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2012 Q3 July-September

Health and Wellbeing Policy Updates

2012 – July-September

28th September 2012

NICE’s role is to be expanded to include social care from April 2013 

DH has set out the health intelligence requirements for local authorities to support their new public health duties, in a series of fact sheets 

DH briefing on the ban on unjustified age discrimination comes into force on 1st October: 

‘The Week’: Issue 266 

Transforming Public Health Bulletin, Issue 12 

27th September 2012

‘The Month’: Issue 58.  ‘A comprehensive update on all areas of transition’. (In describing where they are up to in the transition process, it provides a helpful summary of the statutory components of the new health system.) 

[Weekly update sent out ————————————————————–]

27th September 2012

The proportion of calls to the Patients’ Association helpline that refer to GPs has grown from 11% to 25%.  Common complaints were the provision of too little information, or a lack of compassion. 

HR guidance for transition to the new health and care system published

26th September 2012

The latest quarterly monitoring report on NHS performance is published by the King’s Fund.  It says that while NHS performance is holding up well, there is concern that quality of care may suffer next year because of financial pressures.

Monitor’s new executive team is announced 

Lessons from New Zealand for GP commissioning – research report from the Nuffield Trust. 

A really useful BBC guide to the new health system, with diagrams: 

25th September 2012

NHS Commissioning Board publishes its response to the draft Mandate 

King’s Fund response to the draft mandate: 

A video is available of the NHSCB Board Meeting on 20th September 

The number of nurses and midwives has fallen by 5,748 since April 2010 according to data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre 

New public health briefings for local government from NICE 

£1.5m is to be made available to support the potential roll-out of personal health budgets

24th September 2012

The NHS Confederation has issued a warning to the government about the £2bn funding gap for social care, in a report called ‘Papering Over the Cracks’

23rd September 2012

Spending on adult mental health has fallen in real terms for the first time in a decade, and former minister Paul Burstow has said that NHS services have been cut, despite pledges to protect the front line 

Jeremy Hunt is accused of having too close links with private healthcare, after reports of being in talks to hire Christine Lineen (former adviser to Andrew Lansley) from Circle Health, as a policy expert  

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21st September 2012

Guidance has been published on how community safety partnerships can encourage A&Es to collect and share information on assaults to help reduce violence. 

Consultation on new vision for nursing, midwifery and care giving: 

20th September 2012

A majority of GPs say they do not understand non-residential care services and two thirds say they receive little or no support from councils, according to a new study: 

Audit Commission report summarising the findings from audits of PCTs and SHAs in 2011/12 

‘NHS has cash reserves of £4bn’: 

NHS Confederation response: 

Report from the King’s Fund on dealing with financially unsustainable health providers: 

A total of £15m is being made to help authorities with the transition of public health (this averages about £98k per authority). 

One month left to respond to the consultation on the draft Care and Support Bill on changes to adult social care: 

‘The Week: Issue 265’ 

18th September

The Secretary of State is to consult on which services should be nationally commissioned for people with rare and uncommon conditions, after accepting the recommendations of the Clinical Advisory Group for Prescribed Services published on 11 September. 

The Department of Health has launched a programme to help local authorities build their capacity to shape markets for social care services.  The programme has been funded by DH and developed by Oxford Brookes University in collaboration with ADASS. 

Complaints about the professional conduct of doctors rose by 23% last year, to record levels according to figures from the General Medical Council. 

NHS Confederation response: 

Eleven NHS Foundation Trusts have serious financial problems according to comments made to the Public Accounts Committee: 

Report on personal health records from the 2020Health think tank: 

17th September

Antipathy to reform hits satisfaction with NHS, down to 58% from an all time high of 70% in 2010. 

British Social Attitudes Report:

The Royal College of GPs has launched a consultation on its vision for the future of general practice in the next ten years: 

Health Protection Agency report on the health effects of climate change 

16th September

‘Health firms told to get set for £20bn NHS bonanza’ 

The number of patients left outside hospitals in ambulances for more than half an hour has risen by over 100,000 to over 444,000 in the last two years. 

The Good Governance Institute has published an audit of telecare services in England based on freedom of information requests: 

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14th September 2012

Stressful work, with high demands and low control can increase the risk of a heart attack by 23% according to new research.  This could apply to a range of jobs from assembly workers to GPs. 

