Monday, 12 March 2012

Northamptonshire care home boss who stole £300,000 from people with learning disabilities faces prison

Northamptonshire care home boss who stole £300,000 from people with learning disabilities faces prison:
THE ex-financial manager of a care home for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems abused her position to steal £300,000 then cooked the books to cover her tracks. Northampton Chronicle and Echo

Final NHS pension proposals published

Final NHS pension proposals published: The Government has published its final proposals on NHS pensions. RCN

Nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are offered research training

Nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are offered research training:
The scheme will be managed through the National Institute of Health Research.
Healthcare professionals will be funded to do further education in the research field, such as masters degrees and PhDs or to spend time doing internships so they can gain experience in using research to improve care. NHS Networks

A summary of the NHS Trust Development Authority (NTDA) consultation

A summary of the NHS Trust Development Authority (NTDA) consultation:
A response to the consultation on the proposed establishment of two Special Health Authorities (SpHAs) has been received. It was on behalf of the East and Midlands Strategic Health Authority. The establishment of SpHAs was also discussed at the Department of Health Partnership Forum, which includes trades unions and representative bodies, where the issue of recruitment to a limited life organisation was raised.
Comments included the desire to have alignment of staff recruitment and resources with that of the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB). This would give staff the scope and clarity on future roles. Concerns have been highlighted that as the NHSCB has already published it’s structure, SHAs are finding it hard to recruit staff into their transitional roles.
See the Proposed establishment of the NHS Trust Development Authority and Health Education England consultation and the response.
Department of Health

School nursing shake-up planned

School nursing shake-up planned: Pupils in England should have better access to their school nurses and be able to text them to make an appointment, the government says. BBC News

Lansley promises local GP IT choices and reveals £1.8bn saving

Lansley promises local GP IT choices and reveals £1.8bn saving: Health secretary Andrew Lansley has promised top down IT management of the NHS will end in an initiative to encourage GPs to propose their own ideas locally, but has admitted work will be led nationally by the NHS Commissioning Board. GP Online

NHS risk register must be published, ministers told

NHS risk register must be published, ministers told: Ministers ordered to release a risk assessment of their controversial health reform plans by a tribunal Public Service

Patient level information and costing systems (PLICS) and reference costs best practice guidance for 2011-12

Patient level information and costing systems (PLICS) and reference costs best practice guidance for 2011-12:
This guidance identifies differences between PLICS and reference costs, and provides suggestions of best practice and workarounds used by NHS organisations to produce reference costs from PLICS data. It updates and revises the first edition published in April 2011, and should be read alongside Reference costs guidance for 2011-12 and the NHS Costing Manual, as well as the HFMA Clinical Costing Standards 2011-12.

