Experts say deals that the NHS entered into to pay for new buildings are crippling the service with extortionate payback terms. Over the past 20 years, more than 100 schemes were agreed with private companies to pay for new centres and hospitals. NHS trusts then made annual repayments with additional fees. A staggering £55bn is still owed in debts, with some trusts paying a sixth of their income in interest fees.
According to a government review, nearly 12 million people in the UK are being prescribed medicine that can cause dependence. Public Health England (PHE) found that half of these people have been on prescription medicines for a year or more, and more than a fifth for over three years. Prescribing rates are 1.5 times higher for women than for men.
Bake Off judge and celebrity chef Prue Leith has been appointed advisor to a review that will look into hospital food standards across the UK. The review was announced in June, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed seven NHS Trusts have reported cases of listeria linked to pre-packed sandwiches and salads eaten by patients.
British business is feeling the pinch of an acute skills deficit, but no organisation more so than the NHS, where long-term staff shortages have left the service close to crisis. A group of business bodies are advising the new PM to lower the salary threshold for foreign workers from £30,000 to £20,000 in order to ease the situation.
The government have announced a partnership with Amazon Echo (Alexa) that will give people access to expert health information. The voice-assisted technology will automatically search the NHS Choices website when UK users ask for health-related advice.
Around 7,000 practices across England have come together to form more than 1,200 Primary Care Networks (PCNs). The news follows the Nuffield report, which showed that falling numbers of GPs were placing a huge strain on NHS services. Since a third of appointments don’t require the attention of a family doctor, the PCNs will comprise multi-disciplinary teams, including pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics and social support workers, who will work alongside GPs.