Balloons emblazoned with pro-NHS slogans and a 100-metre-long petition against privatisation have been part of a protest in Bristol today.
The petition is addressed to the Clinical Commissioning Group because it was set up by the present government with the specific purpose of contracting out sections of local NHS services in such a way that profit making companies can run them as money-making concerns. It is this fracturing and marketization of our integrated national health service which local people are protesting about.
5,000 people have signed the document demanding that Bristol's NHS stays out of the private sector, and a procession of protestors are delivering it by hand to the city's Clinical Commissioning Group.
New figures have revealed that more than 350,000 people in the South West have asthma.
Today is World Asthma Day, and it's estimated the condition costs the NHS a billion pounds every year in treatment. This includes more than 3.7 million GP visits, and over 65,000 emergency admissions - three-quarters of which are preventable.
The first National Review of Asthma Deaths has found that two-thirds of asthma deaths could be prevented with better everyday care, and that half of patients have poor control of their condition - despite available treatments to help manage it.
Poorly controlled asthma means people take twice as many days off work as other asthma patients, and are more likely to need hospital treatment for attacks. The review recommends that those with the condition talk to their doctor if they have wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and/or shortness of breath.
Bristol will lose its NHS Homeopathic Hospital, ITV WestCountry can reveal. In an exclusive interview its managers told us they plan to re-establish it as an independent social enterprise.
Caron Bell has this exclusive report.
Health chiefs say that Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital remain under 'significant pressure' despite the lifting of emergency measures today.
Since the 4th January the hospitals have been operating under 'major incident' status which led to postponed routine operations, beause A&E units could not cope with the New Year surge in the number of patients.
A Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said that hospitals remain very busy and patients are advised to go to A&E only in a real emergency.
Hospitals in Gloucester and Cheltenham are continuing to operate under major critical incident status today.
It's now more than a week since the major incident was first declared.
At 9am this morning, patients at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Emergency Department were facing a waiting time of over five hours.
People have been urged to consider alternative options before attending either of the A&E departments. Waiting times at minor injuries units are currently between 7 and 45 minutes.
Hospitals across the region have been struggling to cope with increased demand over the winter. Emergency departments at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General say they couldn't cope with the high number of patients over the weekend, and declared a major incident.
A&E departments at Southmead hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General have also asked people to stay away unless absolutely necessary.
A spokesman from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust outlines some of the reasons why hospitals are struggling:
The main problem has been an increase in the number of sick patients coming through our doors, and those are mainly elderly patients with respiratory illness. So we’re admitting more patients, those patients are staying longer, and then some of those patients at the end of their illness are difficult to get home and our community beds are full of patients as well.
A major incident has been declared in two hospitals in Gloucestershire due to high demand over the weekend.
Emergency departments at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General said they were unable to cope with the high number of patients this weekend.
People have also been asked to stay away from A&E departments at Southmead Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General unless absolutely necessary.
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A Gloucestershire MP has asked the Health Secretary to ensure that patients are discharged from hospital more quickly after a "major incident" was declared in the county earlier this week.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Conservative member for the Cotswolds, raised the issue with the health secretary after so-called "bed blocking" was blamed for a lack of available beds at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals.
A "major incident" declared over bed shortages in two Gloucestershire hospitals is over.
On monday Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS foundation Trust said it had 51 patients needing beds which it didn't have, in both Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal.
But a spokesman for the trust says that the situation has now eased and steps are being taken to reduce delays.
The Health and Care Community has a collective responsibility to work positively together in the interests of the patient. Entering into a blame game serves the interests of no one.
A number of steps are being taken to reduce delays in patients leaving hospital, provide more care in the patient’s own home and improve the patient experience.
These steps include:
- Reviewing the timing of ward rounds by senior staff – including earlier in the day and at weekends.
- Additional investment in the Integrated Discharge Team. The team of nurses and social workers make sure everything is in place for patients to leave hospital in a safe and timely way.
- Investment in a short stay ward for patients who require a 24-48 hour hospital stay.
- Developing the Older People’s Assessment and Liaison service – reducing the need for admission to hospital.
- Working to ensure maximum bed availability at Community Hospitals, including Stroud, through the recruitment of nursing staff and a revised discharge policy.
- Investment of £3.9 million in Integrated Community Teams – providing intensive support to patients in their own homes.
- Working with the Ambulance Service so more patients can receive care at home or in the community – including expert advice from GPs, mental health professionals and specialist community teams.
Gloucestershire’s key health organisations have made a commitment to resolve the issues raised over hospital discharges.
A meeting held by the county’s health and care scrutiny committee was called today following serious concerns about statements by Dr Frank Harsent, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, about the time taken to discharge patients.
Representatives from the county council, clinical commissioning group, care service NHS trust and Hospitals NHS foundations trust all met to discuss the issues and the underlying problems that led to Dr Harsent’s claims.
At the close of the meeting, the chairman of the health and scrutiny committee requested that each partner organisation meet to agree a way forward.
Achieving the best outcome of patients must be our top priority. If there is an issue of bed blocking, then we all need to play our part in resolving it. This isn’t about blame to any one organisation; it’s about finding a solution.