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Wednesday 21st August 2019

The Department of Health

1st November 2012

The Department of Health exists to improve the health and wellbeing of people in England.

£3bn returned to Treasury from DH

1st November 2012

About £3bn has been returned to the Treasury by the Department of Health in the last two years, it has been revealed.

At a time the NHS is facing tight financial settlements, figures show the department had handed back around £1bn of the funding it was allocated for health spending in 2011/12 with just £316m of the £1.4bn that it had left unspent in the last financial year having been carried over for it to use in 2012/13.

The Treasury also confirmed that the Department of Health had a £1.9bn underspend in 2010/11 but made no use in that year of the “budget exchange” scheme which allows government departments to carry over some unspent funds for use in future years.

The think tank the Nuffield Trust said the findings suggest the department should rethink its approach to financial risk management.

Chief economist Anita Charlesworth said: “The department’s system for managing risk essentially requires organisations through the system to plan for surpluses, leading to aggregate underspends.

“They don’t have the mechanisms in place to then reinvest that money, because they have limited access to the budget exchange scheme.”

The Nuffield Trust suggested that some of the cash could have gone to primary and social care services, which are suffering financial constraints under the current economic climate.

The Department of Health defended its position and said that the amount spent on frontline services in 2011/12 increased by £3.4bn at a time that £1.5bn had been saved on bureaucracy and IT.


New online tool to search for care providers

9th August 2012

A new online tool is available which will enable people to search and compare local care homes.

Available online at NHS choices, it will allow users to search and compare any Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered home care, residential or nursing home provider.

The Provider Quality Profile (PQP) has been launched as part of the Caring for our future White Paper and means that people can use it to search for local providers within a specific area and then link to CQC reports and information to find out more details about the provider.

It will help people and their families make decisions and choices about their care and support and also enable providers to benchmark their performance; understand if and where they need to make improvements; and inform development and training of staff.

In addition, providers will also be able to include information about themselves and their establishments.

That could include photographs of rooms, pictures of staff along with short biographies and other information on services that would be useful such as visiting arrangements, whether pets are accepted and visiting clergy.

There will also be sections where users can offer feedback, posting comments about a care provider at a time that local Healthwatch is starting to take on an active role in social care.

The PQP is part of the social care reforms set out in the Caring for our future White Paper, which aims to help care providers deliver better quality services and to improve the care that people experience.


Trusts' results to be published

17th June 2010

HSJ reports that national clinical audits will be stripped of their funding if they refuse to publish provider level information including mortality rates.

Only a small number of several dozen national audits have so far named provider trusts or networks and only one – the National Cardiac Database – publishes survival rates by named consultant. But the Department of Health will now tell those who run the audits, mainly royal colleges and clinical associations, to publish local level data as a condition of their funding.


End of life care gets financial boost

18th May 2010

A £40m Department of Health grant will help people benefit from better quality of care at the end of their lives.

Trauma forum consultation launched

11th May 2010

The Major Trauma Improvement Forum has been commissioned by the Department of Health.

DH prepared to give £1.6m to NHS Employers

6th May 2010

HSJ reports that it has seen documents indicating the Department of Health was prepared to give NHS Employers up to £1.6m as compensation for not bidding to run the NHS Jobs website.

The journal says correspondence between senior staff at the NHS Confederation, of which NHS Employers is a part, says the DH feared a “conflict of interest” if NHS Employers bid for the NHS Jobs tender while continuing to receive £18m a year for representing the department in employment negotiations.


Organ donation decisions made

5th May 2010

Guidance issued by the DH on organ donation gives boards in England and Wales an excellent opportunity to receive up to date progress on donation activity.

DH crackdown on body scans

7th April 2010

The government has brought in new regulations which will prevent companies from offering body scan MOTs.

After reviewing and accepting nine recommendations from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE), the Department of Health decided to tackle the rise in personal health scans.

COMARE said people should not undergo a computerised tomography (CT) scan more frequently than once every couple of years.

People who want to check their health have been able to pay companies to perform body MOTs using CT equipment.

However experts have advised that having CT scans could be dangerous, as they can be 400 times stronger than a chest x-ray.

CT scans take x-ray images known as "slices" which are transmitted to a computer and examined by a radiologist.

Dr Tony Nicholson, dean of the Royal College of Radiologists, said: "This regulation will make the rules on CT scans more understandable. It's just not possible to justify using ionising radiation if there's no proven benefit."

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said: "Any scan a patient undergoes should balance the clinical benefits against the risks of the radiation involved."

"I welcome the decision to define more closely the considerations that should govern CT scanning in cases of individual health assessments," she added.


The Healthy NHS Board launched

24th February 2010

The NHS has launched new guidance designed to bring about good governance within the health service.

It has been launched by the NHS National Leadership Council and The Healthy NHS Board: Principles for Good Governance highlights the critical role boards play in ensuring good governance centred on patient safety, effective care and patient experience is at the heart of the NHS.

David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS in England and Chair of the National Leadership Council, said: “We would like to encourage boards across the health service to make use of this guide as they seek to address the challenges of improving quality for patients.

“Boards must put quality at the heart of all they do, and this guide supports boards in delivering that responsibility.”

The guidance explains clearly what good governance means for health organisations and their boards in their three key roles of formulating strategy, ensuring accountability and shaping a positive culture for their organisation.

The guidance is evidence-based and more than 1,000 people have contributed to its development, including board members, NHS staff, the Appointments Commission, the NHS Confederation and Monitor.

National Leadership Council Board Development Lead, Elisabeth Buggins, said: “The strongest boards are those who embrace an open and honest organisational culture, looking out to their patients, communities and partners.”

The NHS Confederation said the guide represented a “valuable tool in improving the performance of NHS boards for the benefit of patients, the public and staff.”

It was also welcomed by Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive of the Appointments Commission.


NHS Appraisal website closed over hacker fears

12th February 2010

The NHS Appraisal Toolkit has been found to be vulnerable to hackers.

Following concerns raised, it has been taken offline after routine testing showed that certain aspects of the site were “not sufficiently robust to withstand modern day hacking.” The Department of Health said ministers had instructed that the website be taken offline immediately until the supplier, SCHIM, can address these “potential vulnerabilities” but has assured users that those who have already entered appraisal documentation into the ATK website will have it securely stored.


Quality Accounts to be published by NHS Choices

11th February 2010

The Department of Health has approved plans for healthcare providers to publish annual Quality Accounts on the NHS Choices website.

The move follows a three-month public consultation on the proposed framework for Quality Accounts and is seen as an effort to increase accountability, drive quality and improve patient choice. It comes ahead of a legal requirement for all providers of NHS healthcare to publish them. The consultation, which finished in December, proposed that providers should present nationally-mandated information to the health secretary and the public.


Privacy and dignity to be improved in hospitals

21st January 2010

A groundbreaking new project is looking at improving the experience of patients in a hospital setting.

Leading British designers and architects will work with those on the frontline of the NHS to improve the overall hospital environment under the Design for Patient Dignity initiative.

The Department of Health has teamed up with the Design Council and signed up some of the best minds in the design industry, including designers Ben de Lisi and Pearson Lloyd.

Six teams of leading UK product, interiors, fashion and systems designers, architects and manufacturers have been appointed to work on a range of briefs.

It follows extensive research into what issues matter most to patients, staff and experts.

The key focus areas will be on ward layouts, new products which help provide greater privacy for patients within the ward, better patient gowns which improve patient dignity, more dignified toileting and washing facilities and new ways of improving the physical and emotional security of patients being transferred within hospitals.

Prototypes will be unveiled in March and be introduced into hospitals early next year.

