. Clinic nurses, doctors and other staff were also consulted in the planning process, assuring their specific needs and requests were met. Clinical director Meena Shankar remarked on the speed and usefulness of the new clinic. “The building was ready to use very quickly and is very modern and comfortable,” said Meena. “We were excited about being involved with the design team from the beginning to get exactly what we wanted.”
Wernick was also able to provide two temporary modular office buildings to house other displaced departments that were relocated from the hospital’s Roehampton Wing. The building modules were constructed off-site, which allowed for minimal disruption and noise pollution to the surrounding area. Crews overcame several challenges when transporting and installing the modules into place on the property. The building site was landlocked by three roads and located at the front of the hospital entrance near to the Emergency Department. Crane operatives had to take special care to manoeuvre the modules in a dense area surrounded by other buildings.
A second clinic (Aspen Building) housing the Audiology and Ear, Nose and Throat departments was successfully completed in Spring 2023.
Healthcare Estates, the annual event for healthcare engineering and estates and facilities professionals, returns to Manchester in October for two days of high-value learning, networking and business development
Thousands of professionals will convene at Manchester Central on 10 and 11 October for the flagship event of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering & Estate Management (IHEEM) - the UK’s largest event for the healthcare engineering and EFM sector.
Healthcare Estates is comprised of the IHEEM Conference, the largest trade exhibition of its type in the UK, and the prestigious IHEEM Awards and annual dinner. The event is a vital hub for new business development, professional relationship building and personal development for professionals and organisations from across the sector.
Tickets are available from the event website –www.healthcare-estates.com. There is a choice of attendance options including a free-of-charge Exhibition visitor ticket.
The IHEEM Conference: the place to hear from leading experts on the key topics impacting the healthcare EFM sector The Conference programme features over 50 experts and industry leaders, providing insight, opinion and information on the critical subjects affecting the sector.
Heading up the speaker list is a stellar line-up of keynote speakers, including Jacqui Rock,
chief commercial officer for NHS England, who will speak on the subject of “Delivering the Long Term Plan and Transforming the NHS for the Future.”
Other key themes on the agenda this year, and the confirmed keynote speakers on each area, are: Health & Social Care Planning - Natalie Forrest, senior responsible owner - New Hospital Programme, and Matt Ward, national strategy lead - NHS England Commercial Directorate; Governance, Assurance & Compliance of the Healthcare Estate & Infrastructure - Simon Corben, director and head of profession of NHS Estates and Facilities
- NHS England Commercial Directorate, Julie Critchley, director of NHS Scotland Assure, procurement commissioning and facilities - NHS National Services Scotland, and Stuart Douglas, deputy director (Specialist Estates Services )
- NHS Wales; Medical Engineering & Healthcare Engineering - Dr Manjula Meda, consultant clinical microbiologist and infection control doctor - Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Professor Catherine Noakes, professor of environmental engineering for buildings
- University of Leeds; and Operational Delivery of the Healthcare Estate - Fiona Daly, national deputy director of estates - NHS England, Gary Naylor, managing director- gbpartnerships manage, and Malcolm Twite, executive director property and operations - Community Health Partnerships.
These themes will also be addressed by speakers from a range of influential public, commercial and academic organisations, including: NHS England; NHS Property Services;
Procure Partnerships Framework; Health and Safety Investigation Branch; New Hospitals Programme; University of Leeds; and University of Cambridge.
Conference delegates can also benefit from specialist content provided by the IHEEM Technical and Advisory Platforms: IHEEM Strategic Estate Management Advisory Platform; IHEEM Diversity & Inclusion Working Group; IHEEM Electrical Technical Platform; IHEEM Fire Safety Technical Platform; IHEEM Ventilation Technical Platform and IHEEM Decontamination Technical Platform.
The Conference will close with an address from the president of the IFHE, Steve Rees, and an appearance and talk from celebrity guest Perry McCarthy, who will share tales from his time as a Formula 1 driver and as the original “Stig” on BBC’s Top Gear. E
The Exhibition is free to attend and is the place for healthcare engineering and EFM professionals of all levels to discover the products and services to help them meet current and future challenges, as well as to take advantage of the free learning opportunities presented by the Exhibitor seminar programme. Attendees will be greeted by over 200 leading suppliers to the EFM sector, covering every discipline related to designing, building, managing, and maintaining healthcare estates and facilities.
Due to an unprecedented demand for exhibition stands, the floorplan for the Exhibition this year has been expanded by 20 per cent on the alreadyrecord-breaking exhibition of 2022. This expansion allows for an even wider range of exhibitors to be accommodated, resulting in a more comprehensive, engaging and valuable experience for the thousands of visitors in attendance.
The free-of-charge Exhibitor seminar programme delivers information and insights from leading suppliers to the sector, and covers five key areas: HVAC & Engineering; Infection Control & Water; Energy & Sustainability; Design & Construction; and Facilities Management.
VIP visitors, speakers and Conference Delegates are invited to enjoy complimentary refreshments in the VIP Area sponsored by Wandsworth Healthcare and HSL Compliance, where they can also benefit from car park validation courtesy of Wandsworth Group, and the opportunity to go head-to-head on a state-of-the-art Scalextric display provide by HSL Compliance.
Visitor feedback from last year’s event has been acted on and as a result, visitors can look forward to having more space for networking, relaxing and eating, plus more break-out space and room to circulate and enjoy everything on offer across the two days.
IHEEM members also benefit from access to the IHEEM Members Lounge, an informal place to relax, take some refreshment, network with other members and find out about the work the Institute is undertaking.
Visitors can also meet the Head Office team at their stand and discuss the many benefits across the wide range of IHEEM membership packages.
The Healthcare Estates IHEEM Awards – celebrating excellence in the healthcare engineering and EFM sector
The annual Healthcare Estates IHEEM Awards will be held on the evening of 10 October at the iconic Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, Manchester, and will once again recognise outstanding teams, individuals, products and projects in the healthcare sector.
The Awards are the centrepiece of the annual IHEEM Dinner, a popular evening providing an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues, peers and major names in the healthcare engineering and EFM sector. This year’s guest speaker is Nigel Owens MBE, the most capped referee in world rugby.
Tickets include pre-dinner drinks and a threecourse meal with wine. Bookings can be made at: www.healthcare-estates.com/awardsdinner-2023.
