The Coffee Break 80

News updates this fortnight includes the long term plan, primary care networks, health and social care, primary care and improvement. The coffee break is split into sections so you can easily scroll through each area of interest.


The Long Term Plan

Firstly this fortnight we have a report by the Health Foundation looking at the role of the NHS as an anchor institution within geographical regions. The NHS is the largest employer in the UK, it spends billions on goods and services and controls significant land and physical assets all of which give it enormous power in local communities. Through its relationship with communities, the NHS can positively influence the social and economic factors that can provide beneficial environments in order to promote good health within the local population. The NHS Long Term Plan promised to explore the potential of the NHS as an anchor institution and this report questions how the NHS can best be supported and challenged to think differently about the social and economic value it brings to local populations.


Primary Care Networks

Staying with the Health Foundation we look at their briefing ‘Understanding primary care networks’. PCNs are groups of local general practices that share staff and collaborate whilst maintaining the independence of individual practices. This briefing looks at PCNs in the context of previous changes to general practice funding, examines the rationale for networks, the intended benefits and possible risks for the future of PCNs.


Health and Social Care

Moving on, this short animation by the Kings Fund explains what population health is and the role that we play in keeping communities healthy.


Primary Care

This article, by the Cheshire & Merseyside Health & Care Partnership, examines how a collaboration between hospitals and pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside has improved patient care and saved an estimated £11 million over three years through a reduction in hospital readmissions. The initiative, called ‘Transfer of Care Around Medicines’, provides support for patient and their carers following a hospital discharge. A secure digital system allows a hospital’s pharmacy team to inform the patient’s local pharmacy of their medicines on discharge and the reasons for any changes. Una Harding, pharmacist at Day Lewis Pharmacy in Aintree, said “Patients now understand we can deliver more for them. They know now that if they come into the pharmacy we can talk to them about the changes to their medication”.

Staying with the role of pharmacists, the Telegraph reports on how, from next month, pharmacies in England will start offering people free, on-the-sport heart check-ups. The “rapid detection service” will include mobile electrocardiograms, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The plan aims to identify those at risk far earlier when lifestyles changes are most likely to be effective. “Pharmacists will be expected to dole out advice on exercise and diet, with results passed directly to GP practices who can then prescribe the right medication”.



The Bake Off is back! But Pru Leith is still finding time to advise on a government review of hospital food. However, Pru’s not the first celebrity to embark on this difficult road, falling by the wayside are Albert Roux, Lloyd Grossman and James Martin and to make matters worse a 2013 report found than £50m had been wasted not on poor food – but on failed schemes to improve quality. Pru comments “A hospital meal should be a small highlight, a little pleasure and comfort, and it should help, not hinder, the patient’s recovery”.