News round-up 7 October

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6th October 2022 about a 4 minute read

While we wait for the government to publish its workforce plan for the NHS, the exodus of staff shows no sign of abating, with one in nine nurses leaving in the past year. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be felt, with a new report finding that many people bereaved during the pandemic didn’t receive the support they needed. Meanwhile, the new health and care secretary has called on integrated care boards to work in partnership with providers, not against them.

Record number of nurses are leaving the NHS

Record numbers of nurses are quitting the NHS in England, according to official data analysed by the Nuffield Trust, a think tank.

The data shows that more than 40,000 have left the health service in the past year – one in nine members of the workforce. The Nuffield Trust said many of these were highly skilled and that there is increasing evidence that stress and the need for a better work-life balance is driving them to leave. A survey by NHS Providers this week found that nurses are leaving the NHS to take up better paid jobs in the hospitality sector.

Although the government is trying to recruit 50,000 more nurses, the data shows there were just 4,000 more joiners than leavers in the last year, meaning the high number of leavers is almost cancelling out the new recruits.

Covid bereavement in UK has affected prospects of tens of thousands, report finds

Tens of thousands of people bereaved by the Covid-19 pandemic missed out on formal support, and face serious consequences for their health, education and economic prospects as a result, according to a new study.

Covid-19 left about 750,000 more people bereaved than would usually have been the case, and 40% of those who wanted formal help did not get it, according to the UK Commission on Bereavement. The organisation examined the impact of missed funerals, lockdowns that prevented families grieving together and remote schooling that may have left bereaved children without help from teachers.

More than a quarter of adult respondents to the consultation received no support from family, and almost half received no support from friends following bereavement.

ICBs should not work against health providers, Coffey says

Integrated care boards (ICBs) should work in partnership with health providers, not against them, the health and social care secretary has said.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference, Thérèse Coffey said ICBs should be the Department of Health and Social Care’s “eyes and ears on the ground, working in partnership not against our health providers”. 

She said that since joining the DHSC, she had found “such a variation in what patients experience. And it’s not because some of those providers are doing that deliberately – far from it. They do what they think is the best they can, but let’s try and learn from each other, as well as the priorities that come from the government.”

Two thirds of ICSs fall into the red

Two out of three integrated care systems (ICSs) are no longer on track with their financial plans, and many are likely to report sizeable deficits in their first year of operation, HSJ has reported.

The publication examined the financial performance of 34 systems, and found that 21 had failed to meet their part-year plans. North East London reported a deficit of £48m for the five months to September, against a planned deficit of £5m.

Financial pressures reported by ICSs include the ongoing impact of inflation, Covid costs not funded in this year’s funding envelope, operational challenges that mean more money is spent on agency staff, despite a cap that came into effect last month, and difficulties delivering the level of savings needed to break even.

NHS risks losing a generation of data analysts

More than four in five health care analysts have not received funded continuous professional development (CPD), according to a new survey.

The survey, by the Association of Professional Healthcare Analysts, found that 83% of newer Band 5 analysts have not been given funded CPD and only 21% work for an NHS organisation that is very supportive of CPD. While more than 75% say they are somewhat likely or very likely to be working in the NHS in three years’ time,  Andi Orlowsi, non-executive director for clinical engagement at AphA Analysts, said that without professional development and organisation they would not be able to add the full value they are capable of. AphA Analysts is calling for clear commitment from all NHS organisations to provide financial support and dedicated training time for their analytical workforce.