Awards entries are judged by experts with extensive experience and achievements within the NHS and commercial healthcare sector and cover 12 categories: Apprentice of the Year; Estates & Facilities Champion of Champions; Staff Wellbeing Initiative of the Year; Architectural Practice of the Year; Consultancy of the Year; Estates & Facilities Team of the Year; New Build Project of the Year; Product Innovation of the Year; Refurbishment Project of the Year; Sustainable Achievement; Healthcare Supplier of the Year; and Diversity and Inclusion Award. L
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Trees planted in the last 6 months
Renewable energy solutions are being rolled out at the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby, thanks to successful Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funding of £4m
As part of the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust’s green plan, Vital Energi helped them secure funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) Phase 3, delivered by Salix Finance.
The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK. The Trust will use the funding to install low carbon heating solutions to replace fossil-fuel-fired equipment as part of their roadmap to reach net zero by 2040.
Significantly reducing the Trust’s carbon footprint, plans include the installation of energy conservation measures, comprising a 200kW air source heat pump (ASHP), thermal insulation measures, and the removal of a fossil-fuel-fired plant, all to make the hospital site more energy efficient.
A solar array of 1,250 solar panels covering 2,403m2 producing 500kWp will also be installed on the available roof spaces across the estate.
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust’s chief executive officer, Professor Andy Hardy, said: “It is terrific news to hear our application has been successful and we can press ahead with this work. Not only will it help the Trust’s goals in terms of energy conservation and support the delivery of the Trust’s Green Plan, but it will provide a positive financial saving going forward that can be reinvested in patient care.”
To enable site-wide utilisation of heat from the ASHP, Vital Energi will also implement a district heating network to interconnect the heating loads of the three areas of the site currently served by three separate energy centres.
As well as supplying low carbon heat across the estate and improving local air quality, this will
reduce maintenance costs associated with gasfired boilers and enable connection of further low-carbon generation systems at a later date. It will also improve the energy supply resilience, which is essential for a hospital providing patient services 24/7.
Business and energy minister, Lord Callanan, said: “Using cleaner technology to heat our civic buildings is helping to shield public sector organisations from costly fossil fuels, especially at a time of high global prices. This funding will bring significant savings for taxpayers of well over half a billion pounds each year by making public buildings cheaper to run, heat and cool, whilst supporting economic growth and jobs across the country.”
Salix client support officer, Gbenga Adenaike, added: “We are delighted to be able to support the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust meet its net zero and energy saving goals. This project will have a positive impact on the staff, visitors and of course the patients.”
The scheme is being delivered under the Carbon and Energy Fund (CEF). L
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The NHS has a target of 40-50 virtual wards per 100,000 people with a target of 10,000 virtual beds by autumn
At Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, more than 60 patients have been treated on virtual wards, saving the trust £160,000.
Medway NHS Foundation Trust is implementing a virtual wards programme that allows people to remain in their own homes, whilst still under the direct care of the hospital.
Technology, including the Accufuser elastomeric infusion pump from Vygon and remote monitoring technology, allows staff at the hospital to administer drugs and track patients’ vital signs even though they are at home.
Clinicians are able to stay in touch with patients via telephone or video call.
With patients being treated safely at home, this frees up beds in the hospital for those that need them.
The remote treatment means that patients avoid a stay in hospital, which also limits their exposure to and risk of getting an infection.
It is estimated that the virtual wards are also saving money. It is reported that a day on a E
F traditional ward can cost £658 for a respiratory patient and £460 for a haematology patient, while a day on a virtual ward costs just £187.51. Clinical nurse lead and service improvement manager Jackie Hammond implemented the Surgical Medical Acute Recovery Team (SMART), made up of dedicated nurses, consultants and therapists, that runs the virtual ward.
The team launched in 2016 and the approach has been developed during and since the pandemic.
Between the introduction of the Accufuser in October 2021 and January 2023, 64 patients have been treated on virtual wards using the technology. Without the technology, these patients would have needed to have been treated on conventional wards.
She said: “The days of patients staying in hospital throughout their acute treatment is in the past.
“The recent pandemic highlighted how safe and important receiving care in one’s familiar environment is, by utilising innovation and technology.”
More and more people will be treated in virtual wards as the need becomes apparent and as the technology becomes available. It is clear that when used appropriately, virtual wards offer a great alternative to staying on a traditional ward.
Without the technology, these patients would have needed to have been treated on conventional wards
Healthcare services across the UK are engaged in the net zero transition. The NHS has pledged an 80 per cent reduction by 2032, reaching full net zero by 2040. And the Independent Healthcare Providers Network has committed to reach net zero emissions by 2035
Management and operation of emergency service vehicle fleets is a significant source of emissions for the sector, and fleet electrification is essential to meet net zero commitments. To address the unique operational demands of an emergency fleet, fleet managers are using expert partners to support their EV transition.
Emergency services require a different approach – Mer can help
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UK public services, Mer understands the unique demands of public sector fleets. Mer is on key procurement frameworks for all UK emergency services.
Bespoke charging solutions: After detailed research, Mer guides you through infrastructure requirements and operation models for your fleet. Mer helps you understand the power potential available at your site and how best to manage it to meet your fleet needs.
Data-driven management: Mer’s Operator Portal helps you manage, monitor, and collect data from your charge points. You can check charger health, functionality, availability, monitor energy costs, and report on emissions.
After planning and installing your EV infrastructure, Mer provides full aftercare, maintenance, and 24/7 support.
To learn more about EV charging for the emergency services, register your interest in attending Mer’s Electrifying the Emergency Services webinar.
Chargepoint infrastructure is a long-term investment and there are several factors to consider when making your decisions – from duty cycles of vehicles, to a site’s electricity capacity. Chloe Hampton, EV infrastructure strategy specialist at Cenex, shares some advice
An electric fleet brings the benefits of immediate carbon reduction, improved local air quality and running cost savings for years to come.
The initial capital costs for new vehicles and chargepoints can be expensive though, but making the right decisions early on will pay off down the road.
Chargepoint infrastructure is a long-term investment and there are several factors to consider when making your decisions.
Your fleet’s daily duty cycles will inform your decisions on both what vehicles will be the best fit for your operations and what charging infrastructure those vehicles will need. These will tell you how much energy will be needed, for when and for what length of time the vehicles will be available to charge.
Details from a duty cycle to look at can include, but are not limited to, the mileage, the routes (whether it is city or motorway driving), and where and when they are parked.
This will provide some of the specifications that will help you chose the most suitable electric vehicle, and the number and type of chargepoints required at the workplace.
If a van has a 70 kilowatt-hour battery and 10 hours to charge, say overnight, then you could get away with charging on a 7 kw standard charger; whereas a van required for back-toback shifts might need a rapid charger to top it up as quickly as possible between shifts.
