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Health and Social Care Update November 2011

07/11/11

Legal intelligence for professionals in health and social care

This Update contains brief details of recent Government publications, legislation, cases and other developments relevant to those involved in health and social care work, which have been published in the last month.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it directly, please email Claire Bentley.

  Care   Governance
  Children   Health and Safety
  Clinical Research   Information Law
  Commissioning   Mental Health
  Complaints   Obesity
  Employment/HR   Primary Care
  Estates and Facilities   Prison Health
  Finance   Regulation
  Foundation Trusts   General

 

Care

Publications/Guidance
When someone asks for your assistance to die: RCN guidance on responding to a request to hasten death. The RCN has launched new UK-wide guidance for nurses and health care assistants on how to respond to requests from patients in relation to assisted suicide.

Bevan Brittan Updates
(Older) people and sexuality - a care conundrum. The issue of sexuality has become increasingly important in the approach expected from caring and nursing professionals.  This article examines the legal framework, guidance and practical difficulties in that approach.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact Carlton Sadler

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Children

Publications/Guidance 
Surgery in Children: Are we there yet? This National Confidential Inquiry into Patient Outcome and Death report highlights the process of care of children less than 18 years of age, including neonates who died within 30 days of emergency or elective surgery on the same admission. The report takes a critical look at areas where the care of patients might have been improved. Remediable factors have also been identified in the clinical and the organisational care of these patients.

Bevan Brittan Updates
Children - which decision counts? It is a well known principle in English law that a competent adult’s refusal to treatment cannot be overridden – no matter how unwise or incomprehensible that decision may be. The same cannot always be said in relation to children, who, as a society we consider must be afforded an added protection against their own unwise or irrational decisions.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact Penelope Radcliffe or Deborah Jeremiah

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Clinical Research

Publications/Guidance
Human bodies: donation for medicine and research. This report sets out guidance to help people consider the ethical acceptability of various ways of encouraging people to donate, both for treatment of others and for scientific research. It calls for a national or regional donor service to be set-up to improve co-ordination of egg and sperm donation for fertility treatment. It also includes recommendations in the areas of the use of tissue in research and volunteering for clinical trials.

Uncertainty, evidence and irrecoverable costs: informing approval, pricing and research decisions for health technologies. This report is the result of research which assessed the key principles for health technology appraisals. It discusses the findings of this research and the implications for health research and NICE health technology appraisals.

Older carers and involvement in research: why, what and when? This briefing paper describes the views, experiences, motivations and plans of six older carers who decided to stay involved in research following their participation in a one year project at the University of Nottingham funded by Macmillan Cancer Support. The project was set up to study the experiences and main support needs of older carers looking after someone with advanced cancer and was designed to also encourage and facilitate the active involvement of carers in the research process.

The Government plan for a secure data service: strengthening the international competitiveness of UK life sciences research. The document details the approach the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research and the Health and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is taking to address some of the key action points detailed in The Plan for Growth (March 2011). It will do this by creating a new service: the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact Deborah Jeremiah.  

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Commissioning

Publications/Guidance
Developing clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): towards authorisation. This guidance is aimed at CCGs or those who are considering becoming CCGs. It outlines early steps for the authorisation process and provides contextual information for the long-term development of commissioning in the reformed NHS.

Consultant physicians working with patients: the duties, responsibilities and practice of physicians in medicine. This publication provides information on commissioning, service organisation and standards, workforce requirements and job plans for 28 medical specialties. It is aimed at commissioners, planners, hospital trusts, regional advisers, specialty leads and individual doctors, as well as government departments and leading healthcare bodies.

Guides for commissioners: cardiac rehabilitation services and services for people with chronic heart failure. This guidance aims to support commissioners in designing high quality, evidence-based services to improve outcomes for patients and to help the NHS make better use of its resources.

