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  1. NHS to be hit by pay strikes

    The NHS is facing a winter of discontent over pay, it was announced yesterday.

    The first results came in from a series of trade union ballots on strike action - delivering massive support for walk-outs.

    Some 68% of Unison members voted for strikes and another 20% - 88% in total - said they would support industrial action which did not involve strikes.

    Unison members include nurses, medical secretaries, healthcare assistants and paramedics together with occupational therapists, porters and cooks.

    Other unions voting on industrial action include the Royal College of Midwives.

    Unison says it plans to coordinate with the other nine unions conducting ballots on pay - although it is thought the first action could take place next month.

    Unison has 300,000 members in the NHS and 40,000 cast their votes.

    The ballots were called after the government withheld the public sector's 1% pay rise from the NHS. About 50% of staff are to get bonuses worth 1% over the next two years while others will have to rely on incremental pay rises.

    Unison general secretary Dave Prentis promised to "minimise" the impact on patients.

    He said: "This government's treatment of NHS workers has angered them and this anger has now turned into action. Refusing to pay them even a paltry 1% shows what the government really thinks about its health workers.

    "Inflation has continued to rise since 2011 and the value of NHS pay has fallen by around 12%."

    Royal College of Midwives chief executive Cathy Warwick called on midwives to join the action.

    She said: “Now is the time for midwives to say enough is enough and to show their frustration over the rejection of the justly deserved 1% pay award, and vote yes in our ballot.”

  2. Troubled hospital gets management consultants

    Management consultants are to be paid more than £2 million to come up with answers for a troubled hospital group in East Anglia, it was announced yesterday.

    McKinsey and company have been told to "fix" the problems at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust.

    Their costs are set to be paid by the regulator Monitor.

    The trust went into special measures a year ago after Care Quality Commission inspectors found staff shortages and failures to protect patients from abuse.

    Monitor says it is to reconsider the special measures after the latest CQC inspection - but there must still be plans to secure the long-term future of services.

    Its regional director Mark Turner said: “Patients in King’s Lynn must have access to quality, sustainable health services both now and in the future. Monitor, as the sector regulator, is taking a lead in helping the local health system to find the best solutions to fix the problems at the trust.

    “We recognise there is no one simple solution to protecting healthcare services and the expert team will help to find the long-term solutions that work best for patients.”

  3. Neurologist to champion Parkinson's care

    A senior neurologist is to take on a new role in overseeing Parkinson's disease care in the UK.

    Professor David Burn will undertake his task as the first clinical director appointed by Parkinsons UK.

    Professor Burn is based at Newcastle University and is a neurologist at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

    He is a specialist in movement disorder neurology and directs an ageing research unit in Newcastle.

    He said he was "excited" by his new role.

    One of his jobs will be to provide the clinical leadership for a new Parkinson's excellence network next year.

    He said: "I’m looking forward to working with the Parkinson’s community to bring about a real sea change in the delivery of Parkinson’s services.

    “The quality of treatment and care Parkinson’s patients currently receive varies greatly across the country. Not everyone with Parkinson’s is cared for by expert Parkinson’s clinicians, many patients are not given the information and support they need to manage the condition and not enough people are being enrolled on clinical trials."

  4. Alcoholic disease blights north-west

    The north-west of England may have the country's biggest alcohol problem, according to new figures for hospital care.

    Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire all top a new league setting out rates of hospital admission for alcohol-related liver disease, according to new figures.

    The rate of admissions in Manchester is more than three times that in the west of England where the regions of Wessex and its neighbour, which includes Gloucestershire and Wiltshire have the least problems.

    Across England, some 10,500 patients were admitted to hospital with alcohol-related liver disease in the last year, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

    Some 1,010 of these admissions were in Greater Manchester, 414 in Liverpool and 472 in Lancashire.

    Centre chair Kingsley Manning said: "This map paints a powerful picture of one of the many impacts that alcohol has on patients and the NHS in this country."

    [Report]

 

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