It is important to select the right type of chargepoint for the right use as this will keep costs down and utilisation up.
Installing lots of high-powered chargers can lead to expensive grid connection or upgrade costs, although, sometimes this is necessary.
Any site has a limited electricity capacity and adding chargepoints could take you up to or over that capacity.
Your energy supplier will be able to inform you of your site’s capacity, and a comparison with E
your meter readings can inform you how much, if any, spare capacity you have.
Where possible, vehicles should be charged as slowly as possible and for as long as possible to reduce any spikes in power demand.
Heavier vehicles, such as refuse-collection vehicles or lorries, will have much larger batteries and will need more energy to run, therefore it is likely that you will need lots of fast to ensure this fleet remains operational. However, it is likely in either case that you will require a new grid connection or an upgrade to power the chargepoints.
At this stage you should be contacting your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to discuss your options and costs with them. Your current connection may be large enough and there may be enough spare capacity in the network that you can simply pay for more capacity, or they will be able to tell you if you need an upgrade.
If you need an upgrade, this will potentially involve anything from new cables to a new substation which can add significant costs and should be avoided where possible.
There are alternatives to consider before going for a DNO upgrade, such as load management. This system looks at how much available capacity you have and divides that equally across your chargepoints to ensure that vehicles charge as quickly as possible, without breaching your available capacity.
There are different levels of load management, and the most advanced dynamic systems are able to look at how much power your site is using as it varies throughout the day, and then split any available capacity across your chargepoints.
Another solution to avoiding a site upgrade is to utilise the public charging network or home charging schemes. This could be particularly useful if fleet vehicles go home with staff or if vehicles are far away from the depot.
Using public or home chargers could save you the costs of installing chargepoints, and software and hardware is coming to market that allows you to manage expenses from this. E
Using public or home chargers could save you the costs of installing chargepoints
With our air quality solutions you can evaluate the negative health impacts caused by air pollution and its cocts to the NHS. And drive actionable outcomes within the Trust community for patient engagement and awareness.
F Another alternative to charging vehicles offsite is joining forces with other organisations to create a shared charging hub and dividing the costs and access equally between partners.
Off-site charging is often more expensive for the electricity, as inevitably the energy supplier is looking to make a profit. It can also be harder to manage chargepoint use and ensure that chargepoints are available for charging, however it comes with lower upfront costs and no need to deal with maintenance.
The transition to an electric fleet is a team effort for any organisation. Drivers, fleet managers, site managers and finance teams should all be consulted on duty cycles, energy requirements and resource capacity.
It is also important everyone is on board with the switch to electric, by informing staff of the motivations, benefits and the necessary behaviour changes that come with recharging a battery over refuelling a tank.
EV champions – staff members who are passionate about an electric fleet – can be beneficial to a successful transition.
Colleagues can teach each other rather than be told what to do and this can encourage acceptance of the new technology.
Staff should be trained in how to drive the electric vehicles and how to use the chargepoints, as new habits will need to be formed to maintain a smooth operation.
Cenex recently conducted a fleet and infrastructure analysis for an organisation to assess suitable electric vehicle replacements and necessary depot chargepoints, and made recommendations based on the financial, logistical and energy implications. As well as the site’s capacity for charging and parking, the vehicle duty cycles informed decisions on the number and type of chargepoints to install.
For this organisation, home charging and public charging options were found to be suitable in some circumstances to meet operational requirements.
The information gathered established a leastcost, highest-impact approach to electrification
of the fleet which can be implemented over a series of phases, prioritising lighter vehicles.
In the switch to an electric fleet, there is no chicken and egg situation of which should come first, the vehicles and the chargepoints should be considered simultaneously which is why it takes a concerted effort from across the whole organisation.
It is important to develop a whole fleet strategy early on to ensure there are no unexpected costs and that the vehicles and chargepoints are all compatible.
There can be long wait times on delivering electric vehicles, especially in current circumstances, and you do not want vehicles sitting around unused while waiting for chargepoints to be installed.
Speaking to the right people will give you the confidence to make informed decisions that are best for the business operation, employees, and the environment. L
It is important to develop a whole fleet strategy early
The power of AI and data in the NHS cannot be underestimated. With the increasing availability of funding streams for AI-related projects in the health and social care sector right now, the potential for improving patient care is immense. That’s why Digital Health’s latest AI & Data event comes at a pivotal moment and will explore the transformative power of AI and analytics in UK healthcare. The conference, taking place on 30-31 October 2023 at London’s Business Design Centre, will bring together healthcare professionals, data scientists, researchers, startups and more, to explore the transformative potential of AI and data. It features two exclusive conference stages - one centered around AI and analytics, the other dedicated to data and research, along with two exciting feature zones showcasing the best AI start-ups and innovations in health data research.
With the National AI Strategy and the government’s new funding streams available for AI-related projects in the UK’s health and social care sector, this conference comes at an opportune moment. The event will provide a collaborative space for people passionate about AI and data and their impact on the world with the aim of fostering innovative delivery approaches and improving health outcomes for everyone. It will contribute valuable insights into service quality, performance and safety, as well as applied health research and data science. It will showcase the growth of start-ups that have competed in Digital Health’s annual Rewired ‘Pitchfest’ competition.
The conference will be a dynamic platform to delve into the rapidly evolving domains of AI, data science and analytics. It will spotlight critical sectors, including pharmaceutical research, clinical trials and NHS operations.
Themes such as ‘Pharma and Clinical Trials’ and ‘NHS Case Studies: Analytics in Action’ will focus on showcasing how technologies and analytics are being implemented in realworld scenarios to improve patient care and operational efficiency in the healthcare sector. Listen to specific examples of where technology is being used and join in discussions on how advanced data analysis is supporting drug development. Don’t miss sessions exploring how virtual reality improves clinical trial procedures and real-world examples where analytics and data-driven decision-making are playing a critical role in the NHS. Both themes aim to provide tangible use cases of how these technologies are being applied, showcasing their impact on patient care and operational efficiency.
The integration of data and analytics by Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will also be discussed,
showing how these can be applied at system level. With a unique blend of case studies, research initiatives and dialogues connecting NHS organisations, universities, research bodies and life sciences companies, the conference aims to fully explore the digital health revolution, where the burgeoning data landscape and everevolving AI capabilities converge.
The event features a line-up of expert speakers looking to showcase the potential of AI in healthcare and the NHS. Ming Tang, NHS England’s chief data and analytics officer, will be a keynote on the data stage, sharing the latest developments in the NHS’ national data strategy and ensuring the NHS harnesses data for the benefit of all patients.
