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2013 Q3 July-September

Health and Wellbeing Policy Update – July-September 2013

30th September 2013

SOLACE report on ‘Principles for Health and Social Care Reform’ recommends: that people should have one co-ordinator of their care; that care bodies should share information about those cared for; and that there should be one accountable body to go to with concerns. 

More than half of nurses were made unwell by stress last year and four out of five said they went into work despite feeling unwell, according to a survey of 2,000 nurses by the RCN 

Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the LGA, says some councils may go bust with the next round of cuts, which are to be 15% in the next financial year. 

Care out of hospital needs a root and branch change, Jeremy Hunt has said.  GPs are to take on more responsibility for the frail elderly from next April and everyone with a long term condition after that.

(Free subscription:) 

A self-evaluation tool (16pp) to help promote good practice in Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies is published by the NHS Confederation and others.

A quality standard for health services to help the diagnosis and support of young people with depression has been developed by NICE. 

Nearly 300 children under 11 were admitted to A&E because of alcohol, an increase of a third since 2011, according to figures obtained by BBC Five Live from foi requests. 

(Updated article 3rd October) 

Briefing on the new EU Procurement Directive and its implications for health from the NHS Confederation 

A report, ‘Potential for Partnership: Working together to create safer, healthier communities’, is published by the Centre for Social Justice, presenting five case studies on: violence reduction; the night time economy; substance and alcohol abuse; worklessness; and gambling. 

29th September 2013

Countries wealth and health spending is strongly associated with cancer mortality according to research to be presented to the European Cancer Congress. 

Lack of fitness amongst young people is a bigger problem than obesity according to a study of 8,500 10-16 year olds by the University of Essex.  Of 11-16 year olds, 11% were found to be obese but 20% unfit, while for 15 year olds the figures were 8% and 40% – a five fold difference. 

Around 50,000 people marched to protest at cuts, including to health, in Manchester where the Conservative conference was being held.  Greater Manchester Police said it was one of the biggest protests they had policed. 

28th September 2013

The Government announces £400m to allow the cancer drugs fund to continue for two more years. 

An all-party group of peers has submitted an amendment to the Children and Families Bill supporting plain cigarette packaging.  If passed, it could send a strong signal to the Commons.

27th September 2013

The climate could heat by a calamitous 2 degrees in 30 years at the current rate (with a massive impact on health and wellbeing globally) according to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

Steve Field, the new chief inspector of primary care, says GPs could face sanctions if they don’t meet standards, such as not opening for long enough or providing inadequate care. 

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

27th September 2013

Thirty NHS hospital trusts expect to be in deficit by the end of the financial year (this doesn’t include foundation trusts) according to a report on performance by the NHS Trust Development Authority.

The number of people aged over 100 has increased fivefold from 2,420 in 1981 to 12,320 now. 

26th September 2013

There are more premature deaths in the north than the south, according to new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre. 

The CQC is to launch a new child protection inspection next week. 

Four in ten people are delaying seeing their doctor, despite being concerned about symptoms, mostly because they hoped they would get better or they were worried about wasting the doctor’s time, according to a survey of 1,500 people by The Information Standard, a body backed by NHS England. 

Or … 71% delay going to see the doctor according to a poll of 1,000 people by law firm ‘Your Legal Friend’, with doctors saying they spend 17 hours a week on administration and management.–THIRD-future-NHS.html 

A review of health improvement in Wales finds much good practice but generally fragmented and spread too thinly. 

(27th September) 

White doctors are three times more likely to be appointed to senior manager roles than those from ethnic minorities according to an investigation by the BMJ careers journal. 

People with mental health problems die on average 20 years earlier than others, with 30,000 avoidable deaths each year from smoking, drinking and obesity, according to ‘Rethink Mental Illness’. 

Hospitals are increasingly offering patients the chance to pay for treatment, (such as some cataract operations), that they are no longer eligible to receive for free, according to Labour. 

36% of line managers have not had any leadership training according to a survey by CIPD. 

PHE Bulletin.  Including the publication of 2013 Public Health Profiles

25th September 2013

Three quarters of CCG contracts have been let following competition according to data from 63 CCGs obtained using foi by Pulse magazine.  This follows controversy earlier in the year over whether the new S.75 regulations would increase competition. 

Andy Burnham announces 25 areas to pilot integrated, whole-person care.  He also proposed that elderly patients should have one named co-ordinator of their care, and reaffirmed that a Labour Government would repeal the Health and Social Care Act in its first year in office. 

Everyone with a long term condition or disability must have a care plan accessible digitally by 2015, according to NHS England guidance, ‘Transforming Participation in Health and Care’ 

Housing representatives would be given a seat on health and wellbeing boards if Labour are elected in 2015 

Key points from the Labour Party conference for local authorities. 

A new digital health information network is launched, with NHS England, to improve digital access by those who suffer most from health inequalities. 

A NICE briefing on how local authorities can improve health and save money 

The King’s Fund publish a map with links to case studies of integrated care in England and round the world.  Also a three minute animation, describing integration in practical terms. 

A list of Directors of Public Health is published by DH 

An interesting article on Foundation Trusts and the place of public representation in the health system. 

24th September 2013

People’s health and wellbeing are suffering as a result of the welfare cuts, according to a study based on 70 households, by seven housing providers in the north. 

NHS England has created a dashboard summarising public views of the NHS.  The site, ‘Insights’ is still in beta. 

New public health profiles published

23rd September 2013

Mental health services are coming under increasing pressure because of the growing numbers with mental health problems according to a report by the Mental Health Foundation.

London’s busiest A&E departments are seeing similar numbers of patients as in the winter peak according to a leaked document. 

(26th September) 

Less than a third of people are aware that Type 2 Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, according to an ICM survey of 1,000 people, conducted to support a campaign by Diabetes UK to raise awareness of the consequences of the disease. 

One in five GPs on CCG boards have a financial interest in a provider commissioned by their CCG, according to a foi request by Pulse, based on 45 CCGs.

Demos publish: ‘Health in Austerity’

22nd September 2013

The Competition Commission is said to be considering forcing private healthcare provider BMI to sell 10 of its current 64 hospitals to reduce its market dominance as it is accused of extracting excess profits from insurance firms and patients. 

(24th September) 

[Not policy, but a fascinating explanation of the pathways by which diet and exercise can influence rates of cancer – relevant when thinking about the social determinants of health] 

20th September 2013

The number of trusts missing the 4 hour A&E waiting time target has more than doubled to 31 between April and June compared to 13 the year before according to Monitor.  It also said that the NHS was generating £57m less than planned of savings.

(22nd September) 

The Public Accounts Committee has supported the community budgets programme but says more commitment is needed from other government departments than DCLG. 

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

20th September 2013

The Public Accounts Committee says there should be more early, preventive action to deal with social problems and reduce costs in the longer term.  It suggests the Treasury need to adopt a more integrated, long-term approach. 

