There's a longer list of this week's health and wellbeing policy news items on my website, but here are a few of the bigger items:
06 July 2016
The Government is to impose the revised junior doctors' contract, despite it having been rejected in a ballot of BMA members. Imposition will start in October and is likely to be completed by autumn the following year.
Jeremy Hunt statement to Parliament: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-hunt-updates-parliament-on-junior-doctors-contract
05 July 2016
Junior doctors have rejected the deal over a new contract negotiated between the Government and BMA by 58% to 42%, with a 68% turnout, prompting the junior doctors' leader, Johann Malawana, to resign. The Government is now minded to impose the contract. The BMA said it had no plans for further strikes.
06 July 2016
The care.data information sharing programme is to be scrapped the Government and NHS England have announced. The scheme, which was to enable the collection and sharing of GP and hospital patient information, was suspended in February 2014, just before it was due to go live, because of concerns about whether patients had been given sufficient information about the programme and worries about safeguards on use of the data. Two reviews were then commissioned by the Government, one from the CQC and the other from the national data guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott, and as a result of that a consultation has now been launched on new data security standards for health and social care. They say that while the public should be told the benefits of data sharing, they should also know how the data may be used and must be able to opt out if they don't want it shared. They also propose stronger sanctions for breaches of the rules. Work on sharing data will now be taken forward by the National Information Board.
Press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-safeguards-and-public-conversation-about-health-and-care-data-proposed
Written statement to Parliament: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/review-of-health-and-care-data-security-and-consent
Fiona Caldicott speech to the King's Fund: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/rebuilding-public-trust-for-the-use-of-data
The consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/new-data-security-standards-for-health-and-social-care
04 July 2016
A reform programme for children's social care in England for the next five years has been published by the Department for Education. It is looking for a third of authorities to be delivering children's services through 'new models', such as not-for-profit trusts, by 2020. It says that the delivery of social care services by in-house local authority teams 'is not delivering consistently excellent practice'. It suggests that authorities "are diverse in size and demography, but the structure for delivering services is much less diverse and governed by very many of the same rules" and structural change may be the key to unlocking improvement.
Written statement: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-07-04/HCWS57/
08 July 2016
Specialist surgery for congenital heart disease is to be focussed in a fewer number of centres with services ceasing in 3 out of 13 areas, Central Manchester, Leicester and the Royal Brompton, NHS England has proposed, subject to consultation. Both Leicester and the Royal Brompton have resisted moves for their closure before and there are indications they may do so again. It is also planned to move non-surgical cardiology services elsewhere from five hospitals: Blackpool, South Manchester, Papworth, Nottingham and Imperial. Overall 8 out of 22 units are to be closed. The closures are expected to be complete by 2021.
07 July 2016
A strategy on young people leaving care has been published by a cross-government group of departments, including DfE, the Cabinet Office, DCLG, DWP and the Department of Health. It sets out how young people will be supported to achieve five outcomes: being supported to live independently; having improved access to education, training and emplooyment; experiencing stability and feeling safe and secure; improved access to health support; and financial stability.
05 July 2016
Government proposals for 100% retention of business rates by local authorities have been issued for consultation. There is likely to continue to be a system of redistribution to recognise the varying needs of different areas, and protection from significant shocks to the system.
Press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/historic-opportunity-for-councils-to-shape-their-financial-future
05 July 2016
NHS finance chiefs fear a worsening financial situation and poorer care ahead,
according to a survey of 200 CCG and NHS Trust finance directors by the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
49% of CCG financial directors expect their organisation to end the year in a worse financial position and 67% of CCG finance officers and 48% of trust finance directors report a high degree of risk in achieving this year's financial plan.
Of all of those surveyed, 22% thought that the quality of care will worsen during this financial year (compared to 9% who thought that last November).
A third think care will deteriorate in 2017-18.
Of the 63% of respondent trusts that had agreed control totals with NHS Improvement, 60% did not expect to meet the conditions attached.
Only 16% were very or quite confident that the NHS organisations in their area would be able to make the changes required by their Sustainability and Transformation Plan.