Joining Tang is Dom Cushnan, director of AI, imaging & deployment at NHS England. Cushnan will address the challenges and opportunities associated with the safe implementation of clinical AI applications, offering a comprehensive understanding of the trajectory of AI in the healthcare sector.
In addition, AI & Data is set to feature Clíodhna Ní Ghuidhir and Robin Carpenter, influential figures in shaping regulatory and ethical frameworks for AI in the NHS. Ní Ghuidhir leads NICE’s AI and Digital Regulations Service, providing guidance and support to developers and adopters regarding regulation and health technology assessment. She brings a wealth of experience from her involvement in national innovation E
The event will provide a collaborative space for people passionate about AI and data and their impact on the world with the aim of fostering innovative delivery approaches and improving health outcomes for everyone
Fprogrammes, including real-world evaluation and the NHS Test Beds programme, as well as her leadership in developing the NHS’ Innovation Service.
Robin Carpenter heads the governance and ethics for the AI Centre for Value Based Healthcare, a collaborative effort between NHS trusts, universities, and industry partners. The centre focuses on training advanced AI algorithms using NHS medical images and patient data to enhance diagnosis and care. Carpenter, who also lectures on AI Law and Ethics at King’s College London, offers valuable insights into the ethical considerations surrounding AI in healthcare.
As a reconstructive plastic surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and the CEO of Proximie, an innovative health-tech start-up, Dr.Nadine Hachach-Haram brings her unique blend of
expertise in healthcare and technology. Proximie has created a ground-breaking augmented reality platform that allows surgeons to collaborate remotely. The web-based programme allows for real-time discussions, live video broadcasts of surgical procedures from various perspectives, and computer-generated overlays to improve communication and education.
As well as showcasing the best digital health start-ups, AI & Data will host discussions on the usage of data and analytics by Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) emphasising the event’s multifaceted approach to AI and data’s application in healthcareNadine Hachach Haram, Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon & CEO of Proximie
As well as showcasing the best digital health start-ups, AI & Data will host discussions on the usage of data and analytics by Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) emphasising the event’s multifaceted approach to AI and data’s application in healthcare. Speaking about the event Hoeksma said, “we’re witnessing an unprecedented digital transformation in healthcare, underpinned by an explosion of rich data and coupled with significant advancements in AI, analytics, and data science. AI & Data is our answer to fostering greater exploration and understanding of these swiftly evolving areas.”
Get the most up to date insight, analysis and information with sessions covering the latest policy on AI and data; share your ideas, discuss challenges and unpick key topics with speakers and colleagues during the breaks and session Q&As; step away from the desk and get the time and headspace to stand back and consider the bigger picture of what we all want to achieve; hear what other NHS trusts are doing and access expert case studies and the latest analysis in the sector; and talk to leading suppliers on their stands
in the exhibition and gain CPD with dedicated educational and training sessions delivered at the event.
As AI continues to evolve and revolutionise healthcare, it’s crucial to strike a balance between the advancements brought by technology and the irreplaceable expertise of medical professionals. The combination of AI and clinical holds the potential to drive significant improvements in patient care, catching diseases earlier, and offering optimal chances of recovery for diseases like cancer. With so much changing in the sector right now, the best response to these changing times is to join in the discussions at the AI & Data conference 2023 to help shape the future of AI and data together.
Bookings are now open for the AI & Data 2023. Registration is free for NHS staff, public sector employees, non-for-profit and third sector providers, charitable sectors, as well as academics and researchers. L
Visit the website to register your place: www.digitalhealthaidata.com
Join the AI and data conversation on social media at https://twitter.com/HealthAIData
ROAR B2B is proud to announce the launch of International Imaging Congress. This pioneering event will take place at Olympia in London from October 31st to November 1st 2023
International Imaging Congress will be Europe’s largest free -to-attend medical imaging conference and exhibition for healthcare professionals, bringing together leaders across the worlds of radiology, pathology, and oncology.
Featuring two Main Stages with expert-led content for medical imaging professionals, an audience of over 1,500 attendees will hear global perspectives on imaging innovations from 60+ rockstar speakers including Joanne Martin CBE, speciality pathology advisor at NHS England, Javier Alvarez-Valle, senior director of biomedical imaging at Microsoft, Nikolay Burlutskiy, director of AI at AstraZeneca, David Lawson, director of technology at the Department of Health and Social Care & many more. Attendees will benefit from collecting 12 CPD points across the 2-day event.
With a historic reputation for leading the way in implementing technological advancements in the healthcare sector, 2023 has been no different for developments in the radiology and oncology field.
The interest in new technologies such as AI and Machine learning is gaining traction and projects revolutionary impact on the sector, not only for patient experiences but for suppliers and providers alike. But is it the solution to managing the skyrocketing pressures on imaging services and diminishing numbers of radiologists?
Situated in the first of the two stages is the Future Radiology and Oncology Summit. This exhaustive programme that blends presentations with insightful panel discussions will explore key topics in this cutting-edge field. Topics of focus include deployment and implementation of AI and Machine Learning in radiology, breakthroughs in teleradiology, screening and preventative technologies, optimising patient pathways and much more.
With a steep increase in demands on pathology services in recent years, maintaining the quality and improving the efficiencies of pathology networks is becoming ever more important. There are many proven successes of taking the leap to digital, from improved analysis and better data storage to more opportunities for extended practice and collaboration – it seems the change can reap significant benefits for the pathology workforce.
Hosted in our second stage is the Digital Pathology Summit. This programme offers a thought-provoking blend of structured presentations and insightful panel discussions. Enjoy a comprehensive agenda, exploring key topics in digital pathology such as, development and implementation of artificial intelligence, digitisation for complex workflow management, improving diagnostic accuracy with computational pathology, breakthroughs in telepathology and much more.
In addition to the comprehensive conference programme, the event offers the chance to network and benefit from demonstrations from leading companies in the field of medical imaging including Fujifilm, Agito, Sectra, Gleamer, Teleconsult, Neurologica, Hexarad, Vital Radiology, ScanLabMR and Synapse Medical.
Steve Clarke, managing director of ROAR B2B’s Healthcare Division, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to launch International Imaging Congress, in a time where advanced technology is set to completely revolutionise healthcare, and imaging specifically. IIC23 will provide a practical guide to best practice tech deployments and a range of expert perspectives on what we can expect from transformative tech and AI-based solutions in the future.”
