News round-up 29 July

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29th July 2022 about a 4 minute read

Problems in the NHS and social care sector show no sign of going away, as health chiefs criticise NHS England for the lack of an operating model to support the new integrated care systems. The number of nurses working in adult social care continues to fall, and recruitment to the sector is undermined by a lack of parity with the NHS. Figures on stroke treatment show that patients in London are far more likely to receive a life-saving thrombectomy than those elsewhere in the country.

NHS England told to develop operating model as a matter of urgency

NHS England must urgently develop a coherent operating model for the era of integrated care systems (ICSs), trust chief executives have said.

The new ICSs, which bring together health and care, launched at the beginning of July, but the chief executives, speaking at a roundtable held by HSJ, said that there was still no clarity about how the service was to be supported and held to account.

Steve McManus, chief executive of Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust, said that NHS England’s national and regional teams needed a clear operating model to address the issue of “how do we have consistency of performance, quality and access around the country”.

Number of nurses in adult social care drops 4.5%

The number of nurses working in the adult social care sector in England has fallen by 4.5% over the past year, according to figures published by Skills for Care.

The drop is equivalent to a loss of 1,600 registered nurses in the sector between 2020-21 and 2021-22. It follows a fall of 1,800 the previous year.

Longer-term trends mentioned in the Skills for Care report  show that the registered nurse role is the only one in the sector to have seen a significant decrease in numbers since 2012-13.

Lack of parity between NHS and social care makes it harder to recruit, experts warn

A lack of parity between the NHS and social care sector is a barrier to recruiting enough staff, an independent panel of experts  has warned.

The panel, convened by the House of Commons health and social care committee, said that the government has made “inadequate” progress on key workforce commitments.

In a report to the committee, the panel wrote that the perception of a  lack of parity between the health and social care sector was “especially prevalent” in the evidence it received from the social care sector, and across several health and care settings: “Guidance, support and pay and conditions were repeatedly pointed to as areas where there was inequality between the two sectors.”

Patients in London several times more likely to receive life-saving treatment for strokes

People who experience a stroke in London are far more likely to receive a life-saving thrombectomy than those living elsewhere, according to a report from the Stroke Association.

Although the NHS long-term plan has a target of treating 10% of strokes with a thrombectomy by this year, only 2.8% were benefiting from the treatment in December 2021, a smaller proportion than in the US or some other Western European nations. Nearly 6,000 people who could benefit from thrombectomy are missing out, the charity has calculated.

There was wide regional variation, however. In London, 7.8% of stroke patients receive a thrombectomy, whereas in the East of England, only 0.3% of patients receive one.

Artificial intelligence can reduce sepsis deaths

New artificial intelligence software (AI) can reduce the risk of death amongst sepsis patients by nearly 20%, a study has found.

The software from Bayesian Health is able to detect symptoms hours earlier than traditional methods. Unlike traditional AI tools, it takes into consideration the diversity of the patient population.

The company carried out three studies in collaboration with researchers from Johns Hopkins University, publishing the results in Nature Medicine and Nature Digital Medicine.

The researchers looked at data from 764,707 patient encounters, 17,538 with sepsis. Where the AI tool was used, they found significant reductions in mortality, morbidity and length of stay.