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Friday five: our round-up of the five top health stories this week

This week Fraud in the NHS, legal battles and nurse numbers have dominated the news.

‘Despicable’ fraud costs the NHS £1bn a year

Analysis from the NHS Counter Fraud Authority details how fraud is costing the NHS an estimated £1.25bn each year, approximately 1% of its annual budget. The two biggest areas of fraud are patients claiming exemptions for procedures such as prescriptions and dental work; and payroll which is costing around £90m a year. Read more on the BBC.

NHS faces legal threat over £84m drug saving

Two multinational drug companies are threatening legal action against the NHS who is looking to use a cheaper version of their drugs which prevent blindness. Twelve clinical commissioning groups are looking at offering the cheaper drug which will save the NHS £84m a year. Read more on The Guardian.

Report reveals over 30,000 nurses left the NHS last year

A new report from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) highlights the vast numbers of nurses that have left the NHS last year. It shows that 35,363 nurses left the NHS between September 2016 and October 2017, whilst only 27,786 nurses joined the health service in this time. The NMC report confirms analysis by the Kings Fund earlier this year. Read more on The Independent.

Chain of Academies launches mental health curriculum

The E Act chain of academies has launched a new mental health curriculum. The plan, costing £420,000 a year, will be taught in 25 primary and secondary schools to educate all staff about mental health and equip all pupils with a knowledge of wellbeing and mental health. Read more in The Metro.

Climate change discovered to be a public health emergency

New research published in The Lancet illustrates the dangerous change in carbon dioxide levels, which is now at a concentration not seen in three million years. The number of people exposed to heatwaves is also rising, which in turn has pushed the number of those suffering from diseases such as Dengue fever. Read more in The Guardian.

Quote of the week – Jenni Russel on curing NHS malaise:

“The obstacles are real but the analysis creates a challenge: can the staff and system be encouraged to do more than shrug their shoulders at the hopelessness of it all? That is the culture change the health secretary and NHS England hope to create. Rather than leaving hospitals to flounder they want to spread best practice and innovation from within.”

 

Read the full comment piece in The Times (£).