NHS Trust to Charge Foreign Patients 'upfront' Under Law Change

On 6th February 2017, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that every National Health Service (NHS) trust will have a legal duty to charge foreign patients “upfront” unless they can prove they are eligible for non-urgent care. From April this year, the law would be changed to make sure that the overseas patients made a “fair contribution” to healthcare they received. Once the law come into effect then, foreign patients could be refused operations unless they cover their costs in advance. The health secretary has ordered hospitals to carry out strict nationality checks to prevent health tourists cheating the NHS. This new law means overseas patients for non-urgent treatment such as cataract removal or hip operation could now be turned away unless they agree to pay the NHS bill. If ineligible overseas patients cannot pay first then they will be refused from treatment unless their case is deemed urgent. Mr Hunt said that the government have no problem with overseas patients using the NHS service as long as they make a fair contribution to the NHS, just as the British taxpayer does. The aim of these changes was to recover up to £500m a year by the middle of this Parliament to reinvest in the NHS. According to the Department of Health, nobody would be refused from emergency treatment, whether they could pay or not. Under the new changes, immigrants from outside the Europe, who pay an immigration health surcharge, will also lose their right to free NHS fertility treatment. The chair of the British Medical Association council, Dr Mark Porter said that it is hard to see how these new proposals will operate from scratch in just three months in an NHS, which is already incapable to cope with normal operations. He warned the government to be very careful not to demonise overseas patients. Visit our blog page daily for more updates on UKs' Healthcare System. Recruitment Synergy is a UK based Medical Recruitment Agency. Remember us for Locum, temporary and permanent jobs across UK. We also provide compliance support  and migration consultation to our candidates.


BMA Announces New GP Contract Agreement for 2017/18

The British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee,NHS England and the Government have reached agreement on changes to the general practice contract that will benefit both GPs and patients. From 1st April 2017, the new contract will take place and will see investment of around £238 million going into the contract for 2017/18. In addition, £157 million from an earlier earmarked plan will be transferred into core GP funding so that family doctors can be more flexible in how they care for the most weak. Every year NHS England and the BMA conduct discussions on revisions to the GP contract. Here are listed some key changes made for the 2017/18 GP Contract for England. £30m to cover increases in indemnity costs. Provide significant improvements to sickness and maternity absence cover arrangements. Direct reimbursement of Care Quality Commission registration fees Bring extra funding for the care of people with learning disabilities Cut bureaucratic workload over unplanned admissions Provide funding to cover the extra work caused by the new system for transferring patient records run by Capital. Improve the GP retainer scheme National Health Service (NHS) England has also agreed with the BMA that a group will be set up after April 2017 to examine the future of the payment arrangements known as “QOF”. The chair of BMA General Practitioners Committee (GPC), Dr Chaand Nagpaul is very pleased that BMA have reached an agreement that offers important and significant improvements to the contract. Dr Nagpaul said the changes in the GP contract will provide much needed stability and relief for GP practices by lessening bureaucracy and providing financial support in key areas. It is promising that NHS England were willing to listen to GPs' concerns in many of these areas and work with the BMA’s GP committee to provide workable solutions. Visit our blog page daily for more updates on healthcare system of the UK. Recruitment Synergy is a UK based Medical Recruitment Agency. We offer Medical Recruitment and migrational services to our clients and candidates all over the UK.


BMA Criticises Mental Health Underfunding

The British Medical Association (BMA) has raised concerns about the underfunding of mental health hospitals after research found that the budgets these trusts had shrunk by £150m in the last four years. The Health Foundation conducted a research for the BBC’s Panorama programme revealed the fall despite the government’s claims that that NHS funding has increased by £8bn in that time. As part of the Health Foundation research, a Freedom of Information survey sent to 33 mental health trusts has found a 50% rise in unexpected mental health deaths at the trusts between 2012-13 and 2015-16. The chair of the BMA’s community care committee, Dr Gary Wannan said the chronic underfunding of mental health services is totally unacceptable. It has left some of the most vulnerable people in society without the support and care that they desperately need. It is very important that the mental health problems are identified and diagnosed as early as possible and that people have access to the right care and support, he added. Anita Charlesworth, the Health Foundation’s analyst told the BBC that mental health trusts have been receiving a lessening share of the NHS budgets as demand from patients increased. She further added that the National Health Service has not set out to cut mental health services but they’ve to look for cuts to make up that budget shortfall and often it is mental health services that have suffered the effect of those. A spokesperson from the Department of Health said that the trend of rising death owed to changes in the way the NHS records and investigated such deaths. This year mental health spending by Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs) has gone up by £342m, omitting the PM’s allocation of an additional £1.4bn for mental health during this Parliament. Visit our blog daily for more updates on UKs' Healthcare System. If you need any help with Medical Recruitment across the UK, then feel free to contact us anytime.