The Government, in the form of the Deputy Prime Minister, is supporting a private member’s bill to reform mental health laws 

There is a new version of a diagram of the new health and social care system (previously published in June)

13th September 2012

The number of reported NHS accidents and incidents leading to death or severe harm has risen by a quarter since this government came to power and is now over 10,000 a year according to figures from NHSCB.  The government says it is because of a culture of better reporting. 

DH advice on use of data from NHS Safety Thermometer 

A report from the Royal College of Physicians (‘Hospitals on the Edge’) says that the demand on clinical services is such that acute cannot keep up in its current form.  There are a third fewer general and acute beds than 25 years ago but a 37% increase in emergency admissions in the last decade alone. 

Minister says NHS has enough beds to cope: 

A third of health authorities are still imposing blanket treatment bans: 

PCTs are restricting access to treatments, including for cataracts, despite evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness 

Community mental health survey 

CCGs are to be given advance notice of recommendations on their authorisation, giving them a chance to respond, if proposals are agreed by the NHSCB on 20 September.  This will move authorisation decisions back by 4-5 weeks, meaning the first authorisations will be in November rather than October. 

Bulletin for proposed CCGs, Issue 20, including: more on the final stages of the authorisation process; the first meeting of the NHS Commissioning Assembly is to be 14 November; procurement briefings for CCGs published: 

Also includes that the Spend and Outcome Factsheets and Tool (SPOT) has been updated to include CCGs.  This is is a health investment tool which enables commissioners to examine the relationship between expenditure and a range of health outcomes by disease area:

‘The Week: Issue 264’ 

12th September 2012

The first set of data for the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework have been published. 

The numbers hospitalised for stress increased by 7% last year (compared to an increase of 2% for all admissions) and is up by 47% since 2007-08.  The total number hospitalised last year was 6,400.  Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre. 

11th September 2012

A report from the Clinical Advisory Group for Prescribed Services has been published, on which specialised services for people with rare conditions should be commissioned nationally. 

‘CCGs should not handle morbid obesity’: 

Fears from GP leaders that Hunt may ‘dilute’ clinical commissioning and be a ‘placebo health secretary’. 

Three CCGs have asked for their application for authorisation to be deferred from the second round: 

Research from Leeds University found that there was better performance when doctors were on the boards of English NHS acute trusts 

Survey of health professionals shows fear over reforms 

10th September 2012

Suicide prevention strategy 

Mind reaction: 

A second new minister, Norman Lamb, has joined his colleague Anna Soubry in calling for the laws on assisted dying to be reviewed: 

9th September 2012

Nearly 50,000 residents in 850 care homes are to be asked to rate their experiences in an independent survey commissioned by the 13 different owners of the homes. 

7th September 2012

Dame Jo Williams announces her resignation as chair of CQC 

Government response to Health Select Committee inquiry into education, training and workforce planning 

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7th September 2012

What the reshuffle means for local government policy: 

Intensive lifestyle interventions for high risk patients reduced cardiovascular mortality by between 7-22%, according to a systematic review of 5 trials. 

People with lung cancer who are married have been found to be three times more likely to live at least three years.  “If marriage were a drug it would be hailed as a miracle cure”. 

6th September 2012

King’s Fund publication: “Transforming the delivery of health and social care: the case for fundamental change”. (61 pages). 

The configuration of NHS communications and engagement services has been agreed by NHSCB.  There are to be four collaboratives, each with a lead CSU (commissioning support unit) and common frameworks – but I’m not at all clear what this means in practice. 

CCGs must be fully involved in developing the new commissioning system says NHS Clinical Commissioners, an independent body representing CCGs: 

The CQC is consulting on its strategy for 2013-16 

NHS Confederation briefing on European Commission proposals to amend the EU directive on clinical trials 

Research suggests there is scope for much more use of telecare


Eric Pickles threatens to strip councils of their planning powers if they show a record of poor-quality or slow decision making.  (Implications for localism and impact on social determinants of health). 

‘The Week’: issue 233 

4th September 2012

Jeremy Hunt is Health Secretary.  It would be easy to be flippant and just pick on some isolated facts about him – so I will.  Apparently he has come out in support of homeopathy, he is anti-abortion and he questioned the inclusion of the NHS section in the Olympics opening ceremony.  And don’t mention Murdoch.  But apparently a great communicator. 

