Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon launches the Patient Management System

NHS computer system


A new £44 million IT system which will pave the way for a paper-free NHS was today launched.

The Patient Management System (PMS) will be used to streamline in-patient and out-patient bookings, manage waiting lists, order tests and report test results.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that PMS is the first system that can be used in any hospital in the NHS and will replace paper processes, improving security and freeing up time for staff to spend on other vital tasks.

It will enable staff to keep track of patient records much more easily and allow information to be communicated back to GPs.

Until now, health boards have had different patient management systems in place. Ensuring they are all using the same one will make it easier for information to be shared securely when a patient is being treated by more than one health board.

So far, six NHS boards across Scotland have signed up to the system, covering 70 per cent of Scotland’s population, with the rest set to join in the coming months.

The system was launched with a visit to Monklands Hospital in Airdrie to see how a trial of the new programme has benefited patients and staff in the renal ward.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“This is a major step towards a paper-free NHS.

“This new system will be much more efficient, faster and more secure than outdated paper-based systems. It also frees up money to be spent on front-line services and is better for environment.

“Benefits for patients and staff include improved security, faster test results, staff being able to share information more quickly, and having staff freed up to carry out other tasks.

“It will also reduce the number of times patients have to give repeat information, which I know can be incredibly frustrating.

“Communicating with patients is one of the areas that I am absolutely determined the NHS will improve on and this new system will help us achieve this.

“This is just one of a range of steps we are taking to put the quality of care patients receive at the heart of everything the NHS does.”

Dr Jamie Traynor, consultant in renal medicine at Monklands Hospital, said:

“This Patient Management System is, to me, the first major leap towards a hospital-wide electronic patient record with huge advantages in the delivery of patient care.

“As well as the many efficiency benefits, patients will benefit directly as the staff looking after them will be able to make treatment decisions based on real-time access to up-to-date information such as blood results and medicines.

“It is also worth stressing that there will be a level of security built into this system that will exceed what we are able to achieve with paper records.”

The TrackCare™ connected healthcare information system, developed by InterSystems Corporation, will be implemented as the Patient Management System by health boards in Ayrshire & Arran, Borders, Grampian, Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Lanarkshire, NHS Lothian has already implemented the programme.

The framework contract enabling all Scottish health boards to sign individual contracts from this solution was signed earlier this year. Representatives from the consortium health boards above who led the procurement programme today signed contracts against it to the value of £44 million.

Scottish Government announces £4 million investment in telecare for older people

Hi-tech help to keep older people at home

A telecare system

A total of £16m has been invested in telecare technology since 2006

Hi-tech devices to help older people remain independent in their own homes will be funded with a new grant from the Scottish government.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison announced £4m of funding for the “vital” telecare technology.

The devices include vibrating “rumble” pillows to alert people with hearing problems if there is a fire alarm, and electronic medication reminders.

Funding is available for all 32 council areas and could help 13,000 people.

Every local council and health board partnership is to be offered £120,000 to spend in 2010-11, but each authority has to provide match funding.

A total of £16m has been invested in telecare technology since 2006, with 25,800 older people having benefited.

We are firmly committed to free personal care but we need to change the ways we deliver care
Shona Robison
Public Health Minister

Ms Robison said: “Investing in telecare is vital if we are to remain ahead of the game in meeting the needs of our growing older population.

“Telecare can help older people remain independent in their own homes – something we must explore further if we are to rise to the challenges we face.”

Read more about this investment in telecare

Life Expectancy in Special Areas of Scotland

The Registrar General for Scotland today published a report on differences in life expectancy between urban and rural areas, deprived and less deprived areas, and Community Health Partnership areas. The report shows life expectancy in the period 2006-2008.

Commenting on these results, Registrar General for Scotland Duncan Macniven said:

“This report shows that life expectancy varies a great deal across Scotland. In general, people in the countryside live longer than people in towns. And there is a big difference in expected lifespans between the most deprived and least deprived areas – over 13 years for men and 9 years for women.”

