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   Foundation Trusts
  Children   Health and Safety
  Clinical Research   Mental Health
  Commissioning   Primary Care
  Complaints   Prison Health
  Data Protection   Regulation
  Employment/HR   General
  Finance

 

Care 

Publications/guidance
Bereavement care services: a synthesis of the literature. This report sets out the findings of a literature review on bereavement services conducted by the University of Nottingham. The review was commissioned to inform future work on bereavement care, as part of the implementation of the End of Life Care Strategy.

Spiritual care at the end of life - A systematic review of the literature. This report sets out the findings of a literature review on spiritual care at the end of life conducted by the Universities of Hull, Staffordshire and Aberdeen. The review was commissioned to inform future work on spiritual care at the end of life, as part of the implementation of the End of Life Care Strategy.

Cases
Amberley (UK) Ltd v West Sussex CC [2011] EWCA Civ 11 (CA). A, who ran a residential care home, appealed against a decision that it had no unilateral right to charge the care fees for which it had invoiced the local authority and that those residents, in respect of whom the invoices were made, had not agreed to pay the fees for which A had invoiced the local authority. The contracts of residence included a term stating that the level of fees payable to A was subject to review as costs increased, and a term governing residents' departure from the home. The local authority became responsible for paying the fees for certain residents whose obligations to pay fees constituted "existing arrangements" within s.50(6) of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, and their liability had thus become the liability of the local authority. A demanded increased fees from the local authority to cover higher costs. The court held, dismissing A's appeal, that although parties to a contract could agree that one party could unilaterally vary the terms to the detriment of the other, that was an unusual provision and in general clear words would be required to achieve that result. There was nothing in the contract terms giving A an express right to unilaterally increase the fee and then enforce the increase. In context, the fee review term meant that the fees were subject to review, and the parties must have intended that A would carry out the review. However, if A wished to increase the fees, it had to obtain the resident's agreement so as to vary the contract.

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

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Children 

Publications/Guidance
Guidance for mobile services. This guidance from Ofsted clarifies when mobile services must register as children's homes. It takes effect from 10 January 2011 for all new applications; current registered providers must comply from 1 April 2011. "Mobile services" covers services which operate flexibly across two or more locations, including the provision of care and accommodation in locations that can be moved, e.g. caravans, tents and mobile homes.

The Family-Nurse Partnership Programme in England: Wave 1 implementation in toddlerhood & a comparison between Waves 1 and 2a of implementation in pregnancy and infancy. This is the third year evaluation report by Birkbeck College, University of London, of the Family Nurse Partnerships, a preventive programme for vulnerable young first time mothers that offers intensive and structured home visiting, delivered by specially trained nurses, from early pregnancy until age two. The Programme complements and supports the work of health visitors, providing the "intensive care" end of prevention for families who need more help to care for their children and themselves. This report focuses on the toddler phase of the programme when children are aged 12 - 24 months, and suggests that Family Nurse Partnerships can be successfully delivered across England - with the potential for substantial health and well being benefits for the children and families involved. It builds on two earlier evaluation reports that pointed to positive potential impacts on breastfeeding and reduced smoking in pregnancy.

Children and young people toolkit. Published by the BMA the tool kit consists of a series of Cards about specific areas relating to the examination and treatment of people in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland who are aged under 18 years, and in Scotland under 16 years.

Tomorrow's people? A guide for Overview and Scrutiny Committees about involving young people in scrutiny. This guide aims to help Overview and Scrutiny Committees understand the context and ‘business case’ for involving young people in decision-making and to help them be more effective in including young people in their work.

Consultations
Conduct disorders in children and young people: scope consultation. NICE and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have been asked to develop a clinical practice guideline on Conduct disorders in children and young people for use in the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The draft scope defines what aspects of care the guideline will cover and to whom it will apply. Registered stakeholders for this guideline are invited to submit comments on the scope and may suggest clinical questions that could be answered in the guideline.

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

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Publications/Guidance
A new pathway for the regulation and governance of health research. This report sets out a new regulatory and governance pathway that will increase the speed at which healthcare innovations become available to patients, whilst eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy.