Health Minister Ann Keen said: “The Design for Patient Dignity Programme is a groundbreaking initiative – it provides an opportunity for designers and manufacturers in the UK and those working at the frontline of patient care to work together to help improve the patient experience, as well as boosting industry investment and jobs in the UK.”

David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council, said: “By bringing designers, manufacturers, patients and experts together, we are helping transform the hospital experience for millions.”


Survivorship plan trialled by cancer patients

20th January 2010

A new NHS “survivorship plan” is to be trialled among cancer survivors in Yorkshire and Humberside.

The plans will provide care and services for those living with and beyond the disease in a joint venture by the Department of Health and Macmillan Cancer Support. It aims to ensure cancer survivors in the region are offered tailored care and support to help them manage their future health and stay healthy post-cancer. Taking part in the scheme is Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.


England NHS 'most efficient'

20th January 2010

A new study has suggested the NHS in England provides better value for money than in other parts of the UK.

Research group the Nuffield Trust found the NHS in England won out over the health services in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

In England, according to the Nuffield Trust, there were fewer health staff per head, higher levels of activity and productivity and shorter waiting times. However there was no indication of major variations in quality of care.

In what is the first major analysis of NHS efficiency the organisation compared a range of factors over the decade to 2006/07.

England has fewer doctors, nurses and managers per head of population and is now seeing all patients within 18 weeks, whereas Scotland will not hit that target until the end of 2011.

Falls have been noticed in productivity across the UK, but were most significant in Scotland.

Director of the Nuffield Trust, Dr Jennifer Dixon acknowledged some of the differences may be because of the historical differences in funding levels.

But she added: "Some will reflect the different policies pursued by each of the four nations since 1999, in particular the greater pressure put on NHS bodies in England to improve performance in a few key areas such as waiting and efficiency, via targets, strong performance management, public reporting of performance by regulators and financial incentives."

While the Department of Health in England said the findings were a testament to staff hard work, Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the comparison was unfair and out-of-date.


Mental health services online

8th January 2010

NHS Choices and the website Patient Opinion have come together in order to enable patients to give their feedback on mental health services.

The collaboration between the Department of Health's premier website and Patient Opinion will be launched by care services minister Phil Hope.

The DH said the collaboration would mean that people who used mental health services and their families would have the option of leaving comments and sharing their experiences on both sites.

When users have left their comments, staff will be able to post responses to the feedback. The DH stated that trusts would then have the capacity to make changes and the collaboration would aid in improving the quality of mental health services.

Care services minister Phil Hope stated that: "Personalising services and making them more responsive to patients’ needs is at the very heart of our New Horizons strategy."

"So this partnership means every single trust in the country can see what they are doing well and what needs to be improved helping to drive up quality."

Paul Hodgkin, chief executive of Patient Opinion, stated that the collaboration would mean more patients would be given the chance to aid trusts in the provision of services people wanted. He added that the website would allow its users an "even stronger voice".

The DH stated that NHS Choices was the most-used health website in the UK, with almost 10 million visitors every month.


Clinical director for informatics announced

6th January 2010

Dr Charles Gutteridge has been confirmed by the Department of Health as the first national clinical director for informatics.

Dr Gutteridge has held the position of medical director at Barts and the London NHS Trust for eight years. Christine Connelly, DH director general for informatics, said: "We are delighted to have someone of Charles’ calibre on board. His clinical background, coupled with his extensive experience in patient safety and informatics issues, means he can provide leadership, ensuring we have clinical support as we implement change to benefit patients."


Plans to increase use of generic medicines

6th January 2010

The Department of Health has said it will put out proposals for public consultation concerning increasing the use of generic medication in England.

The DH wants to encourage the use of non-branded prescription medicines as they are less expensive than branded ones.

The proposals will be available for public consultation over the next three months.

Generic drugs have to contain identical "active ingredients" to those provided in branded ones, but usually cost considerably less.

The health service currently pays out around £9 billion annually on branded medication in the UK.

According to the terms of an agreement between the government and the pharmaceutical industry set out in 2009, health service spending on branded medicines will be reduced by an average of 5% annually for five years.

At present around 83% of prescriptions given out by the health service are for generic medicines, although MPs want this figure to increase to 88%.

Health Minister Mike O'Brien said: "We want to make sure that patients and taxpayers are getting the best medicines at the best price."

"Where clinically appropriate, it is only sensible to allow more expensive branded products to be substituted with the same generic medicines which are just as effective as the branded version."


Improving access for patients

4th January 2010

Consultation on implementing free NHS hospital car parking for inpatients.

Start4Life launched by Department of Health

4th January 2010

The government's new campaign Start4Life has been launched to encourage mothers to give their babies the 'building blocks' for a healthy life.

Public Health Minisiter Gillian Merron said: 'Unless we take action, 1 in 5 babies likely to be born this New Year’s day could be obese by the time they start school. What happens in the first years of a baby’s life has a big effect on how healthy they are in the future."

Teaching status award to two PCTs

22nd December 2009

Manchester and Bolton primary care trusts have received the award of teaching status from the Department of Health. 

Bolton chief executive Tim Evans said: "The achievements and successes of this organisation would not have been possible without our commitment to learning, teaching and research. Teaching status is about the way Bolton helps its staff develop and how those staff support each other to develop the high-quality, evidence-based services that flow from having well-trained staff."


New urgent and emergency care tsar appointed

22nd December 2009

The Department of Health has announced that it has chosen Professor Matthew Cooke as its new national clinical director for urgent and emergency care.

Professor Cooke will begin work in 2010. He said: "I look forward to being able to work with colleagues in ambulance services, primary care, emergency departments and secondary care to further improve the quality and safety of emergency care delivered by the NHS. Working closely with service users and NHS staff will be key to re-energising the system to bring about emergency care improvements."


Bring back the traditional Christmas walk

22nd December 2009

People in the UK are being encouraged to go for a walk on Christmas Day in order to expend some of the calories eaten in their festive meal.

The average Christmas lunch, which is usually made up of turkey and pudding, can reach 1,500 calories - 50% of a man's recommended daily amount and 75% of a woman's.

The government said people should go outside and walk after they had finished their Christmas meals.

They have published a list of the best walks in the country, including strolls around London attractions, a hike in the Peak District and a walk on the Moseley Bog in Birmingham.

The Department of Health has partnered up with the Ramblers charity in the promotion of exercising on Christmas Day. The DH said a walk of only one mile could have health benefits.

Public health minister Gillian Merron said: "Whatever the weather, a traditional festive walk is a great way for families and friends to avoid that sluggish feeling and have a more active Christmas."

"Being more physically active can make a real difference to your health - taking that extra walk is something we can all enjoy as a family."


Joint National Clinical Directors for Respiratory Disease appointed

10th December 2009

The government has recruited joint National Clinical Directors for its Respiratory Programme.

The move steps up the fight against respiratory disease such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Professor Sue Hill and Dr Robert Winter have been appointed to the posts and will lead the introduction of a National Strategy.

Health Minister Ann Keen said: “Early diagnosis and management can make a significant difference to the quality of life for people living with these conditions. That’s why the Respiratory Programme is so important.

“By appointing joint National Clinical Directors to oversee the development of a strategy we will ensure that clinical evidence and outcomes for patients are at the heart of our work to improve the quality of services to tackle respiratory disease.

“We will continue to work closely with the NHS and patient groups to make a real difference for patients and for the healthcare staff working in this area.”

Prof Sue Hill said she and Dr Winter would work to raise awareness and the profile of respiratory disease, which is the second most common cause of death in England.

She said that it was important that the public understood what good lung health is and the symptoms of respiratory disease.

Dr Winter said: “Improving the care of people with a respiratory disease is a major challenge for the NHS.”