Full detail of the ministerial team at DH: 

Full list of government ministers: 

Julian Hartley, is being seconded to lead the establishment of a new NHS improvement body which will combine six existing bodies including the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.  He is currently CE of University Hospital of South Manchester.  The new body will be initially hosted by the NHS Commissioning Board. 

All 67 proposed CCGs in the second wave of authorisation have submitted their applications in full and on time. 

Accounting Officer system statement.  Essentially, the Secretary of State’s role as ‘Accounting Officer’ under the new health system: 

The providers of up to 70 NHS PFI projects are based offshore, and so avoid paying tax according to the European Services Strategy Unit: 

Moderate activity could reduce breast cancer by up to 13% according to new research, and this could include gardening or housework. 

Consultation on arrangements for consideration of proposals on the fluoridation of water (how councils should consult on fluoridation when they take over responsibility for it next April) 

3rd September 2012

Charities warn that stripping disabled people of benefits for not adhering to back-to-work agreements risks devastating consequences for their health.  The Government plans to withdraw £71 a week out of a maximum allowance of £99.15 if they refuse to take part in work related activities.  The DWP has said it is finalising plans as to whether this would include unpaid and unlimited work experience placements. 

Consultation on service user involvement in education and training programmes approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) 

Summary of stakeholder responses to report for Monitor on strategic options for costing 

1st September 2012

If local authority reserves were used to offset spending cuts, they would be used up in 5 years and many are earmarked for other things, says LGA Chairman Sir Merrick Cockell 

31st August 2012

NHS rationing is putting health at risk according to the new BMA Chair, Dr Mark Porter

[Weekly update sent out ————————————————————–]

31st August 2012

Provisional guidance has been published on health protection arrangements in the new health system for local authorities and public health professionals. 

Nine per cent of patients suffer some sort of harm from their hospital care and in some hospitals it is over 20% 

Cycling frequency rates mapped for every English local authority: 

30th August 2012

Even over the age of 75, lifestyle behaviours are associated with longer survival, adding up to five year’s life for women and six for men: 

The number of NHS complaints has risen by 8% 

NHS Confederation response:

NHS data which underpins payment by results is improving but could be better according to the Audit Commission 

A third of people would like to help reduce the isolation of older people in the community but don’t know how, according to a Nesta survey 

Chocolate may protect the brain from stroke according to a Swedish study (but there are still health problems of eating too much of it.  Sorry.) 

See also: “You’ll be a fat drunk before wine saves you from cancer”, according to new Israeli study: 

Two new medical directors have been appointed to the NHS Commissioning Board.  Prof Steve Field is to be Deputy National Medical Director (Health Inequalities) and Prof Keith Willett is to be Director for Acute Episodes of Care. 

‘The Week’: Issue 262 

‘The Month’: Issue 57 

Transforming Public Health Bulletin, Issue 11 

Includes: David Heymann has been appointed acting Chair of Public Health England.  A structure of the organisation has been published.

29th August 2012

People in the UK are living in good health for longer according to the ONS 

The top 1% has more aggregate wealth than the whole bottom half of the population put together 

28th August 2012

The NHS Commissioning Board is struggling to recruit enough expert staff 

Hospitals and commissioners will have to report which drugs and treatments recommended by NICE are actually being prescribed, from this autumn: 

Easier access to data from patient records should revolutionise medical research 

But is our privacy being ‘sold off’? 

27th August 2012

Ministers call on hospitals to find ways to reduce the costs of missed appointments which are costing millions 

24th August 2012

Bulletin for proposed CCGs, Issue 19 

Including this on the provision of IT: 

[Weekly update sent out ————————————————————–]

24th August 2012

Government response to OFT study into dentistry 

23rd August 2012

The class divide in health is widening according to the King’s Fund, because of healthier behaviour by those in higher social classes whilst those at the bottom are stuck in a rut: 

The NHS reforms could lead to a tsunami of bureaucracy according to Mike Farrar, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation: 

Councils in England could save £312m a year if they carried adult social care assessments more effectively, according to the Audit Commission [The AC was thrown onto the bonfire of the Quangos, but is still smouldering]. 

New research suggests life satisfaction is reduced when GDP passes a certain level (between $26k-$30k per person). (The idea that it peaked past a certain level is known as the Easterlin paradox, but that initial research has been challenged more recently).

