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Health and Well-being news alert Issue 55

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Young man looking for web design resources online with close-up of his hand on the mouse.

Care Quality Commission listening Event: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Date: Tuesday 22nd Jan
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Tally Ho Conference & Banqueting Centre, Pershore Rd, Birmingham B5 7RN

Share your experience!

To attend, phone: 03000 616161 quoting GP TV OR Complete the online form on the website

Full details here

Video clip [2.26mB] here


Vaccinate toddlers against flu advises Chief Medical Officer

Parents should get their toddlers vaccinated against flu now to protect them from severe illness the Chief Medical Officer has advised.

To read more, go to:


How the government is supporting carers

Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, has written about the contribution of carers and new funding for projects to support carers.

To read more, go to:

NHS England announces new Directors of Commissioning Operations

NHS England has announced a number of new appointments to Directors of Commissioning Operations roles across the organisation. The appointments follow NHS England’s October announcement of plans to streamline the structures which support the organisation to minimise duplication and make more effective use of resources.

For more information, go to:

Independent report demands action for those with learning disabilities

NHS England has published a report into care for people with learning disabilities. The report makes recommendations, for consideration, on how a national commissioning framework could address shortcomings in current support for people with learning disabilities.

To read the report, go to:

NHS England launches initiative to help patients take control of their health

NHS England’s ‘Realising the Value Programme’ will provide £500,000 to help a charity or not for profit organisation identify ways of supporting patients to self-care. The programme will also support the spread of self-care across local communities, and the NHS, to empower people to take an active role in health.

The deadline for applications is 9th January 2015.

For more information and how to apply, go to:

The end of AIDS? Science Museum display developed with NCB

The Science Museum and the National Children’s Bureau have involved young people living with HIV in developing content for an exciting new display case. ‘The end of AIDS?’ will be on show until late February 2015 and will be seen by thousands of visitors to the museum's popular Who Am I? gallery.

Young people’s contributions to the display include an animation created by young people, explaining aspects of HIV science through the story of a young person growing up with HIV. The case is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Further information can be found in this NCB article and Science Museum blog post, or you can contact Emily at NCB’s Children and Young People HIV Network:

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust - first-person perspective training film

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust is working with a filming company to produce an emotionally engaging first-person perspective training film to improve the staff understanding of, and behaviour towards, patients. It will be from the ‘wife’s perspective’ with events in the film to create a deeper understanding of the trust that is essential between staff, patient and the patient’s family and the need for clear communication, consistency and compassion from staff.

The film is being supported by Secretary of State’s office. The Trust would like support from a voluntary sector organisation to help make the film really impactful and has asked if a strategic partner would be interested in becoming involved.

There is no financial expectation from the organisation as funding will be covered by the Trust, a grant and DH.

If you would like to be involved, please email in the first instance and we will put you in touch with the Trust.

Emergency care for the mind

In this authored article Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb explains why mental health crisis care is essential:

Friends and Family test rolls out to GPs

On 1 December the Friends and Family Test went live in 8000 GP practices across England, giving up to a million patients a day the opportunity to have a say about their care and treatment. The Friends and Family Test aims to drive service improvement in local healthcare by providing people with the opportunity to feedback on their experience.

To read more, go to:

More support for carers

NHS England has renewed its commitment to improving the quality of life for young and adult carers. Commissioning for Carers: Principles and Resources to Support Young and Adult Carers has been developed with input from carers themselves, leading charities, and partner organisations and identifies ten principles that will help commissioners to deliver the care and support carers need.

For more information, go to:

Health rights blog for Human Rights Day

On International Human Rights Day, Keith Clements from the NCB policy team considered child health and wellbeing as a priority for the new government.

To read the blog, go to:

Leading a research project which aims to improve social care for disabled people

Scope, a member of the Disability Partnership, is leading a research project which aims to improve social care for disabled people. As part of this, they’ve launched a survey.

