This week's Friday Five: 15/7/22


NHS England workforce to reduce in size by up to 40%

A letter sent to NHS staff has revealed plans to reduce the size of the NHS England workforce so that it is 30-40% smaller by the end of 2023/24, a move that could potentially save £1 billion in 5 years.


This links in with plans to merge NHS Digital, NHS England and Health Education England into 1 single organisation. It is thought that this merge will reduce duplication in work and enable NHS England to become a more nimble and agile organisation.


Interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said: “This is a difficult process that will inevitably cause worry and uncertainty for colleagues and we welcome the emphasis on compassionate leadership.”


Read the full story in Digital Health.

UK healthcare system contributing to persistence of depression

New research from Kings College London and the European Brain Council has found that depression may be persisting for longer than it should due to substantial gaps in service provision.


The research compared the treatment pathways for major depressive disorder in 6 European countries, including the UK. Key findings included that, in the UK, diagnosis of depression can take up to 8 years, 38% of those who are diagnosed are untreated due to inappropriate care pathways, and 1/3rd of patients do not receive any follow up care.


Allan Young, Professor of academic psychiatry and senior author of the study says: “High rates of missed diagnosis mean that vast swathes of the population cannot get the help that they need, while a lack of follow ups and access to more specialist care often means that those experiencing severe depression are stuck stagnating on a pathway that is not treating them as effectively as it should.”


Read the full story in The Independent.


Up to 39,000 extra hospital beds needed by 2030 to maintain standards of care

New research from the Health Foundation has forecast that 23,000 to 39,000 extra beds could be needed in 2030/31 to maintain pre-pandemic standards of care.


Researchers reviewed past trends in hospital bed numbers to obtain this projection. They state that anticipating and planning are critical to ensure that the NHS has the capacity it needs, especially as the 2030/31 population will be older and have more complex health conditions than the current population.


Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research at the Health Foundation said: “Our projections show meeting the future demand for hospital care could require a far larger increase in bed supply than we would expect under the government’s current hospital plan, and significant additional funding for the DHSC capital budget.”


Read the full story here.

10- point drop in patient satisfaction with general practice

The latest GP patient survey has found that patient satisfaction with general practice is at its lowest point in 5 years.


Key findings from the survey included:

  1. Respondents who said their experience of general practice was poor doubles from 7% to nearly 14%

  2. Overall good experience with making an appointment dropped from 70.6% last year to 56.2% this year

  3. 55.4% patients avoided making an appointment when they needed one, with 26.5% choosing ‘because I found it too difficult’ as the reason why they did not make an appointment

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall said: ‘These findings reflect an over-stretched service, with GPs and our teams doing our best for patients under intense workload and workforce pressures.”


Read the full article in GP Online, and a summary of the results here.


Quote of the week

A U-turn from the health watchdog now means that two new breast cancer drugs will be available to patients on the NHS after being rejected earlier this year by NICE.


Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, said “Following a devastating provisional rejection in April, this landmark decision will offer a new, effective treatment for these women, and crucially give them the hope of invaluable extra months to live and do what matters most to them and their loved ones.”


Read the full story in The Guardian.