News
£20 million to bring breakthroughs from battlefield to bedside. Announces that the DH, the MoD, University Hospitals Birmingham and University of Birmingham are investing £20m in a new initiative to share innovation in medical research and advanced clinical practice in the battlefield to benefit all trauma patients in the NHS at an early stage of injury. The new National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Centre for Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology will be set up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where all injured service personnel are currently treated after evacuation from the frontline in Afghanistan. The new NIHR centre will form a central point in England for trauma research where knowledge can be translated into real improvements in care for all NHS patients and beyond. It will be the first and only research centre of its kind in the UK to focus both on military and civilian care and treatment.

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Commissioning

Publications/Guidance
Commissioning of NHS IVF services. This letter from David Flory, Deputy NHS Chief Executive, updates PCT commissioners on the Coalition Government's position on the provision of infertility treatment. He states that NICE is currently reviewing its 2004 clinical guideline "Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems" and any revisions will be published in 2012. In the meantime, it is important that those involved in commissioning fertility services have regard to the guideline as it currently stands, including its recommendation that up to three cycles of IVF be offered to eligible couples where the woman is aged between 23 and 39.

The management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men commissioning guide. This commissioning guide provides support for the local implementation of NICE guidance through commissioning, and is a resource for people involved in commissioning health and social care services and public health programmes within the NHS and partner organisations in England.

Government Response to the House of Commons Health Select Committee Third Report of Session 2010-11: Commissioning. The House of Commons Health Select Committee published its report on Commissioning on 18 January 2011. This command paper sets out the government's response to the conclusions and recommendations in that report.

Commissioning health services: a guide for Royal College of Nursing (RCN) activists and nurses. Commissioners are increasingly under pressure to deliver improved services with fewer resources and hard decisions need to be made in the current economic climate. Activists who understand the commissioning process are in a strong position to influence decisions and protect the interests of patients and RCN members. The earlier activists and nurses get involved in these decision-making processes, the more likely it is that they will have a positive influence on behalf of patients and nurses. This publication covers what commissioning is, who leads commissioning and where it takes place, as well as detailing six keys to help activists and nurses in unlocking and understanding the commissioning process.

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

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Complaints

Bevan Brittan Training
Health Service Ombudsman SeminarWe are delighted to welcome James Johnstone, Director of Customer Service & Assessment and Anne Harding, Legal Adviser from the Health Service Ombudsman. James and Anne will attend Bevan Brittan to give a seminar on NHS complaints handling. There will be a discussion on complaints handling with consideration of the ‘Listening & Learning’ review of complaints handling by the NHS. We will look at the performance of the NHS against the commitment in its Constitution to acknowledge mistakes, apologise, explain what went wrong and put things right, quickly and effectively. There will also be an opportunity for you to put your questions to the HSO. This is taking place in our London office on Thursday 17 February 9.30 - 11.30.  For more information click here. 

If you require further information about the item raised in this section please contact  Julie Charlton.

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Data Protection

Publications/guidance
A fresh look at data definitions - health briefing. This briefing provides information on a project being run by the Audit Commission, DH, NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care and NHS Connecting for Health that aims to resolve some of the issues around the way data are defined under Payment by Results (PbR). The Audit Commission's PbR data assurance framework reviews the quality of data that underpins payment for activity within the NHS in England. It is clear from the work that they carry out that there are key data definitional issues that cause disputes within and between NHS organisations. The project will review the different definitions of an acute admission or attendance and the existing guidance for these. The Commission hopes to publish a further briefing in Summer 2011, providing clear guidance and recommendations.

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

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Employment/HR

Publications/Guidance
Performance-related pay awards for staff covered by the Pay Framework for Very Senior Managers (VSMs). Letter providing detailed guidance on the implementation of of the Prime Minister’s announcement that, for the 2010/11 year, performance payments to VSMs will be restricted to the top 25% of performers. NHS support for social care: 2010/11 – 2012/13. Following recent announcements about NHS support for social care, including those made at the Spending Review, this letter sets out how the different funding streams relate to each other and the expectations placed on PCTs and local authorities in spending these resources in line with the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2011/12.

Surgical workforce 2010: profile and trends. This report finds that almost three quarters of consultant surgeons who took part in a national survey work more than their contracted hours and 70 per cent report they are expected to undertake elective operations while they are supposed to be on call for emergencies. The Surgical Workforce Report 2010 is the first edition of what will become an annual survey of surgical consultants working practices and is intended to provide the NHS with accurate figures to inform long term planning of the numbers of surgeons required to serve the UK. It breaks down figures for each of the nine surgical specialties and was produced in collaboration with each of their associations.