Scope wants to ensure that the care and support disabled people receive enables them to live independently and achieve the outcomes that are important to them. They want to find out more about disabled people’s current experiences.

They are very keen to ensure that the survey reaches a wide and diverse audience and so any means of sharing the survey, whether that’s via Facebook, Twitter or sharing the link in an email update to members, would be much appreciated.

For more information contact: Caitlin via email or phone 0207 619 7247

Find Me Help

Message from Mary McColgan, Marketing Manager, The National Council for Palliative Care & Dying Matters

I wanted to let you know about Find Me Help - the UK's most comprehensive search tool to help people in the last years of life - and those close to them - find support and information. This online search directory has now been launched as micro-site.

We want to ensure that the directory is as widely available as possible and therefore we would really appreciate your help in getting this information out to your networks. You may also find the directory useful to signpost your users to the right service.

Regional Voices survey re-launched on voluntary sector engagement with health and wellbeing boards

Regional Voices has launched its third survey that asks the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector about engagement with health and wellbeing boards - what is working well, what could work better and what support would help. Results are being used to influence policy makers, develop support mechanisms and share interesting practice [link to results from previous surveys-]. The survey is aimed at each of:

• voluntary sector representatives on health and wellbeing boards
• Healthwatch representatives on health and wellbeing boards
• the wider voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

It asks about routes into the health and wellbeing board- how the VCSE sector is able to influence the joint strategic needs assessment, the health and wellbeing strategy and local commissioning. We hope to capture how engagement with the boards is changing over time. We also include a new question, looking at HWB use of local Compacts.

Take the survey about engagement between the VCSE sector and health and wellbeing board in your area:

The survey should take 10-15 minutes to fill in (depending on how much you would like to say). Closing date for the survey is midday on 23 January.

The more people who respond to this survey, the better we will be able to influence policy makers and the more tailored the support programme for the voluntary sector can be, so please circulate this survey around your networks.

This survey is part of a Department of Health funded project which aims to support voluntary sector influence on health and wellbeing boards- a critical new body in the health and social care landscape. To find out more about this project and to get involved you can read more on Supporting Influence on Health and Wellbeing Boards Project -

How do we enable VCSE commissioning in health, wellbeing and care?

In the light of the issues that arose in the paper "The Voluntary and Community Sector and Localised Commissioning", Regional Voices has drafted a working paper that takes a short look at questions that it would be useful to address nationally, to get the most of partnership work with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE).

The questions are posed to the Department of Health, NHS England, Public Health England, the Health and Care Voluntary Sector Strategic Partnership and other VCSE infrastructure organisations. Progress is already being made towards answering some of the questions in some areas, and work over the next year will continue to find solutions to the issues and sharing good practice from around the country.

Read the working paper: How do we Enable VCS Commissioning in Health, Wellbeing and Care?

Complaints Matter

People could be being put off from making complaints about health and adult social care, which is leading to concerns not being identified and providers missing out on opportunities to improve their services.

In a report published in December 2014, the Care Quality Commission has found that there is wide variation in the way complaints are handled across the NHS, primary care and adult social care services in England, with complainants being met too often with a defensive culture rather than one that listens and is willing to learn.

Although the regulator has found examples of good practice, more needs to be done to encourage people to come forward with their complaints, to keep them informed on the progress, to reassure them that action will be taken as a result, and to assess that whether they are satisfied with how it has been resolved. This in turn will lead to improvements in the quality of care.

To find out more and download the report, go to:

Charities: audit and independent examination

The Cabinet Office has launched a consultation on increasing the financial thresholds at which charity accounts must be audited or examined.

Currently, charities that fall into either of the following categories must have their annual accounts audited by a member of the Register of Statutory Auditors:

• an annual income of more than £500,000
• assets worth more than £3.26 million and an annual income of more than £250,000

The government is proposing to increase these thresholds to:

• an annual income of more than £1 million
• assets worth more than £3.26 million and an annual income of more than £500,000

The Cabinet Office is also consulting on increasing the threshold above which charities must prepare group accounts from a total income of £500,000 to £1 million.

