Scottish Government launches Patient Portal project to give people access to their records

Patient health records go online

Computer and mouse

The portal will allow patients access to records via the internet

A scheme which gives patients access to their own health records over the internet is being piloted at two GP practices in Ayrshire.

The Patient Portal allows doctors appointments and repeat prescriptions to be booked through a secure website.

It also lets patients access their own test results, and track and monitor blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

If the £175,000 six-month trial is successful, it could be extended across the country.

The Patient Portal is being trialled at Townhead Surgery in Irvine and the Kilwinning Medical Practice.

Click the link to read more about patient records

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

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    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.

BCS Health Scotland Conference 2010

health scotland logo

22nd and 23rd September 2010

Glasgow Science Centre

Giving you advance notice that our conference this year will be the biggest and brightest yet! We are staging this event at the prestigious Glasgow Science Centre where you not only have great views over the Clyde and City but complementary entrance to the fun science exhibits. The futuristic building mirrors BCS Health Scotland’s innovative and forward looking approach..

We have three themes this year which are quality, innovation, and efficiency.

Keynote speakers include:

Matthew Swindells, former CIO Connecting for Health, and chair BCS Health

Rikard Lovstrom from Sweden to talk about their National Patient Overview project and eHealth strategy

Dorothy Whittick from Canada talking about the Canadian Health Infoway national developments and a Wellness project in Alberta

Brian Robson from Scotland on the Quality theme and his experiences from the USA.

PRESENTATIONS INVITED – Do you have something interesting to present in one of our themes ?

To get in touch please use the contact form

Exhibitions confirmed include:

AtosOrigin Alliance Emis
INPS Intersystems
Microtech Support Orion Health
Voice Technologies and many more in the pipeline

Exhibitors are staging a social networking evening after the first day events so look out for a fun time as well as stimulating and thought provoking discussions.

If you would like to Exhibit please contact Neil Campbell using the contact form

NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!

An exciting new departure will be the ‘NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!’.  These awards are given to winning NHS teams for three categories sponsored by BCS and Scottish Government, look out for an announcement in the next few weeks.

Scots doctors raise concerns over the competence of NHS 24 nurses

GPs hit out at NHS 24 nurses who ‘haven’t seen a patient in years’

GPs are concerned that some patients who use NHS 24
GPs are concerned that some patients who use NHS 24 are being sent unnecessarily to hospitals

Helen Puttick

Published on 7 Mar 2010

Concern that nurses who have had no face-to-face dealings with patients for years are working for the helpline NHS 24 are being raised by Scottish doctors.

GPs are expected to condemn the use of nurses with no recent experience of meeting patients to assess people over the telephone, at a major medical conference later this week.

Dr Georgina Brown, who has flagged-up the issue to the British Medical Association Scotland, said she worked alongside NHS 24 nurses at the Scottish Flu Response Centre. She felt they did not have the confidence to advise patients to look after themselves at home because they had not dealt with the sick, in person, for some time.

She said nurses would send people to hospitals or out-of-hours centres when they did not need medical treatment.

Dr Brown, a GP from Springburn in Glasgow, said: “They are an extremely committed group of nursing staff but a lot of them had not seen a patient in years and I felt it was inappropriate.

“If they spent even half their time in practice and the other half doing NHS 24 that would be more appropriate. Telephone triage is very difficult.”

Dr Brown said she was far more likely to give patients self care advice while her NHS 24 colleagues were more likely to refer them to another part of the health service. She said: “It is because they are following this strict algorithm [of computerised questions] and because they are not used to seeing patients on a daily basis.

“I feel over a period of time, if you do not see patients regularly you lose that level of confidence and clinical skills.”

NHS 24 nurses have a minimum of two years post-graduate experience and the majority are higher-grade nurses who have worked for at least three years outside the helpline, preferably with NHS community or hospital services.

Dr George Crooks, medical director for the helpline, said the call centre nurses were given opportunities to rotate into other clinical areas and many did hold positions in other parts of the health service, such as A&E departments. He added that a review had shown it did not make any significant difference to a patient’s outcome if they spoke to an NHS 24 nurse or GP.

Click the link for more on GPs, nurses and NHS 24

Audit Scotland publish report on managing NHS waiting lists

NHS waiting lists fairer, says study

surgeons at work

The report said patients are getting a fairer deal under the new system

Changes to NHS waiting lists have made the system fairer for patients according to the public sector watchdog Audit Scotland.

In a report it said an overhaul of the system two years ago had resulted in most patients waiting less than the 15 week target.

It concluded the new arrangements had improved the way the health service managed waiting lists.

But it criticised the way the NHS communicated with patients.

Auditor General for Scotland Robert Black said: “Waiting times are very important to patients and the new arrangements have improved the way the NHS manages waiting lists.

“The NHS now needs to build on this to make sure that the new arrangements work well for everyone.”

Click the link to read more on NHS waiting lists

New way of managing waiting lists is fairer for patients

Posted: 4 March 2010

The National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland has made big changes in how it manages waiting lists since 2008 and these have made the system fairer for patients. The NHS has done well to implement these complex new arrangements.

An Audit Scotland report, Managing NHS waiting lists – A review of new arrangements, looks at how the NHS has applied the new arrangements, known as New Ways, and how this has affected patients. New Ways aims to manage patients more consistently and bring an end to patients being put on what were sometimes referred to as ‘hidden waiting lists’, where they would lose their guarantee of being treated within a certain period of time.

The report finds that the NHS has broadly achieved these aims, and the changes have resulted in a system that is fairer for patients. But the health service now needs to do more to make the new arrangements work as effectively as possible and to help patients understand New Ways and its implications.

Read more about the Audit Scotland report on waiting lists