Bevan Brittan Updates
Bevan Brittan’s crystal ball: employment law in 2011.
This year is set to be as helter skelter as ever in terms of employment law developments. Sarah Lamont dusts off her crystal ball and looks at what may come to pass in 2011, in respect of new legislation, guidance and cases on appeal.

Employment news round-up January 2011.It’s been another busy month for employment law developments.  Chloe Edwards reports on the repeal of the default retirement age; a recent age discrimination claim against the BBC; and the new public sector duty to promote equality, which the government has confirmed will come into force in April.

False grievances and victimisation. Is it possible to dismiss an employee who lodges repeated false grievances complaining of discrimination, without being found liable for unlawfully ‘victimising’ that employee?  The Employment Appeal Tribunal has said that, in some circumstances, it may be legitimate to do so.  Sarah Michael explains more.

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

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Finance

Publications/Guidance
How do quality accounts measure up? Findings from the first year. The King's Fund undertook an independent analysis of a sample of quality accounts produced by a range of providers – acute trusts, mental health trusts, independent providers. This paper includes examples from 2009/10 quality accounts that show how the content and the presentation of information can vary. Based on these examples, the paper makes recommendations for providers when they are developing and writing a quality account. It also includes recommendations for policy-makers for future guidance on quality accounts; on data quality; on clinical audits and confidential enquiries; and on external scrutiny.

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

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Foundation Trusts

Publications/Guidance
Lessons learned from recent NHS foundation trust applications. Monitor periodically reviews recent assessments of applications for foundation trust status to identify the reasons why some have been unsuccessful. This short report sets out some of the lessons learned from applicants who have been deferred, rejected or have postponed their application.

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

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Health and Safety

Publications/Guidance
WHO surgical safety checklist: for maternity cases only. This checklist is adapted from the WHO surgical safety checklist to ensure it is relevant and applicable to maternity care and that all key clinical risks in this environment are addressed. This adaptation uses the same principles but with maternity specific prompts, acknowledging that the woman (and her birth partner, if relevant) are involved in the process. Local adaptation of this checklist is encouraged to ensure it is effectively integrated into clinical practice.

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Mental Health
Publications/Guidance
Reporting the death of a person subject to an authorisation under the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. This guidance was published by the Department of Health on 19 January 2011. There is currently no statutory requirement for anyone other than the Registrar of Births and Deaths (or a Prison Governor who has a separate statutory duty) to refer certain deaths to a coroner. These are deaths where there is reasonable cause to suggest that the person died a violent, unnatural or sudden death of which the cause is unknown or where the person died in prison or police custody. There is therefore no statutory requirement for the Registrar to refer deaths of those who are subject to deprivation of liberty safeguards. However, there is a common law duty (which applies to everyone) to refer deaths to a coroner in the circumstances set out above. The subsequent action taken by the coroner will vary but could include no further action, the commissioning of a post-mortem examination or the opening of an inquest with or without a jury.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocate involvement in accommodation decisions and care reviews. This guide aims to support the work of local authority and NHS staff who may need to instruct and work with IMCAs in relation to accommodation decisions and care reviews. It was developed by SCIE through consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, such as ADASS, NHS representatives, the Department of Health, Action for Advocacy, and IMCA providers.

A common sense approach to working with defendants and offenders with mental health problems. Practitioners at Together have joined forces with criminal justice and health agencies to produce a new mental health guide targeted at frontline criminal justice agency staff.

Mental Health Act 1983 - proposed amendments in the Health and Social Care Bill 2011. This letter summarises the proposed amendments to the Mental Health Act under the Health and Social Care Bill currently before Parliament. For more on the Bill, see below under General - Legislation.

Learning from the past - setting out the future: developing learning disabilities nursing in the United Kingdom. Learning disability nurses play a central role in the lives of people with learning disabilities, from developing and implementing care plans to providing advice, education and support to people throughout their care journey. This publication sets out the key issues and actions required, both now and in the future, to enable learning disability nursing to develop and progress in line with the increased demand on its services. It also details areas of priority for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Support. Stay. Save. Care and support of people with dementia in their own homes. This report reveals that many people with dementia and carers receive insufficient support and care at home. It also found that the home care workers who responded regularly worked with people with dementia and understood that they could have a good quality of life. However, many reported they still needed more training on delivering good dementia care.