These proposals would make up to 4,000 charities exempt from the expensive requirement for a full audit but still keep an appropriate amount of scrutiny.

The consultation runs until 27 January 2015.

To read more, go to:

£12 million to help people with mental health problems get back into work

The government has announced a further £12 million is to be invested in helping people with mental health conditions return to work.

Nearly half (46%) of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance have mental health conditions while mental ill-health is estimated to cost taxpayers and businesses £105 billion a year in health and police services, welfare benefits and sickness absence.

Four pilot areas will use the funding to test whether better coordination of mental health and employment services could help thousands of people find and stay in employment as well as improve their mental health.

To read more, go to:

Further expansion of the Friends and Family Test across NHS services

Users of community and mental health services across England will be able to have their say about their experiences of the care and treatment they receive from the New Year.

The Friends and Family Test, a near real-time feedback tool that is intended to give services continuous information so that they can improve what they do, expands to all NHS providers and community and mental health services from 1 January. It went live in GP practices from 1 December, so more than a million people are now eligible to give feedback every day.

A version of the animated film produced to help explain the FFT to patients has been produced for use in mental health settings, so services can play it in waiting areas and put it on their website.

You can view the new film here

Building Health Partnerships (BHP) Programme – Opportunity for 6 more areas in Phase Two

The BHP Programme has already supported 12 CCGs and local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to develop cross-sector relationships. This has led to new approaches to re-commissioning for mental health services, opened up access to new forms of investment for VCSE infrastructure support and enabled piloting of new non-clinical approaches to improving health and wellbeing outcomes.

If you would be interested in joining this programme with other local partners, including your local CCG, we are now seeking applications (by 9th January 2015) for 6 new areas to receive targeted support to develop partnerships locally and improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

An expression of interest and application form are available here [PDF 319kB] (EoI) and here [DOC 754 kB] (application form) and further information can be found here

You can also contact

Eight pilots to lead innovation in children’s mental health

Eight pilot schemes set to lead innovative change in services for children and young people with mental health issues have scooped a share of a £500k fund. Pilots across the country have been awarded up to £75k each to develop their plans for improving services.

For more information, go to:

NHS England and the Department of Health issue joint statement on Female Genital Mutilation

NHS England and the Department of Health have issued a joint statement on Female Genital Mutilation committing to protecting girls, caring for survivors, and preventing future generations from suffering this form of child abuse. The statement details what is required of NHS staff that identifies a case of Female Genital Mutilation.

To read more, go to:

Refresh of Who's Who in Health and Social Care Guides Launched

A refresh of the popular Regional Voices' Who's Who Guides to the Regions- for Health and Social Care has been launched, with new contacts added - including where to get information on local joint strategic needs assessments and public scrutiny for health, two leads which organisations told us would help them.

VONNE, our sister network in the North East has also published a briefing covering everything the VCSE sector needs to know about public scrutiny in health. Link to briefing Health Scrutiny in Local Councils:

There continues to be a lot of change in the health system - so thank you to everyone who sent in updates to us - things have been changing so fast, it's been good to be able to make changes as you've spotted new contacts.

So please keep sending us things you spot have changed. Either to: or to the regional Health Coordinator- whose details are in each guide. We are planning a further refresh in the next financial year.

Link to the regional Who's Who in Health and Social Care Guides

Information Governance Alliance consults on guidance

The Information Governance Alliance (IGA) is a group of national health and care organisations that are working together to provide a joined up and consistent approach to information governance. You can find out more at

The IGA develops and consults on short, topical guidance and invites its health, social care and voluntary sector stakeholders to decide if they find them helpful and to identify how the guidance can be improved.

We are seeking feedback from the voluntary sector on Sharing information with the voluntary sector and other topical guidance which you can find at along with information on how to provide us with online feedback by 30 January 2015.