Dr Ram Senasi, consultant radiologist at Hull Royal Infirmary, and chair of International Imaging Congress adds “I am absolutely honoured to be chairing this congress. The IIC23 team have taken a fresh approach in bringing together key leaders across the industry to address issues and drive discussion around the most compelling questions we have in AI, innovation and technology. This will be a no-holds-barred event.”
We invite all those interested in playing an active role in shaping the future of medical imaging to join us at Olympia for IIC23. L
Book Tickets: www.internationalimagingcongress.com
For exhibition & sponsorship enquiries –firstname.lastname@example.org
For marketing & partnership enquiries: email@example.com
Finding a point of agreement between politicians on anything is real challenge, but one area we hope that all political parties can agree on is the need to serve more British produce in the public sector.
We’re blessed in this country with some of the finest food and drink in the world - so why aren’t we providing more of it in our schools, hospitals and other public institutions? Other countries make a concerted effort to support their producers through public procurement, why don’t we?
It’s a question that has been driving Love British Food’s activities for many years and it’s one that governments of all colours have simply refused to answer. They will happily pose for photos whilst claiming to back British farmers, but we’re asking where is the concrete proof of that?
Pace of change within government is painfully slow at best, and non-existent at worst. So we took the decision that if any meaningful reform is going to be implemented, it will have to happen from the people on the ground - the caterers themselves.
Our work over many years has culminated in the creation of two working groups, for education and the NHS. Both containing many of the most influential figures in their respective fields, all dedicated to delivering one goalserving more British produce in the public sector.
Endless committees and meetings will ultimately not deliver that, so Love British Food devised a series of farm visits spread across the country to demonstrate first-hand to NHS caterers the benefits of buying British. It’s all very well to read about the advantages on a PowerPoint presentation, but nothing can beat getting your boots dirty and seeing with your own eyes the fantastic regenerative and sustainable work British farmers are doing.
Ironically, on the same day as our Yorkshire farm visit at The Organic Pantry, there was a meeting of food industry big wigs at Downing Street - I suspect our visit did more good in getting British produce on plates in the public sector than the events in central London.
To demonstrate this, a quote from Freddie Watson who is part of the family running the farm: “It was great to have everyone down to the farm and to see a real interest from the NHS in buying local.
“Thank you for all the work you are doing to shed light on the supply chain and giving small business like us a voice and the opportunity!”
Seeing NHS caterers engage and interact with the farming process was a joy to watch - every single one left the day with a newfound passion to source British and a better understanding of the benefits from doing so.
We want to inspire and enable caterers from across the country to do the same. The ultimate E
Nothing can beat getting your boots dirty and seeing with your own eyes
F aim is to provide one of these visits for every NHS trust in the country, three have already been completed with more to come. Including one in Durham and one in Northern Ireland - when we say we Love British Food, we mean it!
A visit we organised last year at Hollis Mead Organic Dairy has delivered tangible results, with a new tender process undertaken ending with a contract awarded to a local supplier based in Weston-Super-Mare, which is new to the healthcare industry, but has experience in managing contracts within education. The new supplier has already shown a positive commitment to the environment by ensuring that all deliveries are free of plastic wrapping. This is what Anna Warman, the facilities manager at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (FT) said about the day: “Our visit to Hollis Mead was hugely inspiring and left a huge impact on us all. As our NHS trust has grown, we’ve become reliant on larger suppliers, but seeing the benefit that sourcing local produce has on both the environment and our patients, has motivated
and given us the appetite to push forward with securing more local produce where we can.”
And her plans for the future?
“Key to our success in changing how we work was the way our sustainability manager, procurement team and lead dietitian worked together to find the best solution.”
“We’re looking forward to exploring our next challenge to go local – fruit and vegetables.”
This is exactly the message we want caterers to come away from the visits with - it’s doable and it’s beneficial for all involved. Staff feel inspired, patients enjoy delicious produce and local businesses feel the economic benefit. Cutting down food miles and delivering a boost for local businesses - what’s not to like?
Love British Food engagement with the NHS is growing all of the time and we are lucky enough to work closely with many of the key people within the organisation. One close friend of Love British Food is Timothy Radcliffe who had this to say following our Yorkshire farm visit:
Timothy Radcliffe, Net Zero Food Programme Manager NHS England: “This is enabling our caterers to understand exactly how important the farms are in our community and vice-versahow important our hospitals are to the farms.”
Providing food with high nutritional value, helping patients to recover faster and therefore vacate their beds quicker
“Let’s fly the flag. We’re proud to have British food on our menus.”
What an endorsement and it’s a can-do attitude that we absolutely love to work with.
Visiting producers and procuring local food has several aims and benefits.
The wider benefits to society from properly invested in hospital food cannot be overstated. We’re all aware of the constant pressures that NHS staff are under, so what’s a cost-effective way to free up capacity? Providing food with high nutritional value, helping patients to recover faster and therefore vacate their beds quicker.
Anyone who has spent a prolonged period of time in hospital understands the power of a well-prepared and nutritional meal. Often that is not available, but food plays such an important part in a patient’s recovery. Viewing it as an investment is vital and we’re desperate for politicians to understand its value. Clearly, there is a long way to go.
Imagine what a well-funded campaign from central Government could do for public procurement. It would transform how hospitals across the country buy their food, where they
purchase it from and what patients are fed in health facilities. I guarantee that if it was run properly, it would easily pay for itself in a matter of months.
Until that happens, if it ever does, the responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Love British Food to deliver positive change. We are a small organisation, but we punch well above our weight and possess a track record that any large campaigning group would be proud of. British Food Fortnight is the vocal point of our activities, starting on the 16th of September running until the 2nd of October - if you’re looking to join, now is the time to plan.
Expect to hear a lot more from Love British Food over the coming months and years. L
Anyone who has spent a prolonged period of time in hospital understands the power of a well-prepared and nutritional meal
The Design in Mental Health conference enjoyed a sneak peek at a new load-release ensuite door.
SafeDoor Connect features a patent-pending design where the magnets are permanently fixed to the door frame instead of hidden within the hinge.
The new door was designed for mental health trusts who see the ability to transfer the magnet away from the installed location as a risk.
Yewdale will launch this new anti-ligature door later this year. Please contact us for more information or a demonstration.
An innovatively designed curtain track
• Face-fix or top-fix
• Track can’t be removed from the wall
• Curtain slips through anti-ligature gliders
• Patented gliders can’t be removed from the track
• Reduce ligature and weapons risk
For more information, to receive a sample or demonstration, Contact Grant on 01268 570900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Yewdale’s K2500 reduced-ligature curtain track was ‘highly commended’ at the Design in Mental Health awards ceremony!
