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Health and well-being news alert Issue 33

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Consultation: Direct payments for healthcare

The closing date for responses is 26 April.
Direct payment, where money is given directly to a person for the management of their NHS care, is one way of managing a personal health budget. They have been piloted in a few sites and the Government intends to roll them out across the country.

The consultation proposes some changes to the regulations for direct payments based on learning from the recent pilot programme and discussions with personal health budget holders, healthcare professionals and other organisations. It discusses what will be excluded, for example acute and unplanned care and access to GP services. It also asks for views on issues including eligibility, paying family members for carrying out administrative functions, allowing local authorities to make direct payments for healthcare and separate bank accounts.
To respond to the consultation, go here.
For more information about personal health budgets, see here.

NHS England: new name for NHS Commissioning Board

The NHS’s new national body, which has until now been known as the NHS Commissioning Board, has changed its name to NHS England. The new body has overall responsibility for the £95 billion NHS commissioning budget from 1 April 2013. It will set the overall direction and priorities for the NHS as a whole.

Government publishes initial response to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Public Inquiry Report

The government’s initial response to the Francis report, ‘Patients First and Foremost’, sets out a collective commitment and plan of action for the whole health and care system and everyone who works in it.
To read more, see here

Updated NHS Constitution published

The Government has published a revised NHS Constitution following a recent public consultation. It incorporates many of the changes that were consulted on and, where possible, further changes resulting from additional suggestions heard through consultation. See the updated NHS Constitution here.

NHS Commissioning Board launches library of NHS-reviewed phone apps to help keep people healthy

NHS England has unveiled a library of NHS-reviewed health apps that will help people manage their health, as well as ten brand new apps for people to use.
The new Health Apps Library so far contains around 70 apps that have been produced by a variety of organisations and then reviewed by the NHS to make sure they are clinically safe.

To find out more, go here.

See the Apps Library here.

King’s Fund report on volunteering in NHS and social care

The King’s Fund has published a report on the use of volunteers in health and social care. The report highlights the vital role volunteers play in delivering services. It calls for a strategic approach to volunteering in the health and care system and asks commissioners and service providers to focus on how volunteers will help improve quality and bring benefits to patients and communities. It also includes a number of recommendations.

To find out more go here and see Guardian article here.

The Power of Partnerships resource

The Power of Partnerships, is a resource developed to support the new health structures; Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWB) and social enterprises, voluntary and community (VCSE) organisations to work together to address the challenges faced in delivering better health care for less.

It is based on the learning from the Health Commissioning Improvement programme that brought together partner organisations in four locations in England to develop better approaches to local health needs, through partnerships between the new health structures and the VCSE sector. This guide is one of the results. It is free to anyone working in healthcare. Its aim is to help you think differently, more creatively and more practically than ever before, about the opportunities you have to meet changing health needs in difficult economic times.

Please see the link to the Power of Partnerships here and the toolkit here.

Working with local communities commissioning guidance launched

Working with Communities, Developing Communities is the latest resource produced by the RCGP Centre for Commissioning. The guide puts forward both a financial case and health case as to why investing resources in community development is beneficial for local populations, primary care practitioners and CCGs.

Statutory guidance published on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies

The Health and Social Care Act encourages greater integration between health and care services, so that patients and the public can receive seamless care.
Health and wellbeing boards are vital to that integration and to support them the Department of Health has worked with stakeholders on producing statutory guidance, which explains the duties and powers of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies(JHWSs).

To read more, see here

The voluntary sector, health and wellbeing boards, JSNA and JHWS resources

Regional Voices is producing a suite of resources to support the voluntary and community sector work with new structures in the health and care landscape to promote the welfare of the communities the sector serves. Regional Voices have produced a new briefing that will describe to health and wellbeing boards what the voluntary sector can do for them and how best to engage with the sector and the communities we serve.

See the briefing here.

For further resources on working with health and wellbeing boards, JSNA and JHWS go here.