He added that he felt better-coordinated and integrated services would enable put the NHS in a position to provide better care and meet the needs of people with respiratory disease.


Guidance on provisions to deal with nuisance or disturbance behaviour on NHS premises in England

30th November 2009

NHS treatment self-referral

27th November 2009

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced that patients will be able to refer themselves for certain treatments, in a move designed to reduce waiting times.

Research by the Department of Health showed that when patients self-referred this resulted in fewer sick days and more satisfaction from GPs, patients and physiotherapists. Alan Johnson said: "I am giving the green light to physiotherapists, podiatrists and all Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) that they can accept patients who self refer."

Consultation on personal care at home

26th November 2009

Health Secretary Andy Burnham has introduced a plan that could see older people benefit from free personal home care.

Mr Burnham said the Personal Care at Home Bill would give hundreds of thousands of people the independence they want as well as the comfort of staying in their own homes for longer, providing the proposals are passed by Parliament. The proposals would guarantee free personal care for 280,000 people suffering from conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia, with a further 130,000 provided with the equipment and services needed to retain their independence.


Health to be centre of fight against climate change

26th November 2009

Health should be at the centre of the UK’s fight against climate change, according to Health Secretary Andy Burnham.

At the launch of a new report on Health and Climate Change, Mr Burnham made the case for policies that improve health as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The report calls on health ministers and professionals across the world to recognise the danger that climate change poses to health, in the run up to the UN conference in Copenhagen in December.

Key findings of the document show that health could be improved through: changes towards a low carbon transport system could reduce the health impacts of urban air pollution and physical inactivity; housing insulation to reduce deaths in extreme weather; and less solid fuel burned to cut pollution.

Mr Burnham said: “Climate change can seem a distant, impersonal threat - in fact, the associated costs to health are a very real and present danger.

“Health Ministers across the globe must act now to highlight the risk global warming poses to the health of our communities. We need well-designed climate change policies that drive health benefits.

“This is a landmark year for climate change, with the world coming together at the Copenhagen conference in December.

“The call to action does not end there – this is the start of a journey in which small but committed changes can make a significant difference to global health.”

International Development Minister Mike Foster said that climate change and health are two of the biggest barriers to tackling poverty.


Nurses to be trained to degree level

12th November 2009

From 2013, all new nurses in England will have to spend at least three years being trained to degree level.

The Department of Health say the change will help nurses meet the increasingly complex needs of patients more safely and effectively and follows a recommendation from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The change will mean one, or even two years, of additional training for nurses to reach a degree level with the extra time spent on gaining experience working in community health teams.

At present, training involves a combination of theoretical and practical work as nurses work towards a diploma.

Health Minister for England Ann Keen said: "Nurses are the largest single profession within the health service, and are critical to the delivery of high quality healthcare.

"By bringing in degree-level registration we can ensure new nurses have the best possible start to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

"Degree-level education will provide new nurses with the decision-making skills they need to make high-level judgements in the transformed NHS."

Degree level programmes in nursing are already offered in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and Wales has been offering degree programmes only since 2004.

The Royal College of Nursing see the move as an important and historic development.

RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “Many nursing roles are demanding and involve increasingly advanced levels of practice and clinical knowledge.”

Michael Summers, the vice-chairman of the Patients Association, welcomed the move that will see nurses being taught to degree level.


ITT for provision of INVOLVE Coordinating Centre

6th November 2009

The DH are inviting tenders for the provision of the INVOLVE Coordinating Centre.

Sick baby units need improving

4th November 2009

A new set of standards have been published in a bid to improve care of sick babies in England.

They follow criticism two years ago by the National Audit Office over standards of specialist baby care.

The Department of Health now wants one-to-one nursing in intensive care, one-to-two in high dependency units and one-to-four in special care.

While it acknowledges that most special care units will already be achieving these levels, concerns remain that in intensive care only about a quarter currently are.

The government also wants better transport arrangements between hospitals. While all hospitals have dedicated transfer teams only half of these are operational 24 hours a day.

Almost 70,000 babies a year are treated in neonatal units with demand having increased by 9% in three years with more older women having children and multiple births due to fertility treatment

Health Minister Ann Keen said she hoped the standards would make a difference but she also stressed that no extra money would be available for hospitals to take on more staff.

Campaigners and doctors remain worried about the lack of additional funding.

A spokeswoman for Bliss, the premature baby charity, said: "We are concerned that, with the lack of upfront investment, this could be another wasted opportunity to deliver the care that vulnerable babies desperately need."

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health welcomed the publication of a written set of standards for the first time but said resources needed to be made available to ensure standards were met.


Healthcare for long term disabilities inquiry

30th October 2009

The DH is inviting expressions of interest from organisations to provide services for a confidential inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning difficulties.

Information for staff who are pregnant or in other at-risk groups

29th October 2009

This guidance gives advice on protecting healthcare employees who are pregnant or in one of the other at risk groups identified for H1N1.

Stock Management System training manuals

29th October 2009

The Stock Management System (SMS) provides the DH and the NHS Users with an effective tool to manage the distribution of antivirals to PCTs and collection points in the event of a pandemic.

Consultation on draft regulations response

29th October 2009

This document provides the response to the consultation on draft Regulations launched in the Response to consultation on the framework for the registration of health and adult social care providers.

Swine flu mostly under-25s

21st October 2009

US health officials say half of those hospitalised with H1N1 virus are mostly under-25s.

Communities for Health: unlocking the energy within communities to improve health

20th October 2009

National liver strategy to be developed

20th October 2009

The Department of Health has announced that it is recruiting a new National Clinical Director to spearhead its National Strategy for Liver Disease.

Health Minister Ann Keen said: "Liver disease is the only one of the top five causes of death which is continuing to affect more people every year at an increasingly young age. By appointing a National Clinical Director to oversee the development of a strategy we will ensure that clinical evidence and outcomes for patients are at the heart of our work to improve the quality of services to tackle liver disease."


Organ donor registrations rise

9th October 2009

The number of people signing on to the Organ Donor Register has risen significantly in the last year.

Figures released by the Department of Health show that a million more people have agreed to donate their organs when they die.

The 7% rise since June 2008 now means that around 27% of the UK population, or 16.3 million people are signed up. There was also a record rise of 11% in people donating after death.

The DH report - Working Together to Save Lives - is the first annual report of the Organ Donation Taskforce Implementation Programme set up by the government to increase organ donation by more than 50% by 2013.

However, it also warned that the waiting list for transplants continued to grow by 8% a year, with 10,000 people on waiting lists.

Health secretary Andy Burnham said: “I am delighted to see that many more people are now donating organs both while they are still alive and after they have died which has helped to save hundreds of lives, but there is still a long way to go.

“We will continue to support the NHS so that we can achieve our aim to save an extra 1,400 lives each year through the amazing gift of organ donation. We are aiming to get 20 million people on Organ Donor Register in 2010, working towards 25 million by 2013.”

The BMA welcomed the increases but has called for a serious debate about the UK moving to a system of presumed consent for organ donation.


DH look for web hosting services

22nd July 2009

The Department of Health is looking for web hosting services for the Supply2Health web portal.

DH launch Health Profiles 2009

30th June 2009

Advances in the nation's health are revealed in the fourth annual set of local Health Profiles.

The Year 2008/09

20th May 2009

The Year 2008/09 was launched on Wednesday 20 May 2009 at the annual NHS Chief Executives' Conference.

Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2008

29th May 2009

Information on abortions carried out in England and Wales in 2008.

Impact Assessments for the Health Bill

29th May 2009

The purpose of the Health Bill is to improve the quality of NHS care.