‘The Week’: Issue 261 

Including: NHS Choices have produced a series of videos on the value of online patient feedback 

22nd August 2012

Monitor publishes review of foundation trusts’ annual plans: 

NHS Confederation response: 

Regional pay differences being considered with proposals in the South West for cuts in NHS pay and conditions: 

The number of deaths from MRSA and C difficile have fallen for the fourth year in a row being respectively 364 and 2,053. 

21st August 2012

NHS brand could be sold abroad to raise income, Government suggests 

There are 4,823 fewer nurses in the NHS compared to May 2010, but 3,700 more doctors, according to new official figures. 

20th August 2012

The number of people over 65 with cancer could treble by 2040 according to research by King’s College London funded by Macmillan Cancer Support 

18th August 2012

Possible source of many modern chronic illnesses – the ‘microbiome’ of individuals and the trillions of bacteria which form an ecosystem enabling use to survive.  [Not policy, but fascinating nevertheless] 

17th August 2012

The deadline for claiming retrospective payments going back to 2004 for Continuing Healthcare is 30 September.  People are eligible for this NHS funding if the main reason for going into a care home is ill health. 

[Weekly update sent out ————————————————————–]

16th August 2012

Suggestions that the Coalition may be changing their minds and implementing Dilnot proposals on funding of elderly care after all 

The NHSCB has provided more detail of arrangements with Commissioning Support Units including charges for NHSCB services and a contract with PwC to explore externalisation options.  CSUs will have equivalent of Boards, but not called that because technically still part of NHSCB 

Consultation on guidance for commissioners from Monitor 

Government report on tackling homelessness published by a working group that includes DCLG, DH and a number of other departments. 

Statistics for June on time from referral to treatment.  Small decrease in the percentage of patients admitted within 18 weeks.

NHS Confederation response: 

‘The Week’: Issue 260 


The National Quality Board (a multi-stakeholder board to champion quality in the NHS) has published a draft report on how quality will be maintained and improved in the new health system.  The report (55p) looks at shared values, distinct roles and how to spot failure and respond when things go wrong. 

GP and Practice Team Bulletin: August 2012 

Changes to requirements for final year LINk annual reports [looks quite technical.  Mainly of relevance to those directly involved]. 

15th August 2012

Finalised patient reported outcome measures for 2010-11 published, covering groin hernia surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement and varicose vein surgery.–april-2010-to-march-2011 

Consultation on regulations to protect patients’ interests by ensuring commissioners deliver best value, have been published by DH.  Includes proposals on good procurement practice, patients’ rights to choose, restriction of competition and conflicts of interest. 

‘DH warns CCGs not to discriminate against voluntary and independent providers’: 

Consultation on new licensing regime for providers of NHS services 

The number of patients waiting for between 4 and 12 hours for an A&E bed has risen by 31%, according to a Nursing Times investigation. 

Researchers suggest that bonus schemes for doctors may undermine motivation and worsen performance 

As many as 9 million people may be missing out on checks to spot potentially fatal conditions, possibly because of financial pressures 

Health policy responses to the financial crisis by governments across Europe 

Claims of a concerted campaign to discredit CQC whistleblower Kay Sheldon by the chair, Dame Jo Williams, reported in the Independent 

14th August 2012

Disability hate crime at highest levels since records began 

1000 deaths from suicide could be the result of the recession according to a paper in the BMJ 

13th August 2012

Implementing the next stage in the transition to the new health and care system, letter from Sir David Nicholson.  Regional directors of the NHS Commissioning Board and NHS Trust Development Authority will have responsibility for current operations to April 2013 and for planning for after that, reporting to legally responsible bodies (e.g. PCTs).

12th August

Could exoskeletons help disabled people to be more active? [And longer term reduce care costs for elderly people?  It’s what I’ve got in mind for my old age.] 

8th August 2012

New end of life care local authority profiles 

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10th August 2012

Causes of death may be recorded inaccurately in as many as 1 in 4 cases, with implications for health policy and services. 

Commissioning Support Bulletin: Issue 4 

The NHSCB has named the Commissioning Support Units which will offer some of the ‘scale’ services – business intelligence, healthcare (clinical) procurement and business support services.  The final one is communications and engagement services.  [I thought they had been renamed Commissioning Support Services: is it back to CSUs now?  Did I miss something?  Ahh, it’s further down in the item on ‘Branding and identity’: yes, they have changed the name again.] 

