With the formal launch of integrated care systems (ICSs) just two months away, a group of large teaching hospitals has warned that transfer of specialist commissioning responsibilities to the new bodies risks compromising quality. Two reports highlight racism in NHS maternity care, with respondents expressing concern that NHS professionals see white bodies as the norm. NHS Resolution has launched a plan for the next three years that includes a focus on improving maternity outcomes.
NHS Resolution (formerly the NHS Litigation Authority) has published a strategy document that sets out its four priorities for the next three years: to deliver fair resolution, to share data and insights as a catalyst for improvement, to collaborate to improve maternity outcomes and to invest in people and systems in order to transform business.
The strategy, entitled Advise, Resolve and Learn: Our strategy to 2025, also says that it will use its extensive database of healthcare-related compensation, alongside data on practitioner performance concerns and the causes of contracting disputes in primary care, to drive positive changes for patients and staff.
NHS Resolution will also “do more to share specialist knowledge and technical expertise” and will focus on “systematically gathering, analysing and acting on quantitative and qualitative data.”
Moving specialised services commissioning from NHS England to integrated care systems (ICSs) runs a risk of fragmenting provision and diluting quality, an organisation representing 10 of England’s largest teaching and research trusts has said.
The Shelford Group wrote to NHS England in March detailing its concerns about its plans to move some of the responsibilities to ICSs from next April. The letter, which was leaked to HSJ, set out a detailed list of significant risks “in terms of quality, equity, value and system complexity.” It also states that there is a risk that ICSs “will focus on high volume services for their local population, leading to de-prioritisation of specialised services, and/or an inclination to support development of services within that ICS’s footprint as opposed to at the optimal level for ensuring clinical quality.”
Two reports have found that Black and ethnic minority women are being disadvantaged by racism in maternity care. A report from Birthrights, Systemic Racism, Not Broken Bodies, found that women reported feeling unsafe and being denied pain relief. It said that health care professionals failed to recognise serious medical conditions such as jaundice in black babies because white bodies were considered the norm, and that Black women reported being denied pain relief because of a perceived ability to tolerate pain.
A report from Five X More, The Black Maternity Experiences Survey, also reported negative experiences by Black women of maternity care, with 27% of women reporting that they received a poor or very poor standard of care during pregnancy, labour and postnatally
Twenty-five of the least digitally mature NHS trusts are to be prioritised for future investment in electronic patient records (EPRs), according to a report in Digital Health News.
The new approach is being driven by Tim Ferris, director of digital transformation at NHS England and Improvement, the publication says. It represents a U-turn from the current approach, which is to target investment to the most digitally-ready trusts. NHS England has apparently told trusts that it will prioritise future investment funding to those trusts that do not yet have EPR systems.
English trusts have been divided into four groups ranging from 0 (those trusts without an EPR) to Group 3 (those trusts with a mature EPR). Some 25 trusts are in group 0, with a further 20 in group 1, defined as being “in procurement or implementation.”
Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust have launched a shared electronic patient record (EPR) system, known as Surrey Safe Care, to replace paper records at the trusts. The aim is to provide “joined-up care” across the county.
In 2020 the trusts received funding as part of the first wave of the NHS Digital Aspirants programme, and officially began a 10-year contract with Cerner in the same year. The trusts hope that the joint EPR will support “healthcare professionals from both organisations gain immediate access to information about patients care and treatments irrespective of where it was received, resulting in a more coordinated approach to effective and consistent care.”