Care home dehydration deaths, HIV care declining since NHS reforms, and Burnham calls for ‘whole-person care’
A round-up of the health news headlines on Monday 2 December.
The Telegraph has revealed that severe dehydration has been a contributing factor in the deaths of more than 1,000 care home residents since 2003.
Responding to a Freedom of Information request, the Office of National Statistics found dehydration contributed to the deaths of 1,158 care home residents, while a further 318 had died from starvation and 2,815 deaths were linked to bed sores.
Care minister Norman Lamb said the findings were ‘entirely unacceptable’, adding that new CQC rules would allow it to intervene more effectively, and ministers would act to make company directors personally responsible for the care their organisation provides.
One third of HIV specialists believe that the quality of care for people with HIV has worsened since April’s NHS reforms divided responsibility for sexual health services between local authorities and the NHS, the BBC reports.
The British HIV Association surveyed 100 specialists to mark World AIDS Day. It identified that many doctors were concerned that HIV care had been split from the bulk of genitourinary medicine and that two-thirds of doctors expected care to deteriorate further.
Dr Janet Wilson, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), said sexual health clinicians had warned of the problems.
She told the BBC: ‘We are already hearing about tendered GUM services being prevented from undertaking partner notification on people newly diagnosed as HIV-positive even though this is the most effective public health intervention for identifying undiagnosed HIV infection.’
And finally, the Guardian has reported shadow health minister Andy Burnham calling for a shake-up of the NHS constitution ‘to make whole-person care a reality’.
Responding to a pamphlet from the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank, Mr Burnham proposed a number of changes, including personal health and care co-ordinators, online patient record access, personalised care plans and more peer support between patients with similar conditions.
Mr Burnham insists these plans can be achieved by improving efficiency, saying: ‘We know that 30% of beds occupied in the NHS are occupied in an inappropriate way either because they need not have been admitted or they have no system of care if they go home.’