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Sketch of blood flow to the brain

Department of Health: Progress in improving stroke care

“Care for people who have had a stroke has significantly improved since we reported in 2005. The publication and early implementation of the stroke strategy have begun to make a real difference and have helped to put in place the right mechanisms to bring about these improvements. There is still work to be done though: the poorer performers must be dragged up to the same standard as the best, so that the gains that have been made are sustained and value for money improved further. The Department should focus on ensuring that health, social care and employment services are working together much more effectively.” 

Published:
3 Feb 2010
Male dementia patient with carer

Improving dementia services in England – an interim report

“The Department of Health stated in October 2007 that dementia was a national priority and brought forward a widely supported strategy in February 2009 to transform the lives of people with dementia. The action however, has not so far matched the rhetoric in terms of urgency. At the moment this strategy lacks the mechanisms needed to bring about large scale improvements and without these mechanisms it is unlikely that the intended and much needed transformation of services will be delivered within the strategy’s five year timeframe”

Published:
14 Jan 2010
Close-up of young couple holding hands

Department of Health – Young people’s sexual health: the National Chlamydia Screening Programme

“To have a significant impact on chlamydia requires overall testing levels of 26 per cent or above. Only half of Primary Care Trusts reached this level in 2008-09, six years after the Programme’s launch.  Combined with the local inefficiencies and duplications, this shows that the delivery of the Programme to date has not demonstrated value for money.”

 

Published:
12 Nov 2009
X-ray of hands

Services for people with rheumatoid arthritis

“Patients with this debilitating and distressing disease are not identified or treated quickly enough and this dramatically affects long-term outcomes and people’s ability to remain in work. The NHS should take a more co ordinated approach to identifying people with symptoms of early rheumatoid arthritis, so that they get access to specialist care quickly and receive support and advice to help them manage and live with the disease. This would provide better value for money, better outcomes for patients, and lead to productivity gains for the economy. Some of the systemic improvements needed to manage and control this disease also apply to other long-term conditions requiring specialist-led care.”

 

Published:
15 Jul 2009
Hospital Cleaner with cleaning materials

Reducing Healthcare Associated Infections in Hospitals in England

“The Department of Health’s hands on approach to what seemed, in 2004, to be an intractable problem, has been successful in reducing MRSA bloodstream and C. difficile infections. This is a significant achievement and a good example of what concerted effort can achieve. Inevitably, with a focused and centrally driven initiative of this kind, the improvements are not uniform across the NHS and we still don’t know in any meaningful way what impact there has been on other healthcare associated infections. We have identified a number of key problems that need to be addressed such as: a lack of robust comparable data on other infection risks; increases in antibiotic resistance and poor data on hospital prescribing; and that compliance with good practice is still not universal.”

 

Published:
12 Jun 2009
People with autism at training lesson

Supporting people with autism through adulthood

“Greater awareness of the numbers of people with autism, as well as better understanding of autism amongst those providing health, social care, benefits, education and employment services, would lead to improved quality of life for those on the autistic spectrum. Specialist support and joint working across all areas – clinical, social and employment – could improve the transition from childhood to adult services, make services more effective and improve value for money.”

 

Published:
5 Jun 2009
NAO report cover

Prescribing savings in 2008

“These findings demonstrate the extent to which GPs choosing to prescribe cheaper but just as clinically effective generic medicines can lead to real savings for the NHS. This is all the more important as the NHS’s spending on medicines continues to rise year on year, as the UK’s population ages and more and better treatments become available. The almost £400 million saved in just one year is money available to improve the quality of patient care.”

Published:
12 May 2009
Cover of NHS Pay Modernisation showing image of a nurse at work

NHS Pay Modernisation in England: Agenda for Change

“It was no mean feat transferring virtually all NHS staff on to a new pay system within a very constrained timeframe, and this element of Agenda for Change has been a success. On the other hand, the benefits that should have come with this new simpler system, such as more effective working, have not been wholly achieved. So the programme as a whole has further to go before it achieves the intended value for money for the taxpayer.”

Published:
29 Jan 2009
Report cover showing stethoscope

Financial Management in the NHS: Report on the NHS Summarised Accounts 2007-08

“The surplus of £1.67 billion is equivalent to about one week’s funding for the whole NHS. The organisations in the NHS are performing better financially and this surplus has created an element of certainty for financial planning that has not existed in recent years. This is especially reassuring given current financial pressures throughout the economy.

“Auditors have found matters to be addressed, such as localised accounting issues, and there are long-standing financial problems affecting a minority of trusts. The significant challenges for the NHS next year are in meeting new International Financial Reporting Standards and tougher deadlines on closure of accounts, but it looks as though most NHS bodies are well placed to cope.”

Tim Burr, the head of the National Audit Office, said:

“Good financial management is not just about achieving a surplus. It is also about meeting delivery targets within the resources available. The surplus was generated through good financial management: NHS bodies delivered more cost savings than expected while still delivering against targets and improving the quality of healthcare. But better forecasting of the outcome could enable resources to be deployed more flexibly in-year.”

Published:
16 Dec 2008