Amanda Grantham, healthcare expert at PA Consulting and David Rees, head of local government at PA Consulting explain how to overcome the barriers which are preventing the transition of care out of hospitals and into our homes
Across the world, an aging population with long-term complex health needs is placing a growing burden on health and care providers. According to our recent research, 96 percent of healthcare leaders – both public and private –say capacity is a major issue. A primary cure for capacity challenges is to transition clinic- and hospital-based care to the home.
For UK healthcare providers, the shift from hospital to home is an opportunity to address capacity concerns while building cohesion across local authority commissioned social care, the third sector, GPs, and hospitals. To do this successfully, healthcare providers need to collaborate across the ecosystem,
drawing on the expertise of pharma and medtech companies, and local health and care stakeholders. In the UK, Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are accelerating the shift by focusing on improving collaboration and joining up health and care services to help people remain healthier at home.
By embedding the right formal structures and collaborative working processes, health and social care providers can share meaningful insights, understand priorities, and deliver higher quality interventions. However, our research shows that over half of global E
F respondents are sceptical about ecosystem collaboration. To enable the adoption of solutions that move care from hospital to home, healthcare ecosystem stakeholders need to collaborate in the design, mapping, investment, and delivery and all key stages of the patient journey. This is especially critical when health and social care responsibilities intersect.
ICSs aid collaboration by bringing together relevant partners in the complex healthcare ecosystem, facilitating the co-design and codelivery of health and social care services that meet local needs. The pivotal role that ICSs play in leading collaboration is highlighted in the NHS workforce plan. We know from experience that effective collaboration between health and social care can reduce admissions and expedite hospital discharge – in April 2023 our Argenti technology service in Hampshire received 17,000 calls, but due to Argenti’s effective triage, just 727 of these calls were forwarded to the ambulance service. Get the approach to admissions right, and the pressure is relieved.
The UK is home to over 200 NHS provider organisations and thousands of GP practices, all governed differently. Added to this are almost 11,000 CQC-registered domiciliary care providers. As a result, patient experiences can be disjointed and different, which doesn’t feel right or fair. Coordination across local care services, the third sector, and clinicians will help to standardise high quality care, smooth out the patient journey, and enable care delivery in the most appropriate, cost-effective location – often the home.
ICSs aim to meet increasingly complex health and social care needs by enabling partners to co-design patient-centric solutions. The only way to do this is to combine the expertise, resources, and knowledge of all ecosystem stakeholders. This includes sharing data and real-world insights about how solutions are used in practice, and the outcomes they achieve. By ensuring data is securely captured and analysed, health system stakeholders can uncover meaningful insights that support proactive care planning within a Population Health Management (PHP) approach. This approach helps to shift care from hospital to home by using data to anticipate and manage undesirable events such as emergency hospital admission and falls, proactively preventing admissions while improving resource planning and capacity when admissions are necessary.
Every stakeholder in the health and care ecosystem wants to achieve better patient outcomes. But despite the potential benefits of moving care to the home, our research shows that barely a third (28 percent) of healthcare
Coordination across local care services, the third sector, and clinicians will help to standardise high quality care
professionals believe clinicians are enthusiastic about the transition. This isn’t surprising –clinicians naturally want to ensure patient safety while minimising risk and liability. They also need an evidence base to feel confident in adopting a new model of care. The new model of connected, technology-enabled care looks and feels very different to the current way of doing things. Clear communication, focusing on patient outcomes rather than the technology itself, is the only way to bring clinicians and other health and social care professionals on board.
Effective communication helps to align and focus multiple partners, enabling higher quality care in the most appropriate location. The question is how to communicate in the best way – with who, through which channels, and when? The first step in developing an effective communication strategy is working out who should be brought to the table and what their priorities are. This is where ICSs come in. By providing a formal framework for connected ecosystems, ICSs make it easier to identify communication channels and the information that can and needs to be shared. This evidences positive outcomes, motivating stakeholders – including clinicians – by easing concerns around safety and risk. Take, for example, virtual consultations. Companies such as Babylon Health have paved the way for
remote assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients through both paid and state funded service models.
Securely sharing the real-world data that connected solutions collect, such as patient usage habits and solution efficacy, can inform future developments. When communicated effectively with the right ICS partners, this information provides a sound basis for wider adoption and improvements over time. ICSs provide fertile ground for the growth of home-based care solutions. Equally, transitioning care from hospital to home strengthens the collaborative, community-focused fabric of ICSs. By embracing the approach, objectives, and purpose of ICSs, health and social care providers can support the delivery of personalised, preventative care solutions and create strong foundations for ongoing collaboration. When partners come together to build solutions that answer unique requirements, people can remain healthier at home for the longest possible time. Everybody wins. L
Transitioning care from hospital to home strengthens the collaborative, communityfocused fabric of ICSs
Cllr Martin Tett, health and social care spokesperson for the County Councils Network explains how technology can be used to solve many of the problems facing the social care sector
It goes without saying that the adult social care sector faces many challenges – ageing demographics, workforce pressures, and financial strains are just three of the most visible issues for local authorities.
But what has perhaps gone under the radar is that a solution is right on our fingertips – technology. Over the last few years there has been a substantial shift in the number of technology-based solutions that have come to market, and whilst they are not a silver bullet to
solve all the issues within social care, they can help to bring efficiency, ease the burden on staff and ensure targeted care for those who need it.
In this climate, ‘ Adopting the right technology to transform social care ’ sets a precedent for implementing technological advancements within social care services and provides an informative guide for how to create lasting, positive change at a community level.
The report was launched in partnership by the County Councils Network (CCN) and Tunstall
Healthcare, and was released amidst the government’s ongoing focus on driving greater adoption of technology to achieve widespread digitisation across social care. This report launch follows on from CCN and Tunstall’s 2021 report; ‘ Employing Assistive Technology in Adult Social Care ’ which set out the multitude of ways in which advances in digital technology is on the brink of delivering a potentially transformative impact on the adult social care system.
In this report, CCN and Tunstall argue that the potential of technology to support those with social care needs is growing ‘exponentially’ each year, and the study aims to spur a greater push towards the use of digital technology across the sector. Alongside the transformation of services, it was found that digital transformation can hugely benefit care users, from allowing more independence to widening understanding around condition management and reducing anxiety.
