2015 Heatwave Plan for England

The 2015 Heatwave Plan for England has now taken effect, and the Met Office will be issuing Heatwave Alerts from 1 June to 15 September 2015.

Click image for article

Click image for article

The Heatwave plan for England remains a central part of the Department of Health’s support to the NHS, social care and local authorities, providing guidance on how to prepare for and respond to a heatwave which can affect everybody’s health, but particularly the most vulnerable people in society.

Health Visiting: listening to patients, transforming services

NHS_EnglandHealth visitors play a crucial role in ensuring children have the best possible start in life and provide a vital link between individual and community services, and between primary care and early years of a child’s life. NHS England is working with the Department of Health to showcase to showcase some of their health visiting development work and the differences improved services are making to new parents and children.


Latest modules from BMJ Learning: communication skills

Extract from BMJ Learning

Many symptoms of cancer are non-specific, which makes diagnosis difficult. Cancers in childhood are rare and there are also potential barriers to communication during consultations. These are just some of the problems in this field – this module will help you overcome them. It highlights the potential difficulties with diagnosing children and young people with osteosarcomas and brain tumours, outlines red flag symptoms, and suggests approaches to addressing potential barriers to communication. See the link below.

bmj learningDiagnosing osteosarcomas and brain tumours in children: communication skills – in association with the Department of Health

Also in this week’s edition are some modules on ENT disorders. They give an important update on a range of common dilemmas.

Ear discharge: diagnosis and treatment

Hoarseness: diagnostic picture tests

Nasal symptoms: diagnostic picture tests

The tympanic membrane: diagnostic picture tests

Neck lumps: diagnostic picture tests

NHS staff and a new era of education and training

Extract from DoH

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has today announced a wide ranging series of measures to improve the training, values and education of all NHS staff over the next two years and beyond.

The measures have been published in the government’s mandate to Health Education England, a new arms-length body set up to give NHS training and education unprecedented focus and importance. It will be backed by £5 billion and will be accountable to ministers for delivering the goals set out in today’s document.

Read the full article at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-era-of-education-and-training-for-nhs-staff


£10million funding for hospital aftercare for the homeless

13/5/13: Extract from DoH

It is estimated that currently 70% of homeless people are discharged from hospital back onto the street without their health and housing problems being properly addressed.

The funding pot will support voluntary organisations to work with the NHS and local authorities to create services to ensure that homeless people receive the best possible support and care after leaving hospital.

The £10 million funding will also be used to ensure better intermediate care is available after discharge – vital for recovering from health problems such as TB.

DoH: MenC vaccine

In summary, these changes are:

  • the removal of the 2nd dose at age 16 weeks from the routine schedule for infants
  • the introduction of an adolescent booster dose at around 14 years

This resource does not cover the actual administration techniques involved in vaccination against MenC. Information on immunisation by nurses and other health professionals is available from Immunisation against infectious disease, Green Book.

Studies show that vaccination against meningococcal C (MenC) disease in early childhood provides a relatively short-term protective immune response. Protection given by vaccination at 12 months wanes by the teenage years, but vaccination later in childhood provides higher levels of antibody that persist for longer.

This document summarises the changes to the schedule, and addresses likely technical questions about making the changes work in practice.


Cavendish Review terms of reference

The Cavendish Review was announced in February 2013. This document outlines the areas the review will be investigating, including: considering what can be done to ensure that all people using services are treated with care and compassion by healthcare and care assistants in NHS and social care settings; and making recommendations about the recruitment, training, management, development and support of those staff, who do a challenging but vital job in health and care settings.

DoH website on the move in March

The Department of Health website will move to the new single website for government in March 2013.

GOV.UK is the new single website for UK Government. In October 2012 it brought together government  information and guidance from Directgov and Business Link into one place.  GOV.UK will also replace all UK central government department websites. Some departments can already be found in the ‘Inside Government’ section of GOV.UK. Information from the Department of Health will be found there from Tuesday 26 March.

The Inside Government section of GOV.UK has been designed to make government information easier to find and more transparent for the user. You can see what the new website looks like by visiting www.gov.uk/government.

Health content for citizens will remain on NHS Choices.

The King’s Fund: News for March

Lifecourse tracker: wave 1 spring 2012: interim summary report
This report is a summary of the first stage of research that records how health behaviours vary across life stages. It forms a baseline against which changes in behaviour over time and seasonal variations can be assessed and also informs the Department of Health’s social marketing strategy.

