Monday, 23 January 2012

Mums step up campaign to help save threatened breastfeeding services

Mums step up campaign to help save threatened breastfeeding services:

A GROUP of breastfeeding mums have started a Facebook campaign to find funding for a support project which is on the brink of closure. Northampton Chronicle and Echo

Opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill: An Arab Spring for the NHS? Chris Ham

Opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill: An Arab Spring for the NHS? Chris Ham: With the Royal College of Nursing announcing their opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill this week, Chris Ham considers the next steps for the health reforms. Kings Fund

Campaign Resource Centre provides easy access to latest public health campaigns

Campaign Resource Centre provides easy access to latest public health campaigns:

Providing a one-stop shop for all Department of Health public health campaign information and resources for anyone who works directly with the public, the online Campaign Resource Centre was launched this week.

If you want to start conversations with families and adults about healthier lifestyles, stopping smoking, the signs and symptoms of cancer or stroke, or you need trustworthy advice about the issues that affect young people, the Campaign Resource Centre can help.

Keeping you up to date with the latest campaign news, the Campaign Resource Centre will also give you access to the leaflets, posters, ads and toolkits available to support the campaigns.

About DH public health campaigns

Department of Health public health campaigns aim to help people:

  • become engaged with their own health and well-being

  • understand how their lifestyle choices impact on their current and future health outcomes (and, in the case of parents, their children’s health outcomes)

  • obtain sound advice about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle

  • access appropriate services, products and tools to help them change their behaviour

Each campaign section offers a summary of the public health campaign together with all the resources available to support it.

Visit to find out more or subscribe and receive regular updates.

Clegg says NHS plans must proceed

Clegg says NHS plans must proceed: Nick Clegg says planned reforms of the NHS in England must go ahead despite fresh criticism from a cross-party committee of MPs over the changes. BBC News

Were massive reforms necessary to save the NHS? Inquiry into NHS health reforms

Were massive reforms necessary to save the NHS? Inquiry into NHS health reforms:

This report is the result of an all party parliamentary group inquiry into the necessity of the NHS reforms and the introduction of the Health and Social Care Bill. It argues that the NHS was not in need of overall restructuring and highlights concerns about the cost of the reforms, at a time when the NHS has been required to make efficiency savings. It also makes recommendations on how to minimise disruption for patients and maintain quality of care over the course of the NHS reforms.

Scrapped NICE guides 'may hit workload'

Scrapped NICE guides 'may hit workload': NICE's decision to scrap 'quick reference guides' that summarise its guidance has sparked concern among GPs who fear it will increase workload and lead to fewer clinicians reading new advice. GP Online

Essential tools to support commissioners

Essential tools to support commissioners: Primary Care Commissioning (PCC) has updated its summary of information sources and analytical tools available to support planning and decision making. The document includes brief descriptions of each resource and how it is used with links to the relevant websites. It includes such tools as Programme Budgeting Benchmarking Tool, Spend and Outcomes Tool and NHS Indicator Portal.

Sickness absence rates in the NHS

Sickness absence rates in the NHS: The Information Centre has published 'Sickness Absence Rates in the NHS: June - September 2011'. Between July and September 2011 the average sickness absence rate for the NHS in England was 3.97 per cent which is unchanged from the same period in 2010. The North East SHA area had the highest average sickness absence rate at 4.39 per cent. The London SHA area had the lowest average at 3.46 per cent, although Special Health Authorities averaged 3.32 per cent which would be lowest if they were classed as a region.

Framework agreement between the Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board Authority

Framework agreement between the Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board Authority:

The Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board Authority have jointly signed a framework agreement that sets out the relationship between the two organisations. The agreement covers roles and responsibilities and lines of accountability, and describes how the Department and the Authority will work together.

Why we should talk about collaboration not integration

Why we should talk about collaboration not integration:

Helping health and care workers understand one another's roles in a positive spirit has inspired more focus on patient outcomes

New governments always believe that integration of health and social care will solve all the problems of underfunding of care for older people, continuing health care and blocked hospital beds.

Earlier this month, David Cameron echoed Frank Dobson's rallying cry in the 1990s to "bring down the Berlin walls" between us.

Do ministers think we want a system which has so many perverse incentives in it, so many changing policies and so many different funding routes?

What really lies behind their real frustration with the system is that social care is not part of the same command and control structure as the NHS, so we cannot be directed in the same way as our health colleagues, although there are many attempts to do so.