Spending on adult social care fell by 2% in 2012-13 according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Tony Hunter, CE of NE Lincs Council is to become CE of SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) in January 2014. 

NHS News: Issue 25

19th September 2013

Patient led teams have scored hospitals at about 8 out of 10 for their non-clinical services in the first PLACE assessments (Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment) results published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.  The assessments give average national scores of 96% for cleanliness; 89% for condition, appearance and maintenance; 89% for dignity, privacy and wellbeing; and 85% for food and hydration. All 1140 eligible NHS sites conducted assessments as well as 218 independent / voluntary sector sites. PLACE replaces PEAT (Patient Environment Action Team) assessments. 

Reports with the scores: 

The Government has set out the support to be given to 11 trusts in special measures and said more such trusts are likely to be identified in forthcoming hospital inspections.  Managers from successful hospitals are to be brought in, with the promise of bonuses if they are successful. 

A £10m scheme aims to recruit and train doctors and people from industry in leadership, over 10 months, to create a new breed of super-managers. 

We are eating less fruit and vegetables.  Data published by Defra in a ‘pocketbook’. 

Google is setting up a new company to inject some ‘moonshot thinking’ to problems of ageing and associated diseases.  The company is to be chaired by Apple Chairman Arthur Levinson.  [Of course, they could always make a start by paying their taxes to fund some public research]. 

NHS News: Issue 24 

Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 42 

18th September 2013

Only a third of trusts expect to meet their efficiency targets (of the overall £20bn savings demanded by the ‘Nicholson challenge’), compared to three quarters last year, according to a King’s Fund survey of 42 NHS Finance Directors.

King’s Fund quarterly report on how the health and social care system is performing. 

Hospitals should display the number of nurses on duty on each ward, there should be a more accessible complaints system and an end to gagging clauses on staff, according to the Health Select Committee, in their response to the Staffordshire hospitals scandal. 

There has been a rise in male suicides in Europe and America during the financial crisis according to analysis of data from 54 countries by Oxford, Bristol and Hong Kong Universities.  The research did not prove a causal link, although it is suspected.  

The abandoned NHS IT system has already cost £9.8bn (compared to the £6.4bn original estimate) with costs likely to rise further, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

ONS publish data on healthy life expectancy, showing a big north-south divide. 

Half of housing association tenants affected by the bedroom tax could not pay their rent between April and June according to a survey covering 34,432 people by the National Housing Federation. 

(19th September) A third of council house tenants have been pushed into arrears by the bedroom tax according to research by False Economy 

17th September 2013

Too many recipients of community mental health services are not being involved in decisions about their care according to the CQC, commenting on the Community mental health survey 2013 covering 13,000 people in 58 NHS Trusts. 

The new hospital inspections start.  Eighteen inspections are due to take place before the end of 2013. 

Failure to publish unfavourable clinical trials results are putting lives in danger according to a report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. 

16th September 2013

GPs are feeling increasingly pressured and overworked, with satisfaction levels at their lowest since 2001, according to a DH commissioned survey of 3,000 GPs by the University of Manchester. 

The public underestimate the cost of being in a care home and the likelihood of their own need for care, according to a survey of 2,271 people by the Strategic Society Centre think tank.–and-of-probability-they-will-need-care-themselves-8818204.html 

15th September 2013

The NHS spent £4m on 133 gagging orders over the last four years, contrary to evidence previously given by Sir David Nicholson, according to the Public Accounts Committee 

14th September 2013

The NHS should do more to help people with mental health problems stop smoking according to a new report from the NHS Confederation.  People with serious mental illnesses die 25 years earlier than mentally healthy people on average.

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

13th September 2013

More than 5,000 patients have been involved in new patient led inspections since April.  [Details released on 18th September] 

Data on outcomes in the final three areas of surgery have been published. 

12th September 2013

Patients with complex needs should not be constantly moved between hospital wards, with care brought to the patient instead according to the Future Hospital Commission set up by the Royal College of Physicians.  There should also be greater integration of care in and out of hospitals and more treatment at home.  There were positive responses from Jeremy Hunt, Andy Burnham, NHS England, the NHS Confederation and the King’s Fund.

British patients are said to be 50% more likely to die from poor care than in America according to figures from Prof Brian Jarman. 

127 prominent figures have said early schooling focused on targets and testing is damaging for children’s wellbeing.  A spokesman from Michael Gove’s office is reported as saying that this was ‘an excuse for not teaching poor people how to add up.’ 

EU Commission report on health inequalities in the EU

Government response to the Caldicott information governance review–2

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has issued guidance on whistleblowing.

Welsh A&E units and other unscheduled services are deteriorating according to the auditor general. 

Michael Gove says that families often face financial pressures as a result of decisions they have taken which mean “they are not best able to manage their finances”. 

Speech to the TUC by Jack Monroe (AKA ‘A girl called Jack’), 9th September: 

11th September 2013

About half of the cases of womb cancer in the UK, 3,700 a year, could ‘probably’ be prevented by doing 30 minutes of exercise a day and maintaining a healthy weight, according to a review of the evidence by Imperial College.  However only 56% of women follow the exercise recommendations and only 39% have a healthy weight.

The UN special investigator on housing has recommended that the British Government should abolish the bedroom tax, saying she was shocked how people feel their human rights have been abused by the policy. 

Grant Shapps calls this a disgrace, says she was not invited to Britain by ministers and had failed to meet government ministers: 

The UN special investigator rejects the complaints and says the visit and agenda was organised by the UK Government and included meetings with Eric Pickles and other ministers:

Raquel Rolnik, the UN special investigator says she has never had such a hostile response from a government:

Botox injections can be used to treat incontinence, NICE has said, and female patients should have free access to the drug.  Urinary incontinence is estimated to affect five million women in England and Wales 

The replacement for the Choose and Book system is to be developed by IT consultancy BJSS 

10th September 2013

Jeremy Hunt wants GPs to do more preventive work with older people to stop their health deteriorating and so reduce pressure on A&E departments. 

The speech to the King’s Fund on 12th September: 

(7th September) 

Hunt says that hospitals will have to have most of their staff vaccinated against flu to get their share of the £500m which is to help ease the A&E crisis.

Hunt orders same day GP appointments to ease the burden on A&E: 

Clare Gerada criticises Hunt’s comments that the NHS is failing elderly people:

Channel 4 Fact Check: 86% of people get to see a GP on the same day and of those that don’t 9% go to A&E:

(12 September)

The number of blind people getting support from councils has fallen by 40% in six years from 56,000 in 2005-6 to just under 32,000 last year, according to analysis by the RNIB.

Government publishes its five year anti-microbial resistance strategy–2

Mike Farrar is standing down as chief executive of the NHS Confederation when his secondment ends on 30 September.  He won’t be applying for the job of NHS England but is to launch a new career in healthcare consultancy. 