There is a survey amongst the voluntary sector on the Information Prescription Service.  [I didn’t even know it existed, but it looks interesting]

9th August 2012

If all PCTs had the level of bed use for over 65s as those with the lowest, 5,700 fewer beds would be needed across England, according to new analysis from the King’s Fund 

Sir David Nicholson has said he is working to stop NHS bodies restricting NICE approved medicines.  He is to do that by using contracts to stop drug formularies being used to block NICE approved treatments. 

A consortium of 10 UK government and charity groups has invested £19m to create 3 ehealth centres of excellence in London, Manchester, Dundee and Swansea.  They will use electronic health records for research to improve patient care and public health. 

8th August 2012

NHS Clinical Commissioners has published a report to help CCGs develop effective relationships with Commissioning Support Services (‘Steering or Rowing? Report from a simulation event which tested how CCGs might utilise CSSs’) 

Five more managing directors of Commissioning Support Units announced (South London; Surrey and Sussex; North Yorkshire and Humber; West Yorkshire; and Kent and Medway) 

And NHSCB Board appointments: 

Review of national arrangements for providing information and advice to carers 

New online tool to compare CQC registered home care, residential or nursing home provider. 

‘The Week’ Issue 259 

7th August 2012

Winterbourne View hospital Serious Case Review  published by South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board 

Lessons for commissioners: 

Blog with detailed summary: 

CQC publishes its response and its own review on its role as regulator 

Mental health spending falls for the first time in 10 years

[Weekly update sent out ————————————————————–]

3rd August 2012

Bulletin for proposed CCGs – Issue 18 

2nd August 2012

‘The Week’: Issue 258

DH publishes more information on emergency preparedness, resilience and response, including the establishment of local health resilience partnerships (LHRPs) 

There is a greater risk of premature death in areas with long term low employment according to researchers from Durham University: 

1st August 2012

Recommendations for which healthcare measures should go in the commissioning outcomes framework for 2013/14 have been published by NICE and the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care 

Legal action against Trusts denying NICE approve treatment is likely to be successful says Chairman of NICE (or ‘patients should sue NHS, says NICE chief’) 

How to measure for improving outcomes: a guide for commissioners – two slide sets for CCGs, but also good summary of the policy 

People with mild mental illness such as anxiety or depression are more likely to die early according to research by University College London and Edinburgh University

The public, patients, carers and doctors have little knowledge of the NHS Constitution and patients’ rights according to a survey from the Patients’ Association 

31st July 2012

Consultation on JSNA and JHWS guidance published.  The consultation is open until 28th September. 

NHSCB could take action on CCGs if their plans are not in line with those of the local authority:

Monitor consults on new NHS provider licence 

NHS Confederation response: 

‘Monitor eases private NHS restrictions’ 

‘Bankruptcy and criminal record may be no bar to top NHS roles’ 

DH structural reform plan July update. Two page summary of progress in meeting the Department’s commitments 

DH summary of consultation feedback on Healthwatch regulations and their response 

Local Government Ombudsman report on lessons learned from complaints about adult social care providers

A survey suggests that many disabled people in Britain feel that media coverage about benefit cheats has negatively affected attitudes towards them 

DWP sends letter to parents of disabled children to ‘review’ their ‘role’, threatening to ‘review your status as an appointed person if we think you are not acting in the best interests of’ the child.  (I never had anything like that with child benefit, but maybe it’s different if your children aren’t disabled.) 

Research shows that (genuine, Duchenne) smiles reduce the effects of stress on the body 

30th July 2012

Critic of the CQC, Kay Sheldon, is to be allowed to stay on its board, rules Andrew Lansley 

Measuring wellbeing: a short handbook for voluntary organisations and community groups from the new economics foundation 

27th July 2012

DH announces three new ‘responsibility deal’ pledges on reducing salt in catering 

300 jobs to go out of 500 as NHSCB merges 6 health improvement bodies  into one by April 2013 

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27th July 2012

A new national early warning score could help save 6,000 lives a year according to a report from the Royal College of Physicians.  This would include standardising the charts on hospital beds used to record patients’ progress.

Summary of the minutes of the Secretary of State’s third accountability meeting with the NHS Commissioning Board Authority held on 25 June: 

DH have published two reports on investment in adult mental health 

26th July 2012

The first Chair of Healthwatch England is to be Anna Bradley.  She is currently Chair of the General Optical Council, a trustee of Addaction, and a non-executive director of Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust. 

The Acting Chair of Public Health England is to be David Heymann 

The structure of Public Health England has been published.  It will operate through four regions and 15 regional centres. 

