A few words prompt lots of action at NHS England and NHS Improvement’s monthly board meeting
Publication of the Long Term Plan Implementation Framework has sparked a flurry of activity within the NHS, as local health systems work to develop their strategic plans, which will dictate the priorities of the NHS for the next five years. Industry should prepare to take action.
Long-term plan implementation framework revealed
NHS England and NHS Improvement board meetings are an excellent source of information for industry representatives that want to stay on top of the latest NHS developments.
The June 2019 meeting was no different with the publication of several important documents, including the hotly anticipated Long Term Plan Implementation Framework.
The framework sets out the expectations for local health economies’ (sustainability and transformation partnership and integrated care systems) strategic plans, which are being developed over the summer.
The plans will form the foundation of system changes over the next five years to 2023/24 and will demonstrate how funding will be prioritised. It is important that industry engages with the process before spending decisions are taken.
Of particular interest to industry will be the frameworks:
- Outline of additional streams of funding to help systems achieve their plans (p28).
- The requirement for each area to include a digital strategy and investment plan in their plan.
- Calls for the NHS to achieve cash releasing productivity growth of at least 1.1% a year – which will directly impact industry.
Measures that have been proposed to achieve these savings include:
- The implementation of electronic tools (including e-rostering and e-job planning).
- Increasing the role of pharmacy staff with treating patients.
- Maximising the buying power of the NHS through the use of the Purchase Price Index and Benchmarking Tool, Getting It Right the First Time and Support Supply Chain Coordination Limited.
Improving patient safety is also highlighted as an area where substantial cost savings can be made. The framework requires that local health systems set out how they will contribute to the improvements described within the National Patient Safety Strategy, which was also published recently.
Safety initiative aims to help realise savings and improve quality within the NHS
The NHS Patient Safety Strategy will be of particular interest to people working in pharmacovigilance, patient safety and quality roles, as it contains information on:
- The replacement to the National Reporting and Learning System (p20).
- The Medicines Safety Improvement Programme (MSIP) (p50), which aims to reduce the estimated 237m medication errors that occur in England every year, by focusing on high-risk drugs and vulnerable patients.
- Encouraging innovation as an essential factor to achieve improvements to safety, which may represent opportunities for industry (p60).
Clarity on QOF and the QP contract
The NHS England and NHS Improvement board meeting also provided more understanding on elements of the new GP contract, including the first draft modules of the revised quality and outcomes framework (QOF), which will be pleasing to those selling to primary care.
The report published by Ian Dodge, national director of strategy and innovation, details the initial pipeline of new quality improvement modules for QOF and as these are directly related to the amount of funding received by GPs they represent a large opportunity for industry professionals selling to primary care to work in partnership with the NHS.
Primary care networks go live
July also saw the official roll out of primary care networks (PCNs), an important new provider that industry should be aware of.
PCNs were announced as a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with all general practices being required to be in a network by June 2019.
Approximately 7,000 surgeries across England have come together to form 1,200 primary care networks to deliver a wider range of specialist care services.
Long Term Plan Implementation Framework: System Support Offer, published alongside the implementation framework, contains a wealth of useful information for industry representatives. Key stakeholders leading on making changes to priority areas within the NHS are listed, alongside the key actions that they are undertaking, which industry may be able to support. We suggest you scan the document to see what information is relevant to the area that you work.
The NHS England and NHS Improvement board meeting also saw the publication of a list of seven medications and treatments which should not be prescribed in primary care, because it believes they have “low clinical effectiveness” or “more cost-effective products are available”.
NHS England has pledged funding for children’s hospices will rise to £25m a year, advocating that investment in “medical advances mean the NHS can help seriously ill children and young people with more complex health issues live longer, more fulfilling lives”.
In comparison, social care is still in dire straits, as emphasised by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s report, which describes social care funding as a “national scandal”.
Changes could be on the horizon to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence health technology assessments (HTA) and guidance development processes.
NICE and Myeloma UK outlined the findings of a research project that showed scope for the better use of quantitative patient preference data in HTAs.
Currently, patient perspectives are provided by a small number of patients in narrative form, but the system does not always capture how treatments are valued by patients, as patient experience can be particularly hard to quantify compared against other evidence such as clinical trial data.
The changes could help ensure new treatments reflect the needs and preferences of patients and family members.
NICE has also launched a consultation looking to extend the use of data that helps to inform its independent committees who produce its guidance.
Public Health England has published a series of data and analysis tools which will be of use to industry professionals in strategic roles that are looking to target products and services to areas of need.
The resources cover a wide range of public health areas, including:
- Specific health conditions – such as cancer, mental health, cardiovascular disease.
- Lifestyle risk factors – such as smoking, alcohol and obesity.
- Wider determinants of health – such as environment, housing and deprivation.
- Health protection, and differences between population groups, including adults, older people, and children.
Want more information on any of the topics covered here? Ask an expert.
NHS Confederation Conference 2019: Key messages for industry
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation has called for extra investment in technology to help “transform patient experience” and to achieve closer collaboration between the NHS and the life sciences industry.