Earl Howe suggests some of the £3.8bn integration fund could be directed towards GPs 

New diagnostic criteria could radically increase the numbers diagnosed with dementia, many wrongly, according to experts writing in the BMJ.  However the Alzheimer’s Society criticised the analysis and supported more early diagnosis. 

Public Health England launches a new data and knowledge information portal 

Changes in opinions revealed in the latest British Attitudes Survey, including views on welfare. 

Most people are happy with the NHS:

9th September 2013

A quarter of doctors and surgeons and a third of nurses say they have been bullied into behaving in ways that they believe are bad for patient care according to a survey of 1,000 health workers by the CIPD.

East Riding of Yorkshire CCG is cutting its telehealth service because it says it is not cost effective.  [This follows national surveys doubting the benefits of telehealth although others continue to support it] 

The UN publishes its World Happiness Report 2013.  The UK is 22nd out of 156 countries, the US 17th with the Danes top of the list.

People suffering traumas in childhood, such as spending time in care, neglect or a family member in prison, are more likely to die early according to research led by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, based on British data of 15,000 people.  Men who have had two or more traumatic events were 57% more likely to die before 50, while for women the figure was 80%.  Some of the causes of death were suicide, alcohol and drugs, but there were also thought to be impacts on the hormone and immune systems.–claims-study.html 

A report on the attitudes of different generations to the welfare system shows how support for welfare has fallen in the last two decades.  Research by Ipsos MORI and Demos, published by JRF. 

‘Delivering effective Local Healthwatch: key success factors’ published by the LGA 

‘Local Healthwatch outcomes and impact development tool’ published by the LGA 

NHS News: Issue 23 

8th September 2013

A new scheme to measure the number of ‘needless’ deaths could be in place by next April. It will involve Trusts looking in more detail at the deaths of 20,000 people across the country, with a random sample of 2,000 examined independently to avoid ‘gaming’ of the system.  It is hoped this will be an improvement on the current Hospital Standardised Mortality Radio (HSMR). 

English A&E departments are understaffed by an average of nearly 10% according to a BBC survey.


Interesting article by the Scottish Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing about the differences in their approach to the NHS, aiming to avoid the privatisation going on in England. 

7th September 2013

The DWP is planning to reduce social security payments to people deemed not to be working enough according to internal papers seen by the Guardian.  DWP confirmed this was part of their plans. 

Leaked documents show that Philip Morris International involved 161 people and spent over £1m to combat the EU’s proposed Tobacco Products Directive, according to the Guardian.  A crucial vote on it has been postponed. 

A survey of 125 senior health service managers by the NHS Confederation raises fears that there may be a bigger A&E crisis this year than last.

Suppressing emotions increased the risk of death by 47% for heart disease and 70% for cancer in a study of 796 people, initially signed up to a health survey in 1996 and of whom 111 had died twelve years later, according to research from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester.  [Interesting; I thought previous research showed that releasing anger isn’t helpful.]–itll-knock-years-life-raise-cancer-risk-70-percent.html 

WHO is likely to recommend a reduction in the proportion of sugar there should be in diets, but there is likely to be resistance from Government scientific advisors 

How much sugar we currently consume: 

Smoothies and fruit juice could cause health problems because they have too much naturally occurring sugar which is easily consumed because they don’t fill you up, according to two American scientists. 

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

6th September 2013

Nurses and midwives will face three yearly checks on their fitness to practice under plans by the Nursing and Midwifery Council 

Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 41 

5th September 2013

£10m is being made available to find ways of ensuring better treatment for homeless people who have to go into hospital. 

Health and Wellbeing Board development tool from the LGA 

4th September 2013

The Government is to provide an additional £240m for IT systems to help sharing of patients’ records which in addition to £260m announced earlier in the year and £500 to come from matched funding from local health and care systems makes a total of £1bn (the headline figure).  Concerns are expressed about confidentiality. 

Statistics on the take up of NHS Health Checks, now the responsibility of local authorities, have been published 

The numbers living below the ‘living wage’ has risen to 4.8m from 3.4m in 2009 according to a report from the Resolution Foundation 

Up to 80 rural GP practices are at risk with the ending of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee next April.–government-reduces-funding-and-workloads-increase-8798821.html 

Commissioners will have to decommission unpopular services as personal health budgets are rolled out according to a new report by the Nuffield Trust.

Higher levels of violent crime in an area are associated with less walking, with consequent health impacts.  Doubling of crime is associated with a 4% drop in walking according to research from Bristol University, Imperial College and Australia’s Monash university. 

Later Life Newsletter 48: September (just 1 page) 

3rd September 2013

The Royal College of GPs call for standards of care in treatment of elderly, in their response to the Francis Enquiry 

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has reduced the time for recording patient transfers and discharges from three days to around 8 minutes. 

2nd September 2013

The public health ringfence is to be extended by another year.


NHS England is to publish lists of ‘never events’ quarterly, broken down by NHS trusts.  (‘Never events’ are things so bad they should never happen – like leaving objects inside a patient after an operation or amputating the wrong appendage). 

A shingles vaccine is to be offered to people between 70 and 79 from this week.  Shingles affects around 14,000 people a year and can lead to longer term health problems.  The vaccine reduces the chance of getting shingles by a third. 

The increase in average weight in this country is being skewed by gains amongst those with a high BMI, while the average weight of others has been falling over the last decade, according to a study of 160,000 adults between 1992 and 2010 by researchers from the University of Manchester and elsewhere. 

Men’s height has risen by 5 inches between the 1870’s and 1970’s (just men’s height is recorded because of the lack of historical records for women).  It is speculated that this could be because of better nutrition and living conditions.  (It’s also suggested it may be because more people were surviving – but why should those people be taller?). 

NHS News, Issue 22 

1st September 2013

Receptionists are deciding who needs treatment in 13% of GP surgeries according to a survey of 1200 GPs, nurses and practice managers, by Camden Health, a clinical research and publishing body. 

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

30th August 2013

A Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People (LACDP) has been formed to progress better quality care for dying patients, following the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway 

(27th August) The Royal College of GPs has launched a three year programme to improve end of life care: 

There are clear health differences in the care of mental health care service users according to new analysis from the Health and Social Care Information Centre 

Cancer patients’ experience of care is improving according to the latest results from the national cancer patient experience survey. 

Atos has put 45% of applicants with progressive conditions such as MS on back to work programmes 

29th August 2013

Drinking the equivalent of a glass of wine a day in their teens, increases women’s risk of breast cancer by about a third according to US research based on 91,000 histories. 

Poverty can sap mental capacity making it hard to make decisions which could improve their position and health.  Being preoccupied with money was equivalent to a loss of 13 IQ points. 