If you require further information about any of the items raised in this section please contact David Owens

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Complaints

Publications/Guidance
Listening and learning: the Ombudsman's review of complaint handling in the NHS in England 2010-11. This report features previously unpublished information about complaints that the NHS has failed to resolve locally. It reveals which NHS trusts and which regions in England generated the most complaints to the Ombudsman's Office (the second and final stage in the NHS complaints system) during the year. It also highlights the most common reasons for people to complain, and includes complaints information on every trust across the country.

Responsive and accountable: the Ombudsman’s review of complaint handling by government departments and public bodies 2010-11. This review of complaint handling by government departments and public bodies examines the financial cost of complaints and the different complaint handling stages across departments.

Consultations
Implementing a 'Duty of Candour': a new contractual requirement on providers - Proposals for consultation. Seeks views on a new contractual requirement on NHS providers to be open with patients when things go wrong with their healthcare. This forms part of the Government’s plans to modernise the NHS by making it more accountable and transparent. The contractual Duty of Candour will be an enforceable duty on providers to ensure they are open and honest with patients or their families and provide them with information on any investigations and lessons learned. The consultation closes on 2 January 2012.

Cases
R (TA) v North East London NHS Trust (Unreported, 1 November 2011) (CA). The Court of Appeal upheld a refusal to grant permission for judicial review of the NHS Trust's decision not to investigate an individual's complaint about a medical report where an investigation would require the Trust to access medical records of his former wife without her consent.

Bevan Brittan Events
Claims and complaints forum. 06 December 2011.

If you require further information about any of the items raised in this section please contact Julie Chappell

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Employment/HR

Publications/Guidance
Updated guidance on industrial action by other unions. The Royal College of Nursing has published updated advice for RCN members who may be at work when industrial action is taken by their work colleagues in other unions. The guidance outlines the position of RCN members in respect of particular industrial action, and advises what approaches they should take relating to their own contract of employment, while ensuring that they do not undermine the lawful, industrial action taken by trade union colleagues.

Health professional mobility and health systems: evidence from 17 European countries. This publication offers policy-makers evidence of the nature and extent of health professional mobility in the EU, analyses its impact on country health systems and outlines some major policy strategies to address mobility.

NHS General Dental Practitioners (GDS/PDS Providers & Performers) A Guide to the NHS Pension Scheme (England & Wales). This is the latest guidance provided to dentists around superannuation.

NHS Pay Review Body: review for 2012. This document contains written and statistical evidence from the Health Departments for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Professionalism in healthcare professionals. This report focuses on three HPC-regulated professions: chiropodists / podiatrists, occupational therapists and paramedics, and explores their understanding of what professionalism means and how it develops. The study also looks at perceptions of unprofessional behaviour as well as the contribution of standards, context and role models.

A call to action - Health visitor implementation plan summary progress report. This report sets out progress on key areas since April 2011 for the Department of Health's four-year transformational programme of expanded and refocused training, recruitment and retention, professional development and improved commissioning, as part of the plan to improve public health.

Information for the review body on doctors' and dentists' remuneration - Review for 2012. This document provides information for the body reviewing the pay uplifts for all doctors and dentists who work for the NHS.

Retaining your health visitor workforce. This document brings together suggestions and tips to help human resources, line managers and staff side representatives work together to develop a retention strategy health visitors as the number of health visitors has been in decline in recent years.

Cases
Barts & The London NHS Trust v Verma [2011] EWCA Civ 1129 (CA). The Court of Appeal held that a doctor changing from a part time post to a full time post that was lower paid was under the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service, was entitled to pay protection only in respect of the hours worked in her previous post and not for the full time hours worked in the new post.

Shah v General Dental Council (Unreported, 1 November 2011) (Admin Ct). The court held that it was not appropriate to vary an order imposed by the General Dental Council removing a dentist's name from the register where his denial of the allegations disclosed a lack of insight and remorse for his actions.

Consultations
The NHS constitution and whistleblowing - Consultation report. This report sets out the findings from the 2010 consultation on the NHS constitution and whistleblowing.

