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Doctors: NHS funding changes will mean avoidable deaths

Doctors have warned that NHS funding changes will lead to waiting time increases and preventable deaths.

A total of 345 doctors have signed an open letter to NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, describing the proposals, which would see only half of the funding for extra cases treated at specialist hospitals covered, as "destructive".

The consequences will be "severe" for people fighting illnesses including cancer and heart disease, consultants have warned.

The letter, seen by the Telegraph newspaper, maintains that hospitals will be forced to either not offer treatment to these extra patients, or cover the costs of treating them through cuts in other areas, including staffing levels, and warned waiting times will increase.

NHS England has said the areas have already seen budget increases:

We will listen carefully to all consultation responses on these proposals, while recognising that providers of specialised services have enjoyed income increases of over £1 billion over the past two years and now have some of the highest profit margins in the NHS - all at a time when there is also a strong case for investment in ambulance services, mental health services, primary care and A&Es.

– NHS England, spokesman

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Hospitals to recruit patients for genome sequencing

Eleven NHS hospitals across England have been selected to begin recruiting 75,000 patients to have their genetic codes sequenced.

As part of the 100,000 Genomes Project, the 'Genomic Medicine Centres' (GMCs) will focus on patients with a rare disease and their relatives, and patients with cancer. The hospitals are:

  • East of England NHS GMC
  • South London NHS GMC
  • North West Coast NHS GMC
  • Greater Manchester NHS GMC
  • University College London Partners NHS GMC
  • North East and North Cumbria NHS GMC (will recruit patients with a rare disease only)
  • Oxford NHS GMC
  • South West Peninsula NHS GMC
  • Wessex NHS GMC
  • Imperial College Health Partners NHS GMC
  • West Midlands NHS GMC

Record patient admissions increase winter strain on NHS

The unprecedented pressure being put on the NHS in England this winter has grown again with the vast majority of A&E departments feeling the strain.

The latest weekly data showed nearly half a million people arrived at A&E and record numbers were admitted to hospital.

In most, fewer than 90 per cent of patients were seen within the Government's target time of four hours, the lowest proportion on record.

ITV News Reporter Paul Davies spent the day at the Whittington Hospital in north London.

A&E doctor's concern over capacity to cope this winter

An A&E doctor has told ITV News that he believes the service does not have any spare capacity to cope with increased pressures this winter.

Dr Duncan Carmichael speaking to ITV News. Credit: ITV News

"Things are often very challenging this time of year," Dr Duncan Carmichael, A&E consultant at Whittingdon Hospital, said.

"We're seeing fairly similar pressures to previous winters, but I think each year it feels as though we are underneath even more pressure and as if there isn't any spare capacity."

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Andy Burnham hits out at 'worst A&E week in years'

Figures showing the "worst week in A&E in many years" proves the Government is out of touch with the "seriousness of the situation" in the NHS, Andy Burnham has claimed.

Andy Burnham, Labour's shadow health secretary. Credit: PA Wire

"These figures show he [David Cameron] is completely out of touch and does not have a grip on the seriousness of the situation now unfolding in the NHS," the shadow health secretary said.

“This was the worst week in A&E in many years. All over England, emergency services are stretched to the limit. Seriously ill people are waiting hours for ambulances to arrive or on trolleys in hospital corridors. This is before the winter has begun in earnest."

"It is now a serious situation and the Government’s complacency is becoming dangerous.

"It proves they can’t be trusted with the NHS."

Nearly half of Brits think NHS 'is getting worse'

Nearly half of all Britons believe the NHS is getting worse, a ComRes/ITV News Index poll suggests.

Hospitals in England have admitted more people this week than in any previous week on record. Credit: PA Wire

Some 45% say the quality of care in the health service is getting worse, with around 46% also claiming the ease of access of local services such as GPs and A&Es is deteriorating.

One in four of the 2,069 British adults interviewed said they have experienced unacceptably poor standards of care in the NHS.

Around 65% said they did not think the NHS gets the support it needs from the Government.

More A&E patients failing to be seen within four hours

The number of patients being seen within four hours in A&E departments is down significantly on the same period four years ago, NHS figures show.

Fewer than 90% of patients were seen within four hours or less in A&E departments in the seven days up to 14 December.

In a comparable week in December 2010, 94.4% of patients were seen within four hours or less.

Health officials have warned that A&E services are under increasing pressure. Credit: PA Wire

The percentage is down also from 92.1% in the same week last year.

The figures come after a ComRes/ITV News poll found that 81% of British adults believe it is unacceptable to wait longer than four hours to be seen in A&E.

Some 28% of Britons blame the Government for missing A&E waiting times targets, with 71% believing the department is underfunded.

Public urged to 'nip problems in bud' amid NHS pressure

People are being encouraged to "nip problems in the bud" to avoid going to hospital over the Christmas period.

NHS England said record numbers of emergency patients were admitted last week, with health officials claiming the pressure on A&E services is increasing significantly.

Patients have been told to avoid going to A&E departments this Christmas. Credit: PA Wire

"We have admitted more people to hospital this week (ending December 14) to take care of them than in any previous week on record," Dr Barbara Hakin, national director of commissioning operations for NHS England, said.

"As we come into the holiday period, it is important people continue to look after themselves and nip problems in the bud.

"They should ensure they have proper medication, get their flu jab if they have not done so, and get advice from their pharmacist."

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