(30 August) Feature article: 

NHS internal payment systems should be based on outcomes rather than activity according to a report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the King’s Fund 

‘Mini-brains’ are grown artificially from stem cells.  The immediate benefit is helping investigate diseases that happen in the early stages of brain development. 

Data on hospital complaints has been released showing a rise of 1.9% over the previous year 

NHS Confederation response: 

Data has been released on how much hospitals spend on food, ranging from £2.94 to £15.65 per patient per day.

28th August 2013

Prof Steve Field is to be the new Chief Inspector of GPs.  Currently the NHS England Deputy Medical Director he is a former chair of the Royal College of GPs and also led the review during the ‘pause’ of the Health and Social Care Bill.

Patients should have their kidneys checked to spot acute kidney injury (AKI) which affects one in six people admitted, according to NICE.  AKI is almost entirely preventable but currently kills about one in four sufferers.  It is suggested that following the NICE guidelines could save 12,000 deaths a year. 

NHS England response:

Around 50,000 people die 20 years early every year according to Jeremy Hunt, using figures from the Information Centre for Health and Social Care, and he has said he wants to save 30,000 lives a year by 2020. 

2,597 people in England and Wales died from legal and illegal drugs, both accidentally and deliberately, in 2012 according to figures from ONS, with the highest rates in Wales and North West England. 

A report on personal health budgets, ‘challenges for commissioners and policy makers’ is published by the Nuffield Trust 

Too much time in front of the screen and not enough exercise is worsening children’s happiness and self-esteem according to a briefing paper from Public Health England. 

However, it is suggested the briefing is based on secondary research and doesn’t tell the whole story, including the differences between different sorts of ‘screen time’ and the lack of evidence for any causal link: 

Many private patients are paying more than they should because of lack of competition in many parts of the country, according to the Competition Commission.  Up to 20 sites may have to be sold to increase competition.  It also recommends ending cash payments to doctors for referrals, which could influence treatment decisions.

27th August 2013

Sexually transmitted diseases in the under 25s have risen by 46% in the last 10 years, according to Public Health England

‘Right to Control’ pilots, which gave disabled people personal budgets that integrated a number of funding streams did not provide benefits in terms of applying for and organising services or in their day to day lives according to new research. 

(30 August) response from Disability Rights UK: 

OPM guide on how Health and Wellbeing Boards can achieve their full potential 

25th August 2013

The LGA says most councils face cuts nearer 15% next year than the 10% previously thought, except for the GLA which will have no cuts.  This is because of money being held back to be redistributed in other areas such as social care and housing.  The Government says the figures haven’t changed since the spending review. 

(30 August) Pickles criticises increase in local government reserves: 

24th August 2013

About 900,000 low income families will not benefit from the Government’s proposed childcare support because not all adults in the family will be earning above the £10k income tax threshold, according the Resolution Foundation.

Jeremy Hunt has suggested that employers should allow flexible working amongst carers in order to deal with the impending ‘dementia timebomb’. 

(27 August) 

Children in poverty today are in many ways more disadvantaged than in the 1960s according to the National Children’s Bureau, comparing today’s figures with a report they produced in the 1960s.

23rd August 2013

Stress is found to help the spread of cancer by ‘switching on’ a particular gene according to research by Ohio State University 

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

23rd August 2013

The Royal College of GPs is backing Labour’s proposals for the integration of health and social care, while pushing for more funding for general practice. 

Up to 20 NHS Trusts could set up services in India 

22nd August 2013

Just over half of children are not doing enough exercise, with 63% of boys and 38% of girls having the recommended hour a day’s physical activity.  The research assessed activity through accelerometer’s worn round the waist of the children for a week during 2008 and 2009 and was published in the BMJ. 

Comment from medical correspondent: 

Air pollution monitoring stations could be closed under DEFRA proposals currently out for consultation (until 13 September), campaigners are warning.  Air pollution is thought to kill upwards of 29,000 people a year at a cost of about £16bn to health services. 

Older people falling over costs the NHS £2bn a year according to a King’s Fund report based on figures from Torbay.  A third of people over 65 and half of those over 80 fall once a year on average. 

There have been falls in deaths from MRSA (20%) and c.difficile (25%) in the last year, continuing longer term trends, according to figures from England and Wales 

The Government is going to appeal against the court decision against it on cuts to services at Lewisham Hospital

A shorter working week did not increase happiness, in a South Korean study based on the reduction in the official working week from 44 to 40 hours.  It is suggested that this could be because of increased intensity of work during the shorter time worked and reduction in holidays.

[Added after the update originally published].  This article says that in fact, with a shorter working week satisfaction with working hours increased (i.e. people were happy to be working less) and satisfaction with life and jobs also increased; it was just that the increase was not significant:

NHS News: Issue 21 

Bulletin for CCGS: Issue 40 

21st August 2013

A £2.2bn NHS underspend is being handed back to the Treasury.  Last year £1.4bn was handed back.  DH says the money will be re-invested in the NHS.

More men than women are dying from skin cancer, despite roughly equal numbers being diagnosed with it according to Cancer Research UK. 

Three quarters of Britons could be suffering obesity related illness by 2030 according to a report from the Centre for Workforce Intelligence commissioned by DH. 

20th August 2013

NHS ‘stop smoking’ services have helped nearly 146,000 people over the last decade to quit for at least twelve months according to research from University College London. 

DH is working with 5 police forces in an extension of the street triage scheme in which mental health nurses accompany police officers to incidents. 

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs, says that the NHS’s free health check for 40-74 year olds does not have sufficient evidence of its effectiveness.  (This is based on research published some time ago, but it is interesting that the doubts are resurfacing again). 

The number of restraint orders for dementia sufferers has doubled in three years from 1,459 to 2,979 according to figures from the Information Centre for Health and Social Care 

The number of children adopted has increased in the last year from 4,740 in 2011 to 5,206 in 2012. 

Cancer Research UK has launched a tool allowing comparison of cancer statistics across the country, which shows wide variations, with lower survival rates in northern cities. 

19th August 2013

NHS News: Issue 20

18th August 2013

There will not be a full complement of midwifes until 2026, as judged by the DH-supported ratio of one midwife for every 28 births in a year, according to the Royal College of Midwives. 

17th August 2013

Around 80% of GPs said they had insufficient resources to provide high quality patient care and over 70% were predicting longer waiting times in future, in a survey of 206 GPs by the Royal College of GPs.

16th August 2013

18% of deaths in the US could be obesity related according to research carried out by several US universities using data from representative samples over a 20 year period.  A 2001 NAO report estimated obesity related deaths in this country at 6% but that estimate is thought to be too low. 