GMC consults on two future pillars of medical professionalism: continuing professional development guidance and revalidation regulations. The GMC has set out new proposals for how it will support doctors' professional development, and what will be expected of doctors themselves, in two consultations launched.

Department of Health NHS staff tracking survey launched. The Department of Health wishes to gauge NHS staff awareness around a range of key issues including major NHS policy initiatives, and attitudes towards them. It is therefore conducting a survey across a range of NHS staff of different grades and in different job roles across England.

Consultations on continuing professional development guidance and revalidation regulations. The GMC has set out proposals for how it will support doctors' professional development, and what will be expected of doctors themselves. The first consultation asks for feedback on what doctors and employers should be doing on CPD and how the GMC can support doctors in keeping up-to-date. The second consultation seeks views on the supporting regulations that will set out the legal powers, rights and responsibilities which underpin the revalidation process.

Consultation on student fitness to practise and registration. The HPC are seeking the views of all stakeholders on the most effective way of assuring the fitness to practise of students. This includes seeking views about the voluntary registration of student social workers in England. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 2 March 2012.

News
EU rules on foreign doctors 'putting patients at risk' say Lords. The Telegraph reports that the Secretary of State for Health is to announce plans to introduce mandatory English language tests for foreign doctors wanting to practice in NHS hospitals and clinics. Amendments will be made to the Medical Act so that local NHS trusts have a duty to check the language skills of foreign-trained doctors before they can be employed. 

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact Julian Hoskins or Sarah Michael.  

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Estates and Facilities 

Publications/Guidance
Disposal strategy - Land for housing. The NHS has one of the single largest estates in England. Given its size and constant change, the NHS will own land which is no longer required, nor likely to be needed for health service purposes in the future. The initiative to accelerate the release of public sector land for development was announced on 8 June 2011 by the Minister of State for Housing and Local Government. This document sets out the DH's strategy on how this is going to be achieved.

If you require further information about any of the items raised in this section please contact  Rob Harrison or Mark Calverley.  

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Finance

Publications/Guidance
Product pricing project. In April 2011, Jim Easton, National Director of Improvement and Efficiency, wrote to NHS Chief Executives inviting them to join a Product Pricing Project. This pilot benchmarking exercise was to examine the prices paid by individual trusts for the same goods, and promote the greater transparency between trusts that is needed to deliver greater efficiency, as well as demonstrate the benefits of trusts sharing their pricing information. The attached document is the Foundation Trust Network's summary report of the results.

Managing high value capital equipment in the NHS in England. This report finds that high value equipment in the NHS, such as MRI and CT scanners, is worth around £1bn, but the way this equipment is bought and used is not providing value for money for the taxpayer. It finds that the procurement and management of such equipment is fragmented and uncoordinated, leading to wasted resources and variable standards of services. It concludes that half of the machines in use will need replacing over the next 3 years, at a cost of £460m.

If you require further information about any of the items raised in this section please contact David Owens

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Foundation Trusts

Publications/Guidance
Achievement of Foundation Trust status by NHS hospital trusts. This report by the National Audit Office states that many NHS trusts need to tackle a range of financial, quality and governance issues if they are to meet the standards required of them to become self-governing foundation trusts by 2014. The Department of Health and the NHS will now have to decide how they will deal with those facing the most severe problems.

Bevan Brittan Events
Governance for Foundation Trusts 8 December

If you require further information about any of the items raised in this section please contact Vincent Buscemi.   

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Governance

Publications/Guidance
NHS information governance — Effective management of records during a period of transition or organisational change. The Department has issued guidance on records management for those NHS organisations who will be going through a period of transition or organisational change. It is essential that steps are taken to ensure that records are managed appropriately in relation to those functions that will still need to be carried out for the provision of services relating to efficient patient care. Those functions that are no longer going to be required will still need to be managed carefully in order to ensure that legal obligations are met, valuable knowledge is retained and historic valuable data is preserved. Organizations will need to consider developing an action plan that should outline procedures for destruction, transfer or archival of information as soon as it is practicable. This should help organisations in managing risks that may arise during the transition period.

