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UK Policy Update September 2021

Welcome to this month’s policy update from HLA:THINK

Through these regular updates we will share with you some of the key developments in different areas of health and care policy, all through publicly available resources.

If you are interested in the work of HLA:Think and would like to get involved, feel free to contact us on

COVID-19 Response CQC data were released this month detailing care home deaths from COVID-19. These came after the government announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be compulsory for care home workers from 11th November. We point to positions for and against the decision from Unison, GMB Union, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Royal College of Nursing. A petition against mandatory vaccination was signed by over 100,00 people. This month the NHS’s COVID-19 app was updated to reduce its ‘ping’ rate. The change came as UK Hospitality and CBI warned of workforce shortages due to isolation. Research from the University of Oxford recently highlighted the positive impact of the app on disease transmission. Pressure on ambulance services across the UK lead to calls for additional support by Unison this month. An NHS Providers and Association of Ambulance Chief Executives report added to these calls alongside the Labour Party. We also link to earlier reports from the Nuffield Trust, The Health Foundation and NHS Confederation on COVID-19’s impact on urgent care services. Additionally, this month the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) projected that NHS waiting list numbers could exceed 14 million by next year. This month’s NHS waiting list figures were at a record high, prompting the Shadow Health Secretary to respond. A summary of the latest NHS waiting list figures from the Nuffield Trust can be found here. We also link to further comment from NHS Providers. The British Heart Foundation published its own report on disruption to cardiovascular care which drew responses from NHS Providers. Young people’s mental health was discussed in a report by the NHS Confederation this month. NHS Providers’ response to the report is linked here. A petition calling for reinvestment in health visiting was dismissed this month by government, drawing responses from the Institute of Health Visiting and the Labour Party.

Vaccination This month, 16 and 17 year olds in England were offered COVID-19 vaccination routinely for the first time. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s response can be found here. The RCPCH also reiterated their position on maintaining routine vaccinations in under-18s during the pandemic.

Supply Chain This month NHS guidance was released following a global shortage of blood bottles. A further letter from NHS England was published later in the month. We link to guidance from the MDU and Royal College of Pathologists, and to responses from the NHS Confederation and BMA. NHS Finances The Prime Minister announced the Government’s new proposals to help fund health and social care. In this bulletin we include a summary of the benefits and disadvantages of hypothecation, as well as a response by the Healthcare Finance Management Association. One long-standing concern with NHS finances is the lack of funds for capital investment, with critical backlogs amounting to several billion pounds. We include a briefing paper by NHS Providers on this issue. Finally we include a DHSC report looking at reducing overprescribing and the benefits (including financial) that this will bring.

Produced by Jamie Carruthers and Arrash Yassaee



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