“Grave concerns” European professional card may harm patient safety

Calls for a full independent assessment of the impact of the European professional card (EPC) system on patient safety have been backed by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

The EPC will be introduced for European-qualified pharmacists, nurses and physiotherapists from January 2016 onwards and will circumvent the regulatory checks the GPhC do prior to registration.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC said the regulator have “grave concerns” about the impact the card will have on patient safety.

“We are particularly concerned about the entitlement for any European qualified pharmacists to provide temporary and occasional services in Great Britain, because their registration with us will solely be determined by their home member state as a result of the EPC.

“In addition, European pharmacists providing temporary and occasional services will not have to meet new requirements, to be introduced next year, for all applicants to show that they have the necessary English language skills for safe and effective practice before they can be registered.”

Health inspectors blow more than £1m on hotels Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) spent almost £1m of taxpayers’ money on hotels, spa resorts and stately homes, The Times has reported. The total spending of the CQC in 2014-2015 was £4.4m, four times its original budget. The overspend was discovered following a Freedom of Information request made by the Health Service Journal.

Policy vision for Wales launched

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society will today (Wednesday) launch its Policy Vision for Wales, a blueprint for how pharmacists can help patients and strengthen NHS Wales over the next 5 years.

Steps to Better Health and Wellbeing calls upon policy makes to commit to harnessing the skills of pharmacy to reduce pressures on GP and hospital services ahead of the 2016 elections.

Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of RPS Wales, said: “People are less worried about structures, professions and bureaucracy than they are about getting a good local service and knowing that the health team that supports them can share information to make things simple and safe for them.”

NHS facing further funding gap

The vast majority of NHS finance directors do not have confidence that the plan set out in the Five-year forward view is achievable according to new figures from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Some 84% of finance directors say they don’t have sufficient financial resources to implement the plan without extra support and 88% lack confidence that their organisation can deliver the 2% to 3% a year productivity gains needed to close the expected £22bn NHS funding gap.

The report reveals that whilst Finance Directors welcome the efforts of Lord Carter's £5bn NHS savings plan, there is some scepticism with most saying they are either not confident (46%) or do not know (53%) if the savings can be made.

Similarly, when asked if new care models outlined within the Five-year forward view and piloted at Vanguard sites can deliver the financial benefits required to meet the estimated remaining £17bn NHS funding gap most say no (57%) or are uncertain (42%).

The figures are part of the HFMA’s latest biannual NHS Financial Temperature Check survey of over 200 finance directors in England.