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#GPnews: CQC launches legal action against NHS trust for the first time

15:55 Pollution now has a bigger impact on child mortality around the world than HIV or ebola, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

In a new report, WHO said more than 1.7 million children’s deaths were attributable to environmental hazards such as air pollution and contaminated water, reports the Telegraph.

WHO says that tackling pollution head-on could have prevented a quarter of deaths and diseases in 2012.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said: ‘A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children.

‘Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.

‘Investing in the removal of environmental risks to health, such as improving water quality or using cleaner fuels, will result in massive health benefits.’

12:50 The CQC is taking legal action against an NHS trust for the first time ever, having informed Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust that ‘it will be prosecuted over an alleged failure to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm to a patient and other patients being exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm’.

A spokesperson said the CQC became responsible for prosecutions arising from health and safety incidents in April 2015, and although there have been previous prosecution cases against care home providers, this ‘is the first time CQC has used these powers to take action against an NHS trust’.

A CQC statement said: ‘The prosecution follows an incident in December 2015 when a patient sustained serious injuries during a fall from a low roof at Melbury Lodge, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester.

‘By law, registered providers of health and social care services – including NHS trusts – must take all reasonable steps and exercise all due diligence to ensure patients receive safe care and treatment.

‘The case is expected to be heard later in the year by Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court.’

11:55 Chancellor Philip Hammond, who is to deliver the Spring Budget statement this Wednesday, has said that NHS and social care pressure is not ‘just about money’.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Mr Hammond said: ‘We know some of our public services are under pressure but the pressure that they are under is due to long-term factors, demographic factors.

‘We have to address the sustainability of our public services over the long-term. We’ve got to look at the underlying challenges and issues here, not just rush around dealing with short-term pressures.’

Last week, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens suggested at the Nuffield Trust Health Policy Summit that he was not expecting an increase to NHS funding in the budget statement, but he said he had backed calls for social care to urgently see increased funds.

He said: ‘All I would say is that I and others have been clearly making the case for social care. I think I was probably first out of the traps last June actually with the novel claim that there were these huge pressures on social care and if extra funding were to become available social care should have first call on that.

‘We need to ensure that if at some point in the future extra funding for social care is available, then at least some of it is appropriately targeted at helping people who need social care but are stuck in hospital. Because that will then produce the double benefit of freeing up some of the capacity in hospitals, which will in turn help improve safe, high-quality A&E services, so there is a double win there…

‘On other aspects of what we would like to see, I am not expecting the capital question to be resolved at this juncture.’

09:35 An NHS trust will be teaming with smartphone cab-hailing service Uber to transport non-emergency patients with care needs to hospital, reports the Guardian.

A social care company startup is behind the idea named UberAssist and will use disabled-access cars to move patients within London’s Barts Health NHS Trust to their appointments and back home again. It will have dedicated carers and will be bookable by the smartphone app.

The company, Cera, has been founded by former doctor Dr Ben Maruthappu, who said his service would ‘radically integrate care and transport through technology’.

He added: ‘Older people and those with disabilities will now have access to the highest-quality drivers, while carers will be able to efficiently travel to ensure they can provide services in the right place at the right time.

‘These partnerships tackle major challenges in the NHS, cracking down on bed-blocking and delayed discharges, while providing high-quality and efficient care.’

NHS Harrow, Brent and Hillingdon CCGs in north London will also use the service, adds the article.

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