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#GPnews: Chancellor will not be able to ignore NHS crisis much longer, says IFS chief

16:05 The Institute of Fiscal Studies has said the Government will soon be forced to pour extra money into the cash-strapped NHS and social care system, despite the Chancellor omitting the subject completely from the Autumn Statement yesterday, reports the Mirror.

IFS chief Paul Johnson said: ‘Strikingly (Mr Hammond) responded not at all to calls for more money for either the NHS or social care. I’m going to stick my neck out and say he won’t be able to do that for much longer.’

14:15 Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he was ‘utterly astonished’ that there was ‘not a mention’ of the NHS or social care in the Autumn Statement yesterday.

Mr Corbyn said: ‘There is an NHS crisis and there is a social care crisis and it is time to care for the NHS. There has to be more money going into it in order to fund the level of care required and to tackle the issue of bed blocking…

‘Labour would properly fund the NHS with real terms spending increases and make sure that it is sustainable in the long-term. The national cost of under-funding our NHS is huge. What this Conservative Government is offering, for the first time, is that per head the amount of money spent on patient care will reduce from 2018 onwards, it’s a shocking statistic. With the NHS in financial meltdown now is not the time to question the protected spending on health.

‘Mr Hammond’s Autumn Statement is a threat to the NHS and a threat to pensions, with not a single extra penny for the health service, and NHS ring fencing and the pensions triple lock now under threat. The Government must stop playing games with healthcare, living standards and people’s security in retirement.’

12:50 Eating ice cream for breakfast speeds up reaction times and ability to process information, reports the Independent.

Yoshihiko Koga, a professor at Kyorin University in Tokyo, had trial participants eat three spoonfuls of ice cream when they woke up, then had them complete mental exercises via computer.

He then compared their results with a control group, who fared less well.

However, the poor people in the control group weren’t allowed any breakfast at all.

The Independent helpfully adds that Professor Koga likes cycling and collecting cameras.

Pulse takes no responsibility if you try the ice cream trick at home and find it does not work.

11:35 The RCGP and the British Geriatrics Society have teamed up to report on ‘exciting examples’ of collaboration between GPs and geriatricians.

The report (download here) highlights three case studies:

  • Southampton: multi-professional teams, led by community geriatricians and GPs, conduct ‘Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments’ and person-centred care plans. These often tap into local resources, for instance, healthy walks based around GP surgeries which have been set up in conjunction with Age Concern.
  • Lothian: Care planning in three questions; St Triduana’s Medical Practice has developed a simple, one page form for relatives of new care home residents. The questionnaire uses three questions to facilitate a discussion with families about how a patient would like to be treated in the event of a serious illness.
  • Nottingham: GPs in hospitals in Rushcliffe support the ward-based community team by offering sessions on the local Health Care of Older People wards.  Re-admissions of patients aged over 65 have been reduced by 8.7% since the initiative began last year, whereas by contrast there has been an increase in re-admissions in neighbouring areas.

RCGP immediate past chair Dr Maureen Baker said: ’Ageing and frailty are game changers for the health and social care services. GPs, in collaboration with geriatricians and other colleagues, are at the forefront of the response to these significant new challenges.

’This report outlines a number of exciting examples where College members have taken the initiative and put positive talk around integration of care into practice in order to improve patient care, their experience of the health services and health outcomes.

’The case studies demonstrate the value of the generalist approach that is shared by both GPs and geriatricians in delivering person-centred care. It is vital we learn from these examples of best practice and adapt our ways of working to reflect the changing needs of our patients.

‘There is an opportunity with Sustainability and Transformation Plans to recognise the need to change the landscape of the NHS, to invest more in general practice and geriatric medicine, and to support GPs and geriatricians to roll out similar schemes more widely – we need to take that opportunity, in the best interests of our patients and the wider NHS.’

09:40 Abdominal aortic aneurysms are more likely to kill people in the UK than the US, according to a new study.

Although international guidelines say to consider preventative surgery when an aneurysm on the aorta – normally 2cm wide – grows to 5cm in women and 5.5cm in men, the study found English surgeons waited until it was 6.37cm on average.

In the US, this average time for intervention was 5.83cm, the researchers from Harvard Medical School and St George’s, University of London, found.

And, in 2012, death rates were 34 per 100,000 in England compared to just nine in the US.

Dr Alan Karthikesalingam, from St George’s, told BBC News: ’This is not something we knew was happening.

‘From an English perspective it raises a series of questions about what we do in response.’