The key points in this report for life expectancy at birth in 2006-2008 are:

Men in rural areas – remote and accessible – can expect to live over 3.5 years longer (77.2 and 77.5 years respectively) than men in large urban (73.7 years);

Women in rural areas – remote and accessible – can expect to live around 2 years longer (81.4 and 81.2 years respectively) than women in large urban areas (79.3 years);

Life expectancy decreases as deprivation increases;

Men in the 10 per cent least deprived areas of Scotland can expect to live for 13.5 years longer than men in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (80.8 years compared with 67.3 years);

Women in the 10 per cent least deprived areas of Scotland can expect to live around 9 years longer than those in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (84.1 years compared with 75.1 years);

Men in East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership area can expect to live over 8 years longer than men in North and East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership areas (78.0 years compared to 69.4 and 69.6 years respectively);

Women in East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership area can expect to live around 6 years longer than women in North and East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership areas (82.5 years compared to 76.0 and 76.8 years respectively);

In the 10 years since 1996-1998, life expectancy at birth has increased in every Community Health Partnership area, although in 11 cases by a margin so small or non-significant that it may be a consequence of the volatile nature of life expectancy estimates in small areas;

For men, the largest increase in life expectancy at birth, over the 10 year period, was in West Lothian Community Health Partnership area with 5.7 per cent (an improvement of 4.1 years) and for women in East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership area with 3.8 per cent (an improvement of 3.0 years);

The gap of 8.6 years between the Community Health Partnership area with the highest male life expectancy at birth and the Community Health Partnership area with the lowest has not changed over the 10 year period; for females it has increased by 0.7 years (from 5.8 years in 1996-1998 to 6.5 years in 2006-2008);

The gap between male and female life expectancy narrowed in all but 6 of the Community Health Partnership areas. The largest decrease (2.2 years) was in North Highland (4.0 years in 2006-2008 compared to 6.2 years in 1996-1998).

The full publication, Life Expectancy in Special Areas 2006-2008, is available on this website.

Audit Scotland reports on orthopaedic services

NHS ‘could save £2m’ on joint implants

Hip Xray

Waiting times for treatment have ‘considerably’ reduced

Health boards in Scotland could save millions of pounds by handling the cost of knee and hip replacements more efficiently, a spending watchdog said.

Audit Scotland found that £2m could be saved just by stopping NHS boards from purchasing replacement hip and knee joints from different suppliers.

The price difference in joints was highlighted in a review of orthopaedic services across the NHS in Scotland.

It found some boards were paying more than double for implants.

Artificial hips can range in cost from an average £858 in Lothian to £1,832 in neighbouring Forth Valley.

The cost of knee implants varies from an average £1,166 at the Golden Jubilee hospital near Glasgow to £2,060 in the Western Isles.

‘Scope’ for savings

The report stated: “NHS boards can reduce the cost of implants and standardise training by minimising the different types of implants that are used and purchasing implants that provide best value-for-money based on cost and clinical effectiveness.”

Read more about NHS Scotland savings

Read the Audit Scotland Report

Doctors outline recommendations for the future of high quality care for patients

Long-term ill need ‘more time with their GP’

A woman in consultation with her GP

The ageing population means people have more complex health needs

GPs want longer appointments to treat patients with long-term, complex conditions, says the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Doctors would like the average consultation time between a patient and GP to be increased from 10 to 15 minutes.

People with minor ailments should be offered help via telephone or internet surgeries.

The Department of Health says GPs decide locally on consultation times.

The Royal College of General Practitioners represents over 38,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients.

We have telephone surgeries running every morning in my practice. Patients like them
Steve Field, chairman, Royal College of GPs

Their manifesto outlines some recommendations for the future of high quality care for patients, for whichever party is elected following this year’s general election.

Reduced funding

The GPs’ manifesto says: “The ageing population means that more patients will have long-term and increasingly complex conditions. They will need more time with their GP to discuss their care and treatment options.”

Read more about GP’s manifesto

BMA Scotland publishes a critique of the recent Nuffield study on health spending

Scots doctors dissect critical report

  • 8467788
    Damning critique: BMA Scotland disagrees with report

Helen Puttick, Health Correspondent

Published on 18 Mar 2010

Scottish doctors have published a damning critique of a report which claimed Scotland had the most expensive but poorest health service in the UK.