We must get serious about tackling mental illness

We must get serious about tackling mental illness:
A public health approach to protect children from harm as early as possible is key to ensuring their wellbeing in later life
One half of all mental illnesses begin before the age of 14. If we are serious about preventing and treating mental illness, we must seriously re-evaluate how we raise our children, care for them, teach them to take up supportive and loving relationships, and protect them.
With this in mind, the 3rd World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry, being held this weekend at Queen Mary University of London, is focusing on young people. More than 350 academics, clinicians, practitioners, policy-makers and commissioners from around the globe will consider the best ways of protecting and promoting the mental health and wellbeing of young people, as well as highlight the inequalities they face.
A Unicef survey in 2007 ranked the UK bottom on children's wellbeing compared with north America and 18 other European countries. The UK ranked 24th out of 29 European countries in a similar survey in 2009. Between 60% and 70% of children and adolescents who experience clinically significant mental health problems have not been offered evidence-based interventions at the earliest opportunity, which would help maximise their lifetime benefits.
Adolescents with emotional or conduct disorders are four to six times more likely to smoke, and up to three and a half times more likely to take drugs. Young people with emotional and conduct disorders represent 43% of smokers under the age of 17. In addition, children who are obese are at higher risk of psychological and psychiatric problems as weight gain is associated with discrimination, social rejection and depression.
As these statistics show, young people are operating in stressful situations. The riots of last August and their impact on how young people perceive themselves and are viewed by wider society will be explored at the world congress. Refugees and unaccompanied minors are still on the frontline of risk when it comes to mental health.
What is clear is that young people from diverse cultural backgrounds can benefit society and themselves if they have a fair chance of good health, as well as social and political engagement. When that happens they are less likely (at important points of emotional and social transition) to end up in gangs or be vulnerable to radicalising influences, particularly through the internet and computer-mediated communication.
We know that young people of black Caribbean and black African origin in England and Wales have higher suicide rates in the UK than their white British counterparts. But what is being done about this? On the face of it, very little, which is worrying.
While mental illness costs the economy more than £105bn a year, with £10bn spent on the NHS, less than 0.001% of the mental health budget is spent on prevention. Young people were only last year brought into the fold under No health without mental health, the national mental health strategy, so there is some serious catching up to do.
Prevention is essential as adult mental illness is more common among those experiencing childhood dangers, adversity, discrimination and poverty. Often poor and risky environments bring with them easy access to alcohol, cigarettes, other psycho-stimulant drugs and a collection of unhealthy lifestyles from eating habits, little physical activity and emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
Childhood mental illness is also predictive of adult unemployment and low educational outcomes. This is why it is important to have a public health approach to protect young people from harm as early as possible, and to educate them about emotional regulation and resilience, and how to manage life's difficulties.
Providing appropriate interventions and protection in a culturally diverse and unequal society is not easy. We know that some young people and groups, who are among the most vulnerable in society, do not benefit from programmes directed at improving their health. Indeed, they are usually left behind to become even more marginalised. This can no longer be allowed to continue.
Professor Kamaldeep Bhui is president-elect of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry, director of the Cultural Consultation Service and the public health lead at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Guardian Professional.