Public Health England People Transition Policy: 

Proposals for how health related care for children and young people can be improved have been published by C&YP Outcomes Forum.  There are also theme reports covering: mental health; public health; acutely ill; long term conditions; and inequalities in health outcomes. 

NHS Confederation response: 

‘Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people 2001’ finds drug use is declining – report from NHS Information Centre 

The NHSCB has set out plans for a small number of ‘Strategic Clinical Networks’ to improve health services for particular patient groups or conditions.  The first four will be on: cancer; cardiovascular disease; maternity and children’s services; and mental health, dementia and neurological conditions.  They will be managed by 12 ‘locally based’ support teams. 

Report from the King’s Fund on how to assure quality in the NHS, including through regulation 

DH report on monitoring quality during transition

Learning network for CCGs, with a lot of information also useful to others, has moved from DH to the NHSCB 

An interactive timeline on the history of NHS reform over the last 70 years 

And some really useful slides showing the new structure of the NHS in England.  (I find Slide 9 on public influence frighteningly complex, and I’m reasonably familiar with it, and it doesn’t even include all the details it potentially could.) 

A resource pack has been published for Local Health Resilience Partnerships.  These are non-statutory local strategic forums for for joint planning for emergencies for the new health system. 

LGA announce 5 ‘Future Council’ pilots helping find savings and revenues through demand management, behaviour change, improved commissioning, increasing income and creating new delivery structures such as social enterprises. 

IFS report: offering free school meals to all primary school pupils increased attainment in disadvantaged areas [social determinants of health] 

‘The Week’ issue 257 

Includes notice of webinar on 23 August, 12:00, on improving population health and wellbeing; how to translate recent learning on addressing inequalities at population level in health and wellbeing for the new systems.,com_attend_events/task,view/id,220.html_

‘The Month’ – issue 56.  A useful round-up of changes, including in commissioning, public health and community engagement.  There’s a section on Healthwatch on p.6 (for colleagues working in that area) including advance notice of a conference on 4 October, and a branding toolkit to be launched at the end of July, together with a quality framework. 

25th July 2012

Nice has published the first 3 of a new suite of briefings for local government councillors and officers on what works in public health, drawing on previous advice.  The first three topics are: tobacco, physical activity and workplace health. 

Official figures show there are 4,500 fewer nurses than two years ago, and a study by Southampton University and King’s College London shows that the number of nurses directly affects patient care. 

The Royal College of GPs has called for a delay in the roll out of personal health budgets. 

If you don’t fancy watching the olympics, you could always watch videos of the NHSCB Board meeting of 19th July instead: 

24th July 2012

ONS publishes first wellbeing results and three articles on measuring wellbeing

Short review of methodologies used for such measures in other countries: 

The Government has published the mental health implementation framework

Briefing on the framework from the NHS Confederation: 

Mind says the NHS still fails mental health patients:

David Nicholson signals that there may be a change in the rules on recruiting (clinical) consultants onto CCG boards.  The current rule is that they must come from outside the area. 

20th July 2012

New best practice guide for CCGs with 12 examples from across the country published by the CCG representative body, NHS Clinical Commissioners 

A new method to help measure the happiness of children has been developed by the Children’s Rights Director for England: 

19th July 2012

The House of Commons Health Select Committee says that the Government’s alcohol strategy is a welcome attempt to address alcohol problems in a coherent way, but its focus on public order overshadows health issues. 

[Weekly update sent out ————————————————————–]

19th July 2012

The first 16 Director appointments have been made to the NHS Commissioning Board local area teams. 

Many contractors and freelancers could be prevented from working in the public sector under new government rules, according to a trade group 

An evidence review on shared decision making from the Health Foundation 

‘The Week’ Issue 256 

18th July 2012

A survey by Pulse magazine finds that GPs are in a minority on CCG boards: 

‘An Equal Start: Improving Outcomes in Children’s Centres’ published by UCL Institute of Health Equity (aka Marmot review) 

Listening to Troubled Families report by Louise Casey 

Lack of exercise is causing as many deaths as cancer around the world according to a report in the Lancet (although with fewer people smoking, the risks from smoking, per person are greater).  In the UK nearly two thirds of people do not do enough exercise. 

A report from the House of Lords Science and Technology committee says that more should be done to make use of exercise based treatments 

The legal requirement on Ofsted to conduct an annual children’s services assessment of each local authority has been repealed 

NHS spending could rise from 6.8% to 9.1% of GDP by 2061 according to a report by the Office for Budget Responsibility.  However, that assumes humanity survives that long – see below. 

