Healthier food procurement

The Local Government Association has published Healthier food procurement.


Obesity is one of the most important public health issues currently being addressed by this country. It is a cause of chronic disease leading to early death. Two-thirds of English adults, more than one fifth of four to five-year old children and more than a third of 10 to 11-year-olds are obese or overweight.

This document provides details of the health challenge around obesity, the importance of diet, dietary advice and includes case studies covering local authority initiatives on healthier vending, ensuring healthier food and snacks are available in NHS organisations, healthier catering and making school foods healthier.

Download the document here

Poverty and mental health

The Mental Health Foundation has published Poverty and mental health: a review to inform the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s anti-poverty strategy.

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There is a close link between poverty and mental health: poverty can be a cause or consequence of mental ill health. There are a complex set of environmental factors which can significantly affect mental health and getting to the root of the problem requires engagement with this complexity.

This paper presents a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between poverty and mental health and offers recommendations to improve the situation across the life course.

Tailored end-of-life care

In this case study from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust,  find out how tailored training has helped staff to gain skills and confidence in:

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  • symptom management for patients
  • facilitating end-of-life care at home
  • recognising end of life
  • knowledge of community services

Read previous end-of-life care case studies showing the different approaches that trusts use to deliver training.

Better GP receptionist training might boost patient experience/satisfaction

Better GP receptionist training in good communication skills might help boost measures of patient experience and satisfaction with their surgery’s performance. | OnMedica | British Journal  of General Practice

8088-2Research published in the British Journal of General Practice assesses how receptionists interact with patients on the phone, in a bid to pinpoint aspects of communication associated with effectiveness and patient satisfaction.

The researchers carried out a qualitative conversation analysis of incoming calls, recorded ‘for training purposes’, in three English GP surgeries. Data were analysed qualitatively to identify effective communication, then coded to establish the relative prevalence of communication types in each surgery.

The first 150 calls (according to recording time) from each surgery, were selected for detailed analysis. In total, 447 calls were analysed, all of which were transcribed verbatim.

Analysis of the calls showed that the onus lay with patients to drive calls forward and achieve effective service when receptionists failed to offer alternatives to patients whose initial requests could not be met, at the start of the call or when they failed to summarise relevant next steps at the end of the call, when the appointment or service had been completed but some detail remained unclear to the patient.

The researchers conclude that patients in some practices have to ‘push’ for effective service when calling GP surgeries, but that receptionist training in good communication skills could help improve patient experience and satisfaction.

Full reference: Stokoe, E et al. Calling the GP surgery: patient burden, patient satisfaction, and implications for training British Journal of General Practice. Published 16 August 2016

Feeling the crunch: NHS finances to 2020

Gainsbury S (2016) Feeling the crunch: NHS finances to 2020. Research summary. Nuffield Trust

As recognised by the NHS’s Five Year Forward View, by 2020 the NHS will need to find savings of around £22 billion in order to balance its books. But there has been no clear articulation of how that gap is expected to be closed. The options for doing so include NHS providers becoming more efficient; NHS commissioners reducing the pace at which NHS activity is increasing each year, either through reducing demand or limiting access to care; more funding for the NHS; or some combination of these. This analysis examines different scenarios to determine exactly what it would take to close the gap.

Access the summary document here

Access the full document here

How GPs in London are reducing hospital referrals

Thomas, K. The Guardian. Published online: 9 August 2016

New software enables GPs to confer with local hospital consultants to get advice on whether to refer a patient or not


Charlotte Levitt, a GP based in south London, faced a dilemma. One of her patients was taking a drug that had just come onto the market and his kidney function had started deteriorating. Should she refer the patient to a consultant, or take him off the drug?

Whereas many GPs might automatically make a referral, Levitt, referral management lead at Wandsworth clinical commissioning group (CCG), was able to resolve the question quickly. She logged on to Kinesis, web-based software from Cloud2 that enables GPs to confer with local hospital consultants. In this case, the consultant advised further blood tests: if they were abnormal, the patient should be referred. If not, the drug was likely to be the problem.

Last year, there were 13.6m GP referrals in England, a 5% rise on the previous year, representing an increasing cost burden on CCGs. A 2009 report from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement found that up to 65% of patients referred to outpatient specialty clinics were discharged with “no significant pathology detected”, meaning many were unnecessary.

Read the full news article here