FAILING NHS TRUSTS
A second National Health Service trust has been singled out by the government as needing to improve its operations or face being taken over, reports The Guardian (p6),
The Department of Health said that Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust in north-east London could be placed in the regime designed to rescue failing trusts, according to the Guardian.
The news follows the announcement this week that South London Healthcare Trust, which runs three hospitals, is on course to become the first trust to be placed in the "unsustainable providers regime," reports the Guardian. (See OnMedica article 26/06)
Both hospitals have been crippled by financial commitments to private finance initiative (PFI) payments, schemes adopted by some trusts to build new hospitals.
The Barking trust has to find nearly 50 million pounds this year for its PFI payments, the papers point out.
It is one of seven trusts, including the South London trust, now being allowed to go bust. They were originally offered grants from a 1.5 billion pounds Department of Health fund designed to help those in difficulty meet their payments, however they have to meet strict quality standards to get the funds.
The papers point out that the Barking trust is also failing to deliver proper care standards.
The Independent, which carries a double-page article on the issue of debt-ridden hospitals, notes that The Princess Royal Hospital, in south London, was one of the first PFI scheme adopted by the NHS. (p8, 9)
It says four other trusts may require bailouts because their PFI deals are unsustainable, while others may have to "reconfigure their services," which could lead to job cuts. Others may be taken over by a new management system.
The Daily Mail (p10) says 21 NHS trusts have admitted they are in financial crisis, amassing combined debts of nearly 130 million pounds.
Some trusts are trying to save money by merging with nearby hospitals, the paper says. An additional article on the same page says the NHS blew one million pounds on a "fat cat" consultant at South London trust, offering money-saving tips.
The news is also carried in The Daily Telegraph (p6).
BLOOD-CLOT TEST FOR CANCER
Tens of thousands of people with deep vein blood clots will be checked for cancer every year under the National Health Service guidelines, reports The Daily Telegraph (p8).
In a short article the paper says evidence shows the clots could be an early sign of tumours. Up to 56,000 people will be eligible.
BLOOD INFECTION TEST
British scientists have developed a potentially life-saving test that quickly identifies the main cause of bacterial meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia cases in babies, reports The Daily Telegraph (p2).
The illnesses are all caused by Group B Streptococcal infection (GBS) and is fatal in about one in eight babies.
Scientists at the Health Protection Agency (HPA) came up with the method of testing blood or spinal fluid for a gene in the bacterium, which gives results in less than two hours.