Budgeted council spending per head falls below 2007-08 levels according to CIPFA

OK, it’s not really health policy, but it’s nice to hear a good news story for a change.  ‘Locked-in patients walks and talks again after copying baby daughter’ 

17th July 2012

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health has expressed concerns about the future of mental health in the reformed NHS 

More access to nature and the countryside will improve the nation’s health, says the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, and should be more valued by all government departments 

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee is inviting submissions on the future role of English Local Authorities in health.  No more than 3,000 words, by 18th October:—tor/ 

Department for Communities and Local Government launches consultation on business rate retention scheme 

16th July 2012

The NHS underspend should be used to fund elderly and disabled care according to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Local Government 

Inquiry into adult social care: 

Making it easier for people using support services to volunteer and contribute to those around them improves their wellbeing and the wider community according to a new report from Think Local Act Personal (a partnership of over 30 national and umbrella organisations from local and national government and the voluntary sector). 

Hodgson Review calls for a new settlement for charities 

Information on consultations to come over the next year on health sector regulation: 

First information release from the 2011 census 

Interactive tools: 

15th July 2012

Suicides amongst men over 55 have been rising faster than among other age groups 

Life expectancy could drop to zero.  The end of humanity.  Not yet.  Probably not till 2040-50, but this is another step on the way.  As I’ve been arguing for some time, the combination of computers more powerful than human brains, increasing human reliance on computers, self-replicating artificial intelligence and evolutionary processes means we’ll be in for some extremely big changes.  Hard to predict, but it could well mean the end of humanity. 

And for more evidence: robots can beat humans at rock-paper-scissors: 

13th July 2012

Briefings from Carers UK on last week’s White Paper and draft Care and Support Bill 

A study says there is a business case for investing in adaptive technologies: 

12th July

BMA report proposes reduction in car use for better health 

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13th July 2012

Almost 12,000 patients a year are dying because of basic errors by medical staff according to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 

Annual report on research and development on assistive technology affecting the independence and wellbeing of disabled and older people 

The London HWB Support Programme has developed an assessment tool to support JSNA and JHWS (login required) 

Annual report and accounts of NHS Commissioning Board published 

12th July 2012

Consultation on local authority health scrutiny.  Open until 7 September.

Final elements of the authorisation process for CCGs have been published. 

GPs should be offered financial incentives to give exercise advice to inactive patients, according to the Royal College of Physicians 

‘The Week’, Issue 255.  Includes: the cap which limits how much foundation hospitals can earn from non-NHS income is to be lifted from 1 October.

Bulletin for proposed CCGs, Issue 17.  Includes: all 23 Commissioning Support Services are to proceed and the first nine appointments as Managing Director have been announced. 

NICE has published guidance on preventing Type 2 diabetes.  Up to 850,000 people in the UK have it without knowing it, leading to other complications and illness.  A risk assessment is recommended for all those in particular groups, including all adults over 40. 

The Government is consulting on the future of the Independent Living Fund, proposing it be closed in 2015 with councils taking on responsibility. 

John Wilderspin’s 8th monthly Q&A session on Knowledge Hub (requires sign in) 

“South London Healthcare NHS Trust to be put into the Regime for Unsustainable NHS Providers”.  All the offending trusts are rounded up and herded into ‘The Regime’, a semi-autonomous enclave in Norfolk, presided over by a large lady with a severe sneer and a big whip. 

11th July 2012

Social Care White Paper 

Draft Care and Support Bill: 

Progress report on social care funding reform: 

Draft Care and Support Bill factsheets: 

Andrew Lansley writes about his proposals in the Daily Telegraph: 

Outline of the range of proposals from Community Care: 

Helpful infographic from BBC on the issues and facts: 

King’s Fund response: 

Guardian round up of reactions from the sector: 

Guardian: elderly care, your questions answered: 

A new development tool for Health and Wellbeing Boards.  17 criteria against which Boards can assess their progress after 1 and 3 years.

Health costs will go up as a result of cuts to councils according to an NHS Confederation survey of NHS managers

Welfare reforms will make many disabled children and adults much worse off, according to a report from Citizens Advice, The Children’s Society and Disability Rights:

Government confirms closure of 27 Remploy factories employing disabled people 

Family of 4 need £36k for a minimum standard of living, as judged by the public, from Joseph Rowntree Foundation 

Consultation on a new adult safeguarding power 

10th July 2012

How the health reforms happened.  Extract from Nicholas Timmins’ new book.  Fascinating. 