NHS Failing to Recover Millions from Overseas Patients

An investigation has found that the overseas patients have left the NHS with an unpaid bill of almost £30 million in just one year. MPs have warned that the system for recovering cash from overseas patients who use the National Health Service is "chaotic" and costing millions. MPs were "not confident” that the Department of Health is taking any effective action to recover charges from overseas patients who leave the NHS with unpaid bills after medical treatment. They urged the Government to "get a grip" on the issue. Currently, some treatments such as GP appointments and accident and emergency care, are free to all patients and some patients, such as refugees and those applying for asylum, are exempt from medical charges. In other cases, statutory regulations need hospital trusts to make and recover charges in respect of the fee of treating overseas patients. Most hospital care is chargeable. Public Accounts Committee report states that if the NHS does not recover the price of treating patients who are not eligible to free care, then there is less money available to treat other people and even more pressure on NHS finances. MPs from the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that the NHS was failing to recognise chargeable patients, whereas the Government was also failing to get money back from European countries where mutual contracts are in place. In 2014/15, the UK government recovered only £50 million from overseas patients but paid out £675 million. By 2017/18 the Government has a goal to recover up to £500 million a year from all overseas patients, though it is widely expected to miss this. The Labour and Co-operative MP and chairwoman of PAC, Meg Hillier said that the Government's failure on retrieving the costs of treating overseas patients is depriving the NHS of vital funds. The chair of BMA council, Dr Mark Porter said any charging systems should not inhibit sick and vulnerable patients from receiving proper care, otherwise there may be serious consequences for their health and that of the public in general. Visit our blog page daily for more updates on healthcare system of the UK. Recruitment Synergy is a UK based Medical Recruitment Agency. We offer Medical Recruitment and migrational services to our clients and candidates all over the UK.


BMA Calls for National Suspension of QOF

The British Medical Association (BMA) has officially requested the National Health Service England for a national suspension of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for this year to release pressure on GPs and allow GPs to focus on patient care. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chair of the BMA’s GP committee (GPC) has written letter to the national body saying that such a move would relieve GPs who are facing exhausting workloads this winter. The letter references an agreement between the Welsh Government and BMA Wales, which allows practices to opt-out of 75 per cent of QOF for the rest of this year to give GPs more time to care for patients. Dr Nagpaul wrote to the Director of NHS commissioning, Ros Roughton saying there is no doubt that practices in England are under significant workload pressures. He said the NHS England does all it can do to relieve the winter pressure so that practices can prioritise the care of serious cases and provide care to the most vulnerable. Despite the BMA’s official request to NHS England, some local commissioners are already seeking to bend the rules following NHS Wales’ decision as three Leeds Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) permitted GPs to opt-out of up to 80 per cent of the QOF. All GP practices have been informed of the 2 month QOF suspension, which will apply to most of the 559 ‘clinical points’ excluding those concerning flu targets, cancer and the maintenance of disease registers. Richard Vautrey, the BMA GPC’s deputy chair and assistant medical secretary on Leeds LMC called the decision as an “encouraging step forward”. He noticed an increasing understanding that GPs are under winter pressures as much as A&E departments. The BMA has called on NHS England to follow Northern Ireland and Wales in suspending the QOF while also placing pressure on central government to give GP services “badly” needed extra funding, he added. For latest update from National Health Service and UKs' Healthcare system, visit our blog page daily. Recruitment Synergy is a UK based Medical Recruitment Agency. We offer Medical Recruitment and migrational services to our clients and candidates all over the UK.


Continuity of Care can Reduce Hospital Admissions, Study Finds

According to the new research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has found that seeing the same GP more often can lessen avoidable hospital admissions among older patients. The Health Foundation conducted the research and looked at around 230,000 patients records aged between 62 and 82 years who had experienced at least two contacts with a GP between April 2011 and March 2013. The research found that the older patients who saw the same GP most of the time were admitted to hospital 12 per cent less for conditions that could be treated in doctors’ surgeries than those who had a lower continuity of care. Patient with manageable conditions as diabetes, asthma, influenza and pneumonia accounted for 9 per cent fewer hospital admissions. The director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, Adam Steventon said that this type of research is very important because it reveals that patients who more often see the same GP experience fewer admissions to hospital. The BMJ research concluded that the tactics to improve the continuity of care in general practice may decrease secondary care costs, mainly for the heaviest users of healthcare. However, an increasing focus on improving access to primary care, such as the extension of opening hours, may have the unplanned effect of reducing continuity of care. The chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that the new research shows that the continuity of care can lead to both better health outcomes for patients, and reduced healthcare costs because of fewer hospital admissions. He further added that the Good continuity of care can be particularly helpful to the growing number of patients who are living with multiple, long-term conditions. For latest update from National Health Service and UKs' Healthcare system, visit our blog page daily. Recruitment Synergy is a UK based Medical Recruitment Agency. Remember us for Locum, temporary and permanent jobs across UK. We also provide compliance support   and  migration consultation to our candidates.