A guide to working with Rethink services to help people affected by severe mental illness to stop smoking.

Royal College of Psychiatrists Interim Report: National audit of dementia care in general hospitals. This is a letter from the National Clinical Directors for Dementia and Older People to strategic health authorities. It aims to draw to their attention the findings of an audit of dementia care in general hospitals undertaken by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Guidance in cases involving the Official Solicitor. This guidance was published on the Family Law web site. The guidance looks at public and private law children's cases and also looks at Court of Protection welfare cases (including medical cases).

Commissioning and monitoring of Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) services. This good practice guide has been produced by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to support the commissioning of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service. It was developed through consultation with a range of stakeholders including commissioners, local authority and health authority Mental Capacity Act leads and IMCA providers. The first version was published in October 2009 and updated in December 2010.

Quarterly analysis of Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Assessments (England) Quarter 2 2010/11. Key facts: 
 The number of authorisations completed was 2,333 in quarter 2. 
 Of the total assessments completed in this quarter, a higher proportion were for females than for males.
 In quarter 2, 76 per cent of assessments were made by local authorities while the rest were made by primary care trusts.
 The percentage of authorisations granted which led to someone being deprived of their liberty was 54 per cent in quarter 2.
  At 30 September 2010 1,436 people were subject to such authorisations.

Supporting wellbeing in girls and women. This 24-page report from Platform 51 describes the common triggers for mental health problems in girls and women and how these impact on their lives. The report examines how women cope with the challenges they face and how they feel about the support they receive.

Delivering male-effective practice in Male Mental Health. This report, commissioned by NMHDU and published by the Men's Health Forum and Mind, should be of value to commissioners (including those working within new and evolving commissioning arrangements), especially in helping to coordinate mental health commissioning across local government and the NHS.

Living well with dementia: a National Dementia Strategy - good practice compendium. This good practice compendium has been brought together from across the regions to support local delivery of the national dementia strategy and improve outcomes for people with dementia and their carers. It is an enabler for local change, as described in the Department of Health's revised outcomes focused implementation plan.

Dignity in dementia: transforming general hospital care. The RCN is leading a project, supported by the Department of Health, on the care of people with dementia in general hospital settings and will be working collaboratively with members and stakeholders from all regions to develop and disseminate this work.

NMHDU Special Briefing-Mental Health and the New Strategy for Public Health in England. NMHDU Special Briefing-Mental Health and the New Strategy for Public Health in England. A special briefing produced by the well-being and public mental health programme on the Public Health White Paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People. This briefing is primarily aimed at NHS, Local Government, Voluntary sector and Private sector agencies working in or interested in the arenas of population mental health, well- being and / or mental health services and those working in and interested in public health and health improvement.

Cases
G v E [2010] EWHC 3385 (Fam). The key points of this case are:-
  Work carried out by public bodies supporting people with learning disabilities can not be underestimated. The Court of Protection must work together with public bodies.
  Cuts in public expenditure will affect all public bodies. 
  Rules in relation to costs must be fairly applied and public bodies can not be excluded from liability to pay costs in appropriate cases.
 In this case, all costs are borne by the public purse and there is no reason why the Legal Services Commission should bear the costs in order to lessen the impact on the local authority's social care budget. 
 Local authorities who do their job properly should feel free to bring personal welfare issues to the Court of Protection without fear of a costs sanction. 
 Local authorities who are guilty of misconduct or break the law should fear a costs order.
 Local authorities must make sure their staff are properly trained and staff ignorance / lack of training is no excuse.
 In this case, Manchester City Council showed blatant disregard for the MCA and the ECHR in relation to E.

An order was made in the following terms:
"I conclude that this is a case for departing from the general rule set out in rule 157 of the Court of Protection Rules, and I make an order in the following terms: (1) That the local authority should pay the costs of G, F and E, including pre-litigation costs, up to and including the first day of the hearing before me on 14th January 2010 on an indemnity basis. (2) The local authority shall pay one third of the costs of G, F and E from that date up to and including the hearing on 6 May 2010 on a standard basis. (3) All costs will be subject to a detailed assessment, if not agreed."