Later Life Newsletter 47 (1 page) 

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

16th August 2013

Hospitals are causing GPs unnecessary extra work, according to a survey in London 

15th August 2013

The number of patients on NHS waiting lists is the highest for five years at 2.9m according to statistics from NHS England 

NHS England’s review of how resources are allocated to CCGs and to NHSE local area teams for direct commissioning, is to include 4 regional workshops 

DH annual reports and accounts published (including Trusts and Foundation Trusts, arms length bodies, PCTs and SHAs); 212 pages. 

14th August 2013

NHS England is asking for contributions to thinking about the development of general practice from local communities, clinicians and other stakeholders 

Report of the Health Select Committee on the implementation of the 2007 Mental Health Act.  It had been hoped that Community Treatment Orders would reduce the number of people compulsorily detained in hospital, but this has not happened.  They say that some mentally ill people are being sectioned so as to obtain hospital treatment. 

Government asks the LGA to take down a web-page on a participatory budgeting tool that, it says, encourages councils to raise money through parking charges and litter fines. 

13th August 2013

Worcestershire County Council is considering charging some children, parents and carers for social care costs. 

(14th August) 

Report on the NHS hospital complaints system from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman 

12th August 2013

The Government’s benefit cuts will have serious knock on effects for local authorities according to LGA commissioned research.  The income of households claiming benefit will fall by an average of £31 a week in 2015-16 as a result of welfare reforms, excluding universal credit.  59% of welfare cuts fall on households where someone has a job.

The report: 

The Government announces £77m to promote cycling initiatives in eight cities and £17m in four national parks over two years.  Labour said this was not as much as they were spending on it when in government.

Consultation on a proposal for a combined authority for Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield and five district councils.  The combined authority would have responsibility for transport, economic development and regeneration [it is not a merger of the authorities]. 

9th August 2013

11% of cancer patients have their notes lost in hospital each year and 20% say they are patronised by hospital staff, according to a survey of 2,217 patients by YouGov commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support. 

Data from GP records is to be sold to private companies and researchers for a nominal £1 to encourage them to make more use of the information. 

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

9th August 2013

The LGA and NHS England publish a vision for the £3.8bn integrated care fund. 

8th August 2013

The Government is to provide an additional £500m to help A&E departments avoid a crisis this winter.  The money is to come from DH savings.

BMA says it is only papering over the cracks: 

There were more births in 2011-12 than any year since 1972 according to the ONS.  With 254k more births than deaths and net immigration of 166k, the population of the UK grew by 420k to reach 63.7m.  The growth rate was one of the highest in the EU.  The number of men aged over 75 has increased by 26% since 2001 compared to a 6% increase for women, thought to be due to changes in smoking and better treatment for circulatory diseases.–england-and-wales–scotland-and-northern-ireland/mid-2011-and-mid-2012/stb—mid-2011—mid-2012-uk-population-estimates.html 

NHS News: Issue 19 

Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 39

7th August 2013

Single parents with children make up 74% of those affected by the £500 a week benefit cap in the four London boroughs where the cut has been piloted. 

The Government has not resolved how passported benefits, including for health, will be determined once universal credit is introduced, according to Labour.  Benefits like free school meals or free prescriptions depend on the receipt of payments such as income support or child tax credits which are merging into Universal Credit.  Iain Duncan Smith has said it is up to other departments how to resolve this. 

LGA’s Health and Wellbeing Board Bulletin from the Health and Wellbeing System Improvement Programme (requires log in to KHub).

Knowledge Hub extremely long link, so embedded

6th August 2013

Berwick report on patient safety published.  The report by Prof. Don Berwick, Barack Obama’s former health adviser, says it is usually systems rather than NHS employees at fault.  He calls for greater openness and transparency but does not propose a duty of candour or minimum staffing levels. 

Patients’ Association call for practical action.  Berwick calls for more joined up regulation:

Public Health Outcomes Framework, quarterly data update:

5th August 2013

A robotic exoskeleton has passed safety tests in Germany, increasing the chances of it being made available in other parts of Europe including the UK.  The exoskeleton could help in the rehabilitation of disabled people and for daily living.  It also enables people to carry heavier loads in daily work or emergency situations.  The ‘suit’ called Hal is produced by Japanese company Cyberdene.–paving-way-sale-UK.html 

The Government launches a new procurement strategy for the NHS.  The strategy includes a new procurement champion, a price comparison index and more bulk purchasing. 

4th August 2013

Almost a third of women with dependent children are now the breadwinners in the family according to IPPR, with the proportion of mothers in couples who are breadwinners having risen from 18% to 31% in the last 15 years. 

2nd August 2013

Closing stroke units and concentrating resources in fewer, specialised centres has led to a 12% reduction in deaths and has saved £811 per patient according to research led by University College London. 

NHS England announces £50m innovation fund relating to the ‘specialised services’ which it commissions directly.  The scheme is open to manufacturers, patient groups, voluntary organisations, commissioners, NHS frontline staff and non-NHS service providers and opens in September. 

Male survivors of Nazi concentration camps had longer life expectancy, by 14 months, according to Israeli research based on more than 55,000 Polish Jews who had lived through the concentration camps or avoided them.  The difference is thought to result from ‘post-traumatic growth’ enhancing personal and interpersonal skills.  However it could also be that those who survived were less vulnerable than those who didn’t.  There was no change for women.

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

2nd August 2013

Interactive map of CCGs. 

1st August 2013

80% of adults had not sufficiently exercised, for the recommended 12 times in the previous 4 weeks, according to analysis by Bristol University researchers of data for over a million people in the Active People Survey.  People with no qualifications were three times as likely to be inactive as those with a degree. 

(29 July) Meanwhile, Pickles says people should be able to park on double yellow lines for 15 minutes to make it easier to get to the shops. 

The NHS Customer Contact Centre, a single contact point for complaints has more than 3,000 outstanding cases concerning GPs and dentist going back to April. 

Nearly half of talking therapy patients move to recovery but drop out rates are high, according to figures on the IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme published by HSCIC (Health and Social Care Information Centre). 

NICE publishes 15 possible indicators on the benefits to patients from CCG commissioned services.  They could be included in a wider set of CCG Outcome Indicators. 

(2nd August)

NHS News: Issue 18 

31st July 2013

High Court quashes Jeremy Hunt’s decision to downgrade Lewisham’s A&E department.

£93m government funding announced for bio-medical facilities. 

30th July 2013

Government wins court challenge to the bedroom tax and announces additional £35m funding to help those affected. 

NHS England is unlikely to recommend a national flu vaccination advertising campaign this year as evidence suggests it does not increase take-up rates. 

30th July 2013

First ‘Friends and Family’ test results published.  [Asking, for instance, whether you would like your nearest and dearest sent to casualty].  The results are available at trust, hospital, specialty and ward level.  Low response rates (13%) and variations in methodologies used could affect the robustness and comparability of results. 

