Saturday, June 29, 2013

Big setback for homeopathy in Scotland

NHS Lothian has decided to withdraw funding for homeopathic remedies, following a public consultation. The current service provides more than 1,000 appointments for patients each year, including more than 100 people referred by other health boards.

The health board said the decision reflected the results of a public consultation, which showed most people were against spending nearly £250,000 a year on homeopathy because of a lack of scientific evidence that it works. This view is challenged by British Homeopathic Association who said said, “The health board has been predisposed to withdrawing the service from the outset of its farcical consultation process, with many patients unaware it was taking place. It was a consultation which failed to listen to actual patient feedback in the form of general correspondence and feedback at public meetings, instead concentrating only on the flawed online survey, which was hijacked by people outside Lothian who campaign against homeopathy. Consequently, the survey’s results are skewed and unrepresentative of the local population.”

SHA Scotland gave space to both sides of the argument in the latest edition of our policy journal.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Healthier Scotland - June 2013

The latest edition of our E.Bulletin 'Healthier Scotland' is now on line.

The focus is on our recent work and future projects on health inequality. But there is much else besides,  covering all the news on health in Scotland.

Monday, June 3, 2013

NHS Scotland workforce

ISD has published their statistical survey of the NHS Scotland workforce as at 31 March 2013. Here are some of the key points:
·         The total number of staff in post (excluding GPs & GDs) is 133,205.3, compared with 132,541.5 (WTE) as at 31st December 2012. This is an increase of 0.5% (663.8). This includes 1100 (WTE) Highland council staff that transferred to the NHS.
·         However, there are 4,471 fewer staff (headcount) employed by NHS Scotland since 2009. Nearer 6000 if you take into account the Highland transfers.
·         Nursing & Midwifery accounts for 42.8% of all staff. Administrative Services 18.3%, Support Services 10.3%, and Medical (Hospitals not GPs) 8.4% (all WTE).
·         The number of nursing and midwifery staff in post is 57,036.6 (WTE), compared to 56,608.5 as at 31st December 2012. This is an increase of 0.8% (428.2). However, this is still a reduction of 1392(WTE) since 2009.
·         The use (in hours) of agency nursing and midwifery staff has increased in the year 2012/13 by 14.0% costing an extra £2.5m. The use of Bank staff has increased by 13.1% at a cost of £13.7m.
·         The number of Allied Health Professionals is 9,583.4 (WTE) compared to 9,511.8 as at 31st December 2012. This is an increase of 0.8% (71.5 WTE). OT’s up by 24 (1.2%)
·         The number of administrative staff is 24,381 (WTE) compared to 24,222 as at 31 December 2012. An increase of 0.7% (159.6WTE). Mostly due to a significant increase in NHS24 Call Handlers.
·         The number of support services staff in post as at 31st March 2013 is 13,755.9 (WTE) compared to 13,708.1 as at 31st December 2012. This is an increase of 0.3% (47.7 WTE). Sterile services being the main component of the increase.
·         The number of emergency services staff is 3,670.1 (WTE) compared to 3,661.8 as at 31st December 2012. This is an increase of 0.2% (8.3 WTE). Mostly drivers and technicians. 
·         Across all specialties, the number of Hospital, Community and Public Health Services (HCHS) medical and dental staff is 11,925.9 (WTE), compared to 12,003.3 as at 31st December 2012. This is a decrease of 0.6% (77.4). The number of Consultant posts is up by 37.

For April 2012 to March 2013 the sickness absence rate for Scotland is 4.80% which is an increase from 4.63% in the previous year. 

Equality and diversity data is limited because it is only available for two-thirds of the workforce.  Of those declaring there are: Asian 3039 (2.7%); Black 774 (0.7%); White 106,238 (96.5%). Less than 1000 disabled persons are employed by NHS Scotland.

There are now 1250 (WTE) NHS staff over the state retirement age of 65. A further 6587 staff over 60. Proportionately higher in administrative and support services but still over 2500 nurses.

Staff turnover increased by 40% last year with 9757 leaving their post. This is back to 2009 levels.