A guide to using patient feedback to transform care

29th May 2009

This resource, is one of a number being produced to help services understand and respond to what really matters to patients and their experiences of care.

World class commissioning monthly update May 2009

29th May 2009

Monthly progress report on the world class commissioning programme.

NHS Choices Procurement - six month update

28th May 2009

Click on source link to download documents.

Over £1m awarded to NHS Healthcare Science Research

28th May 2009

Ten healthcare scientists from across England have been awarded research fellowships worth over £1million.

The awards, announced by Chief Scientific Officer Professor Sue Hill, were the results of the first round of the new CSO Research Fellowship competition launched in September 2008 to support the development of research capacity in healthcare science in the NHS.

The scheme is funded by the Department of Health and managed by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

Successful projects include developing techniques to diagnose health conditions and improving patient care for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Professor Hill said: “Competition for this first round of CSO Research Fellowships was very keen. There were many high quality applications from healthcare scientists working across a wide range of disciplines, illustrating the wealth of opportunities within the NHS for translational research to improve patient care using healthcare scientists' valuable expertise.”

The successful applicants were: Lisa Ayers, Immunology Department, Churchill Hospital, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals; Bashir Mnene Matata, Cardiothoracic and Physiological Measurements Laboratory, Liverpool, Heart and Chest Hospital; Nigel Davies, Imaging and Medical Physics, University Hospitals Birmingham; Owen Driskell, Clinical Biochemistry, University Hospital of North Staffordshire; Rachel Marrington, Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham; Gareth Price, Developing Technologies, Radiotherapy Physics, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester; Tom Ford, Immunology Department, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; Jonathan Reeves, Clinical Physics Department, Barts and The London; Arlene Frater, Transplant Immunology, St James University Hospital, Leeds; Philip Morgan, Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, King's College Hospital.


Quality indicators published

18th May 2009

A list of 232 quality indicators has been published by the NHS Information Centre and the Department of Health.

The Indicators for Quality Improvement have been released with the intention of aiding clinical staff to improve the standard of care that they provide to patients.

Lord Darzi's report, High Quality Care for All, recommended that the indicators were gathered and published. The report said that teams with a record of good performance already measured standards of care.

The indicators will identify areas that could be improved and monitor the changes that managers put in place. Managers will be able to select the indicators which are the most appropriate to the work they carry out.

Every indicator measures patient experience, safety and effectiveness of care.

Lord Darzi said: "This initial list is just the start of a NHS wide resource that will challenge and stimulate NHS staff to drive up the quality of care they deliver to patients."

He added: “At this stage, the aim is to enable clinicians to fully understand the indicators, their methodology and source. Within the next few months, we will publish data that will enable local clinical teams to compare themselves with others as the basis for local quality improvement.”


Caring with confidence launched

12th May 2009

Caring with Confidence, a free Department of Health backed knowledge and skills based learning experience for carers in England, has today been launched – with the aim of helping carers make a positive difference to their life and that of the person they care for.  Around 4.9  million people(1) are estimated to provide unpaid care in England and new research(2) from Caring with Confidence has revealed as many as 62% - or more than three million do not view themselves as carers.

To address this major national issue, the programme will offer support and help to carers across England, with particular emphasis on the millions of people who provide care on a daily basis but don’t know where to begin when it comes to accessing the services and benefits available to them.  The research also revealed that more than 60% of those people asked believed their caring role affected their health (16% a lot 46% a little). As a result the need to support people looking after loved ones in a flexible manner has never been greater.

This support is provided by Caring with Confidence through local sessions with groups of carers or from home using workbooks or the internet.

Stephen Jacobs, OBE, Caring with Confidence Project Board Chair, said: “The contribution made by carers is huge, but it is a role that is often taken on at short notice and without preparation, leaving carers to struggle with the vital responsibilities that they have assumed - this is where Caring with Confidence can help.

“The new programme will be free to carers, giving them a safe and supportive environment to explore the services available to them, look at the essentials of looking after someone and how to communicate effectively with other people to help support their needs - which will improve their own health and wellbeing and that of the person they care for.”

Caring with Confidence is part of the Government’s New Deal for Carers and the . It is aimed at helping carers build on their knowledge and strengths, sharing useful information and identifying the positive changes they can make in their own situations.

Today’s launch (May 12) marks the start of the programme across England for all carers over the age of 18.  Caring with Confidence is being supported by Mike Tomlinson, husband of the hugely inspirational athlete and fundraiser Jane Tomlinson CBE, who passed away in September 2007 after a long battle with cancer.

He said: “I have personal experience of caring for a loved one and it can often be an isolated and difficult experience as you struggle to balance the needs of the person you care for with your own and those of the wider family.

“Support was available but not in such a way that it could be accessed easily. The flexibility Caring with Confidence offers means that people across England will be able to access these vital support services and meet with other people in similar situations to exchange information and share knowledge.”

The programme has been developed over the past 12 months with ongoing support from carers, which has highlighted the need for a recognised programme of this type.  Research conducted during the development also revealed one in five people caring 50 plus hours a week are also juggling a full-time job, and 23% of those people asked had been caring for at least 10 years.  It also showed that any support or provision should explain how to deal with the benefits and healthcare system (46% and 41% said these topics would be very or extremely useful) as well as providing practical information and advice about the condition they are dealing with (38% very or extremely useful).

The Caring with Confidence programme will run via a network of 32 providers(3) throughout England. Carers will be encouraged to build on their own knowledge and skills based on a personal programme of development through both face to face sessions and distance learning.  By working with carers and experts within the carers’ arena, Caring with Confidence has been designed to enhance and supplement existing provision rather than replace it. The provider organisations through which local sessions are being delivered have been carefully selected through their capacity to meet the needs of carers and recruit them to their sessions.


1 Based on 2001 Census data.

2 The research referred to in the press release was conducted by an independent market research company during February, March and April 2008. The study saw 1084 carers contacted and six detailed group discussions were held.  This 62% figure quoted changes to the following by English region, North East 58%, North West 64% Yorkshire 62%, East Mids 56%, West Mids 62%, East of England 69%, London 61%, South East 65% and South West 64%.

3 Providers of face-to-face group sessions:

  • Age Concern Birmingha
  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Barnet Carers Training Working Group Adult Social Service, London Borough of Barnet
  • Black and Minority Ethnic Carers Support Service
  • The Carers Centre (Bristol & South Gloucestershire)
  • The Carers’ Resource – Bradford
  • The Carers’ Resource – North Yorkshire
  • Carers Support Centre
  • Carers Support (West Wiltshire)
  • Carers Together
  • CLASP The Carers Centre
  • Derbyshire Carers Association
  • Gloucestershire County Council
  • The Greenwich Carers Centre
  • Hammersmith and Fulham Carers Centre
  • Jewish Care
  • The Lesbian & Gay Foundation
  • London Borough of Hounslow (West London Gay Men’s Project on behalf of GMI Partnership)
  • Making Space
  • Manchester Carers Centre
  • NHS Bolton
  • NHS East of England
  • NHS Hull
  • North West Kent Carers Support Service
  • Omega The National Association for End of Life Care
  • Oxfordshire Carers Forum
  • South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Warwickshire Carers Support Service/Guideposts Trust Carers Support Service
  • St Helens Carers Centre
  • Suffolk Carers
  • Sunderland Carers Centre
  • West Anglia Crossroads Caring for Carers

084 number decision delayed

6th May 2009

The Department of Health has delayed making a decision on whether it should ban the use of 084 phone numbers in the NHS in England.

It had opened a four-month consultation on the use of 084 numbers in December and promised to publish its response to the consultation by the end of April but has delayed making a decision because it had received a bigger response than expected. It is believed that some 1,500 GP practices in the UK use 084 numbers, which are also used by some hospitals and the helpline NHS Direct.


