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Medical News, December 7th 2015

Welcome to this week’s Medical News summary blog, covering all the latest health and medical news from the 1st to the 6th of December. 

Non-EU patients should be charged for GP services according to Jeremy Hunt

England’s Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that all non-EU patients should be charged for GP services. The government has stated that overseas visitors should pay for GP services, along with accident and emergency care. The government has predicted that the change will save 500 million pounds per year. The change is designed to ensure that only those who contribute to the NHS enjoy the benefits. The proposals, however, do not extend to refugees and asylum seekers who would not be expected to pay for health care. Although the government had previously announced that non-EU patients should be charged for A&E care as well as ambulances, it is only recently that GP services has been added. Visitors who come to England from countries outside of the European Economic Area currently already pay for non-urgent hospital care, this includes countries such as Iceland and Norway. In addition to this, in April new rules were made which meant that non-EU citizens who were in the UK for more than six months are required to pay a health subcharge as part of their visa. This new legislation is thought to have produced around 100 million pounds in savings.   

Other medical news reports state that hospitals employing nurses trained abroad have lower ratings

A newly released study has shown that hospitals with more overseas nurses have lower ratings from patients. The study conducted by Kings College London examined 46 NHS hospitals and asked 12,000 patients to complete a survey. The results indicated that for every 10% increase in the number of nurses who trained abroad, there was a 12% decrease in the likelihood that patients would rate the hospital either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Some of the hospitals assessed were shown to have over half of the nurses trained abroad. The most common countries that nurses trained in, other than the UK, was the Philippines, India and countries within Africa. The reduction in ratings is thought to be caused by problems with communication between patients and nurses. Figures show that between 2012/2013 and 2014/2015, the number of nurses who trained abroad has risen from 4,305 to 8,183.

Patients suffering from mental illness sent far from home for treatment, delaying recovery time

Figures have indicated that over 2,000 people per month with mental health illnesses are sent miles from their homes for treatment due to a shortage of beds. Statistics show that more than 500 patients become inpatients at facilities at least 30 miles from their home area. It is thought that this move can cause patients considerable stress and an increased risk of suicide. The new figures published in the recent medical news are thought to show considerable discrimination by the NHS towards mental health problems. Mind, a mental health charity, has highlighted that friends and family are unable to support patients who are sent far away. This can have a profound effect on a patient’s recovery.

Uploaded by Alessandra on 7th December, 2015

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