Most of us may only just be coming to terms with autumn but for the NHS one eye is firmly locked on what winter will bring this year, and the media is picking up on it. More and more stories are in the nationals about a ‘warzone winter’ with staff already feeling under pressure.
Jeremy Hunt believes that one way to help is to link a £500m proposed bailout fund – to help with winter woes – with the percentage of staff that get the flu jab in hospitals (Daily Mirror). Another way, suggested by Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, is to treat heart attack and stroke patients at home to reduce the burden. But maybe the focus should be on the one third of us who attend A&E when we don’t need to (The Independent).
While the NHS worries about increased winter demand and overall mounting pressures, Labour was quick to criticise the recently published Department of Health’s accounts, which show a staggering £1.4bn has been paid out on 32,000 redundancies over the past three years (The Guardian).
In other positive financial news, the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee has criticised the government’s spending for an NHS record system that has been abandoned. Nearly £10bn (half of the efficiency savings needed by 2015) was spent before it was stopped.
NHS news over the past month doesn’t get much better than above – the general outlook is as bleak as an X Factor contestant’s hopes of a successful music career. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, claimed that it will take between three and five years to turn around the 11 failing NHS hospitals identified in the Keogh review and is one of the biggest operational challenges faced today.
And finally, in ‘spookier’ news it seems that two million ghosts still need a GP (Daily Mail) at a cost of £150m a year.