Operating principles for health and wellbeing boards. The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 currently establishes health and wellbeing boards as committees in upper-tier local authorities, responsible for encouraging integrated working and developing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies. National organisations representing the membership of health and wellbeing boards have developed a set of principles for establishing the boards. The operating principles and accompanying narrative have been designed to support the effective establishment and functioning of health and wellbeing boards. They are intended to help board members consider how to create really effective partnerships across local government and the NHS.

Bevan Brittan Events
Governance for Foundation Trusts. 08 December 2011.

If you require further information about any of the items raised in this section please contact Vincent Buscemi.   

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Health and Safety

Publications/Guidance
Commission on improving care in dignity for older people: consultation response. This document is RCP's submission to a consultation on dignity in care. The response sets out how RCP thinks patient safety and the care for older people can be improved.

Safety first: Mobility of healthcare professionals in the EU. This report says that the rules which allow healthcare professionals to practise throughout the EU pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of patients. 

News
New hospital mortality indicator to improve measurement of patient safety. The new Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) compares the actual number of patients who die following treatment at a trust with the number who would be expected to die, given the characteristics of the patients treated there.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact  Joanna Lloyd

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Information Law

Publications/Guidance
NHS information governance — Effective management of records during a period of transition or organisational change. The Department has issued guidance on records management for those NHS organisations who will be going through a period of transition or organisational change. It is essential that steps are taken to ensure that records are managed appropriately in relation to those functions that will still need to be carried out for the provision of services relating to efficient patient care. Those functions that are no longer going to be required will still need to be managed carefully in order to ensure that legal obligations are met, valuable knowledge is retained and historic valuable data is preserved. Organizations will need to consider developing an action plan that should outline procedures for destruction, transfer or archival of information as soon as it is practicable. This should help organisations in managing risks that may arise during the transition period.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact James Cassidy. 

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Mental Health

NEW! Bevan Brittan Mental Health Extranet. Free resource for Bevan Brittan NHS clients. Bevan Brittan has a wealth of mental health knowledge it would like to share with NHS clients. We have therefore developed an online extranet designed to bring various sources of mental health information and guidance into one place.

There is also a forum on the extranet for use by members to share knowledge and information. Some of the issues currently being discussed are:-
 Mental Health Act Scrutiny Committees
 When an urgent DOLs authorisation starts
 s117 and best practice issues
 Charging Policies
 Appointment/reappointment and review of Hospital Managers.

If you would like more information about how to access the  Bevan Brittan Mental Health Extranet  please email Claire Bentley by clicking here.


Publications/Guidance
Inpatients formally detained in hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983 and patients subject to supervised community treatment, Annual figures, England 2010/11. This bulletin summarises information about uses of the Mental Health Act 1983 for 2010/11, based on the KP90 collection. It includes information from high security psychiatric hospitals as well as from other NHS service providers and independent hospitals. The latest figures for 2010/11 suggest that the number of people subject to restrictions under the Mental Health Act continues to rise. Whilst the number of formal admissions for treatment and new Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) has decreased since the previous reporting period, the overall number of people remaining in detention or subject to a CTO is higher than before. The number of uses of Place of Safety Orders has also increased. The figures also show major changes in the number of formal detentions, uses of Place of Safety Orders and CTOs.

Being sectioned (in England and Wales). This leaflet was produced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in November 2011.

Payment by results - Draft 2012-13 mental health guidance. This draft guidance is intended for all NHS organisations providing mental health services in preparation for 2012-13 and all commissioners of mental health services.