Since ‘Employing Assistive Technology in Adult Social Care’ was published, it is clear that progress is being made in many parts of the country. The prime objective for embedding
technology-based services in social care continues to focus on supporting care users in accessing the right support services. However, there is also a growing understanding of how people-focussed outcomes need to be a key driver of how and where services are delivered. E
What is clear is that both the public and private sector understand what needs to be done
F In short, technology needs to deliver tangible benefits for both local authorities and people. From a policy perspective, the most positive step forward in the past year has been the priority the government has placed on technology as a means of improving adult social care services. Their ‘People at the Heart of Care’ white paper highlights a number of areas that the government expects funding to be directed. This includes procuring more and better assistive technology to support services, improving the establishment and maintenance of digital records and data, upskilling the adult social care workforce in how to use technology, and bedding in wider digital infrastructure and cybersecurity within systems.
‘Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care’ also highlights the importance of digital transformation in adult social care. This, together with the ‘What Good Looks Like’ framework and ‘digital skills’ framework will help to frame what future services look like. What is clear is that both the public and private sector understand what needs to be done, but
it’s a question of delivery i.e. ‘the how’ so that transformational gains can be made, especially in an era of tight local authority budgets where a lot of social care funding is funnelled towards those in crisis.
Investment in digital by local authorities will also help to standardise services and provide support when switching to using digital technologies, such as 24/7 monitoring centres to provide quick and instantaneous support. This in turn will contribute to the development of new skills and innovations that can be deployed where and when they are most needed.
Driving innovation and improvement is another important factor. Technology is developing all the time and we must continue to review the outcomes we want to deliver, making sure that technology can support effective delivery.
An element of this is around improving data access and producing better insights i.e. the more data we have about someone, collected in an ethical way, then the greater the chance of using algorithms and machine learning to improve decision making on a user-by-user bases. Advancements in this area have the potential to lead to all round better services that benefit users whilst making authority services more efficient and effective.
Imagine how outcomes could be improved if we can potentially predict what could happen before it does? Whilst we won’t get it right every time, the potential is huge.
As the report illustrates, the possibility of transforming the whole social care system, both delivering better outcomes for individuals and reducing costs for the state, does exist. But to achieve this, local authorities need to carefully manage a wider array of bureaucracy and organisational challenges to understand what care users need in the context of new and emerging technology, and then deliver excellent services that are efficient and effective.
There are a number of practical steps detailed in ‘Adopting the right technology to transform adult social care’ that are recommended to local authorities to enable the embedding of technology into social care services. These are as follows.
Firstly, underestimating the time it takes to embed change can seriously impact how quickly new solutions can be integrated into care. Organisational and cultural change needs to be led from the top and embedded
Underestimating the time it takes to embed change can seriously impact how quickly new solutions can be integrated into care
throughout local authorities, ICSs and health, housing and social care services. If all stakeholders collaborate and work to the same strategy, implementation is easier and more likely to be accepted.
Secondly, when tenders are released, they are often complicated and time consuming to complete. Understanding what good procurement processes look like from a market perspective can ensure that these are easier to complete. This includes understanding the outcomes that local authorities and care providers want to achieve and stating them clearly, making sure questions are specific and to the point, and providing enough time for
suppliers to respond to the tender, particularly if it requires cultural and service transformation. Finally, working in partnership with providers can support the effective delivery of technology and data-led practice. It’s important to understand that there are multiple organisations and providers that are available to provide advice and collaborate with. Supplier experts can provide advice on the most relevant solutions and service delivery, run services, and implement new technological solutions. In all, the report was launched at an important time, with the government postponing social care charging reforms until 2024, giving us valuable time to assess what is needed for whole-system reform, especially with a new administration on the horizon whatever the result of the general election. And with a clear commitment from this government on the merits of greater digitisation, if local authorities begin a step-change now to deploying a greater range of technology in social care then we will have significant long-term benefits.
If CCN and Tunstall’s 2021 report set out the why in adopting technology, this new study sets out the how. I hope many in the sector enjoy its recommendations and roadmap. L The report is available here.
If local authorities begin a step-change now to deploying a greater range of technology in social care then we will see significant long-term benefits
The healthcare requirements in the UK are becoming increasingly complex each year, necessitating the recruitment of additional healthcare professionals to ensure smooth operations in specific areas of the healthcare system.
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F midwives. Our own study, produced in conjunction with the world’s largest network of job boards, Broadbean Technology, showed a continued fall in people applying for healthcare positions. In fact, the number of applications in healthcare fell 53 per cent between March and April of this year.
Hospitals and Trusts are facing significant resourcing difficulties that are showing no signs of easing. While there has been some movement in pay negotiations, the damage to the healthcare labour market that has already been done will be difficult to reverse, suggesting that struggles will only continue. However, there are some steps that can alleviate these challenges – and unfortunately, not all are covered by the NHS Workforce Plan.
The long-awaited plan announced by the Government at the end of June certainly showed some promise. The commitment to speeding up the training process and rethinking apprenticeships to help people learn on the job will have a positive impact. But it will take time to see the results, with the Prime Minister suggesting it could be 15 years before the real benefits are felt. But the healthcare sector is in crisis now and it needs an approach to the skills agenda that has a more immediate effect.
In this instance, a flexible and global workforce needs to be the focus. One aim of the reform is to reduce NHS providers’ reliance on agency workers which are currently critical to fill resourcing gaps. Speaking to many suppliers of talent in the healthcare sector, it is apparent that much of these gaps are being created by staff choosing to leave the service and work as locums or to reduce their permanent hours to supplement pay through better-paid agency work, a necessity for them due to the surging cost of living.
What this means is that rather than the agencies driving the demand as some commentators have suggested, it is candidates choosing to work this way, reducing the access the NHS providers have to staff directly. In any workforce as complex as the NHS there will
always be a need for agency workers and the Government must not only recognise this, but also actively engage with the suppliers of these workers to ensure a well-managed solution is developed.
International talent will also play a key role in helping get the country out of the current staffing crisis. Reducing the reliance on globally trained healthcare professionals during a staffing shortage simply isn’t a viable option and while I agree that on a longer-term basis the UK needs its own sustainable source of trained doctors, nurses and GPs, until that has been created, global skills will be required.
There’s also a fundamental problem that is being overlooked in much of the plan. Increasing training and diversifying routes into healthcare employment will only be effective if people choose to practice their profession in the NHS and build a career within it. The NHS is struggling with extreme worker dissatisfaction, as evidenced by strike action and demotivation, not helped by recent OECD data evidencing that the UK has the lowest ratio of practising doctors per 1,000 people.