Speaking at the Confederation’s annual conference last week, Dickson announced that in support of this ambition, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and NHS Confederation have published a joint report demonstrating opportunities where patients, the health service and key suppliers can benefit from collaboration. However, the report also highlights where difficulties currently lie.
NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens revealed that the much-anticipated NHS Long Term Plan Implementation Framework will be published next week.
This will include a more transparent financial regime for trusts, with more realistic control totals and a rules-based, predictable regime so that all financial routes will be visible across organisations.
Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, gave a stark warning that hospital activity will need to rise by at least 2.7 per cent a year by 2023/24 to keep up with current demand. However, she said current funding levels will not be sufficient for this level of growth.
A new ambition for cross-sector collaboration with the life sciences industry
Next Prime Minister must not duck social care challenge, says NHS Confederation
“Our service model needs to continue to change” - Simon Stevens
Stevens’ push on capital funding, social care and public health welcomed by NHS Confederation
ABPI publishes guidelines on working with patients and achieving greater collaboration with the NHS
The NHS and life science industry are failing to collaborate effectively, according to a new report published by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and NHS Confederation.
A new ambition for cross-sector collaboration with the life sciences industry to support NHS sustainability and transformation highlights a number of barriers that have resulted in collaborative projects between the NHS and industry failing to get off the ground and falling short of expectations. These include:
- A lack of sustained resources.
- The NHS being set up to deal with immediate matters, not the exploration of future models.
- Difficulty of scaling projects, which means that the NHS has engaged in a plethora of successful local programs but failed to spread them around the country.
- NHS bodies being “actively instructed not to deal with industry by their local leadership”.
- Distrust towards biopharma companies due to a belief that businesses put profits over patients.
The report identified more than 10 actions the NHS and industry should take to make improvements.
This week also saw the publication of a guide by Veeva on how to optimise engagement with healthcare professionals through digital channels.
The report states that more effective digital engagement can unlock access to hard-to-reach healthcare professionals and build relationships with customers that have “gone dark” in recent years.
Finally, in the quest to achieving greater collaboration between the NHS, industry and patients, the ABPI have published a new guide for pharmaceutical companies working with patients.
The guide contains information on how to “work successfully, collaboratively and ethically with patients and patient groups and in line with the ABPI Code of Practice”.
ABPI report: A new ambition for cross-sector collaboration with the life sciences industry to support NHS sustainability and transformation
NHS Confederation: A new ambition for cross-sector collaboration with the life sciences industry
Veeva: Reaching HCPs in the Age of Digital Engagement
Collaboration is better than competition, proposed NHS legislative changes rule
The Health and Social Care Committee believes that collaboration, rather than competition, is a better way for the health and care system to respond to today's challenges, according to their new report.
NHS Long-Term Plan: legislative proposals supports NHS England and NHS Improvement's suggestion to repeal section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
It also recommends that the law should rule out non-statutory providers holding an Integrated Care Provider contract and supports the proposal to give the Secretary of State powers to create new NHS trusts.
The report states that competition rules add costs and complexities, without corresponding benefits for patients and taxpayers in return. In comparison, it says that collaboration represents a better way to manage the rising demands on health and social care, improve joined up care for patients and deliver better value for taxpayers.
However, the Health and Social Care Committee warned that NHS should not become a monopoly as this would not be in the best interests of patients.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said in response to the report: “Our big worry in the NHS England/Improvement proposals was what looked like a move to greater centralisation – even if that isn’t the intention. We all want local NHS organisations to work more collaboratively but that will not happen by stripping away local autonomy and giving more powers to the centre.
“And while we support the Committee’s view that NHS England/Improvement should come together under a single national leadership, we share its concerns that the centre could become too powerful. That’s why we are pleased the MPs agree that the centre should not start to direct mergers, acquisitions and the capital spending limits of foundation trusts.”
King’s Fund: NHS long-term plan: legislative proposals
NHS Confederation: Step in the right direction - NHS Confederation welcomes MPs’ report
National Health Executive: NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson gives his verdict on NHS long-term plan legislative report
CQC report advocates for better medicines management
The Care Quality Commission has published a report that aims to improve medicines management across health and social care providers.
Medicines in health and adult social care: Learning from risks and sharing good practice for better outcomes identifies areas of risk where medicines errors commonly occur and highlights areas of improvement. In particular, the report advocates the positive impact of involving pharmacy professionals in decisions.
The CQC said: “We know that people’s physical and mental health outcomes improve when medicines are used in the best or optimal way. When they are not prescribed or administered correctly they can cause harm.
We want to encourage improvement by sharing what we have found through our regulatory work and giving examples of how some providers have reduced these risks.”
CQC: Medicines in health and adult social care: Learning from risks and sharing good practice for better outcomes
Digital Health.Net: Special Report: Medicines Management
Mental health spending varies widely across England
Mind, the mental health charity, looked at mental health spending across 42 NHS regions and found that there is nearly a two-fold difference across England.
Surrey Heartlands spent the least - £124 per person last year - compared with South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, which spent more than £220.