Independent Advisory Panel statistical analysis of all recorded deaths: 2000-2010. The IAP has published their statistical analysis of all recorded deaths in state custody between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2011. This represents an important piece of work for the Panel as this is the first time that all recorded deaths in state custody will be broken down by ethnicity, gender, age and cause of death, and presented together in a single format.

Autism spectrum disorders in children and young people: recognition, referral and diagnosis. This NICE guideline makes recommendations towards the establishment of local multi-disciplinary teams to improve the diagnosis and assessment of children and young people with autism.

Suffering in silence. This report presents findings of research which found that over 35,000 mothers are suffering with undiagnosed postnatal depression each year. It also reveals that many healthcare professionals - including GPs - need to do more to diagnose postnatal depression early and ensure mothers are being provided with appropriate and timely treatment.

Enhancing recovery rates in IAPT services: lessons from year one data. This report looks into the reasons for the variability in performance between sites and presents ‘lessons learnt' that IAPT service managers can draw on to further improve prospects for patient recovery. The summary is a 2 page document that presents headline information and key lessons learnt. This should be particularly useful to clinicians and service managers.

Response to the offender personality disorder consultation. The response to the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway Implementation Plan describes the responses and sets out the next steps in developing services for offenders with severe personality disorders in the NHS and Criminal Justice System.

PbR update – October 2011. This is the seventh update from the Department’s Payment by Results (PbR) team. The purpose of these updates is to keep colleagues in the NHS and other interested parties informed throughout the year about our team’s work. This month’s update includes information on: Development of the 2012-13 tariff, mental health care clusters, Audit Commission annual report, Best Practice Tariffs (BPTs), HIV Adult Outpatients, Ambulance Services and Reference Costs.

Improving access to social care for adults with autism. This guide looks at how social care services can improve access to adults with autism. It is based on research that explores the barriers to services experienced by people with autism. It covers people with autism, whether or not they also have a learning disability. The guide suggests ways services can improve, identifying how best to meet the goals of the government's autism strategy.

2010/11 working age adult and older adult National Survey of investment in Mental Health Services. This is the tenth annual working age adult (WWA) report presenting the results of the finance mapping exercise. It provides details of the level of investment in mental health services for WAA (aged 18-64) in England for 2010/11 and compares it with the reported results in previous years.

Completing the revolution: transforming mental health and tackling poverty. This report concludes that the decision more than 30 years ago to close big mental hospitals and treat patients in the community has failed to help the most vulnerable. It makes recommendations in ways to improve care for those with mental illnesses, particularly in light of the transition to Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Cases
R (Sessay) v South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust [2011] EWHC 2617 (QB). Two police officers entered the home of the claimant. They did not have a warrant and relied on s.5 MCA 2005. The court found that the MHA 1983 provides a complete statutory code for compulsory admission to hospital of non-compliant incapacitated patients. The common law principle of necessity did not apply in this context. The claimant's detention was unlawful and in breach of Art.5 ECHR and she was entitled to damages. The court made a declaration that:
1. Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 are the exclusive powers available to police officers to remove persons who appear to be mentally disordered to a place of safety. Sections 5 and 6 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 do not confer on police officers authority to remove persons to hospital or other places of safety for the purposes set out in sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
2. The Claimant's removal to hospital by the Second Defendant's officers on 7th August 2010 was unlawful and breaches her rights under Article 5 and Article 8 ECHR.

A Local Authority v PB [2011] EWHC 2675 (COP). The Court of Protection held that it was in D's best interests to remain in the current placement. A trial of unsupported contact in the day with the mother was also in D's best interests.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in the above section please contact Simon Lindsay. 

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Obesity

Publications/Guidance
Healthy lives, healthy people - A call to action on obesity in England. This document sets out how a new approach to public health will enable effective action on obesity and encourage a wide range of partners to play their part.

If you would like more information about this section please contact Julie Chappell. 