Mental health and wellbeing, a new vision

15th April 2009

The millions of people who suffer from or might face mental illness at some point in their lives are to be the focus of a new strategy.

PCTs told to limit PMS pay rises

14th April 2009

The Department of Health has told Primary Care Trusts that they must keep pay rises for Personal Medical Services (PMS) practices to only 0.71%.

Ben Dyson, the primary care director for the DH, said in a letter that increases needed to be remain in line with "the minimum award that GMS practices will receive" in 2009. Mr Dyson also asked PCTs to make certain that funds given on a shared basis to providers was "fair and equitable and represents value for money".


NHS dentistry review, have your say

9th April 2009

Dentists from across the UK are being invited to share their views on how to improve access and quality of NHS dentistry at a series of engagement events this spring.

At the events the chair of the independent review team for NHS dentistry Professor Jimmy Steele will discuss the emerging findings of the review, which since December has been investigating why there are variations in access to dentistry in England and how the NHS can deliver continuous improvements in the quality of care.

Long-term conditions guide issued to GPs

9th April 2009

The Department of Health has launched an information booklet and an online resource pack to help GPs in the management of long-term conditions.

Entitled Your Health, Your Way, the booklet aims to help family doctors promote the idea of self care to their patients. It also contains information on the importance and value of self care for those with long-term conditions as well as containing advice on healthy living. In addition the booklet offers GPs tools for monitoring patients with long-term conditions.


Directory of obesity training providers

6th April 2009

This directory lists training providers running courses on the prevention and management of obesity.

Shortest NHS waits since records began

26th March 2009

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced the shortest waits for the NHS since records began.

He revealed that the NHS has met its targets of treating patients within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral by their GP with the average wait for treatment for admitted patients put at 8.6 weeks.

Mr Johnson said: "Twelve years ago it was not uncommon for patients to have to wait well over 18 months for an operation.

"Achieving the shortest waits since NHS records began is a tremendous achievement for staff and I congratulate them for all their hard work. Meeting the standard nationally five months before it came into effect, shows the commitment of the whole health service to improving patients' experiences.

"This has improved the lives of millions of people. Every year the NHS carries out 60,000 hip operations, in the last two years the waiting time for this procedure has fallen from around 30 weeks to 12 weeks.

"It's not just patients that benefit from this, clinicians also value the difference it makes to the quality of care they provide."

For cataract patients, he said the average referral to treatment times had fallen from 20 weeks in March 2007, to 10 weeks in January.

With more than 250,000 patients having cataracts removed ever year, the improvement was welcomed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Audiology waits have fallen to five weeks and average referral time for patients admitted for heart treatments fell from 14 weeks in March 2007 to seven weeks in January.


Putting people first

24th March 2009

This document outlines the benefits that local organisations, and their residents, enjoy when they work with user-led organisations.

Health regulator announced

20th March 2009

The establishment of a new body to regulate health professionals has been outlined in a report published by the DH.

Guidelines published on NI abortion

20th March 2009

Pregnancy termination guidelines have been published for the first time by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, directed at medical staff.

Abortion is not legal in Northern Ireland, apart from cases where the mother's life is in jeopardy.  Audrey Simpson from the Family Planning Association said: "I think it's the first time the Department of Health has had to acknowledge that women in Northern Ireland are no different from women in the rest of the UK."


NHS Pathways to go national

23rd February 2009

The Department of Health has given ambulance services approval to use NHS Pathways.

Sick leave pilot by DH

20th February 2009

The DH is looking for organisations to pilot a scheme aimed at getting people back to work more quickly.

Teens key to quitting

19th February 2009

A survey has revealed that teenagers are worried about parents that smoke.

The poll was undertaken among teenagers with parents that smoke as part of a new NHS smokefree advertising campaign.

It revealed that 46% of those interviewed are more worried about their parents smoking than anything else in their lives.

The NHS smokefree campaign begins on 23 February and will show that teenagers are feeling increasingly responsible for their parents’ health.

Some with 65% were worried about their parents’ smoking and 88% concerned about the impact this has on their parents’ health. With nearly 9 in 10 learning about health at school, 43% claim they understand the risks of smoking better than their parents.

Further findings show that: 29% of teenagers feel they are the ‘health experts’ in the family; 75% have asked or told their parents to stop; 43% are angry that their parents won’t listen to them.

One pupil, 15-year old Stephen Carter-Woodhead from Huddersfield, said: "As soon as I learned at school about what smoking can do to you, I was on at my mum about giving up.

"I was worried she might get cancer and also about the effects her smoking might have on us. It’s taken three years for her to take some action but I’m really proud that she has finally given up."

Paul Lambert, Local NHS Stop Smoking Adviser from Leeds, said: "Many referrals to local NHS Stop Smoking Services are as a result of teenagers telling their parents what they need to know."


Government's response to Health Committee Report

16th February 2009

This document responds to the conclusions and recommendations of the Health Committee's Report into foundation trusts and Monitor.

Be active, be healthy

11th February 2009

A plan for getting the nation moving.

Guidance on the routine collection of PROMs

6th February 2009

This document contains detailed guidance on the routine collection of PROMs for elective procedures.

Confirmation of Payment by Results arrangements for 2009-10

6th February 2009

Guidance and supporting information: confirmation of PbR arrangements for 2009-10.

No smoking campaign aimed at pregnant smokers

5th February 2009

The government is to launch a powerful campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of women smoking during pregnancy.

It aims to encourage public support for pregnant women in their attempts to quit and to drive take-up of the specialist pregnancy NHS Stop Smoking Services. The new campaign will target the 100,000 (17%) of pregnant women in England who smoke during their pregnancy by communicating why smoking is harmful to them and their baby, emphasising how every cigarette smoked restricts the essential oxygen supply to an unborn baby.


Living well with dementia

4th February 2009

Strategy provides a strategic framework in which local services can deliver quality improvements.

Change4Life launched

30th January 2009

The biggest ever children's health survey has been launched as part of the government's Change4Life initiative. 

11 million surveys will be sent out from 2 February. Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: "Families who take part in this survey and tell us about their eating and exercise habits will be sent a unique health plan by our experts to help them eat well, move more and live longer."


NICE and DH clash over smoking advice

26th January 2009

The Department of Health is encouraging GPs to ignore NICE guidance on smoking.

Using mobile phones in hospitals

6th January 2009

The DH has issued new mobile phone usage good practice guidance, which replaces all previous.

Johnson's Christmas message to NHS Staff

18th December 2008

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has spoken of the dedication of NHS staff and a radical new vision for the service in his Christmas message.

He also reflected on the personal pride he felt at celebrating another Christmas in his post.

Mr Johnson said: "I feel proud to be celebrating another Christmas as Health Secretary.

There is no such thing as a quiet year for the NHS, and 2008 has been no exception.

"The NHS has celebrated its 60th birthday in style: ending long waits; turning the tide on infection; paving the way for life-saving advances in medicine through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, and improving mental health with the World Health Organisation praising our services as the best in Europe."

He also commented on achievements such as offering a radically new vision for the NHS over the next six decades with the Next Stage Review, with its focus on quality, and the NHS Constitution.

"The NHS is characterised by the immense dedication of its staff," he said. "During my time as Health Secretary, I have been privileged to observe that dedication at first hand from staff who are always prepared to go the extra mile and often well beyond to improve the quality of their patients’ lives."

And while some staff may enjoy a festive break, he remarked "countless NHS staff will still be working."

He added: "Next year will bring new challenges, and with excellent leadership and increased investment, I’m sure it will be yet another very special year for the NHS."