Consultations
Conduct disorders in children and young people: scope consultation. NICE and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have been asked to develop a clinical practice guideline on Conduct disorders in children and young people for use in the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The draft scope defines what aspects of care the guideline will cover and to whom it will apply. Registered stakeholders for this guideline are invited to submit comments on the scope and may suggest clinical questions that could be answered in the guideline.

Updates
Unlawful detention of patients. Simon Lindsay reports on the important decision of TTM v London Borough of Hackney & East London NHS Foundation Trust 2011 EWCA Civ 4 which causes pause for thought for any mental health professional involved in detaining patients under the Mental Health Act. The Court of Appeal considered whether an intrinsic defect in an application (whether or not the defect was made in good faith or not) meant that the patient was unlawfully detained from the moment the hospital managers exercised their powers or from when a court ordered the patient’s release.

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

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Primary Care

Publications/Guidance
Department of Health: £162 million additional winter pressures to primary care trusts. This letter follows the announcement on 4 January 2011 that the Government is allocating a one-off additional payment of £162m to PCTs in England to invest immediately in vital social care services which also benefit the NHS. The money will be allocated to primary care trusts on the basis of the social care relative needs formula and is in addition to the funding for reablement services that is incorporated within recurrent allocations.  

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

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Prison Health

Publications/Guidance
A guide to working with prisons on No Smoking Day and beyond.  

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

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Regulation

Cases
Foulche v Nursing & Midwifery Council (Unreported, 12 January 2011) (Admin Ct). The court held that a decision of the Nursing and Midwifery Council's Fitness to Practise Panel regarding allegations of misconduct made against F, who was employed at a nursing home, disclosed no error. F had failed to attend the hearing. The Panel found in her absence that the charges against F were proved, her fitness to practise was impaired, and struck off her name from the register. The court found that when reaching its decision the Panel took into account the residents' vulnerability, F's breach of trust, her prolonged conduct, her failings to remedy her conduct, her insufficient regard to the residents' health needs, the range of sanctions open to it, and the evidence of the Council. The Panel was entitled to rule that her fitness to practise had been impaired, and striking off her name from the register of nurses was an appropriate sanction.

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

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General

Publications/Guidance
Finding, using and managing information: nursing, midwifery health and social care information literacy competences. The Royal College of Nursing recognised the need for information literacy competences to complement its clinical competence framework, helping nurses, midwives, health care assistants and nursing students develop their skills in using information and knowledge and apply this to their practice. These competences are intended to support the individual and the nursing team’s thinking about the information required to inform activities of varying complexity and are intended for use by staff in NHS career bands 1-9.

Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer. This strategy sets out a range of actions to improve cancer outcomes, including:
 diagnosing cancer earlier;
 helping people to live healthier lives to reduce preventable cancers;
 screening more people;
  introducing new screening programmes; and
 making sure that all patients have access to the best possible treatment, care and support.

The strategy is backed by £750m funding over four years, including £450m to fund increased GP access to diagnostic tests and more testing and treatment in secondary care. It will also go towards Public Health England to promote screening and raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer.

Review of the support available to individuals infected with Hepatitis C and/or HIV by NHS-supplied blood transfusions or blood products and their dependants. This is a report of a review conducted by the DH, with input from external experts, including the Chairs of the Macfarlane and Eileen Trusts and the Skipton Fund.

The Family-Nurse Partnership Programme in England. This report examines the implementation of the final toddlerhood phase of the Family Nurse Partnership programme in the first ten sites in England. 

Regenerative Medicine Call for Evidence. This call for evidence seeks views on the opportunities and needs of regenerative medicine, as well as barriers to progress, from which the government can identify policy gaps.

What’s leadership got to do with it? Exploring links between quality improvement and leadership in the NHS. In December 2007, the Health Foundation commissioned ORCNi Ltd to undertake an in-depth evaluation of the Health Foundation’s leadership programmes, including an exploration of the links between leadership and quality improvement (QI). This report presents a detailed account of the two-year study and the conclusions that emerged. It contains insights into how leadership development can support QI in the NHS. In addition, the findings contribute to what is known about the links between leadership and improvement in the NHS, and provide new ways of understanding the nature of this improvement work.

