Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Air ambulance charity criticised

Air ambulance charity criticised: An air ambulance charity covering Northamptonshire is criticised for both the way it raises its funds and the way it spends them. BBC News

2013/14 NHS Standard Contract published

2013/14 NHS Standard Contract published:
The 2013/14 NHS Standard Contract has been published today by the NHS Commissioning Board.
The contract is for use by commissioners when commissioning healthcare services (other than those commissioned under primary care contracts) and is adaptable for use for a broad range of services and delivery models. It reflects the requirements set out in Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013/14. National variation documents will be issued to vary the existing standard contracts that expire after 31 March 2013.
A range of stakeholder organisations were involved in developing the 2013/14 NHS Standard Contract. This has resulted in a document which enables safe, innovative and transformation commissioning and which supports commissioners and providers in their delivery of the QIPP challenge. Developing this contract together has increased the scope for promoting improvement in outcomes, clinical leadership and the involvement of patients and the public in the commissioning of safe, high quality patient care.
For the first time, the Standard Contract is being issued as an eContract to make contracting and the contract management process easier. The launch of the eContract Portal will start on the 4 February 2013 with access to ‘The Learning Zone’, the area of the eContract portal where commissioners can find information to support them in the creation of their tailored contracts. ‘My eContracts’, the secure commission space where commissioners can generate, store and manage their contracts, will be available on 8 February.
A number of documents designed to support commissioners in the use of the contract are also available, including the final versions of the Technical Guidance and a Guide for Clinical Commissioners.
The responsibility for the preparation and publication of the NHS standard contract has passed from the Department of Health to the NHS Commissioning Board. Previously published NHS Standard Contracts are available from the Department of Health website.

Managers, not politicians, must cure NHS

Managers, not politicians, must cure NHS: Problems with the NHS can only be solved by managers, not through more inspections and legislation, Mike Farrar has warned. Public Service

HPA reports decline in cases of whooping cough after record numbers in 2012

HPA reports decline in cases of whooping cough after record numbers in 2012: Source: Health Protection Agency (HPA)

According to figures published by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), there were 9,741 confirmed cases of whooping cough reported in England and Wales in 2012 - this is almost 10 times higher than the number of cases reported in previous years (1,119 in 2011 and 902 in 2008). The highest number of cases (8,059) were reported in those aged 15 and over.
The figures for December 2012 show a decrease in the reported number of cases of whooping cough for the second month running (832 compared with 1,168 in November 2012).  The HPA cautions however that it usually sees a reduction in cases of whooping cough at this time of year, so this is in line with normal seasonal patterns.

MHRA launches public health campaign to urge reporting of side-effects through the Yellow Card Scheme

MHRA launches public health campaign to urge reporting of side-effects through the Yellow Card Scheme: Source: MHRA

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has launched a campaign to highlight the need for the public to report any suspected side effects from medicines through the Yellow Card Scheme. Figures show that reports from members of the public have declined from a high of 3,584 in 2006 to 1,789 in 2012, and that GP reporting has fallen steadily over a nine-year period - from 5,578 in 2003 to 3,511 in 2012.
The aims of the campaign are to ensure health professionals recognise the importance of reporting adverse reactions via the Yellow card Scheme and to increase public awareness of the scheme.  Yellow Cards are being distributed to pharmacies and materials to raise awareness among health professionals are being rolled out throughout February. A promotional video to encourage the public to report adverse drug reactions to the MHRA is also being shown in 339 Rowlands pharmacies across the UK..
Tighter rules issued on prescribing:

The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued an update to its guidance concerning the prescription of unlicensed medication.GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said he hoped doctors would find the update "useful" and added: "This new guidance tightens the current rules on prescribing and addresses the challenges doctors face in this complex area." In Good practice in prescribing and... Healthcare Today

NHS trusts should be more open about board performance, says report

NHS trusts should be more open about board performance, says report:
Review concludes that trusts must use annual reports to give a 'much more rounded articulation' of where they are
NHS trusts need to be more open about the performance of their boards and board members, according to a new study.
Few NHS organisations included details on how performance was measured in their annual reports, the review by business and financial advisory firm Grant Thornton found.
When asked how much explanation was given of how the board, committee and directors are evaluated for their performance, 56% of trusts (not including foundation trusts and primary care trusts) said none at all.
Paul Hughes, public sector governance lead at Grant Thornton, said: "More than half are not saying anything about how they are evaluating their own effectiveness. That can't be right. These are public bodies spending public money. There's a duty for them to take more care and ensure proper, good-quality descriptions in their annual reports."
With trusts having to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions, they should be using the annual report to give explanations and to outline the challenges they are facing, said Hughes.
They need to give a "much more rounded articulation" of where they are and where they are going, he said.
The review surveyed 60 NHS leaders, including chief executives, finance directors and audit committee chairs, and looked at the reports of 100 NHS trusts from 2011-12. It did find that there had been a slight improvement in NHS governance reporting from 2010-11, with foundation trusts making particular progress.
However, Hughes said: "What hasn't necessarily improved is the quality of the disclosure."
The review also revealed concern about the readiness and effectiveness of clinical commissioning group boards, with just 20% of respondents thinking they are fit to launch.
Just over a third of NHS leaders said there was room for improvement in their trust's corporate structures in ensuring clear lines of accountability. And 67% of respondents felt it was the chief executive, rather than the chair, who set the tone of governance.
"Trust and confidence in public bodies is high on the public agenda at the moment and transparent, effective governance is particularly important for the NHS over the next few years," said Bill Upton, head of healthcare at Grant Thornton. "Good governance has an impact on the quality of care given to patients; it inspires confidence that public money is being wisely invested and supports and protects clinicians in their decisions.
Upton adds: "There are positive signs that NHS trusts are strengthening annual reporting, benefiting from non-executive expertise and championing gender diversity. However, there is a real need to prepare for new commissioning models." Guardian