PCT property sales to balance books

10th December 2008

The sale of up to £6.5bn of PCT property will help the DH out of a £16bn hole.

'Pacesetters' launched to reduce health inequalities

20th November 2008

Care Services Minister Phil Hope has announced that 18 new projects will have access to a £5.5 million pot to come up with innovative new ways of helping people from marginalised communities cope with diabetes.

The projects form the second wave of 'Pacesetters' - a scheme set up in 2007 to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in deprived areas. The new Pacesetters are free to come up with innovative ideas but must focus on specific serious conditions.


Healthy towns share £30m

11th November 2008

The government has launched a £30 million programme to create nine "healthy towns" as part of plans to target obesity.

Middlesbrough, Manchester, Sheffield, Tower Hamlets in London, Dudley, Halifax, Thetford in Norfolk, Tewkesbury and Portsmouth will each receive a portion of the money.

The money will be used to encourage people to walk, cycle, eat healthily and improve green areas.

The initiative is part of the government's Change4Life campaign, which is a drive to improve the health and fitness levels of the population.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: "Obesity is the biggest health challenge we face."

He added that the healthy towns "must promote healthy living. Each town has come up with innovative ways - such as a loyalty schemes or cycling projects - to help their residents to be more active."

"Healthy towns is just the start. Our aim is to create a healthy England."

One of the projects is Points4Life in Manchester, where people can take part in a reward scheme if they exercise. Halifax are trying out a grow-you-own fruit and vegetable scheme, while Portsmouth will put up signs to aid people taking exercise to "time their progress".

London's Tower Hamlets will start an award scheme to promote the health ratings of food outlets and eating places.

Stastics have shown increasing levels of obesity in the UK. Almost a quarter of the adult population and a fifth of children are obese.


Dignity award launched

10th November 2008

The first ever award that recognises people who treat patients with dignity and respect launched.

New patient survey plans revealed

10th November 2008

The DH has revealed further details about the new GP patient survey.

Sudden cardiac death database to save lives

10th November 2008

New sudden cardiac death database launched that could save lives.

Senior Salaries Review Body

6th November 2008

Written evidence from the Department of Health on NHS Very Senior Managers (VSMs).

Emergency readmission rates

6th November 2008

This Department of Health paper reviews emergency readmission rates.

GP patient survey

6th November 2008

Letter informing primary care trusts of the data processor agreement with Ipsos MORI.

Assurance system for world class commissioning and Annual Health check

6th November 2008

Alignment between assurance system for world class commissioning and annual health check.

'Your health, your way - a guide to long term conditions and self care'

6th November 2008

Letter from Mark Britnell announcing the launch of the Patients' Prospectus.

Improving access to medicines for NHS patients

5th November 2008

This report sets out a series of recommendations on improving access to medicines for NHS patients.

Paying for (expensive) drugs in the statutory system

5th November 2008

As part of his review, Professor Mike Richards commissioned a report.

More drugs made available on the NHS

5th November 2008

More drugs are to be made available to NHS patients.

Mental Health Act 2007 - FAQs

3rd November 2008

Changes to the Mental Health Act came into force on 3 November 2008.

Major change, public consultation urged

31st October 2008

The DH has warned NHS organisations to consult the public on all major changes.

GP Quality Incentive Scheme launched

30th October 2008

Under new proposals set out in a public consultation NICE will oversee the annual process.

Our vision for primary and community care

9th September 2008

This newsletter, aimed at PCT commissioners, sets out the next steps on some of the key policies.

NHS Direct and NHS Choices join forces

22nd October 2008

From the end of October all NHS online health information can be accessed from one website.

DH resource accounts 2007/08

20th October 2008

These accounts consolidate the financial information within the Departmental Accounting Boundary.

New ministerial lead for NHS Constitution

20th October 2008

The Department of Health has said that Ann Keen is to be the new ministerial lead for the NHS Constitution.

The final constitution is in development following the publication of the draft version this summer.  Ann Keen said: "I look forward to leading the process of creating a Constitution which will safeguard the future of the NHS. Our focus over the next few weeks will be to make sure all the feedback we have gathered through consultation over the summer is used to produce a Constitution which reflects the needs of a modern NHS and patients."


Over half of GP surgeries now open longer

14th October 2008

The government has confirmed that more than half of GP surgeries are offering their patients extended opening hours.

The Department of Health said that the number of practices providing longer opening had increased by 40% over six months. In England, more than 51% of the 8,275 GP practices provide extended opening.


Are dentists 'playing the system'?

14th October 2008

The Department of Health has suggested it thinks that dentists in England are "playing the system to maximise their profits".

Health service papers analysed by the government showed that dentists are calling back patients for unnecessary check-ups and splitting up treatments.

The DH said it thought the dentists' methods had increased since their new contract was brought in two years ago.

The contract was designed so that dentists could have more flexibility and time to treat their patients.

The cost-charging system was split up into four bands. Treatment carried out on the health service is "heavily subsidised" although most people still contribute towards the work they have done.

As a consequence, dentists are able to make claims for double the amount if they treat patients over several appointments or recall them for check-ups they do not need.

The analysis showed that up to 800,000 appointments could be made available if dentists did not play the system.

A dentist's average salary during the first year of the new contract was £96,000. This was an increase from £87,000 in the previous year.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Many patients have been seeing their dentist at six month intervals for years as a matter of routine, but there is no evidence to support this as clinically necessary."


Consultation on Patient Mobility EU Directive

8th October 2008

Consultation on patient mobility in the EU.

Dental hospital IT systems gets funding

8th October 2008

Dental hospitals across England are set to receive an extra £11 million of funding for new IT systems that will support the training of dental students.

The funding is part of a joint initiative by the Department of Health, NHS Connecting for Health and the Dental IT programme board and will be divided between 10 trusts with responsibility for training dental students that applied for the money. The trusts will use the money to train dental students in the use of clinical computer programmes.


National Cancer Survivorship Initiative Newsletter

2nd October 2008

Survivorship Initiative has been established to consider a range of approaches to survivorship care.

Improving the quality of long term care for children

3rd October 2008

Proposals to improve the quality of care for children with long term health needs.

Health is global

1st October 2008

Health is global: a UK Government strategy 2008-13.

World Class Commissioning for Primary Care Conference

1st October 2008

An invitation to PCT chief executives to attend this conference on 6 November 2008.

'Fit to Eat' guidelines for children and young people

1st October 2008

CLIC Sargent's Fit To Eat guidance for children and young people undergoing treatment for cancer.

Human rights in healthcare

1st October 2008

Reports from three human rights in healthcare learning events held nationally.

Directions to the Appointments Commission

30th September 2008

Directions to the Appointments Commission in relation to the Care Quality Commission 2008.

Help improve DH site

30th September 2008

The DH has launched a short online survey that takes no more than a few minutes to complete.

Incentives for GPs to offer advance booking

26th September 2008

The DH has said the government will put £50 million into GP incentives to provide advance booking services.

The £105 million in added funds will be used by Primary Care Trusts to provide local services. A DH spokesperson said: "While we will be developing a range of options that to improve access to GPs, it will be for PCTs and providers to determine which best suits their patients."


Single urgent care number proposals

26th September 2008

The DH will publish a proposal and the steps needed to set up one national phone number for urgent care services later in 2008.

In response to the Healthcare Commission's report on emergency and urgent care, the DH said: "As announced in Lord Darzi's review of the NHS, we are looking at the benefits of a national number and will outline the next steps for this later in the year."


NHS inpatient and outpatient waiting times figures

26th September 2008

The latest monthly statistics on NHS inpatient and outpatient waitings times produced by the DH.

The DH says no

26th September 2008

The Department of Health has ruled out following the model in Wales and bringing in more flexible arrangements in England to increase GP take-up of extended hours.

