Women over 34 are being refused IVF treatment

From BBC News: Women over 34 are being automatically refused IVF treatment on the NHS in 12 areas of England.

IVF should be offered to women until age 42, guidelines say, but new figures show around 80% of areas are failing to do this.

Campaign group Fertility Fairness said it “penalises women who take longer to find a partner”.

Couples in Wales and Scotland are offered IVF until they are 42, as long as certain criteria are met.

One 38-year-old woman, Charlotte, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she was considering moving house to a different area, having been told she was too old to qualify for the procedure in Southampton.

NHS £20bn boost risks being spent to pay off debts, experts warn

From The Guardian: Theresa May is being urged to write off almost £12bn in overspending by hospitals or risk her £20bn NHS boost being spent on debt repayment rather than improving healthcare.

NHS experts are warning that promised expansions of cancer and mental healthcare will prove impossible because a large amount of the £20bn that the prime minister pledged this year will go to the NHS by 2023-24 will be used servicing historic debts.

The debts “are a millstone which has to be removed from around the neck of the NHS”, said Peter Carter, an ex-chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing. “Having to service the debt will significantly compromise the impact of the 3.4% [annual NHS budget rises May has pledged until 2023] to such an extent that new money will not enable the NHS to modernise; it will in effect help the NHS to stand still.”

“The impact of writing off the debt will have minimal effect on the national debt but will have a major impact on the ability of the NHS to maximise the new investment the government is promising”, added Carter. The NHS in England overspent by £4.3bn last year, while the 240 NHS trusts owe the Department of Health and Social Care £7.4bn in outstanding historic loans. NHS finance experts from the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust thinktanks blamed the debt pile on persistent NHS underfunding of the NHS.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Mental health patients sent 300 miles from home due to lack of beds

From The Guardian: Patients with serious mental health problems are being sent more than 300 miles away from their home areas because of widespread bed shortages across the NHS, figures show.

Adults in mental health crises were sent as far as 307 miles from home last year, where they were denied easy access to family and friends for many months – a situation NHS chiefs have admitted reduces chances of recovery.

Dorset Healthcare University mental health trust sent patients to a Priory mental health hospital in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, 246 miles from the south coast, because of a lack of beds. The year before it had sent patients even further afield to a Priory unit in Durham, 325 miles away.

Last year, Lancashire Care NHS foundation trust had to place patients 299 miles away in a mental health unit in the village of Ticehurst in East Sussex, while people from Norfolk ended up being cared for at Arbury Court in Warrington, 239 miles away. Oxleas mental health trust, based in Dartford, Kent, sent patients for care – including in a psychiatric intensive care unit for those whose lives were at risk – up to 232 miles away in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

End to nursing student bursaries sees numbers keep falling

From Morning Star: The nursing profession has been left in “managed decline,” the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said today, responding to a further drop in student numbers due to bursaries being replaced by loans.

The number of nursing students from England taking university places has fallen by 4 per cent from last year and 11 per cent since 2016 when bursaries were axed, according to data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

The RCN said the decline could jeopardise the future supply of nurses at a time when the NHS is dire need of such staff.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

‘Worst ever’ July A&E performance shows collapse in NHS standards under Theresa May

From Morning Star: Latest figures on A&E waiting times reveal the “astonishing” collapse in NHS standards under Theresa May, Labour said today.

Monthly statistics for July 2018 published by #NHS England show that just 89.3 per cent of people attending A&E were seen within four hours, well below the 95 per cent target.

That dismal performance means NHS England has consistently failed to meet the 95 per cent four-hour target — lowered from 98 per cent by the coalition government — since July 2015.

The number of people attending A&E in July 2018 also hit a record 2.176 million people in July 2018, the highest figure since records began in 2010.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Smokers forced to quit on their own after funding cuts

From The Observer: Thousands of smokers are being left without the support they need to quit after prescriptions of products to help them stop plummeted by 75% over the last decade, according to a report.

GPs are the most common first port of call for smokers who want to beat their addiction in England – 38% of smokers choose this route.

However, primary care prescriptions of nicotine replacement patches and gum and the smoking-cessation drugs bupropion and varenicline fell by three-quarters in England between 2005-06 and 2016-17.

In Worcestershire, where 15% of the population smokes, the local authority decommissioned its stop-smoking services, and local clinical commissioning groups advised GPs not to prescribe stop-smoking aids for new patients in April 2016, the report reveals.

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NHS operation waiting lists reach 10-year high at 4.3m patients

From The Guardian: The number of patients waiting for an operation on the NHS has reached 4.3 million, the highest total for 10 years, official figures show.

Growing numbers are having to wait more than the supposed maximum of 18 weeks for planned non-urgent surgery such as a cataract removal or hip or knee replacement.

In May, for example, 211,434 patients had been on the waiting list for more than six months, up from the 197,067 who were in that position a month before and up by almost half compared to a year earlier, the NHS England data shows.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

IVF services slashed in England as NHS bosses cut costs

From The Guardian: A growing number of areas in England have axed IVF treatment on the NHS and the proportion offering the recommended three cycles of treatment has fallen to just over one in 10, the Guardian can reveal.

The data, gathered by the Fertility Network UK, also show that a further one in 10 are considering restricting or axing fertility treatment, amid widespread NHS cuts and the rationing of services in an effort to save money.

Despite guidance from the NHS group Nice (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) that women under 40 should be offered three cycles if they have been trying to conceive for two years, the number no longer offering any cycles has increased from four to seven in the past 15 months.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

One in five GPs work more than 60 hours a week, finds official audit

From GPs’ magazine Pulse: One in five GPs are working more than 60 hours per week as the number of GPs looking to quit direct patient care is on the rise.

This is the finding of the National GP Worklife Survey, carried out by the University of Manchester on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.

GP leaders said the findings are ‘incredibly worrying’ but unsurprising ‘given the intense pressures family doctors are facing’.

[Read full article on Pulse website…]

More than 1 million patients forced to get a new GP after seven-fold rise in practice closures

From Daily Telegraph: More than a million patients have been forced to get a new GP amid a seven-fold rise in practice closures, an investigation reveals. Family doctors said elderly patients were being left to travel long distances, warning of a “timebomb” as shortages of GPs spread across the country.

[Read full article on Telegraph website…]

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