Second part: 

Final part: 

A timeline of health reforms using ‘Prezi’ presentation (Click ‘More’ to get full screen, and on the arrow to move forward):

The full publication is available as a free download here: 

The role and functions of key organisations relevant to informatics in health: 

Watching less than 2 hours a day of tv could add 1.4 years to life expectancy (as long as you don’t use the released time to just sit around) 

9th July 2012

Commissioning Support Bulletin, Issue 3 from NHSCB 

An enquiry by Camden Council found that contracting rules that allow NHS primary care services to be provided by private companies precipitated the closure of a GP practice: 

Hundreds of people die unnecessarily from strokes at the weekend according to a study by Imperial College and the National Audit Office 

A toolkit for Health and Wellbeing Boards has been launched to help reduce loneliness.  The risk factor from loneliness is similar to smoking and worse than obesity. 

8th July 2012

More than 7,000 elderly or disabled people have had support removed by Councils changing eligibility thresholds 

6th July 2012

NHS Commissioning Board announces new ‘very senior managers’ (VSMs) 

Labour accuses Cameron over clawing back £1.4bn of NHS funds

The DH news release describes the same story in terms of a £3.5bn increase to front line services.  They say the NHS has saved £1.5bn by cutting the number of managers and reducing spending on wasteful IT projects.  This is described as reducing ‘inefficient spending’ (it is not explained how these particular managers and IT projects were identified as being inefficient or why they were taken on in the first place).  They describe the carry forward of an underspend as a 3% increase in funding. 

[Weekly update sent out ————————————————————–]

6th July 2012

Vision for Public Health England published (2 pages) 

GP ‘enhanced services’ should be put out to competition, under new guidance, unless they are of limited value or GPs are the only capable providers 

5th July 2012

NAO report finds that despite an overall £2.1bn NHS surplus, some NHS organisations are struggling 

‘When I’m 64’.  Well, now the NHS is. 

NHSCB seeks lay assessors for CCG authorisation panels.  Recruitment begins on Monday 9th July. 

The NHS Commissioning Board is inviting one clinical lead from each CCG to join its Executive to form a new ‘commissioning assembly’. 

‘City deals’ extended beyond Greater Manchester and Liverpool to include Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.  They get more money in exchange for promises to deliver on particular outcomes. 

‘The Week’ – Issue 254 

Includes: webinar on Why Health and Local Government Joint Working is now Mission Critical, 12:00, 12 July.,com_attend_events/task,view/id,217.html 

A report by the United Kingdom Homecare Association, says a survey shows that councils commissioning care are treating it like a commodity at the expense of individual dignity and safety 

4th July 2012

The Secretary of State for Health publishes: a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board (open for consultation until 26 September); the Secretary of State’s Annual Report for 2011/12; and a report on the effect of the NHS constitution.

News release: 

Draft mandate: 

Report on the NHS Constitution: 

Annual report on the NHS and Public Health: 

Response of National Voices: 

Setting levels of ambition for the NHS Outcomes Framework.  [This looks to me a lot like setting targets, though to be fair, with quite a good methodology.  I’m not quite clear, on a quick look, how precise the ‘ambitions’ will be and whether this approach can avoid the perverse incentives of targets]. 

NHS and Social Care Funding: the outlook to 2021/22.  Report by the Institute  for Fiscal Studies, funded by the Nuffield Trust 

IPPR blog on it: 

An ICM poll finds that 9 in 10 English adults believe older and disabled people shouldn’t have to meet everyday support costs, as at present. 

Bulletin for proposed CCGs, Issue 16 

3rd July 2012

Telehealth is unlikely to provide value for money against NICE criteria according to new research by the LSE 

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is accused of failings at every level in its duty to protect patients according to a review by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence 

Survey of bereaved people provides information on end of life care 

Fund to support healthcare social enterprises now open for applications.  Total fund available is £19m. 

The Commission on the Future of Local Government has launched its final report.  It was initiated by Leeds City Council and obtained commitments from the CBI, LGA and JRF. 

2nd July 2012

Blog from the King’s Fund on the allocation of funding for public health to local authorities (based on the DH announcement of 14 June): 

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