The data is available here: 

Commentary on the usefulness of the test: 

(1 April). Problems with the test: 

There has been a small increase in happiness in the last year according to the latest figures from the ONS.–2012-13/sb—personal-well-being-in-the-uk–2012-13.html  

People who are happy because of helping others have strong expression of antibody and antiviral genes while a ‘hedonic’ group who were equally happy but from consuming goods or self-gratification showed low antibody and antiviral gene expression, according to UCLA research on 80 people.–genes-thank-Doing-good-leads-strong-immune-cells.html 

80% of nurses had to ration their care because they were short of time according to a survey of 3,000 nurses in 2010 carried out by King’s College London.  66% said they did not have time to talk to and comfort patients.

29th July 2013

NHS Direct seeks to pull out of the remaining 9 of its 11 NHS111 contracts because they are not economically viable. 

NHS England response: 

NHS Confederation response: 

Background information on NHS111: 

Fundamental problems with the system: 

(30 July) Data on the performance of NHS111: 

27th July 2013

Tobacco company’s internal documents show plans to lobby politicians and officials on plain packaging, rather than, as stated, wanting to wait for evidence of the results following changes in Australia. 

26th July 2013

People with mental health problems have been more likely to become unemployed during the recession with the rate increasing twice as much as for other people from 12.7% to 18.2% between 2006 and 2010 according to research from King’s College London based on over 20,000 people from across Europe.

(27th July) 

The largest single NHS contract so far is being let in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  The CCG is inviting bids for a contract worth £700m – £1.1bn. 

Changes in social care data to be collected by the Government. 

Survey by National Voices asking voluntary sector and Healthwatch about their involvement with health and wellbeing boards (closing date for survey 26 September) 

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

26th July 2013

The number of children trying drink, drugs and cigarettes has fallen dramatically in the last decade, according to a survey of 7,590 school pupils by the Social Care Information Centre. 

A bullying culture at the CQC is described in an internal report.

25th July 2013

A 5% rise in the death rate amongst elderly people over the last 18 months has led Labour to ask for an enquiry into its causes. 

The NHS is facing a chronic staff shortage, including of elderly care specialists and psychiatrists, according to the King’s Fund. 

46 CCGs have been discharged of conditions put on them by NHS England meaning that 152 (72%) are now fully authorised, with 8 still having directions on them. 

Anxiety disorders affect about 13% of the population and cost around £10bn a year according to research from the Universities of Cambridge and of Hertfordshire, which also looked at the incidence of a variety of other conditions. 

The Audit Commission praises health bodies’ financial reporting but says a quarter of NHS Trusts are under financial stress (not Foundation Trusts). 

51% of GPs would support charging for appointments, while 36% would not, according to a poll of 440 GPs by Pulse magazine.  The proportion supporting a charge has risen from 34% last September and it is suggested that this may have been influenced by growing workloads. 

But DH and NHS England reject the idea of charging, saying the NHS should be free at the point of use:

NHS News: Issue 17.  Includes: Patient and public voice representatives sought for Clinical Priorities Advisory Group and Rare Diseases Advisory Group. 

Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 38. 

24th July 2013

The Health Select Committee says NHS England’s plans for A&E are not good enough and express concern over lack of sufficient emergency care consultants.  Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of NHS England is currently leading a review of urgent and emergency care.

(25 July) Are ‘urgent care boards’ the answer, or just another problem: 

5,000 patients, or two wards per hospital, are ‘bed-blockers’, people who cannot be discharged because of lack of care at home:

The latest life expectancy figures show a nine year difference for men and seven for women, with a clear north-south divide. 

PHE Bulletin (8 pp). 

23rd July 2013

Councils need new freedoms to make the most of the general power of competence, the LGA has said.  This might include more freedoms on trading, charging, the creation of byelaws and control over spending. 

22nd July 2013

A consultation on better use of hospital data to improve standards and safety, has been launched by NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre 

The wellbeing of children is in decline according to a report from Children’s Society, which also looks at how far nef’s five ways to wellbeing apply to children. 

Atos has been told to improve its work in carrying out tests for fitness to work on disabled people following a Government audit. 

People with epilepsy are 11 times more likely to die prematurely than others, according to research from Oxford and Stockholm published in the Lancet. 

21st July 2013

The lobbying firm of Tory election strategist Lynton Crosby is said to have advised private healthcare providers on how to exploit perceived failings of the NHS. 

The presentation:

Two pharmaceutical trade bodies appear to be trying to use patients’ groups to argue against publishing all clinical trials data, an agreement on which is currently being negotiated in Europe.

Jeremy Hunt is encouraging the take up of free NHS health checks for all 40-74 year olds. 

(19 July) Health check implementation review and action plan: 

20th July 2013

Sir Bruce Keogh has been overheard apologising to Andy Burnham, in a private conversation, over the Tories smear campaign using Keogh’s report to attack the Labour Government record 

Guidance for Britain’s 6 million carers has been produced by the BMA.

(The first of three extracts in the Mail Online): 

19th July 2013

Independent living is the key to the future of adult social care as efficiency savings get harder to identify, according to a report from the LGA’s Adult Social Care Efficiency Programme. 

While alcohol related deaths have generally been falling, those for women in their 30’s and 40’s have been rising, according to research based on Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. 

A quarter of cancer survivors suffer severe side effects including pain and increased risk of suffering from other conditions, according to a report from Macmillan Cancer Support. 

More than a third of patients are having to wait more than six weeks for Dementia tests, even though that is the maximum waiting time recommended by the Royal Society of Psychiatrists, according to foi information from 145 CCGs obtained by GP Magazine. 

Children’s Centres are increasingly targeting poorer families at the expense of universal provision as a result of budget cuts according to Oxford University research for the Department for Education.

Companies report on the reduction of calories in their food in annual responsibility deal report to DH 

Government procurement is criticised in reports from the Public Administration Select Committee and the Institute for Government. 

The Health Ombudsman has said it will investigate more complaints, following criticism of the number it was taking on 

NHS England is considering outsourcing the ‘daughter of NHS Choices’, a new Integrated Customer Service Platform. 

Research report on the neighbourhood community budget pilot programme. 

18th July 2013

The Government is planning to let private companies bid to run social services for vulnerable children.  It is also planning to relax regulation of the independent companies doing such work. 

The American private equity firm, Bain Capital, has bought a majority stake in the state-owned blood products firm Plasma Resources UK.  The Department of Health will keep a 20% share.  Bain are seen as bringing capital investment and operational expertise [as opposed to any expertise in this business].  David Owen criticised the sale and noted that a private equity company does not have the governance safeguards and answerability to shareholders of a publicly quoted company. 

(19 July) 

(20 July) 

The full rollout of NHS 111 has been put back to early 2014 

Trust in the NHS has fallen slightly in the last year. 

Dr Chaand Nagpaul has been elected chair of the BMA’s GPs’ Committee, replacing Dr Laurence Buckman 

(19 July) 

CPAG publish the costs of child poverty in every local authority and constituency.