Proposals for reform of civil litigation funding and costs in England and Wales: Lord Justice Jackson response. In his response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on civil litigation funding and costs, Lord Justice Jackson discusses conditional fee agreements (CFA) and success fees. He argues the rationale for recoverable success fees is flawed and that the present CFA regime allows lawyers to "cherry pick". He suggests that while this is lawful it has led to disproportionate profits being generated for a number of CFA lawyers and an excessive costs burden on the general public and public funds. Lord Jackson goes on to set out his support for the proposal to abolish recoverability of success fees, discussing in turn points raised in the consultation where some element of recoverability might be retained, namely: judicial review; housing disrepair; and complex personal injury or clinical negligence claims. He further considers after-the-event insurance premiums; the 10 per cent increase in general damages; Part 36 offers; and qualified one way cost shifting.

Liberating the NHS. What might happen? This report sets out key points from discussions at the Roger Bannister health summit in November. It outlines outstanding issues that NHS Confederation feels that the Health and Social Care Bill must address as it enters Parliament. The report also sets out 12 key points for policy-makers to bear in mind in order to minimise the risks associated with moving to a new system.

Improving the productivity of the English NHS. This briefing summarises the research being carried out by the Centre for Health Economics around productivity and the NHS.

Engaging the public in delivering health improvement. This research briefing considers what active citizens can do for services and how services can best engage, support and sustain a community or volunteer workforce in order to improve health outcomes. It provides practical guidance on the steps that need to be taken to redesign services and maximise the long term benefits.  

Consultations
Claims management regulation proposal to amend rule 6(B) of the Conduct Rules. The MoJ is consulting on proposed changes to the rules on claims marketing, so that firms will be banned from offering cash incentives to attract people to make compensation claims through them, including for personal injuries. The consultation closes on 10 February 2011.

Legislation
Health and Social Care Bill. The Health and Social Care Bill has been introduced into Parliament and received its 1st Reading. The Bill provides the legal framework for the Government's NHS reforms that were first announced in the July 2010 White Paper "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS". The Bill's progress through Parliament can be tracked on the Parliamentary Bills website, which also contains links to the full text of the Bill, the Explanatory Notes and other related documents.
Bevan Brittan has issued an Alert with our initial comments on the Bill, highlighting where the provisions differ from those first proposed in the White Paper.

Parliamentary briefing: Health and Social Care Bill. This NHS Confederation briefing highlights the main elements of the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill that require further scrutiny and aims to ensure a smooth transition to the new proposed healthcare system.

The Prime Minister has published an article on the Health and Social Care Bill that aims to dispel myths about the Government's health reforms and its policy on GPs.

News
Hospitals to pay the price for mixed sex accommodation in the NHS. The Health Secretary has announced that hospitals found in breach from April will be fined £250 for each patient affected and each day that they stay in mixed sex accommodation. Fines are set through the contracts between commissioning PCTs and provider organisations. Prior to June 2010, the contract requirements stipulated that any breaches would incur a fine however short the breach; under this system fines could varying dramatically and there was little evidence of them being applied where breaches occurred. The new contract, which begins in April 2011, will simplify and strengthen sanctions by charging a flat rate of £250 per patient affected per day . It will be kept under regular review to ensure it is fair and appropriate.

VAT victory on personal injury medical reports. Personal injury clients will not have to pay VAT on the cost of medical reports following a successful appeal by a Nottingham law firm, supported by the Law Society, in a tax tribunal.  

Bevan Brittan Updates
Health and Social Care Bill. This article provides an initial overview of the key provisions in the new Health and Social Care Bill, focusing on areas where the proposed legislative framework differs from the plans originally outlined in the NHS White Paper.  

Bevan Brittan Training
Health Service Ombudsman SeminarWe are delighted to welcome James Johnstone, Director of Customer Service & Assessment and Anne Harding, Legal Adviser from the Health Service Ombudsman. James and Anne will attend Bevan Brittan to give a seminar on NHS complaints handling. There will be a discussion on complaints handling with consideration of the ‘Listening & Learning’ review of complaints handling by the NHS. We will look at the performance of the NHS against the commitment in its Constitution to acknowledge mistakes, apologise, explain what went wrong and put things right, quickly and effectively. There will also be an opportunity for you to put your questions to the HSO. This is taking place in our London office on Thursday 17 February 9.30 - 11.30.  For more information click here. 

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