What is NHSX?
NHSX is the new joint organisation for digital, data and technology. Its mission statement is to make sure patients and staff have the digital technology they need.
The new body's responsibilities include:
- Supporting the use of new technologies by the NHS, both by working with industry and via its own prototyping and development capability.
- Setting national policy and developing best practice for NHS technology, digital and data – including data-sharing and transparency.
- Setting standards – developing, agreeing and mandating clear standards for the use of technology in the NHS.
- Ensuring that NHS systems talk to each other across the health and care system.
- Helping to improve clinical care by delivering agile, user-focused projects.
- Ensuring that common technologies and services, including the NHS App, are designed so that trusts and surgeries do not have to reinvent the wheel each time.
- Making sure that all source code is open by default so that anyone who wants to write code for the NHS can see what the service needs.
- Reforming procurement – helping the NHS buy the right technology through the application of technology standards, streamlined spend controls and new procurement frameworks that support NHS standards.
- Setting national strategy and mandating cyber security standards, so that NHS and social care systems have security designed in from the start.
- Championing and developing digital training, skills and culture so NHS staff are digital-ready.
- Delivering an efficient process for technology spend, domain name management and website security.
Twitter – NHSX
NHS Assembly line-up announced
A full member list of the NHS Assembly has been announced, ranging from GPs and patients, to health and care system leaders.
The forum will support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan and advise NHS England and NHS Improvement.
NHS Assembly members are drawn from national and frontline clinical leaders, patients and carers, staff representatives, health and care system leaders and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.
More than 500 people applied to sit on the Assembly, with the successful applicants chosen based on their individual knowledge, skills and experience.
NHS England - NHS Assembly announced to help deliver the Long Term Plan
Determinants of health infographic
GoInvo has produced an infographic detailing how 89% of health occurs outside of the clinical space through genetics, behavior, environment and social circumstances. These factors are known as the social determinants of health.
It illustrates how medical care only contributes to a small portion of overall health. The most prevalent issue in medical care is the lack of access to health services, as well as a decreasing level of health literacy in the general population.
GoInvo - Determinants of Health
Medtech landscape review
A new report provides a useful review of the medtech landscape - an industry that accounts for over 86,000 jobs in the UK.
The AHSN Network review looks at how the NHS spends approximately £6 billion a year on medical technology and how the industry negotiates the innovation pathway when seeking uptake for its products.
AHSN Network website - New report maps the MedTech landscape for innovators in England
Medical Director reports on access standards
The NHS National Medical Director has published a clinical review of standards across the NHS, to determine if any older targets needed updating.
Professor Stephen Powis claims that patients should see four main benefits:
- "The NHS will be rolling out short waits for a far wider range of important clinical services."
Patients should benefit from newly established standards covering areas such as mental health and community health services that previously have been neglected.
- "Greater emphasis will be given to standards that help improve clinical quality and outcomes."
Eg, earlier diagnosis of cancer and faster assessment and treatment for major emergencies such as heart attacks, stroke and sepsis.
- "We want to lock-in short waits for A&E and planned surgery."
The current A&E and elective care targets will be changed. Eg, they do not distinguish between the hospital where 10% of patients wait five hours to complete their A&E treatment versus the hospital where 10% wait eleven hours.
- "The new standards will help, rather than penalise, hospitals who modernise their care."
Eg, if a GP is able to discuss a patient’s diagnosis directly with a hospital specialist, so that the patient doesn’t have to travel to a hospital outpatient appointment, that makes the hospital’s waiting time statistics look in the way the statistics are currently calculated.
NHS England document - Clinically-led Review of NHS Access Standards
Failing to capitalise
A think tank says a short-termist approach has led to years of declining and inadequate capital spending, which has put patient care and staff productivity at risk for the NHS in England.
The Health Foundation warns in a report that an ageing infrastructure, combined with a substantial and growing repairs backlog could undermine ambitions to transform the health service.
Health Foundation document - Failing to Capitalise
CCGs and the NHS Long Term Plan
MPs have published a report examining proposed changes to the structure of NHS commissioning organisations.
It describes how the NHS Long-Term Plan intends for integrated care systems to cover the whole of England by 2021, leading to a reduction in the number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
The report finds that many CCGs are currently underperforming, and concludes that they will need to improve as they take on responsibility for commissioning services across larger populations. The committee of MPs add that getting the commissioning structures right will be an important part of delivering the NHS Long-Term Plan.
House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts document - Clinical Commissioning Groups
Hospitals experiencing medicine shortages
Hospitals are struggling to source drugs amid uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU, health leaders have warned.
Some hospitals are reporting difficulties in obtaining around 160 drugs per day, which is more than five times what they would normally expect.
NHS Providers, which represents trusts in England, told BBC's Newsnight programme that one trust had reported a shortage of 300 different drugs.
The NHS has been told not to stockpile medicines, as the Government claims plans are in place to ensure supplies are continued in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
BBC News website - Unprecedented drug shortage linked to Brexit, NHS bosses say