Scottish perspective: 

The money made available to local authorities to replace the Social Fund has fallen by nearly half since 2010, with consequential impacts on poverty, vulnerability and wellbeing, according to a report from The Children’s Society. 

Government’s response to the Communities and Local Government Committee report on the role of local government in health issues. 

NHS News: Issue 16.  Includes: Friends and Family Test results to be published on 30th July. 

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

18th July 2013

A new system of hospital inspections, with teams of 20-30 including doctors, nurses and patients spending more than a week in hospitals has been announced by CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Sir Mike Richards.

Consultation on the detailed implementation of changes to funding for elderly care, closes 25 October:

Government plans for state-backed insurance system for elderly care in England. 

The cap on elderly care costs will benefit one in eight people, the Government has said:

There was a £2.1bn surplus across the NHS in 2012-13 matching that in 2011-12, but signs of increasing pressures, according to the NAO

(Registration required) 

17th July 2013

The Government has shelved the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol, citing lack of evidence, to much criticism. 

Local commissioners were under political pressure to roll out NHS111 on time and they prioritised cost savings according to an NHS England commissioned investigation. 

The ageing population will create financial demands requiring radical action, the Office for Budget Responsibility says in a report this week. 

Private treatment options have been introduced in one in six hospitals in the last year according to research by the BMA, leading to concerns that treatments rationed on the NHS will now have to be paid for. 

16th July 2013

The Keogh Mortality Review.  11 hospitals are to be placed in special measures.

The review doesn’t identify failure on the scale of Mid-Staffs, but a series of mediocre and struggling hospitals.  “The thrust of the review is not to damn the hospitals but to help them improve.”

Outcome reports: 

Jeremy Hunt statement on the Keogh review: 

Keogh warning on misuse of mortality statistics 

Unison warn on the need for safe staffing levels: 

Brief explanation of mortality statistics: 

Praise for the process used in the review: 

(17th July) Medical leaders accuse Jeremy Hunt of making political capital out of the Keogh review:

(17th July) Political row continues: 

A Tory and a Labour supporter debate the political battling over the issues: 

More should be done to prevent the 1,951 children dying unnecessarily every year says the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. 

The number of people over 65 with dementia may be smaller than previously thought, at 670,000 rather than 800,000, new research published in the Lancet suggests. 

A third of disabled people hit by the bedroom tax are being refused discretionary housing payments, designed to help meet the shortfall in their rents, sometimes because of misunderstanding about what income should be included in the calculation.  Of this third, around 90% said they were cutting back on food and drink and/or other household bills to make ends meet.  This was based on research by the Papworth Trust, based on 42 foi requests and an online survey of 259 people. 

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Sure Start is recommending that midwifery, health visiting and Sure Start budgets should be pooled.

15th July 2013

The Government is to phase out the Liverpool Care Pathway approach to end of life care

NHS England welcomes the review: 

The benefits cap is rolled out across Britain.  [The benefit cap, you will remember, limits certain benefits to an arbitrary level, rather than relating them to the equivalent in-work income] 

Iain Duncan Smith says he still believes the cap is forcing people into work, despite being criticised by ONS for making the claim: 

Official press release describes the cap as ‘restoring fairness to the welfare state’:

Alternative view of the opinion poll on which much of the DWP’s assertions rely: 

Blog: currently an out of work family is never better off than an in-work family; the cap will increase child poverty and homelessness; and (according to the Government) it is likely to cost more than it saves:

The number of calls to Mind has increased by 50%, from 46K to 68k in the last year, with many problems caused by severe financial worries. 

(18th July)–financial-pressures-blame.html 

14th July 2013

Widowed parents allowance to be cut.  [First it was the sick, then the disabled, now widows and their children.  Watch out, it’ll be kittens next.] 

12th July 2013

Free school meals should provided for all primary school pupils, a report for the Government has recommended.  It also suggests that packed lunches should be banned and that existing nutritional standards should be extended to apply to academies and free schools as well.  However, while welcoming the report Michael Gove said there would be no money for it before the next Parliament. 


The Government is criticised for not setting up a national body to investigate the 1,200 premature deaths of patients in the NHS with learning disability, as recommended by a DH funded inquiry.  People with learning difficulties die “on average, 16 years sooner than people without learning difficulties.” 

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

12 July 2013

People with learning disabilities face unacceptable differences in healthcare and more needs to be done to help them, the Government says.

Mencap expresses disappointment at the Government’s ‘weak response’: 

A majority of the public support the benefit cap according to an Ipsos MORI survey for DWP, with 73% supporting the cap in principle and 12% opposed. However 61% said they knew a little about the policy or less.  Nevertheless, when given a more detailed explanation of the cap 68% said they supported it with 13% against. 

Teenagers from poorer families were over two years behind in their reading compared with their richer counterparts according to analysis of data from the international Pisa reading tests by the Sutton Trust.  [The Trust seems to be suggesting that the Government should identify and support those with high potential.  Rather than those from poorer backgrounds of whatever ability.] 

The Government is delaying plans for plain cigarette packaging to give more time to see what the impact of that change is in Australia.  The Prime Minister said he had not been lobbied on this by Lynton Crosby, the Conservative party election campaign strategist, whose lobbying company has worked for the tobacco industry. 

Overview of responses to the consultation: 

Press release: 

Health campaigners say the Government is putting lives at risk: 

Only half of dementia patients had their mental state assessed in hospital, with knock on implications for their care, according to research looking at data from 210 hospitals and 8,000 patients, led by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement.

11th July 2013

Serco, which provided the out of hours GP service in Cornwall, failed to meet national standards, falsified data and had a bullying culture according to the Public Accounts Committee 

Some working families will be worse off under universal credit according to a JRF report. 

A survey of social landlords finds that most will only be able to rehouse less than a fifth hit by the bedroom tax 

It appears that the numbers applying to train as GPs may not be enough for the Government to meet its target to increase the number of GP trainees by 20% by 2015. 

‘The latest version’ of electronic patient record standards has been launched by the Royal College of Physicians on behalf of a wide group of stakeholders 

NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners (the collective voice of CCGs) have published a ‘ways of working‘ document.

NHS News: Issue 15

Bulletin for CCGs: Issue 37.  Includes consultation with CCGs on how they are to choose their commissioning support.  Everyone eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding will be eligible to ask for a personal health budget from April 2014. 

(9th July) 2020Health report on personal health budgets suggests they are effective and save money:

10th July 2013

Rising costs could lead to an NHS funding gap of £30bn by 2020-21 according to NHS England.  They think changes such as concentrating care in fewer hospitals are needed to address this.  They intend to produce a report on possible reforms by the end of the year.  The report is called: ‘The NHS Belongs to the People: a call to action’.

