Meals on wheels for elderly in 63% decline

Meals on wheels deliveries for the elderly and vulnerable have declined by almost two-thirds under the coalition. Research shows that services offered by English councils have dropped by 63%, however, but prices have risen. The National Association of Care Catering also carried out research in November which found that a third of all UK local authorities had abandoned meals on wheels services altogether.

NHS England announces strategy to bypass GPs in cancer diagnosis

As part of a five-year strategy to improve prevention, detection and treatment of cancer, patients who fear they may have cancer can bypass GPs and self-refer themselves for hospital tests. Following international research which found that Britain’s survival rates for common cancers are worse than the European average with around 25% of cancer diagnoses made too late, the plan aims to save 8,000 lives a year. Initiatives such as patients being allowed to book appointments directly with a hospital diagnostic service will be tested.

Lack of GP appointments increasing hospital difficulties

NHS research has found that almost one million patients a year are unable to get a GP appointment resulting in patients seeking care at A&E units. The latest survey of patient satisfaction with GP services found that the percentage of unwell people unable to get a GP consultation has risen from 8.85% in 2011 to 10.91% in 2014. An estimated 941,646 patients attended A&E between January and September 2014 because they could not see their GP.

CQC publishes guidance on use of surveillance to monitor care

In November, the Care Quality Commission agreed to publish guidance around using surveillance to monitor care, setting out issues for relatives and providers to take in to account before installing cameras in care homes or domestic settings. Information for health and adult social providers published in December 2014 sets out the key issues providers should take in to account before using hidden or open surveillance, including consideration of the wellbeing of their staff and the impact of being recorded.