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Primary Care

Publications/Guidance
Social determinants of health ? what can doctors do? This report explains how doctors can use their expertise to act as community leaders to tackle this issue and explores how the social determinants of health are factors that impact on health and well-being for which there is little control. It emphasises that while not every doctor has the opportunity to change the life course of individual patients they can make a difference in others ways to reduce health inequalities on a local, regional, national and international level.

Making difficult choices: ethical commissioning guidance to general practitioners. This guidance is aimed at GPs who will have a role in CCGs. It provides advice on ethical issues which may arise in the process of commissioning for GPs such as how to allocate resources fairly and addressing potential conflicts of interest.

Supporting carers: an action guide for general practitioners and their teams. This guide offers advice on identifying carers, understanding their needs and involving them in the planning of care, along with real-life case studies and practical tools to help practice teams in their work.

Legislation
Draft Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2011. These regulations, after they come into force on 30 November 2011, amend SI 2010/781 so that providers of NHS primary medical services that provide out of hours services to patients who are not registered with the provider will be required to register with the CQC from 1 April 2012. All other providers of NHS primary medical services will be required to register with the CQC from 1 April 2013 rather than 1 April 2012. The SI also revokes a number of spent provisions.

News
PCTs should be notifying the NHSLA's FHS Appeal Unit of any decisions made under the Performers Lists Regulations, and where a decision is changed on review or appeal, or a suspension lapses, PCTs should notify the Authority accordingly. All notifications must be compliant with Regulation 16(4). In addition, PCTs should be completing fitness to practise checks using the Authority's web service

Bevan Brittan Updates
The withdrawal of life sustaining treatment. Consideration of the case of W-v-M and S and A NHS Primary Care Trust, EWHC 2443, 28/09/11, the first in which a court was asked to consider whether it was in the best interests of a patient in a 'minimally conscious state' to withdraw life sustaining treatment.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in the above section please contact David Owens.  

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Prison Health

Publications/Guidance
National guidance on commissioning sexual health and blood borne virus services in prisons. This document identifies priorities that commissioners and prisons need to address in partnership to achieve an improvement in services. It highlights key issues that commissioners of sexual health services, clinicians and prison staff need to consider in order to improve sexual health and blood borne virus services in their local prisons.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact Nadia Persaud

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Regulation

Publications/Guidance
The Equality and Human Rights Commission have joined forces with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to produce equality and human rights guidance for compliance inspectors and registration assessors. The guidance is aimed at ensuring people who are most vulnerable to harm have their rights upheld and respected. The guidance will help CQC inspectors to clearly link equality and human rights compliance with high-quality, safe services and shows them what they have to look for when monitoring a care provider against standards. The guidance also lets inspectors know what to do if they suspect a human rights violation or find a breach in standards.

Professionalism in healthcare professionals. This report focuses on three HPC-regulated professions: chiropodists / podiatrists, occupational therapists and paramedics, and explores their understanding of what professionalism means and how it develops. The study also looks at perceptions of unprofessional behaviour as well as the contribution of standards, context and role models. 

Consultations
Regulatory fees scheme consultation. CQC are consulting about changes to the fees it proposes to charge providers of health and adult social care services for 2012/13. The consultation sets out proposals to extend the fees scheme to providers of out-of-hours services, who will register for the first time with CQC from April 2012, and adjust parts of the existing scheme. The consultation also sets out CQC’s strategic approach to fees for future years, which will involve more detailed consultation over the next year for phased implementation from 2013/14 onwards. This consultation will be welcoming comments until 28 December 2011.

Market entry by means of pharmaceutical needs assessments and quality and performance (market exit). The Department of Health are inviting comments in a consultation on the regulation and provision of pharmaceutical services in England.

News
Victim Support to give helping hand to GMC witnesses. The GMC and Victim Support have launched a joint initiative to provide independent emotional and practical support to witnesses who attend GMC hearings.

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact Carlton Sadler.

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General

Publications/Guidance
National report for the dignity and nutrition inspection programme. This report by the CQC summarises the findings of 100 unannounced inspections of NHS hospitals which took place between March and June, looking at whether the essential standards of dignity and nutrition were being met on wards caring for older people.

