Our NHS News Round-Up this week starts with growing concerns regarding the use of social media by doctors and nurses around the country. It has been reported that NHS employees are using services such as WhatsApp and Snapchat to share sensitive information about patients.
As you can imagine, experts are really concerned about use of social media as these apps are a very risky way of sharing such vital information. Incidents involving social media are on the rise, despite the use of internet-based messaging apps to send patient information by banned by NHS guidelines.
In the BBC report, GP Alisdair MacNair said that he was aware of a number of medical groups who were using WhatApp and other forms of instant messaging. He said:
“I have also seen chat on Facebook groups that sails pretty close to the wind in terms of discussing medical information. I’ve definitely seen stuff which is one step away from being patient identifying. I’m very wary of going near anything like that because of the risk of breaching data laws, but it would appear others don’t seem to be aware of the risks.” – Dr MacNair
NHS England told the BBC that it had no comment on the matter.
NHS Rationing leading to long patient delays
Next up in our NHS news round-up; A new wave of ‘NHS rationing’ has led to patients who need hip replacements or cataract removals suffering from long, painful delays. The British Medical Journal have obtained Freedom of Information data which shows a rise in the number of special requests for funding now being lodged for “routine” procedures such as these.
Other areas affected by the apparent rationing include knee surgery, carpal tunnel syndrome procedures and help for mental health problems. The article on The Independent says that the number of exceptional funding requests made by GP’s in England in 2016 rose to 73,900 – an increase of 47% from the period of 2013/14.
Of the requests made during 2016/17, 52% were approved by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), although many patients were forced to wait months before their treatment began.
In the report, Steve Cannon, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, has these condemning words to say:
By mandatorily requiring prior approval from the individual funding request service before referral, these CCGs [clinical commissioning groups] are unfairly and unnecessarily prolonging the time patients will spend in pain, possibly immobile and unable to carry out daily tasks or to work.” – Stephen Cannon
It seems this issue may only get worse. Between 2013/14 and 2016/17 the number of requests for hip and knee surgery has gone from 49 to 899!
Happy Birthday NHS
We end this week’s edition of the NHS news round-up with some positive news!
This week the National Health Service celebrated its 69th birthday! On July 5 1948, the health secretary Aneurin Bevan launched the NHS at Park Hospital in Manchester – which those of you in the North-west will now know as Trafford General Hospital.
The plan behind the NHS was simple; the bring excellent healthcare to everybody here in the UK. A place where doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacists, opticians and dentists could all come together and work under once unique brand. How would the country pay for this new service? Through taxation of course!
Before the NHS came along in 1948, the British public were reliant on insurance polices in order to pay for their health care because treatment was not cheap.
The NHS has come along way since its creation and is now the world’s largest publicly funded health service. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride and there are certainly a few issues right now in 2017, but there have been some great milestones and moments over the years.
Its been a tough ride but from everybody here at Telecare Choice…
Happy Birthday NHS!