The statement by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the NHS Confederation was spot on - it's all about relationships, co-working, shared caseloads, but most importantly it's about individual clinicians and managers understanding the whole system – and not just their bit of it – on both sides of the house.

We have done some work recently in our area which has been very intensive and very illuminating.

At one of our hospitals, we gathered some key people: GPs, consultants, nurses, social workers, community health and mental health colleagues. The task was to "sort out" the elderly frail care pathway, but it was done in such a way that it challenged us all to work differently, using trust exercises, team games and lots of honest discussions.

Some found it hard and felt there was too much navel gazing, but the results speak for themselves. The way we work together has been transformed: the consultant and the social care team leader are now working together closely ("It's not social services' fault," he has been heard to say), daily multi-disciplinary team meetings are held with our social workers via laptops to enable them to be part of the team working 8am to 8pm and every weekend.

From a situation which was in escalation most weeks during the winter last year, we now have a completely different approach, and it is entirely down to taking the time out to understand each other's responsibilities and pressures and be challenged about the way we talk to each other.

It is time we need to build relationships, understand each other's roles and manage the work together, not hand off and blame each other.

The system needs strong, inspirational leadership which is focused on outcomes for patients – not targets and tariffs – to enable different professionals to work together in a complex system, leadership which sees the need for people to have the time to invest in getting this right. It's not done in a day at a "whole system workshop".

We don't need organisational change to achieve this. It saddens me to see social care being transferred into the NHS as part of a care trust. The role of social care is to be the voice of a vulnerable person when they cannot make themselves heard – for example, when they might be medically fit but not fit for discharge as arrangements are not in place. Independence and integrity are key if we are to ensure a social model of disability is maintained in such disabling environments.

So let's have another pause and take the time to think what is it we are trying to achieve between health and social care professionals and whether it will be delivered by "integration" or by simply good, empowered leadership and effective, multi-disciplinary working.

Let's also make sure integration is not a way of making the latest health reforms affordable by giving the NHS responsibility for social care.

This article is published by Guardian Professional. Join the social care network to receive regular emails and exclusive offers.

Public health improvement plan given £2bn funding

Public health improvement plan given £2bn funding:

Local authorities to get cash to promote breastfeeding and action on tooth decay

Councils will be able to get extra funding to encourage breast-feeding and combat child tooth decay as part of a government plan for local authorities to take a greater role in improving public health.

In a public health framework to be outlined on Monday by the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, local authorities will be alloted more than £2bn for the role. Councils that get the best results across 60 factors influencing health will be awarded extra funds under a so-called "health premium" incentive scheme.

Along with breast-feeding and tooth decay, they will be expected to tackle homelessness and the number of young people in the criminal justice system. A figure of £5.2bn will be spent on public health next year while the budget will increase in real terms each year after that, Lansley will say in a speech in London to the Faculty of Public Health.

"We all want to be healthy. No one wants an unhealthy existence," he will say. "And the job of the government – and my responsibility – is to help people live healthier lives. A failure to recognise that meant 2000-2010 was a decade in which public health was seen as relatively unimportant, something to be sidelined.

"Obesity rates from 2000-2010 rose from 21.2% to 26.1% so now over a quarter of adults are obese. Sexually transmitted infections, after the steep declines in the 80s to 90s, doubled in the subsequent decade.

"And health inequalities persist, with gaps in life expectancy of over a decade between people born in the richest areas and people born in the poorest." The Guardian

NHS lottery if you're fat or smoke

NHS lottery if you're fat or smoke: Some people are being denied surgery if they are obese or smoke, says Max Pemberton. The Daily Telegraph

Tories pay to hit NHS targets they had vowed to scrap

Tories pay to hit NHS targets they had vowed to scrap:

Hospitals and GPs have been quietly offered an extra £200m in an attempt to hold down waiting times this winter. With little fanfare, the four new regional bodies that now oversee the NHS in England have been told they can each spend up to £50m in the next month to treat patients more quickly. The Independent

Doctors and nurses seek royal medical colleges' support to fight NHS reforms

Doctors and nurses seek royal medical colleges' support to fight NHS reforms:

Britain's royal medical colleges will come under intense pressure this week to join the growing clamour from doctors, nurses and MPs for the Government to drop its NHS reforms. The Independent

RCN leads Agenda for Change tribunal test case

RCN leads Agenda for Change tribunal test case: The Royal College of Nursing is leading a test case at an employment tribunal which could have major implications for employers who try to move away from Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions in the NHS.