Alternative views:

The BMA Chief Health Economist says further savings needed cannot come from more cuts to staff and pay, as has been relied on for the savings so far 

The NHS reforms cost £1.1bn up to March 2013, including £435m on redundancies according to the NAO.  10,000 people were made redundant but 2,200 made redundant between May 2010 and September 2012 were subsequently reemployed.  The Government says the reforms will save £5.5bn in this Parliament and £1.5bn each year thereafter.

There should be a minimum standard of training for healthcare assistants according to a review by Camilla Cavendish, who was asked by the Government to investigate following the Francis report. Some healthcare assistants had received only minimal training such as watching a DVD.  Assistants have sometimes been asked to perform procedures such as taking blood and changing dressings.

7 recommendations of the report (registration required):

(16 July, registration required): 

Air pollution is linked to lung cancer and to heart failure

Air pollution is harming people with weak hearts, in addition to other effects, according to a research based on 35 studies in 12 countries published in the Lancet.  Air pollution is thought to cause 30,000 premature deaths a year from a variety of sources. 

Air pollution can increase the risks of lung cancer according to research based on pooled information from 17 studies in nine European countries published in the Lancet Oncology. 

Income inequality fell to the lowest level since 1986 in 2011-12, but this was largely due to falls in average incomes while benefits continued to rise with inflation, which is likely to change after Coalition cuts, according to ONS figures.  The analysis also showed that the poorest fifth of households paid 29% of their disposable income in indirect taxes, while the richest fifth paid 14%. 

Poor pay 36.6% of their income in tax, while the wealthiest pay 35.5%: 

Cuts to 23 sets of official statistics, including public health and wellbeing, are being considered by ONS as a way to meet spending reductions 

Delays to the implementation of universal credit 

NHS Western Isles is using ‘robots’ to help dementia patients.  Also described as ‘Skype on a stick’, the remotely controlled robots allow family and carers to communicate with the person but also check up what is happening throughout the house. 

Freedom of information request: how much money do you need to live on.  Awards for benefit say: ‘This is the amount of money the law says you need to live on.’, what does this actually mean? [My interpretation of the Government’s answer: there are amounts prescribed for benefit in legislation but they’re not based on what you need to live on.].

For JRF’s research on the income needed to achieve a socially acceptable standard of living see:

9th July 2013

The Community Budgets pilots are to be extended from the current 12 to a further 100 areas, supported by £4.2m funding.

The Health Secretary is consulting on proposals to improve the care of vulnerable elderly people.  They include that every vulnerable older person should have named clinician responsible for their care outside of hospital. 

Informative commentary on the proposals:

Local government should be standing up for more local control of its finance.  Writes a journalist.  [Shouldn’t it be politicians, local and national, saying – shouting – this?] 

Later Life Newsletter 46: July 2013 (1 page) 

8th July 2013

DH Business Plan 2013-15.  Includes priorities and action plans for key areas of work. 

7th July 2013

The first thorough study of the Liverpool Care Pathway is currently starting in Belgium.  Jeremy Hunt ordered a review of the Liverpool Care Pathway, led by Baroness Neuberger, in January. 

More than two thirds of NHS staff think the health reforms have negatively impacted on patient care and 83% think the reforms are motivated by privatisation according to a YouGov poll for ’38 degrees’. 

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

5th July 2013

Consultation on refreshing the Mandate to NHS England for 2014-15 to take account of: the Francis report; the development of a vulnerable older people plan; and “the need for the NHS to contribute to the recovery of the economy”.

Proposals for GPs to be responsible for round-the-clock care:

Aim to widen choice of GP: 

Consultation on proposals to improve care for vulnerable older people 

Up to 100,000 patients or infections are to have their genomes sequenced in the next five years to try to improve diagnosis and make care more personalised.  The Government is to set up a new organisation, Genomics England, wholly owned by DH.  However critics say that a commercial involvement and relaxation of privacy regulations mean people could be specifically targeted on the basis of this information. 

47% of young people with depression did not get the help they wanted according to a YouGov survey of 2,000 people for new mental health charity MindFull

The NHS is 65.  [It’s a pensioner, but let’s hope not pensioned off]

4th July 2013

There are fewer admissions to outpatients for those patients having continuing care with a GP for 2 or more years according to research rom Norway

It will be easier to prosecute hospital and care home managers for neglect and abuse in their establishments under Government plans, open for consultation until 6th September: 

Government response to consultation on changes to direct payments for healthcare 

NHS News: Issue 14 

Rob Whiteman is to be the Chief Executive of CIPFA.  Open letter to him from  David Walker [former colleagues at the IDeA/LGA may be interested in this] 

3rd July 2013

Consultation on ‘migrant access to the NHS’.

Video (2′ 03”) of Jeremy Hunt defending proposals to charge overseas visitors for access to health:

(3rd July) BMA: proposals to charge overseas visitors for using the NHS need more thought: 

(30th June) ‘Heath tourism’ is estimated to have cost £12m or 0.01% of the NHS budget in 2011-12, although the exact figures are not known:

(3rd July) Reactions from various individuals compiled by the BBC 

Reality check on the actual costs: 

DH and the Guardian launch a project to find ways to improve home care for elderly people and people with disabilities.  Ideas for improvement are welcomed between now and December 2013. 

Six largely Labour councils are to develop approaches to integrating health and social care to help Labour develop its plans for integration 

The Government announces nine areas in its new Public Services Transformation Network aimed at breaking down barriers between public bodies. 

A new system to monitor patients via video link is being trialled at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.  The scheme lets consultants check on patients from a central control room, using high definition cameras.  The trial will originally monitor 65 beds and last for two to three years.–VIDEO-LINK-London-hospital-trust-uses-technology-improve-care-night-weekends.html 

Small livers have been grown from stem cells, implanted in mice and then found to work, for the first time ever, by Japanese Scientists.  They say it will be at least ten years before a similar approach could be used with humans. 

Benefit cap data: 2,400 households had had their benefits capped, 86% of them with between 1 and 4 children, by the end of May in the four pilot local authority areas. 

Responsibility for youth policy is to pass from the Department for Education to the Cabinet Office 

The Chief Executive and Medical Director of Tameside General Hospital have resigned over criticisms of the hospital. 

2nd July 2013

LGA says 56 councils are at risk of financial collapse and sets out a ten point plan for change, including more local control of spending. 

(4th July) 

The Public Accounts Committee criticises how hospital consultants are managed.

BMA response: 

Severe problems at Tameside General Hospital 

David Halpern, head of the Behavioural Insights Team, is to head the What Works Network of six policy research centres which will provide evidence to inform government policy on health, education, crime, early intervention, local economic growth and ageing. 

DCLG annual report and accounts–2 

1st July 2013

Monitor is to investigate access to GPs 

Twice as many women as men have lost their jobs in local government since 2010. 

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