Friday five: top health stories of the week

This week life expectancy, social care and the right to die have dominated the news.

Terminally ill campaigner appears at court over right to die

Noel Conway, who has Motor Neuron Disease has appeared via video link to plead his case for the right to die. Any doctor who helped him under current law would face up to 14 years in prison. There have been many debates regarding the future of euthanasia with calls for the 1961 Suicide Act to be repealed. Read more on The Guardian.

Social care will ‘implode in months’

Due to a change in wage bills, HMRC has demanded six years of back pay for carers’ wages from disability charities, a total bill of over £400 million, leaving many facing insolvency. The charities involved currently deliver a large proportion of care for those with disabilities, meaning the NHS would have to step in. A number of councils have already cancelled contracts over the rise in costs leaving the charities trying to contact minsters for a halt in proceedings. Read more in The Times.

‘Strongest’ STPs share £325m of new investment

15 of the ‘strongest’ sustainability and transformation partnerships will receive a share of £325 million extra funding that was pledged to the NHS in the spring budget. Dorset will receive the most – £100 million, and Manchester will receive up to £80 million, whilst four areas will receive the smallest funding of £5 million. Read the full list of STPs receiving funding and their plans for it in the HSJ.

Department of Health announces £86 million funding for health tech

The Department of Health has announced a new central fund of £86 million for small and medium sized businesses to develop new technology for the NHS. This includes a £35 million digital health technology catalyst that will be used to match fund innovative projects. The announcement came in response to the Accelerated Access Review, which was released in October 2016. Read more on Digital Health.

Life expectancy in Britain begins to stall

Michael Marmot has released a report outlining the future of life expectancy in Britain, which has significantly slowed since 2010. The average rate of increase has halved since 2010, and was near zero in 2013-2015, something Marmot described as historically unusual and worrying. Read more on Reuters and Marmot’s Huffington Post blog.

Quote of the week – Noel Conway on assisted dying

“Faced with inevitable decline and an imminent death, I wish to be given the option to be helped to die. Were you in my position, wouldn’t you want that too?”  – The Evening Standard