NHS reforms: government to defy order to publish risk register

NHS reforms: government to defy order to publish risk register:
Department of Health had lost latest stage of fight to keep secret an assessment of risks involved in the health service shakeup
The government will not release its own assessment of the risks posed by its NHS shakeup, despite a second legal ruling that it must stop keeping the document secret.
The Department of Health (DH) was ordered on Friday to publish its transition risk register after it lost an appeal against the information commissioner's ruling that it should be made public. Sources within the department confirmed to the Guardian that the register would not be published.
The information rights tribunal rejected the DH's bid to overturn the commissioner's ruling after a two-day hearing earlier this week at which witnesses for the DH argued, unsuccessfully, for it to be kept private lest it set a precedent that would undermine government departments' ability to assess the risks of pursuing particular policies.
Campaigners – including Labour and key medical bodies such as the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing – have argued that it must be released so that peers debating the health and social care bill can have the full information needed to scrutinise it properly.
The DH's brief initial statement in response to the setback on Friday gave no indication that it intended to comply with the tribunal's ruling that it "dismisses the Department of Health's appeal against the information commissioner's decision that the 10 November 2010 Transition Risk Register should be disclosed, except in relation to the name of a junior official which should be redacted". The tribunal is expected to release the reasons for its ruling soon.
The DH said: "We are still awaiting the detailed reasoning behind this decision. Once we have been able to examine the judgment we will work with colleagues across government and decide next steps."
It now has 28 days from the ruling's publication in which to launch a further appeal, this time to the upper tier tribunal, but it must first prove it has legal grounds for doing so, by finding a legal fault with Friday's decision.
The government's other option, if it were to appeal and lose again, would be to deploy the rare tactic of a cabinet veto to prevent publication, in effect overriding the rulings of the bodies that have so far considered it. That veto was used most notably when Tony Blair was in power, to deny campaigners sight of the legal advice the government received about the legality of military action in Iraq in the runup to the start of the conflict in 2003.
Whatever the DH decides, it is highly unlikely that its analysis of the risks inherent in its radical restructuring of the NHS in England will become publicly available before the bill gains its final parliamentary approval, which is likely to come from the House of Lords on 19 March and the House of Commons the day after.
The ruling is a second significant victory for the Labour MP John Healey, who began seeking publication of the register in 2010 when he was shadow health secretary. "The judgment backs the public's right to know about the risks the government is taking with its NHS plans," Healey said. He renewed his call for the document to be published immediately, to help peers with the final stages of their deliberations on the bill, which is due to undergo the final day of its report stage next Tuesday, 13 March, and then have its third reading in the Lords on 19 March.
"It's near the end of the 11th hour for the NHS bill and parliament rightly expects this information before it takes the final irrevocable step to pass the legislation," Healey said. "The government could appeal, and prolong this legal row. But I call on the prime minister to accept today's court verdict and order the Department of Health to publish the risk register immediately."
He added: "This is the second legal direction to the government to release the risk register. The judgment backs the public's right to know about the risks the government is taking with its NHS plans. It gives strong legal support to a full and open debate about the NHS reorganisation.
"Ministers must now respect the law, release the risk register in full and let people make up their own minds on the NHS changes. Today's legal judgment must put an end to the government's efforts to keep this information secret. They have dragged out this process for 15 months, while parliament has been legislating for their NHS plans."
He was backed by the ex-SDP leader Lord Owen, now a crossbench peer, who has been a key critic of the bill in the Lords. Owen said it would be "a constitutional outrage" if the bill won approval from the upper house without peers having had the chance to study the risk register.
Owen, a former doctor and Labour health minister in the 1970s, said he believed the document should be released now and peers given time to analyse it before any further consideration of the legislation.
He added: "The attempt to railroad this legislation through both Houses of Parliament has raised very serious questions about the legitimacy of this coalition government.
"Now at the last moment parliament has a chance to assert its democratic rights and the many Liberal Democrat peers, who know in their heart of hearts that this legislative procedure is fundamentally wrong, have the opportunity to stand by their principles."
In an appeal to former party colleagues, Owen added: "Surely now Liberal Democrat peers, with a long and proud history of supporting freedom of information, will not go along with any attempt by the coalition government to continue with the third reading of this bill in the light of today's information rights tribunal on the NHS transition risk register."
A spokesman for the information commissioner's officer said: "We welcome the decision of the tribunal to uphold the commissioner's decision notice ordering disclosure of the transitional risk register. We will consider the full details of the tribunal's decision once it has been made available."
The decision comes as the bill enters the final stages of its protracted journey through parliament. The legislation underwent an extraordinary "pause" last year after fierce criticism from Liberal Democrats, and was then rewritten, including advice from the advisory NHS Future Forum.
The DH did win one victory on Friday. The tribunal upheld its appeal against the commissioner's decision that a separate document, the strategic risk register, should be published. While the transition risk register focuses on risks specifically associated with the reorganisation, the strategic document tackles broader risks to the delivery of the DH's objectives. Its publication had been sought by the London Evening Standard newspaper, but it will now remain secret, unless the information commissioner decides to mount an appeal. The Guardian

Hospital consultants should work weekends to cut NHS death rate

Hospital consultants should work weekends to cut NHS death rate: Hospital consultants should work weekends and evenings to help cut the rising number of deaths in NHS hospitals outside normal working hours, a senior doctor has said. The Daily Telegraph

Nurses could be given limits on number of patients they care for

Nurses could be given limits on number of patients they care for: New rules could be introduced to limit the number of patients cared for by each nurse in hospital. The Daily Telegraph

Blow for Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrats refuse to endorse NHS reforms

Blow for Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrats refuse to endorse NHS reforms: Activists refuse to tell peers to back Health and Social Care Bill. The Daily Telegraph

Six in 10 'not getting five-a-day'

Six in 10 'not getting five-a-day': Six in 10 UK adults are failing to eat their recommended 'five-a-day' of fruit and vegetables, according to a survey, with some people thinking tomato ketchup and strawberry ice cream count. The Daily Telegraph

Children's obesity is a 'national emergency'

Children's obesity is a 'national emergency':
Labour's failure to tackle the "chips and PlayStation 3 culture" means one-fifth of primary-school leavers are now obese, the shadow health minister Diane Abbott has admitted, in a warning that the health of Britain's children is a national emergency. The Independent