Friday Five

Knife tsar, cancer cover up and vaccine distrust – this week’s Friday Five

European vaccine crisis

A global survey of attitudes towards science has revealed the scale of the crisis of confidence in vaccines in Europe, showing that only 59% of people in western Europe and 50% in the east think vaccines are safe, compared with 79% worldwide.

Around the globe, 84% of people acknowledge that vaccines are effective and 92% say their child has received a vaccine. But in spite of good healthcare and education systems, in parts of Europe there is low trust in vaccines. France has the highest levels of distrust, at 33%.

Read more in The Guardian.

NHS England ‘buried’ concerns over child cancer services

Former NHS medical director for London Andy Mitchell accused NHSE, his former employer, of “burying” an expert report, commissioned in the wake of child deaths, which showed fragmented services across London were providing poor quality care – which had seen children dying in “terrible agony”.

Concerns have also been raised that Royal Marsden FT’s chief executive Cally Palmer may have misused her influence as NHSE’s national cancer director to shape the considerations to protect the Marsden, a high-profile cancer centre.

Read more in the HSJ.

NHS appoints first knife crime and violence reduction tsar

Announcing the appointment of the first violence reduction tsar, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the health service will be taking a leading role in “breaking the cycle of violence”.

Dr Martin Griffiths, a consultant trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, has spent a decade visiting schools in the capital and working with victims of gang violence.

His work is part of a scheme, run with the charity St Giles Trust, linking caseworkers with young victims of knife crime while they are on wards. The programme has helped reduce the number of young people returning to hospital from 45 per cent to less than 1 per cent.

Read more in the Independent.

Scepticism over tech investment ‘misplaced’, says NHSX chief

There is “misplaced” scepticism within the Treasury over the need for increased investment in health technology, according to the new chief executive of NHSX at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester.

Matthew Gould says a key challenge for the new digital unit – recently created by health secretary Matt Hancock – will be to persuade officials to invest more capital funding into upgrading hospital IT systems and infrastructure.

Read more in the HSJ.


Quote of the week

“Our hospital bed stock is overly pressurised.”

At this year’s NHS Confed, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the policy of hospital bed reductions had gone too far and that hospital beds had become “overly pressurised” as a result of years of closures.

The number of beds in NHS hospitals and other facilities has fallen from 144,455 in April to June 2010 to 129,992 in January to March 2018 – a cut of 14,463, or 10%. Stevens said he wants hospitals to increase their supply of acute and general medical beds.

Read more in The Guardian.