Living well for longer: a call to action to reduce avoidable premature mortality
This discussion paper aims to challenge and inspire the health and social care system to take action to reduce the numbers of people dying prematurely.

Cardiovascular disease outcomes strategy: improving outcomes for people with or at risk of cardiovascular disease  
This strategy document provides advice to local authority and NHS commissioners and providers about actions to improve cardiovascular disease outcomes. It sets out outcomes for people with or at risk of cardiovascular disease in line with the NHS and public health outcomes frameworks.

Better health outcomes for children and young people

Department of Health

GP_mother_and_child_380x150This pledge aims to make improvements to the health of children and young people and is part of the government’s response to the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum.
It commits signatories to put children, young people and families right at the heart of decision making and improve every aspect of health services – from pregnancy through to adolescence and beyond.

New ‘Be Food Smart’ Change4Life campaign

Government launches new ‘Be Food Smart’ Change4Life campaign

via NeLM – Nutrition and Metabolism on 1/7/13

Source: Department of Health (DH)

The Public Health Minister is launching a new Change4Life campaign – ‘Be Food Smart’ – to promote healthier eating habits. Those who sign up to the campaign will receive a free ‘Food Smart Meal Mixer’ containing a number of quick, easy, healthier recipes, as well as a range of offers from a number of food manufacturers.   A prime time advertising slot is the centrepiece of the campaign, exposing the ‘hidden nasties’ in everyday foods, and helping people to be ‘food smart’.  The campaign also features a smart phone and tablet app featuring a meal mixer and a shopping list function, to help people make healthy choices in the supermarket.   Please see the link below for further details.

Care in local communities: a new vision and model for district nursing

Department of Health

Care in local communities: a new vision and model for district nursing
This vision and service model builds on ‘Compassion in practice’, the national vision for nurses, midwives and care staff. It was developed by a strategic partnership of the Department of Health, NHS Commissioning Board Authority, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, alongside district nurse leaders and practitioners. It sets out the foundations of district nursing services, the developments and innovations that ensure services can meet current and future needs, and the district nurse-led team contribution to providing care and support in the community, including peoples’ homes. It aims to be a resource for those designing and providing local community health services, including nurse leaders, health and wellbeing boards, clinical commissioning groups, and others with an interest in developing integrated care for older people.

Think again: action needed to reduce missed appointments

NHS hospitals should make more use of innovative solutions to tackle the number of people who miss their appointments, Health Minister Simon Burns urged today.

Good progress was made last year to reduce the number of missed outpatient appointments by over 250,000 against a background of rising demand. Over 800,000 more patients had an appointment last year.

However, during 2011/12 there were still around 5.5 million missed appointments in the NHS. Overall the NHS carried out nearly 53 million outpatient appointments – meaning more than one in ten appointments were did-not-attends.  Read the full story

also from the Guardian

The Department of Health announced this week that hospital trusts have been using innovative methods, including text messaging and Skype to reduce the number of missed appointments. The department says the number of missed outpatient appointments fell by more than 250,000 last year. The DH also reminded parents and pupils of the school nursing service as schools prepare for the new term.

Other items in the news:

• FT [subscription]: Hospitals face funding cuts as NHS feels pressure
• Telegraph: Doubts raised over safety of ‘doctor by broadband’
• Independent: 20,000 NHS staff sign petition in protest over pay threat
• BBC: Bullying rise at Medway NHS hospital trust
• eHealthInsider: South London website hacked


Patients to get the latest drugs and treatments more quickly

courtesy of  Dept of Health – Media Centre

The NHS will have to comply with NICE guidance on new drugs and treatments or explain to patients why there is a delay, under a new scheme announced today.

This will help end the unfair practice where some parts of the NHS delay offering new treatment while other areas make them available straight away.

This regime, expected to be fully implemented by the Autumn, will be made up of three different parts:

  • Publishing an ‘innovation scorecard’ which will allow patients and the public to see which organisations are quickly adopting the latest NICE-approved drugs and treatments;
  • The NHS will have no excuse not to provide the latest NICE-approved drugs and treatments. They will be automatically added onto lists of what drugs are available in local areas, which will be published for all to see. This means new drugs and treatments will be automatically made available for doctors to prescribe across the NHS; and
  • Making uptake of new drugs and treatments quicker by helping the NHS overcome any barriers, by setting up a new group to help local NHS organisations implement NICE guidelines. New drugs and treatments can mean the NHS has to make big changes to the way they provide services, which can be a complicated process. The new group will help spread best practice and make uptake by the NHS quicker for patients.


