Friday five: top health news stories of the week

This week the drug shortages, hospital capacity and Ian Paterson have dominated the news.

Drugs shortage affects patients as prices soar for the NHS

Charities and MPs are calling on Ministers to limited the damage that drugs shortages are doing to the NHS’s finances, that in the last six months have cost £180 million. Over 100 drugs have had supply issues, leading to temporary price rises of up to 4,000 per cent, and overpayments of £50 million+ a month.

Read more on The Times (£)

Hospitals reach full capacity as winter pressures rise

A new report by NHS Providers warns that there is “very little give” in the system, as some hospitals are already at 99 per cent capacity, far over the recommended guidelines of 85 per cent. There are also increasing fears that Britain could be hit by the worst flu strain in decades, leaving the NHS sorely unprepared, amid warnings of staff shortages.

Read more on The Telegraph.

Independent inquiry launched into Ian Paterson

An independent inquiry into the malpractice of breast surgeon Ian Paterson is to be launched in January. The inquiry will likely look at:

  1. The responsibility for the quality of care in the independent sector

  2. Information sharing, reporting of activity and raising concerns between the independent sector and the NHS

  3. The role of insurers of independent sector healthcare providers, including how data it holds about the scope and volume of work carried out by doctors is shared with the sector

Read more on the BBC.

MPs demanding vote on “secret” plans for the NHS

The Labour Party is demanding that MPs are given time to debate and vote on “secret” plans for the NHS, which could lead to greater rationing of care and privatisation of health services. The party believes that ministers are attempting to push through the creation of accountable care organisations without Parliamentary debate.

Read more on The Guardian.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow elects first female president

Dr Jackie Taylor has been appointed president-elect of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the only multi-disciplinary royal college in the UK. Dr Taylor, takes over from Professor David Galloway in December 2018, and is the first female president the College has had in its 418-year history.

Read more on The Herald.

Quote of the week – Richard Vize on NHS staff fears of speaking out:

“Whatever the fine words in the duty of candour or the NHS Constitution, staff still feel afraid to admit the truth either to the leaders of their own organisation or to those who have suffered.

The vertiginous growth in clinical negligence costs is a warning that NHS staff are being driven to normalise risk-taking in an ever more frantic attempt to get the job done, and too few staff feel they can speak out safely.”

Read more in The Guardian