latest health care news

25.04.17

‘Labyrinthine’ health system slowing progress of HIV treatment

Progress being made to meet the needs of HIV sufferers is being held back by an overly complex system, a report has today revealed.

The research conducted by think tank the King’s Fund, called ‘The future of HIV services in England’, argued that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 had created a fragmented system for HIV care, as responsibility for delivering services was spread between NHS England, local health organisations and councils – making it harder for areas to make co-ordinated changes across separate HIV services.

The findings also concluded that though the number of new cases of HIV had fallen overall, infection rates were still going up amongst gay and bisexual men – meaning that there needs to be more of an emphasis put on prevention as well as treatment.

A number of recommendations were also raised by the influential think tank, including calling on NHS England and Public Health England to work together to make pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) more widely available and to also increase HIV testing.

Last year, NHS England was locked in a dispute with the Court of Appeal about whether the NHS or local government were responsible for PrEP, and back in December announced that it would be made available through trials.

London was also found to be a region where reform was desperately needed, as nearly half of all people with HIV in England access services in the capital, and the area also had the largest number of diagnoses.

Assistant director of policy at the King’s Fund, Alex Baylis, said that care for HIV in England was amongst the best in the world and something to be proud about. However, he warned that the “labyrinthine” structures set out in the Act made it hard to focus on the needs of patients, and represent a threat to future quality of care.

“The health needs of people with HIV are changing rapidly, but health care for people with the condition is too fragmented to be able to keep up with this pace of change,” Baylis explained.

“The number of older people with HIV is rising and they are more likely to need care from other parts of the health and social care system, and so joined-up working will be vital to them getting the care they need.”

His colleague Nancy Mahon, global executive director of the M·A·C AIDS Fund, which funded the report, added: “The HIV epidemic has shifted dramatically in the past decade. Advances in treatment and care mean that many individuals living with HIV have normal life expectancies and, as their needs evolve, we must ensure that health services adapt accordingly.”

Mahon then argued that the report was a “landmark” for ensuring that decision-makers across the health system were able to navigate the system and collaborate well to tackle the HIV epidemic in the UK.

“At M·A·C, we believe we will see a future without HIV in our lifetime, and we are proud to be funding this work by the King’s Fund which will help make this a reality,” she concluded.

Earlier this month, Public Health England said it was close to preparing trials for PrEP, saying: “Considerable progress has been made in preparing for the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial that was announced by NHS England and PHE last December as a major extension to the national HIV prevention programme.

“The trial, called the PrEP Impact Trial, will include at least 10,000 participants over the next 3 years and will answer key outstanding questions on the extent of need, uptake and duration of use of PrEP in the setting of sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics in England.

“Our aim is to have the trial started by the summer of 2017.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took st... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >