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5 minutes news summary: 16 July 2016

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Despite rumours that Jeremy Hunt was on his way out, the news finally came on Thursday that he will retain his position as health secretary.

Not a single one of the 126 comments we received on Facebook about the story said Theresa May had made the right decision.

NT readers were also unimpressed with NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey this week, when he described a higher nurse-to-patient ratio than 1:8 as unaffordable and claimed there is “no evidence for it”.

Safe staffing experts have hit back, accusing Mr Mackey of misunderstanding the clinical evidence on safe staffing.

RCN chief executive, Janet Davis, responded saying that going above the 1:8 ratio was an alert and in many wards would be “completely unsafe”, adding: “to treat it as the optimum level is dangerous”.

More bad news for staffing levels: a Health Foundation report this week concluded that the suggested nursing associate role will be “no quick fix” for the health service, and predicted it could take up to 10 years before this part of the workforce is trained to a significant size.

The authors of the report suggested retraining current staff or increasing the number of some existing roles would be a more cost-effective and faster strategy to fill workforce gaps.

The Early Intervention Foundation charity also published research this week. Its findings revealed that programmes involving nurses and health visitors working closely with vulnerable families have had mixed success, with some showing “no effect”.

The review of 75 schemes by the charity focused on those aiming to boost early bonding and interaction between parents and children up to the age of five, and involved a detailed look at the evidence to show whether they work or not.

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