NHS Advocacy Services and complaints about NHS service provision

Complaints about NHS service provision from 1 April 2013

From April, a complaint about service provision may be made to either the provider of NHS-funded care or to either NHS England or the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) whichever body commissioned the service in question.

To read more, go here.

NHS Advocacy Services

The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service ceased on 31 March. Commissioning of NHS complaints advocacy services has transferred to individual Local Authorities. If not already known, Complaint Managers and PALS staff should contact the Local Authority for details of the service in their areas.

To read more, go here.

Choice and competition in commissioning clinical services in the NHS in England

NHS England and Monitor are working in partnership to develop a Choice & Competition website and have published a note setting out how the website will help commissioners and providers understand where competition may deliver improved outcomes for patients.

Co-developed with commissioners and providers, the Choice & Competition website will bring together for the first time in one place all of the key material that has a bearing on choice and competition in the NHS in England. Consistent with the principle that it is for commissioners to decide if and when to introduce choice or use a competitive procurement process, the website will evolve as experience and evidence grow over time, sustaining an absolute focus on improving patient outcomes above all else.

To read the note, go here.

NICE publishes first social care quality standards

NICE's first quality standards for social care will help support people with dementia to live well, and improve the health and wellbeing of looked after children and young people.

The dementia quality standard contains ten statements which are high-priority areas that will help people with dementia to live well.

NICE's second quality standard for social care contains eight statements that will improve the health and social, educational and emotional wellbeing of looked after children and young people in care.

All A&E and hospital inpatients to be asked if they would recommend services

NHS England hailed the introduction of the friends-and-family test in hospitals as a major step forward in its drive to give patients a greater voice. From 1 April 2013, every patient in England who visits an A&E, and all patients who stay in hospital overnight will be asked whether they would recommend the service they used to their friends and family members.

Patients will have six choices of answer, ranging from “extremely likely” to “extremely unlikely.” They will then be invited to answer follow-up questions to give more detail on the reasons for their answer. Results, drilling down to individual wards, will be published on NHS Choices, allowing the public to compare patient feedback and make choices about their care.

Local Healthwatch Regulations Explained

This document aims to explain and provide clarity in relation to the following issues for local Healthwatch audiences:
• lay person and volunteer involvement in local Healthwatch and;
• restrictions on activities of a political nature.

To read more, see here

Sexual health improvement framework published

‘A Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England’ sets out the government’s ambitions for improving sexual health.These are designed to be used by local organisations when they are looking at how best to provide sexual health services in their area.

To find out more, see here

NHS charges from April 2013

The NHS prescription charge in England increased by 20p from £7.65 to £7.85 for each item from 1 April 2013. The cost of a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) will remain at £29.10 for a 3-month certificate. The cost of the annual certificate will remain at £104. PPCs offer savings for those needing 4 or more items in 3 months or 14 or more items in one year.

To read more, see here.

WHEC publish key findings and recommendations from local events

The Women’s Health and Equality Consortium have published a briefing from their ‘Women’s Health, Women’s Voice’ local events that took place in the autumn which includes the opportunities and challenges faced by the women’s VCS and recommendations to national and local Government to support the sector in the new health and care system.

To read the briefing, see here.

Language support: Challenges and benefits for users and providers of health and social care services

Evidence on the significance of communication in the effective provision of health care suggests that language can be a significant barrier to accessing health and social care services. This briefing paper by the Race Equalities Foundation identifies and discusses different approaches to language support in health and social care, by comparing the use of professional and volunteer interpreters. The author identifies key implications for policy and practice from both a patient and a provider perspective, and offers an understanding of how interpreting can reduce health inequalities.

To read the briefing paper, go here.

Health profiles for England

These profiles give an overview of health for each local authority in England to help improve local people’s health and reduce inequality.

They are designed to help local government and health services understand health in their areas and discuss how to tackle issues. They highlight potential problems and opportunities by making comparisons with other areas and with the national average.

Read more here.