Provider bulletin: 9 January 2019

This weekly newsletter is sent to NHS providers’ chairs, chief executives, finance, medical, nursing and HR directors, and board secretaries.

Long Term Plan for the NHS published

Following the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan this week, we want to thank those of you who contributed to its development. The result is a practical and realistic set of changes that should bring about important improvements in care quality and outcomes, while also tackling the pressures our staff face.

The publication of the plan is one important milestone. We now need to work together to deliver these improvements and make the Long Term Plan a reality; this is what will make a difference for patients and staff. The planning guidance and CCG allocations will set out next steps on implementation.

For action

Patient Safety Alert: Risk of harm from inappropriate placement of pulse oximeter probes

An alert has been issued highlighting the risk of harm from inappropriate placement of pulse oximeter probes.

Measurement of oxygen saturation, using a pulse oximeter probe, is routinely undertaken as part of patients’ vital signs during diagnosis and ongoing monitoring. Adult oximeters are designed to attach to specific parts of the body, such as the finger or an ear, but are not interchangeable between these sites, and probes for babies and children need to be selected according to the patient’s weight. Inappropriate placement of oximeters can lead to inaccurate readings putting the patient at risk of harm.

If your organisation uses oxygen saturation probes as part of routine or emergency monitoring of patients, please develop an action plan to reduce the risk of their inappropriate placement, as highlighted in the alert.

Quality accounts 2018/19 requirements

All providers are required to publish a quality account by 30 June each year. We have now published requirements for 2018/19, which include new considerations for disclosures on seven day hospital services and arrangements for staff who speak up.

Please ensure your governance team is aware of these requirements.

Quality reports arrangements for 2018/19

NHS foundation trusts are required to include a quality report in their annual report each year, and obtain assurance from their auditors on aspects of it. We have now published the requirements for 2018/19, including guidance for NHS trusts that may also choose to adopt the same principles.

NHS foundation trusts’ governors need to select the local indicator for assurance as in previous years. For 2018/19 we are recommending for acute providers that this indicator should be the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI). More details are provided on page 14.

Share your views on our new catheter resources

As a result of responses from stakeholders involved in the programme to reduce Gram-negative blood stream infections, we have developed resources to help prevent urinary tract infections and to standardise care. This includes a national catheter passport and a catheter care plan.

To help make these resources as useful as possible, we would like to hear your views and the views of your frontline staff. Nursing and medical directors — please cascade our resources and consultation to your teams to review and feed back by Wednesday 16 January.

For information

Upcoming changes to the venous thromboembolism (VTE) data collection

In April 2018 NICE updated their Venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk assessment guidance (NG89). One of the main changes was that patients aged 16 and 17 years old should be risk assessed. The guidance previously only referred to patients over the age of 18.  From April 2019 we will be bringing our VTE data collection in line with this change and the NHS Standard Contract will also be updated.

The current VTE Data Collection guidance will be replaced by new guidance in March.

You will need to start collecting the data from April 2019 with the first submission of data including the new criteria for Q1 2019/20 in July 2019, so you may need to make adjustments to your IT systems to take account of this change.

Data for Q4 2018/19 submitted in April 2019 should be collected using the old criteria for patients aged 18+ only.

Updates from our partners

NHS England

New guidance on instant messaging for the NHS

New guidance has been published by NHS England, NHS Digital, Public Health England, and the Department of Health and Social Care to help NHS organisations and staff to make a judgement on how and when to use instant messaging safely in acute clinical settings, taking in to account data sharing and data privacy rules.

The NHS has not endorsed any particular instant messaging tools; instead, the guidance sets out what information governance issues need to be considered and what standards need to be met.

Please share this guidance with your information governance leads and department heads to communicate the guidance to clinicians.

If you have any queries about this guidance, please contact

Improvement Fundamentals course 401 — An introduction to spreading improvement gains

The fourth course in the Improvement Fundamentals programme – a series of free online courses run by NHS England’s Sustainable Improvement team – starts on Monday 21 January 2019.

‘An Introduction to spreading improvement gains’ will cover how to spread your quality improvements beyond your immediate workplace. The CPD-accredited course is made up of five 30-minute modules. You don’t have to commit to completing all of the modules, but you will need to do so in order to gain a certificate for CPD accreditation. You don’t have to have completed any of the previous courses to participate in the course – you just need to have an idea of a project you would like to work on.

To enrol onto the course please visit the QI Learning Platform. If you have not already registered on the platform, please register first.

NHS Supply Chain

VAT registration changes for NHS Supply Chain

You were notified by email on Tuesday 11 December that from 1 April 2019, the entity responsible for managing NHS Supply Chain procurement will be Supply Chain Coordination Limited (SCCL), an entity VAT registered independently of the NHS, and therefore existing outside the English NHS divisional VAT registration.

Directors of finance — to help NHS Supply Chain understand the impact of these changes on your back office and procurement systems and processes, please ask your relevant finance or procurement representative to complete this short survey by Thursday 31 January.

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