News round-up 13 May

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12th May 2022 about a 4 minute read

A long-awaited overhaul to the Mental Health Act was announced in the Queen’s Speech. The changes will mean fewer people being sectioned, and an end to learning disabilities being classed as mental health disorders. Another of the big changes to health care in recent years has been the introduction of integrated care systems – which will be on a statutory footing from July. A question mark hangs over their readiness, however, with a a new investigation finding that most have not yet appointed a procurement lead.

Government to overhaul mental health legislation

The government is to reform the Mental Health Act, it was announced in the Queen’s Speech. The new bill proposes to transform the mental health system in England and Wales, giving greater choice and autonomy to patients in a mental health crisis. It aims to reduce the number of people being detained under the current laws, tackling in particular the disproportionate number of people from ethnic minorities detained under the Act. Learning disabilities and autism will no longer be classed as mental health disorders.

Dartford and Gravesham introduce new technology for A&E staff

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is to implement two new technologies from Alicidion to support staff working in accident and emergency.

The first technology, Miya Emergency, provides clinical decision support by suggesting appropriate actions. It also automates some routine tasks for clinical teams.

The second, Provation iPro, is an anaesthesia information management system that will replace the current paper-based process.

Neil Perry, director of digital transformation at the trust, described them as technologies that would “alleviate clinical burden and make data more useful.”

Mental health awareness week tackles loneliness

This year’s mental health awareness week, which runs from 9-15 May, is focused on the theme of loneliness. The theme is set by the Mental Health Foundation, which has hosted the awareness week for the past 22 years in the UK.

According to research by the foundation, one in four UK adults have felt lonely some, or all of the time, over the previous month. Mark Rowland, chief executive of the foundation, said that loneliness had a big impact on people’s physical and mental health during the pandemic, adding: “Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health so we must find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness.”

Majority of integrated care systems still without a procurement lead

Most integrated care systems (ICSs) have yet to appointment a procurement lead, even though NHS England requires them to have a dedicated procurement director in place by April, according to a survey from HSJ.

Of the 34 ICSs who responded to HSJ’s survey, only 12 had appointed a procurement lead. Another five had appointed posts that included responsibility for procurement, but were not dedicated solely to procurement. Eight ICSs failed to respond to the survey.

NHS England reported last summer that trusts were struggling to form ICS-based procurement systems.

Royal Surrey introduces digital tool to support patients having surgery

The Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new digital tool to support patients ahead of surgery.

The new LifeBox tool, provided by tech company Definition Health, enables patients to complete their pre-assessment for surgery at home using an online healthcare questionnaire. Patients are also able to see their test results, medication, fasting advice and other key details ahead of their surgery as well as videos that explain the surgical procedure.

The new process replaces previous paper-based process involving forms and patient leaflets.

Dr Dr Harsh Saxena, a consultant anaesthetist at the trust, said the software will help the hospital to “improve standardisation of patient care and reduce unnecessary hospital visits” as well as engaging patients “more fully in their own care”.