Health and Wellbeing Policy News 31st July - 7th August

Here are some of the more significant items of health and wellbeing policy news from the last week.  There is a longer list (in date order) here.


02 August 2016
NHS England can legally fund the HIV preventive drug 'Prep',  the High Court has ruled.  NHS England had said it was the responsibility of Public Health within local authorities to provide the drug as it was preventive and that they did not have the authority.  The case was taken by the National Aids Trust (NAT).  NHS England (NHSE) has now said it will appeal.  It is also to review the evidence on the cost-effectiveness of Prep.  NAT subsequently criticised NHSE for saying that other treatments would not be treated if Prep was, saying that prioritisation meant balancing all treatments against each other and it was invidious to pick out just one as the cause.
(04/08/16) Approval for other treatments delayed by NHSE:

04 August 2016
Most Britons would not be comfortable letting someone with a mental health condition look after their children or marry into their family, according to research by NatCen commissioned by Public Health England.  When given a description of symptoms of depression, 82% said they wouldn't be happy having such a person look after their children, 64% wouldn't be comfortable having them marry into their family and 35% wouldn't feel happy having them as a colleague.  The research also found that 91% of people are confident they know what it means to have good wellbeing and 72% feel they know what to do to increase their wellbeing.,-friends-and-work-seen-as-having-biggest-impact-on-mental-wellbeing/

06 August 2016
People with mental health problems earn considerably less than others, with men who suffer from phobias or panic attacks earning 58% the amount of their peers, while men suffering from anxiety or depression earn 74% of the amount as men without such problems, according to evidence collected by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, due to be published next month.  The differences are less for women, with those suffering anxiety or depression earning 90% as much as their peers.

01 August 2016
Poverty costs the public purse £78bn a year, or a fifth of spending on public services, according to research by Heriot-Watt and Loughborough universities, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  The largest proportion of this cost is £29bn for treating health conditions associated with poverty, which is about 25% of healthcare spending.  A further £9bn is linked to the cost of benefits and loss of tax revenue.  £10bn of the cost is related to education and that is 20% of the schools budget.  Police and criminal justice costs account for £9bn, children's services £7.5bn, adult social care 4.6bn and housing £4bn.  About 58% of children's services budgets are poverty related.

01 August 2016
People diagnosed with cancer are twice as likely to live at least 10 years than at the start of the 1970s, but that means many people are having to live with the side effects of treatment and there is greater pressure on the NHS, according to a report from Macmillan Cancer Support, 'Cancer: Then and Now'.  More than 170,000 people diagnosed in the 1970s and 1980s are still alive.  About 625,000 people face poor health or disability after treatment for cancer.  It is estimated that about a quarter of survivors will have long-term issues that need support.

01 August 2016
NHS Improvement has said that NHS trusts are not being targeted for cuts to their workforce, and its list of trusts with high pay bill growth was merely intended to 'start a discussion'.  This response, by NHSI Chief Executive Jim Mackey was in relation to concern following the financial 'reset' announcement that finance might take precedence over patient safety with possible staff cuts.  Mackey acknowledged that there might be good reasons for pay bill growth, such as taking on new services.

03 August 2016
Spending on diabetes prescriptions has increased by 86% in the last decade, from £514m to  £957m between 2005-6 and 2015-16, according to figures from NHS Digital (the new name for HSCIC). This was made up of £423m on antidiabetic drugs, £344m on insulin and £187m on diagnostic and monitoring devices. Diabetes prescriptions now make up 10% of the primary care prescribing bill, representing the largest single group of prescribed medicines (it was 6% ten years ago).

01 August 2016
The Accessible Information Standard came into force on 1st August 2016.  It puts requirements on bodies providing health care or adult social care to make sure that people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information they can easily read and understand.  There are five requirements: (1) to ask people if they have any needs and find out how to meet them; (2) to record them; (3) to flag on a person's notes that they have needs; (4) share information about needs with other providers, if there is consent; and (5) ensure people receive information they can access and understand and receive communication support if they need it.

03 August 2016
CCGs are encouraging GP practices to form into federations, with £15m having been spent supporting them to do that, in 92 CCGs that responded to Pulse Magazine.  The General Practice Forward View said that NHS England would ask CCGs to provide £171m to 'stimulate development of at-scale providers.'  However some CCGs were concerned at conflicts of interest, and said they wouldn't fund the establishment of other local providers in that way so shouldn't do so for GPs.

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