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#GPnews: Jeremy Hunt sets out plan for doctors to receive training in dealing with patient deaths

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17:30 ‘Most people seems to have forgotten’ that he targeted for the NHS to be paperless by 2018 (no we didn’t), health secretary Jeremy Hunt has told the House of Lord’s committee on NHS sustainability.

Mr Hunt added that he has been told 2018 is not realistic, but that they are ‘making progress’.

He said this would include more A&E departments accessing patients’ GP record and NHS 111 accessing records.

He also said the ‘blue button scheme’ would allow patients to find their records online and download them to their phone as of next year.

17:15 NHS services in a region of England will not be able to meet budget targets set by NHS England for the next two years, according to plans to overhaul healthcare in the area.

Despite plans to close the £584m gap facing Hertfordshire and West Essex, the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) said some of the organisations in the area will not be able to ‘accept’ the control totals set by NHS England in July, reports Pulse’s sister title The Commissioning Review.

The gap amounts to a total of £93m over the two years, with a £42m deficit in 2017/18 and £51m in 2018/19.

While the document does not specify which organisations will fail to meet their targets, all three acute trusts in the area were running deficits in the second quarter of this financial year.

The document says: ‘Whilst the current solutions identified would deliver financial balance by 2020/21 they will not be delivered with such an aggressive profile across the years.

‘There remains a gap to achieving the aggregate control total as set out in the table below. This means that not all organisations are currently in a position to accept the control totals.’

15:35 Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has responded to a CQC review (see below) finding no hospitals are sufficiently probing deaths of patients, in a way which is helpful to grieving relatives.

In his response, Mr Hunt said the DH ‘will ensure that investigations of any deaths that may be the result of problems in care are more thorough and genuinely involve families and carers’.

This comes amid a range of new requirements on hospitals with regards to ‘avoidable’ deaths coming into force from next April.

This includes all NHS trusts having a board-level leader as a patient safety director and having to publish data on deaths that were potentially avoidable and serious incidents, alongside estimates of how many deaths could have been prevented in their organisation.

Mr Hunt also said HEE would be tasked with reviewing the training doctors and nurses receive on dealing with ‘tragedy’.

He said: ‘Because the report highlighted issues around the support given to families, Health Education England will be asked to review the training for all doctors and nurses with respect both to engaging with patients and families after a tragedy and – equally importantly – maintaining their own mental health and resilience in extremely challenging situations.’

12:55 A GP has been awarded a £40,000 research grant for a proposed study into how GP out-of-hours services can improve how they provide end-of-life care.

Dr Huw Williams, an honorary research fellow at Cardiff University and GP partner at Westway Surgery in Cardiff is the first recipient of a new grant given by RCGP and Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Fellowship in partnership.

Dr Williams’ research is based on healthcare workers’ accounts of care given to patients at or near the end of their lives, which have highlighted areas for improvement in out-of-hours services.

RCGP said the grant ‘aims to identify and support a future leader who brings palliative and end of life care to the forefront of primary care research’.

11:30 The number of calls to the NSPCC’s child telephone helpline Childline focusing on gender dysphoria has doubled over the last year, reports the Guardian.

Children as young as 11 were concerned their biological sex did not match their gender identity, said the article, but the majority of calls were from children aged 12 to 15.

In all, Childline received around eight calls a day about gender issues this year.

NSPCC head of children and young people participation Emily Cherry said: ‘I don’t think we can be clear in why there is a big increase in the number of calls. I think we’re slowly trying to talk more openly about trans issues…

 ‘We’re hearing about a huge amount of anxiety about talking to trusted adults about transitioning, one thing we give them is confidence and help with finding the words to talk to parents.’

10:45 The Sun carries a health warning for vitamin C tablets that dissolve in water. The article says that just one tablet may contain as much salt as two bags of crisps.

Dr Sarah Brewer, nutritional expert, said: ‘Heart problems are a common side effect in a diet too high in salt.

‘Too much salt will raise your blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and heart attack.’

09:45 Rather than focusing on finding answers for families, NHS hospitals are ’covering up’ failings in the instances of patients dying, reports the Telegraph.

A CQC review of how hospitals probe deaths, ordered by the health secretary after complaints against Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, found not a single hospital is doing this properly. The review, which looked at 12 NHS trusts, also found that grieving relatives were treated without kindness, respect or honesty.

Families said they were left with the impression that the NHS spent more time on cover ups than on saving lives, the report said.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: ‘Families and carers are not always properly involved in the investigations process or treated with the respect they deserve.

‘While elements of good practice exist, there is not a single NHS trust that is getting it completely right currently.’