Bowel cancer awareness campaign revisited

The Department of Health is launching a repeat of the national bowel cancer awareness campaign next week.
NHS Networks
The Department of Health has published the second national cancer patient experience survey based on feedback from 72,000 inpatient and day case cancer patients.

Resource Watch: DoH Dementia website

“Dementia is one of the most important issues we face as the population ages. There are estimated to be over 750,000 people in the UK with dementia and numbers are expected to double in the next thirty years.”

At the Department of Health’s website http://dementia.dh.gov.uk/, a dedicated section is being developed to include resources and best practice guidance …  to make it the first port of call for anyone with an interest in improving services for people with dementia.  It is already a most comprehensive collection, useful for carers and professionals alike,  with links to all the key topics eg: residential workshops, medication, elearning, research and the benefits of cognitive stimulation as reviewed by Cochrane.

There is also a Dementia Commissioning Pack which contains a selection of additional resources. These are organised into  four key themes. Within each page the resources are grouped under key topic areas.

Actions set out on government commitment to health visiting

Actions set out on government commitment to health visiting

 from Health Visitors – DoH by webteam-d
 The Department of Health has today set out the actions needed to keep on track the government’s commitment to increase the number of health visitors and to maximise the potential of their role to support children and families.

A letter to chief executives and directors of nursing:

  • provides a reminder of the requirements already stated in the 2012/13 NHS Operating Framework
  • presents a trajectory of growth in health visitor numbers to April 2015
  • indicates the regional breakdown of target numbers, including planned training commissions for 2012/13 and 2013/14
  • describes arrangements for delivery and assurance
  • recommends preparation of documents containing local information about health visitor services – to help prepare for forthcoming changes in the way these services are commissioned

Read the letter

The Department is funding a four-year transformational programme of recruitment and retention, professional development and improved commissioning linked to public health improvement. This will secure a future health visiting service that is universal, energised and fit for long-term growth.

At the local level, health visiting teams will be able to provide parents with health and development advice, as well as help connect families to the range of health and wider community resources that supports children – giving them the best start in life.

Department of Health: National cancer programme

 The DH has published the latest edition of the National Cancer Programme bulletin to provide updated information about policy developments and implementation news for the National Cancer Programme. Among other things, the bulletin includes information on the new structures for the Department of Health, the NHS Commissioning Board and Public Health England, an update on ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaigns 2012-13, and the announcement of significant event audit in cancer diagnosis for GPs.

The quality framework for e-learning

Skills for Health News

Following on from the publication of the Department of Health’s Framework for Technology Enhanced Learning (Nov 2011) for England, Skills for Health and the e-learning Leads for the Strategic Health Authorities have developed a quality framework for e-learning.

This framework sets out key quality principles to be considered when developing an e-learning programme for use by the healthcare workforce. The framework articulates a set of expectations around minimum quality thresholds for e-learning. This framework can be used to evaluate the quality of currently available courses and other e-learning activities, and help identify those areas for potential enhancement.

The framework, which includes a useful checklist, is particularly helpful to commissioners of e-learning and those involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of e-learning. The framework can be accessed here.

As part of its remit to support the development of the health sector workforce through effective education, Skills for Health is committed to supporting the sector to fully benefit from the greater use of learning technologies such as e-learning.

For more information about how Skills for Health might help you get the most from your e-learning approaches, visit www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/e-learning.

Health visitor implementation plan quarterly progress report: April – June 2012

Department of Health

This report outlines progress made by the health visitor implementation programme and finds that the Department of Health is on track to meet its committment to increase the number of health visitors by an extra 4,200 by April 2015.

It sets out key achievements during April to June 2012 in the areas of: professional mobilisation; growing the workforce; early implementer sites support & development programme year 2; communications and marketing; the delivery partnership group; and the school nursing programme.

A career in health visiting

A health visiting career
This guidance aims to promote understanding of the current picture, identifies areas of good practice, and suggests ways that these can be shared and enhanced. It gives an overview of the novice to expert journey and the pathway for newly qualified health visitors in their first two years. It was published for commissioners, practice educators, line managers, service leads and newly qualified health visitors, including all those who have responsibility for the skills, support and experiences of newly qualified health visitors.