A £16m package in Wales has been offered to GPs for extended opening and other additional services, while the Scottish Government has said it will renew talks with GPs who have so far opted out of extended hours, raising the prospect of GPs being enticed by more flexible terms. However, the DoHhas said there is now new policy direction in England.


DH publish HIV exposure guidance

19th September 2008

Updated guidance on how to handle exposure to HIV.

Patients assessed for risk of blood clots

19th September 2008

Publication of a risk assessment for venous thromboembolism.

NHS Choices update September 2008

19th September 2008

NHS Choices is being updated, with new features, expanded content, and enhanced navigation.

Prime Minister letter to all NHS Staff

19th September 2008

Gordon Brown has written an open letter to the NHS to congratulate them on their success.

Venous thromboembolism risk assessment

19th September 2008

A VTE risk assessment has been developed for use in all hospitals.

Up to 92 trusts may be culled

18th September 2008

The DH expects to cull up to six hospital trusts a year under its new failure regime.

The Mental Health Act 1983 guide

17th September 2008

This guide sets out the main provisions of the Act and the associated secondary legislation.

Help to portray social care

17th September 2008

A 'Dear colleague' letter asking for help in identifying settings and subjects for photographs.

A good practice guide for children with hearing difficulties

17th September 2008

Transforming services for children with hearing difficulties and their families.

Two new partnerships announced

17th September 2008

Two new partnerships between NHS organisations and leading universities to receive a total of £18m.

Online service to help NHS providers and suppliers

16th September 2008

An online advertising service that will help NHS providers contact healthcare suppliers announced.

Patients happy with Home Oxygen Service

12th September 2008

95% of patients in England and Wales are happy with the Home Oxygen Service.

Advice for supporting vulnerable people during cold weather

12th September 2008

This leaflet is part of the national Keep Warm Keep well programme.

Immunisation survey

11th September 2008

BMRB will be conducting research on behalf of NHS Immunisation Information.

DH restricts extended hours

11th September 2008

GPs may be breaching their contracts by offering flu jabs to patients in extended hours.

Letter announcing the launch of the Change4Life programme

10th September 2008

Launch of Change4Life, a national movement to tackle childhood obesity.

Evaluation of information prescriptions

9th September 2008

An independent evaluation of pilot sites to test and provide evidence information prescriptions.

World class commissioning programme montly report

9th September 2008

World Class Commissioning Programme - August update.

Guidance on commissioning services for young people with cancer

9th September 2008

Improving outcomes in children and young people with cancer.

CMO Urgent Communications and Safety Alert Broadcast System document

8th September 2008

CMO's Urgent Communications: Public Health Link.

NHS medicines price control

8th September 2008

The introduction of a statutory scheme to control the prices of branded NHS medicines.

A brief guide to Local Involvement Networks

5th September 2008

Listening and responding to communities: a brief guide to Local Involvement Networks.

Guidance on delivery of primary care dentistry

5th September 2008

Pandemic influenza: the delivery of and contract arrangements for primary care dentistry.

The Primary Medical Services Directions 2008

4th September 2008

The Directions to PCTs that give legal basis for implementing the Directed Enhanced Service for GPs.

Training plans 2009 in MMC recruitment rounds

4th September 2008

Letter highlighting specialty training plans in the 2009 Modern Medical Careers recruitment rounds.

Payment by Results for Kidney Dialysis Project Group

4th September 2008

Payment by Results for Kidney Dialysis Project Group: interim report, June 2008.

Specialty training plans

4th September 2008

Letter highlighting specialty training plans in the 2009 Modern Medical Careers recruitment rounds.

Guidance to implement the Extended Hours Scheme

3rd September 2008

Final guidance: Extended Hours Access Scheme Directed Enhanced Service.

The Primary Medical Services Directions 2008

3rd September 2008

DH provides PCTs with directions for implementing the Directed Enhanced Services.

CAS go live

2nd September 2008

Letter confirming the launch of the Central Alerting System (CAS) is to be 8 September 2008.

DH establish a PCT Board Development Framework

2nd September 2008

The DH has established a PCT Board Development Framework, which PCTs can now use.

The introduction of HPV vaccination

2nd September 2008

HPV vaccination was recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

DH latest statistics published

1st September 2008

Latest statistics on waiting times, cancelled operations and PBC published by DH.

Get the flu jab

1st September 2008

Annually produced campaign poster.

GP practice survey

29th August 2008

This is the fourth quarterly practice survey, covering a sample of practices from each PCT.

Ambulance guidelines

29th August 2008

Ambulance guidelines: reducing infection through effective practice in the pre-hospital environment.

Applying the learning to reduce HCAI and improve cleanliness

29th August 2008

A summary of the key interventions that will enable organisations to prioritise efforts.

National Patient Choice Survey report

29th August 2008

The full report is due for publication on 2 September 2008.

The Human Papillomavirus immunisation programme

28th August 2008

These Directions provide a legal framework for the Human Papillomavirus Immunisation Programme.

End postcode lottery say fertility experts

27th August 2008

A report has called for managers of fertility services to increase their work to decrease the "postcode lottery" of IVF treatment in the NHS.

The interim report, published by the Department of Health, has been written by an expert panel and has urged a "national tariff" for fertility treatment. A DH survey of primary care trusts last year "found only seven (5%) of England’s 152 PCTs provided three full cycles of IVF treatment in line with NICE’s 2004 guideline, with wide variations in access criteria".


AIDS annual report 2007

27th August 2008

This Expert Advisory Group on AIDS report covers the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007.

Guidance on PVL-associated Staphylococcus aureus infections

26th August 2008

Guidance on diagnosis and management of PVL-associated Staphylococcus aureus infections (PVL-SA).

Disease management information toolkit

26th August 2008

Guidance for use with Disease Management Information Toolkit (DMIT) Paediatric Asthma Data Module.

New funding for life care research institute

26th August 2008

The government has announced that a £1 million grant will help to fund the construction of the Cicely Saunders Institute for Palliative Care.

The institute is the first of its kind in the world and "will enable leading researchers to work alongside each other in a purpose built building and deliver palliative care solutions to patients, as well as providing education, patient information and support".


Diabetes care 'improving'

21st August 2008

A government report has indicated that diabetes care in this country is improving.

However, the Department of Health study, which analysed progress made since its diabetes plan was published in 2003 says there is still a long way to go before the NHS is providing top quality services.

Twelve key standards were outlined in the 10-year diabetes national service framework and the DH report said progress was being made in all areas.

The document said prevention, diagnosis and treatment of patients in England was getting better but that more needed to be done for pregnant women, children and emergencies such as hypoglycaemic attacks or episodes of low blood sugar.

In the last five years an extra 600,000 diagnoses have been made, though it is feared that there may still be half a million more cases that have been undiagnosed.

Diabetes remains a major challenge for the NHS with about two million cases and more expected due to obesity or as the population ages.

The government’s diabetes tsar Dr Rowan Hillson said: "The NHS has responded impressively to the first five years of the national service framework.  More and more people with diabetes are getting good routine care."

But Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "Much more needs to be done to ensure that all people with, and those at risk of, diabetes have access to the information, education, support and high-quality care to enable them to manage their condition on a day-to-day basis with the help of specialist diabetes teams."


New deal for carers

30th July 2008

Reports from the four Task Forces created to help in developing the Carers' Strategy.

Engagement analysis: NHS next stage review

29th July 2008

What we heard from the 'Our NHS, our future' process.

Integrated packages approach to care

29th July 2008

The CDST is comprised of a set of clinically meaningful Care Clusters.

Information on HPV vaccination

28th July 2008

This letter provides information about the extension of the HPV vaccination to women aged 17-18.