Tackling violence and antisocial behaviour in the NHS. NHS Protect has signed a three-way agreement with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to curb violence and anti-social behaviour in the NHS. The Joint Working Agreement will promote and support local arrangements and seek to implement best practice. Tackling violence and antisocial behaviour in the NHS will help the three organisations to develop closer working relationships and solutions at a local level, to target local issues. It will also enhance communication between them.

When a person dies: guidance for professionals on developing bereavement services. This publication covers the principles of bereavement services, along with bereavement care in the days preceding death, at the time of death and in the days following death. It also includes guidance on workforce and education and the commissioning and quality outcomes of bereavement care.

Not a one way street: research into older people's experiences of support based on mutuality and reciprocity. This paper outlines interim findings from an action research project called Not a one-way street, which is part of the Better Life programme. The project focuses on the various ways in which older people with high support needs take up active roles within different support arrangements based on 'mutuality and reciprocity'.

Right to provide – your questions answered. As staff and organisations work to develop expressions of interest in the right to provide scheme, the DH have compiled a set of the questions that are being asked most commonly, and provided answers and links to further information where possible. 

Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control - Government response to the choice consultation on choosing a named consultant-led team. This document sets out the department's response to the questions associated with choice of named consultant-led team in the Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control consultation. 

Cold Weather Plan for England. This Plan provides advice for individuals, communities and agencies on how to prepare for and respond to severe cold weather as part of wider winter planning. The DH has also announced the ‘Warm Homes, Healthy People’ fund for local authorities and charities to address cold housing. Bids will be invited for innovative new ways to help vulnerable older people, people with disabilities or families with young children – reaching those falling through the gaps of existing schemes.

Patient outcomes in surgery: a report comparing Independent Sector Treatment Centres and NHS providers. This report found that NHS patients undergoing elective operations in dedicated independent sector units report better outcomes than those seen by NHS hospitals treating emergency and elective patients. However, the report also found these differences reflect that those patients seen by independent sector treatment centres tend to be younger, in better health before their operation and from more affluent areas than those seen by NHS hospitals.

Consultations
Good medical practice 2012 - consultation. The GMC has released a revised draft of this core guidance for doctors and are inviting comments. The consultation closes on 10 February 2012.

News
‘Health tourists’ will pay the price for their NHS debts. Changes in immigration rules will allow the UK Border Agency to refuse entry or stay in the UK to those subject to immigration control with outstanding unpaid NHS charges of £1,000 or more. This change will be phased in from the 1 November.

Patient data to be used to fight disorder. The FT reports that a new Government strategy for tackling gangs includes the recommendation that medical staff in accident and emergency wards should ask injured patients how their wounds were inflicted before passing that information to police to help build a picture of what is happening on the streets. Dentists will be told to report incidents of young people with teeth knocked out.

Record low for mixed sex accommodation. New data published by the DH shows that mixed sex accommodation in the NHS has fallen by over 90% in under a year. For more details, see the statistical press notice.

Minister gives kick-start to volunteering at launch of vision and fund. The Care Services Minister has announced a new vision for volunteering in health and social care. Volunteers play a crucial role in health and social care services; to support this, up to £2.6m will be available for national volunteering and social action projects in 2012. Fifty-one local projects have been approved, with a combined value of approximately £2.5m. The funding is given to projects that meet one of four key themes: improving health and social care; delivering better health outcomes; improving public health; and a patient-led NHS. This press release lists the funding awarded to local organisations.

Bevan Brittan Events
Claims and complaints forum. 06 December 2011  

If you wish to discuss any of the items raised in this section please contact Claire Bentley.

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Disclaimer

This update is intended to give general information about legal topics and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. Its contents should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and should not be relied on as such. In relation to any particular problem that you may have you are advised to seek specific legal advice.

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