The reputational damage that has already taken hold in the sector is certainly not going to support the attraction of talent into the profession – whether that’s encouraging new trainees to choose this career or encouraging international healthcare workers to move to the UK for work.
International talent will also play a key role in helping get the country out of the current staffing crisis
Clear leadership and ownership are also needed by government and NHS employers to cut the red tape when it comes to recruiting in the sector, which would deliver immediate results. One such example is the lack of conformity around pre-hiring compliance and safety checks of permanent and agency staff which is contributing to the increased costs and delays of getting nurses and doctors in front of patients. A specialist, compliant to work for a Trust hospital under one CCG, may not necessarily be so at another hospital or primary care centre that operates under the same group, meaning there is minimal agility or responsiveness in workforce management. Having consistency and conformity of compliance requirements in the healthcare sector will broaden the scope of resources for some hospitals and Trusts that are struggling. But transparency will be a necessity in achieving this. In fact, we are working closely with them - to help standardise the compliance checks across healthcare to ensure continuity across frameworks and reduce inefficiencies in the recruitment process. We will continue to work with them on this issue, but believe that the
Government should play a more active role in supporting initiatives such as this which will only aid hiring in skills-short sectors.
The NHS Workforce Plan is long overdue but will take years to have an impact. There are shorter-term steps that government must consider, including standardised compliance checks and onboarding processes across Trusts, primary care and social care, to facilitate efficient, free movement between care settings. Greater reform of the apprenticeship levy to allow reskilling and upskilling of existing staff through flexible, modular training that is supplemented by improving working conditions, pay and benefits will also have a more immediate impact and should be pursued with greater investment in my opinion.
The NHS Workforce Plan is long overdue but will take years to have an impact
Dr Jane Howarth, assistant vice chancellor and dean of the Health Faculty at the University of Bolton explains how organisations across Bolton are working together to provide the best training to the next generation
The NHS has reached a remarkable milestone as it celebrates 75 years in service. But whether the UK’s greatest invention is sustainable for another 75 remains unclear. Chronic staff shortages have been one of the defining issues of the NHS’ last few years, and the institution is currently facing the biggest workforce crisis in its history.
The long-awaited NHS workforce plan was finally published a couple of weeks ago, setting out a 15-year strategy to try and make sure we can train enough doctors, nurses, and other clinical professionals. At the heart of this plan is an aim to “streamline the process from classroom to clinic”.
I’m really proud to say that in Bolton, we’ve been underway with our own NHS workforce plan for a number of years now. Driven by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Professor George Holmes, a new £40m clinical training institute is currently being built on the site of the Royal Bolton Hospital. A collaboration between the University, the College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council, the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) is due to open in 2024. It will significantly increase the University’s capacity to train clinical professionals, with approximately 3000 learners training there each year.
We decided to embark on this project several years ago because we recognised that if we are to help build a sustainable staffing pipeline for the NHS, we need a more joined-up approach between education providers and local NHS trusts.
Reducing the inevitable training ‘strain’ This starts with looking at ways we can make the best use of existing clinical professionals’ time – people who are integral in the delivery and assessment of clinical skills. This covers both logistics, and strains on supervisory capacity.
For example, the proximity of our training institute to the hospital itself makes it easier for existing clinical staff to deliver guest lectures or practical workshops because it’s literally over the road, reducing wasted time traveling.
But more important is delivering ways of reducing the burden that clinical placements can put on practice supervisors and assessors. A student nurse, for example, needs to undertake 2300 hours of supervised placement, so naturally there are limits as to how many placements a practice learning partner can offer.
Advanced technology now means we can provide some of those placement hours in a simulated clinical practice environment, as
an alternative. These simulated environments are hugely significant in the future of clinical training, and we need to be providing more of these opportunities in the UK if we’re to going to produce more home-grown NHS staff.
IMS will be home to six purpose-built simulation suites, where students can be on ‘placement’, and the hours there contribute as practice hours. The quality of learning on offer in these suites really is unrivalled, and as close to real world as it can be, with mock wards and mannequins that are extremely life-like. Having spent a large part of my career as a midwife, I still can’t believe that we now have a mannequin that has contractions and can deliver a baby!
While traditional placements are dictated by the patients in the ward at any one time, the simulated environment can manufacture scenarios so that students can practise how to respond. Not only is this a brilliant opportunity for people to practise clinical skills, but it also allows for much more efficient assessment.
Of course, a wider discussion is currently rumbling around the number of clinical placement hours student nurses are asked to complete, with calls for the Nursing and Midwifery Council to adopt a competency testing approach over time-served. Irrespective of this, simulated suites are a brilliant way of enabling students to practise and be assessed in a way that minimises the current training load on the NHS.
A good relationship between a training provider and a practice learning partner is really important in ensuring that the next generation of NHS staff are learning the skills that the NHS desperately needs.
At IMS, we are responding to what Bolton NHS Foundation Trust reports back to us. I meet with the Chief Nurse at the Trust once a month – if he says “I need more of this”, we go away and work with them to build that into the curriculum.
For the big undergraduate programmes, the professional bodies of course set the standard for what we teach. But there is some degree of tailoring for certain programmes. As an example, the physio department might inform us they’re having a lot of problems with shoulder injuries, so we could develop a CPD module so that physio students could build up knowledge and skills in that specific area.
It’s really important that relationship is there. It allows us to build a pipeline of future staff who can slot into the workforce and immediately be able to deliver in areas where it’s needed.
As a final thought, I think creating linear pathways for people to join the NHS workforce is really important in ensuring it is sustainable for future generations. A lot of young people aspire to work within the NHS, and we need a means of capturing that aspiration and enthusiasm early and funnelling it into a route that works for every individual. Training to be a clinical professional should not be exclusively for those who sit GCSEs, A levels and undertake a degree.
The launch of the Health T-level in 2021 was a really positive move in creating a new point of entry to the health professions. It’s vital we retain these learners and support them to progress naturally on to the next rung of the ladder, whether that be a higher-level apprenticeship or indeed a traditional undergraduate degree.
The University of Bolton is quite unique in that the local further education provider, Bolton College, is part of the University group. We want to maximise that relationship to make sure IMS is an aspirational study destination to people at the very start of their journey to a career. Ultimately, the NHS can only recruit home grown clinical staff if the pipeline is providing. In Bolton, we believe we’ve developed a way of training those staff more effectively. But we’re just one region, and it will take wholesale national developments to keep the NHS going for another 75 years. L
A student nurse, for example, needs to undertake 2300 hours of supervised placement
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