Friday Five

Mental health support, GP tension over vaccine rollout and new NHS transformation taskforce – this week’s Friday Five

£500m package to support mental health services in England

In Wednesday’s spending review, Rishi Sunak announced a £500m package to support mental health services in England following increased demand for support during the pandemic. Vowing for rapid progress to tackle the backlog of adult mental health referrals, the Treasury has said that the majority of funding will be spent on specialist services for young people, including in schools, and support for NHS workers.

Read the full story in the BBC.

GPs in vaccine row over ‘impossible’ rollout

GPs have raised ‘deep concerns’ over patient safety and logistics over the proposed Covid-19 vaccine programme rollout. Amid a growing backlash, family doctors have said the plans drawn up by NHS England are “devoid of realistic expectations” and include “grossly unreasonable deadlines”. The NHS is drawing up plans for approximately 1,500 vaccination centres, mostly based at large GP practices, with a deadline to be ready to deliver by December 1. But local medical committees, which represent GPs, have objected to the schedules drawn up and said the demands placed on them could put other patient care in jeopardy.

Read the full story in The Telegraph.

Proposed third tech unit to run alongside NHSX and Digital

A major government review of national NHS IT leadership has proposed a new “NHS transformation taskforce” to drive digital change across the health service, joining alongside NHSX and NHS Digital. If approved, the new taskforce would look to drive digital transformation across cancer screening, end-of-life care, mental health, outpatients and learning disabilities services. The proposal states up to 300 people would join the unit and work in different teams covering each of the five services.

Read the full story in HSJ.

Moderna signs deal with EU for 160 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

The European Commission (EC) has signed a supply deal with Moderna which will see it secure an initial 80 million doses of the US biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273. The EC will also have the option to increase their purchase of mRNA-1273 to a total of up to 160 million doses as part of the overarching supply deal. The decision to purchase the dose supply follows the conclusion of advanced exploratory talks between Moderna and the EC, which originally began in August.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.


Quote of the week

In a recent article by The Guardian discussing the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas and the possibility of it leading to a third wave of the pandemic, with increased transmission and unnecessary deaths; Prof Andrew Hayward, an expert in infectious diseases at University College London and member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), had this to say:

“Effectively what this will be doing is throwing fuel on the Covid fire. I think it will definitely lead to increased transmission. It is likely to lead to a third wave of infection, with hospitals being overrun, and more unnecessary deaths.”

Read the full article in The Guardian.