Friday Five

How do you solve a problem like the NHS crisis? This week’s Friday Five

NHS crisis: A&E waiting times worst on record

A&E waiting times hit their worst-ever level in December, with more than a fifth of patients forced to wait more than four hours.

In 2004, the government set a target that 95% of patients should be seen within 4 hours. However, for the last 4 years this target has not been hit and waiting times have gradually got worse.

Hospital bosses acknowledged that December was one of the most difficult months they had seen, with a shortage of hospital beds and the social-care crisis to blame.

Read more on BBC News.

Number of people using NHS app doubles in 3 months

The number of patients using the NHS App has risen from 91,000 to over 220,000 since the NHS App Ambassadors scheme was introduced in September 2019.

The campaign was launched by NHS Chief Nurse, Ruth May, and focused on encouraging staff to download the app and promote it amongst friends, family and colleagues.

The NHS app was launched in late 2018 and allows users to manage repeat prescriptions, book GP appointments and view medical records via their smartphone or tablet.

Read more on digitalhealth.net.

RCGP chair calls for urgent action to improve workforce and tackle workload.

The new Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Martin Marshall, has called on the Health Secretary to take urgent action to deal with the shortage of GPs in England.

In a letter to Matt Hancock, Professor Marshall declared that it was ‘unacceptable’ for patients to have to wait three weeks for a GP appointment and pushed the Health Secretary to deliver the 6,000 additional GPs promised in the General Election manifesto.

Professor Marshall’s comments came in the wake of the new “Workforce Roadmap”, launched by the RCGP yesterday, which set out what needs to be done to ensure there are enough GPs to deliver safe, high quality patient care.

Read more on on the RCGP website.

Scientists discover how to switch off pain

A new treatment for chronic pain has proven to be effective in preliminary studies in mice.

US scientists successfully used the gene-editing technique CRISPR to switch off the gene responsible for transmitting pain signals up the spine.

It’s thought that the treatment could be approved for use in five years’ time, raising hopes of a long-term treatment for sufferers of chronic pain.

Read more in The Daily Mail.


Quote of the week

In her opinion piece in the Guardian, Jessica Arnold, associate director of primary care for NHS Bromley clinical commissioning group asked people to think carefully about the implications of private healthcare on the NHS.

“It is a complete fallacy that by using a private service you are relieving the NHS of a little bit of their workload.”

Read more in The Guardian.