The British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland said the study by the Nuffield Trust did not make meaningful comparisons between the health services in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. They asserted that the trust’s report focused on healthy policy priorities that exist in England, rather than considering the different aims of the devolved nations.

According to BMA Scotland, while the report attacked the devolved nations for failing to improve waiting times, data show the median wait for treatment for cataract surgery, bypass surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement and some heart procedures was lower in one or more of the devolved countries than in England. It also said the work of GPs was ignored and surgeries in the devolved countries had achieved higher scores than England in the GP performance-related pay scheme.

Click the link to read about BMA Scotland healthcare critique

Scottish Government publishes bill to improve NHS patients' rights

Legal guarantee to be given for treatment waiting times

Surgeons operating - generic

Patients will have a legally guaranteed waiting time for an operation

Patients will be legally guaranteed hospital treatment within 12 weeks under new legislation which has been unveiled by the Scottish government.

An independent advice service will also be created for anyone unhappy with the care provided by the NHS.

The Patient Rights (Scotland) Bill will introduce a legal right to complain about treatment.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the bill aimed to improve patients’ experience of using health services.

The maximum waiting time of 12 weeks will begin when a patient is put on a waiting list and will apply to both day case and in-patient procedures.

It is absolutely right that patients know what they can expect from their health service
Nicola Sturgeon
Health Secretary

If a hospital fails to comply, it will have to ensure treatment is given at the “next available opportunity” and provide an explanation to the patient for the delay.

Health boards will have a duty to direct patients who are unsatisfied with their treatment to the new Patient Advice and Support Service.

Follow the link to read more about improving patient care

Cost of social care for the elderly is set to double in the next 15 years

Elderly care costs set to double in the next 15 years

Published Date: 16 March 2010

THE cost of social care for the elderly is set to double in the next 15 years just to maintain current standards, according to a report today by the King’s Fund.

New research by the think-tank found that the bill, projected to reach £8.1 billion in 2015, would hit £12.1bn in 2026.

Should the Government introduce universal free social care for the elderly, costs would rise to £16.8bn by 2016. King’s Fund called for a “partnership” model, where half of everyone’s care was met by the state.

See the article

Poll: Nurses Spend a Quarter of Shift on Non-patient Care

ATLANTA, GA (March 1, 2010) – A new Jackson Healthcare survey of hospital nurses found that nurses estimate spending one quarter of their twelve-hour shift on indirect patient care.  Respondents cited regulatory requirements, redundant paperwork and logistical challenges as the primary contributors of time spent away from the patient’s bedside.

The study, which targeted nurses, nursing managers and chief nursing officers (CNO) across the U.S., was conducted in partnership with StatCom and Travel Nurse Solutions.  It was based upon an online survey of 2,439 nurses, and focuses on the 1,663 who work in hospital settings.

Nurses reported having to document patient care information in multiple locations, in addition to having to complete logs, checklists and other redundant paperwork that prevented them from having more time with their patients.  Beyond these paperwork redundancies, nurses reported significant time being wasted trying to secure needed equipment and supplies.

When asked for solutions to these challenges, nurses recommended a combination of ancillary staff support, hospital-wide communications technology and reductions in redundant regulatory requirements.

According to Jackson Healthcare Chief Marketing Officer, Bob Schlotman, the results reveal a concerning trend.  “Nurses are being taken away from the patient’s bedside by non-patient activities.  Unfortunately, due to the regulatory nature of healthcare, we know that some of these redundancies won’t go away.  However, the good news is methodology, in the form of process improvements, and adaptive technology now exists to help minimize and manage these frustrations for our nurses.”

The survey found several significant differences between front line nurses and CNOs.  CNOs were more concerned with the coordination of patient care, whereas nurses felt overworked and in need of additional staff support.

The survey summary data is available at Jackson Healthcare.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY-Between October 22 and November 30, 2009, Jackson Healthcare conducted a web-based survey of 2,439 nurses.  Results reported in this press release focused on the 1,663 of those nurse respondents who work in hospital settings.  Jackson had a response rate of 4.45 percent from the 54,764 invitations distributed.  The survey has an error range of +/- 1.29 percent, at the 95 percent confidence level.