Healthy weight, healthy lives

24th July 2008

Newsletter provides an update on progress since the publication of Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives.

PCTs freedom to rename NHS Local

24th July 2008

Primary Care Trusts have been given the go-ahead to re-brand and rename themselves.

The proposal was outlined in a speech by health secretary Alan Johnson to the NHS Confederation conference on June 18 and also in the Next Stage Review report published on June 30.

It cleared the way for all PCTs, including teaching PCTS, to have the freedom to re-name to NHS Local.

As an example Blackpool PCT will become known as NHS Blackpool while Bournemouth and Poole Teaching PCT will become known as NHS Bournemouth and Poole.

The issue was raised by PCTs during the course of various World Class Commissioning (WCC) engagement sessions across the NHS.

Health bosses had questioned whether the PCT name adequately reflected its duties and roles, especially in relation to funding NHS care for their resident population.

The Department of Health said that with WCC setting out a new approach to commissioning for health and care services the re-naming would allow PCTs "to position themselves as front-line commissioners of patient care and be identifiable to their local populations as such."

Other reasons in support of the change meant that it: allowed PCTs to use a title that conveys they are a major NHS presence in any given locality; added further power to localism and the importance of 'place' and community; provided better understanding of its role in the eyes of the public and patients.

The Department of Health has offered guidance on re-branding and says it does not expect any re-branding or re-positioning to add unnecessary expenditure.


Driving up the quality of care

24th July 2008

This report summarises the contribution of nurses and midwives.

Review of relicensure of doctors

23rd July 2008

The DH and the GMC jointly commissioned KPMG to undertake a review of relicensure of doctors.

DH consultation on drinking culture

23rd July 2008

The Department of Health has launched a consultation on the UK's drinking culture which could result in tougher measures for the alcohol industry.

They have released figures which estimate that alcohol costs society at £17.7 billion to £25.1 billion per year, and costs the health service £2.7 billion. Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo, said: "Around a quarter of the population drink to a harmful level. These people could be drinking themselves into an early grave - we need the drinks industry to give them the help and information needed to drink at a safer level."


Confidence in caring

22nd July 2008

Confidence in caring developed in response to deficiencies in caring.

Aiming high for disabled children

22nd July 2008

This guidance informs local authority and PCT delivery of the Aiming High for Disabled Children.

A review for the DH

22nd July 2008

The Department of Health has published a report which reviews Membership Governance in NHS Foundation Trusts.

The report was commissioned last year and is the culmination of work by two external bodies: Mutuo and the University of Birmingham. The DH intend the report to "be an easy to read study into membership governance, setting out the origins of NHS FTs, the review’s findings and a number of conclusions".


Learning disability - campus closure programme

21st July 2008

LAC(DH)(2008)5: Learning disability - campus closure programme revenue grant: 2008-2011.

Impact Assessment document

21st July 2008

Impact Assessment of Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Order.

Results of GP Patient Access Survey

17th July 2008

The second annual GP Patient Access Survey, published by the NHS Information Centre, has revealed improvements in patient satisfaction and experience.

Surveying almost two million patients between January and March this year it showed that 87% of people reported satisfaction with their ability to get through to their practice on the phone, 87% who tried to get an appointment with a GP in 48 hours reported they were able to and 77% of people who wanted to book ahead for an appointment reported they could.


Mental health currency model developed

17th July 2008

This document arises from a series of meetings between the three authors over six months.

End of life strategy

17th July 2008

Promoting high quality care for all adults at the end of life which covers adults in England.

'Call Connect' for NHS ambulance services

17th July 2008

This document aims to provide ambulance services with performance improvement tools.

NHS Choices contract award imminent

15th July 2008

The Department of Health will declare this week who has won the three year contract to manage NHS Choices.

On 10 July Gordon Hextall, acting head of NHS Connecting for Health, said the announcement would be made “next week.”

The process is being managed by the Department of Health, with help from NHS CfH which is responsible for the portal.

The NHS Choices project will allow more importance to "be given to transactional services such as the patient accessible HealthSpace electronic record".

Dr Foster Intelligence was given the responsibility of running the service by the DoH in April last year until March 2008.

Dr Foster Intelligence is one of six organisations which are bidding to run the service.

Other firms shortlisted are Capita, IBM, Serco, Fujitsu and Tata Consultancy.

Dr Foster has been thought the most likely to be successful in its bid to run the portal, but it faced stiff competition from companies such as IBM, which have considerable previous experience of large-scale portal management.

The announcement of the successful company was delayed to occur after Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review of the NHS and NHS Informatics Review was published.

"The chosen supplier will be responsible for expanding and operating the existing NHS Choices web service and, as the service evolves, investigation. Where needed, it will also be responsible for the development and operation of other electronic channels including mobile, kiosk and Integrated Digital Television".


Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2007

15th July 2008

The Chief Medical Officer’s Report draws attention to health challenges requiring immediate action.

Health informatics review

11th July 2008

NHS trusts look set to get support to select and install interim systems as a result of the NHS Informatics Review.

In some cases, they may also receive national funding after a change in emphasis triggered by long delays in the detailed electronic record systems at the heart of the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

The review highlights good information and good information systems as being critical to the delivery of Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review of the NHS.

Led by the Department of Health’s interim chief information officer, Matthew Swindells, before his departure to the private sector, the review reaffirms the goal of the national programme to deliver integrated care records systems.

However, it also acknowledged the impact that lengthy delays in the delivery of strategic systems from local service providers were having on trusts.

NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) is already working with trusts and strategic health authorities on specific requests for help on interim systems.

However, NHS medical director and interim director general for informatics Sir Bruce Keogh, said that NHS informatics warned that the move toward interim systems was “not a license for open season.”

“If people start going it alone it could be at a huge opportunity cost,” he said.

Trusts will be able to get interim systems through their LSP or from suppliers using the Additional Supply Capability and Capacity framework contract.

Gordon Hextall, the acting head of CfH, denied that the move represented the abandonment of the strategic goals of the NHS IT programme.


NHS Next Stage Review published

30th June 2008

Lord Darzi, the government's health minister, has announced his proposals for the next decade of health service care in England.

After a consultation with NHS staff and patients in 10 regions of England, which lasted for nine months, Lord Darzi has published his report, The NHS Next Stage Review.

The government's draft "NHS constitution" is released in tandem with the report and will allow patients to decide where they receive treatment.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote in his introduction to the report that Lord Darzi's plans would have "an even more profound effect" than any changes which had come before it.

"It is a bold vision for an NHS which is among the best healthcare systems in the world - a once-in-a-generation opportunity that we owe it to ourselves and our families to take," he said.

The review concentrates on improving standards of patient care, rather than the volume of patients treated, with financial rewards given to health providers who deliver an excellent service.

Lord Darzi released an interim report in October which included plans for GP polyclinics, which could open from 8am to 8pm every day and be accessible by everyone.

Doctors have said that polyclinics will act to the detriment of patient care and have delivered a petition, with a million signatures, to Downing Street.


Mental health service success

27th June 2008

Ivan Lewis congratulated the NHS on major improvements in key mental health services.

Health inequalities wake up call

24th June 2008

The Department of Health and the Association of Public Health Observatories have published "key health indicators" - known as Health Profiles - for every local authority in England.

Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo said: "Inequalities around the country are stark, but the NHS and Local Authorities can use these profiles to target local health hotspots with effective measures to make a real difference."

A third of NHS bodies still in trouble despite improvement

23rd October 2007

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Article Information

Title: A third of NHS bodies still in trouble despite improvement
Author: Tomas Cerney
Article Id: 4518
Date Added: 23rd Oct 2007


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