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Tagged: healthcare policy

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NHS maternity units are in crisis because of the shortage of midwives and the increase in births. According to a UK National Audit Office 2013 Report, there's a shortage of 2,300 midwives and births are at their highest level for 40 years. This is straining overstretched maternity units and resulting in closures and blunders.

Closures of maternity units
"Where the demand for maternity services might outstrip capacity, some trusts are restricting access through pre-emptive caps on numbers or reactive short-term closures in order to safeguard the quality of care," the Report says.

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Here’s the paradox: cancer is the most preventable of all the chronic illnesses and yet the incidence of cancer growth in Africa and other developing regions of the world is of pandemic proportions, which is exacting a significant economic and social toll.


Reason 1: There is a massive difference between global spend on cancer and on infectious diseases. Although cancer claims more lives globally than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, it receives less than three percent of public and private funding from global health. The overwhelming amount goes to infectious diseases.

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joined 4 years, 7 months ago

Mike Farrar

Independent management consultant

Mike Farrar is an independent management consultant and former Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation. He joined the organisation in May 2011.

Mike was chief executive of the North West England SHA from May 2006 to April 2011. He was previously chief executive of West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authorities, chief executive of Tees Valley Health Authority and head of primary care at the Department of Health.

Mike was also a board member of Sport England, and in August 2009 was appointed as National Tsar for Sport and Health. Mike was also awarded the CBE in 2005 for services to the NHS and is an honorary fellow of the University of Central Lancashire.


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A&E is the barometer of the NHS. In 2012 some 22 million people attended A&E in the UK. A 50% increase in the last 10 years, while the UK population only increased 7% over the same period.

The Royal College of Surgeons has warned that the knock-on effect of this is last minute cancellations of planned surgeries. Official figures show that for the first three months of 2013 some 20,000 planned operations were cancelled.

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Can patient aides, comprised of online video content libraries of trusted health information, enhance shared decision making between patients and their doctors, lower costs and increase the quality of healthcare? American payors think they can.

Both ends of the stethoscope
We know very little about the hidden dynamics of doctor-patient relationships. We do know however, that doctors have a moral and legal obligation to inform patients about their medical conditions and explain treatment options, but only patients have the right to decide on their treatment. So, how do patients decide about competing treatment options?

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If I’d known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.” Memorable words from Eubie Blake, the American jazz composer, lyricist and pianist who died in 1983 at the age of 96. Today, people do take better care of themselves.  Examples of people who do, include rock legends Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, the badboys of the 1960s who became the goodboys of the 1990s. Now, at 70 and 69 respectively, they continue to work, support worthy causes and enjoy a good quality of life.

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Whose age is it anyway?

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You can’t see “it”. You can’t touch “it”. “It” tends to creep up on you unnoticed. Every year “it” kills tens of millions and costs billions. “It” destroys households, communities and even nations. "It" has been described as "the biggest threat to the 21st century.”

“It” is chronic non communicable diseases (NCDs): cancers, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory conditions and type2 diabetes, four of the biggest killers that have emerged as one of the greatest social and economic development challenges of this century.

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