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NAPC Bulletin 20 March 2012
- Created on Monday, 26 March 2012 12:55
- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 12:48
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NAPC Bulletin 20 March 2012
News From NAPC
Dr Charles Alessi took part in two videos, and was interviewed by the media relating to the Health and Social Care Bill receiving Royal Assent this week. He also attended a number of meetings with the Department of Health.
This week Dr Johnny Marshall, NAPC’s previous chairman, attended as a regular member a Future Design Group of the NHS Commissioning Board. He was also interviewed by the Guardian about his role as a clinician interested in improving service provision and in politics.
Dr Marshall also appeared on Sky News yesterday.
Publication of Risk Register Would Do Lasting Damage To Civil Service
Former cabinet secretary, Lord Wilson of Dinton, has said that the publication of the Government’s risk register could do ‘lasting damage to the Civil Service’, threatening the impartiality of the Civil Service because of the incorrect application of Freedom of Information laws.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Wilson said: ‘What is at stake is the ability of officials to give their best policy advice to ministers and to do so in a private space, without being drawn into the political arena.’
Nursing Numbers A Third Lower On Elderly Wards
A survey of almost 1,700 nurses for the Royal College of Nursing found staffing levels on older people’s wards was significantly lower than those for other specialities and general medical admissions.
The RCN said it was calling on the Government to implement a patient guarantee, setting out the minimum number of nurses on older people’s wards. But Dean Royales, director of NHS Employers, which represents hospital managers, said mandatory staffing levels was not the answer.
Managers Lined Up As Preferred Accountable Officers
Most clinical commissioning groups are set to make a manager their accountable officer, and are choosing primary care staff to fill key leadership roles in their organisations.
The Health Service Journal obtained data on the individuals being selected to take on accountable officer, chair and chief operating office roles in CCGs. The accountable officer will be responsible for each CCG’s duties, functions, finance and governance.
The organisations, if authorised, will take over most of the NHS budget from April 2013.
Of the 81 CCGs that have identified their preferr4ed accountable office and responded to the Health Service Journal, 50 chose someone with a managerial background, 62 per cent of the total. The figures collected by strategic health authorities also echo the finding.
NHS Commissioning Board’s national director of commissioning development, Dame Barbara Hakin, said: ‘We want to encourage as many [clinical] accountable officers as want to do it and put in support to help them. [But] that is by no means the only model that will work.’
Dame Barbara said emerging CCGs had strong clinical leaders in place but in many cases needed to develop successors.
‘A lot of commissioning groups have raised this. [Their leaders] say they are happy to do it for a couple of years, but they need to make sure they bring someone through to take it on.’
Leaders Face Aptitude And Attitude Tests
Prospective clinical commissioning group leaders are to be assessed for ‘aptitude and attitude’ in the next two months.
Prospective CCG chairs, who successfully complete the process will be formally appointed by the group that nominated them.
Prospective accountable officers and chief financial officers will be placed in a ‘talent pool’ from which CCGs can choose.
Dame Barbara Hakin revealed the next stage in the development of CCGs in her first interview as NHS Commissioning Board national director of commissioning development. She explained the national assessment or ‘diagnostic’ process which prospective CCG leaders will undergo.
Emerging CCGs were due to be asked last week to ‘sponsor’ their preferred chair for the assessment. They could also put forward candidates for the other two posts. People who want to be accountable or finance offices but who are not nominated by a CCG can put forward by a strategic health authority.
Dame Barbars said the diagnostic process would test a range of requir4ements and have a focus on ‘attitude and aptitude’. Candidates would have to show the ‘ability to develop all the necessary knowledge and skills’ by the time CCGs take on full responsibility, if authorised, in April 2013, rather than immediately.
Candidates will be expected to demonstrate an ‘understanding that the need to develop’ and ‘willingness to learn and understand’ their new roles before they take over.
After the process, they will be told how they need to improve and be supported to do so.
‘Demonstrating commitment to clinical commissioning is vitally important’, Dame Barbara said. ‘It would be strange if anyone went through the process if they didn’t believe clinical commissioning was important’, she added.
CCGs will have to hold recruitment process for non-GP accountable and finance officers and they will not have individuals allocated to them under employment lay.
The legal advice the Department of Health has obtained indicated that these very senior roles were different from anything which previously existed. At these very senior levels, TUPE would not apply.
Homeopathy May Damage Your Health
Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at Exeter University, has warned that homeopathic treatments funded by the NHS are ‘biologically implausible’ and risked damaging patients’ health by discouraging them from getting proper treatment.
Those who maintained that the treatments were effective were ‘ignoring or misrepresenting the best evidence available,’ he added, and homeopathy could even be dangerous as it was sometime used instead of scientifically proven medical procedures such as immunisations.
The NHS spends about £4m a year on homeopathy, which is based on the theory that patients can be cured through exposure to a diluted form of substance that caused their symptoms.
Writing in the Biologist magazine, Professor Ernst said this belief ‘is in contrast with the laws of physics, chemistry and pharmacology.’
Taxpayers Will Be Subsidising Private Patients, Say Labour
Andy Burnham, shadow health secretary, has claimed private healthcare patients stand to benefit from taxpayers subsidies of private care under the government’s contentious health bill.
NHS Could Fail Without Change To Care Of Elderly, Report Warns
Elderly patients should be looked after at home by NHS funded carers instead of being kept at hospital, experts said in a criticism of the government’s health reforms.
Medics Plan Election Challenges To MPs
NHS doctors opposed to the government’s health reforms said they would stand against high-profile coalition MPs at the next general election.
As the legislation heads towards its final hurdle in Parliament, 240 healthcare professionals, including 30 professors, said in a letter to the press that the Health and Social Care Bill was an ‘embarrassment to democracy.’
Could This Device Be A Cure For Tinnitus?
An iPod-like device could help thousands of tinnitus sufferers ease the chronic ringing in their ears.
Three out of four patients who tried out the device, which plays sounds tuned to the frequency of their tinnitus, experienced a reduction in their symptoms for several months.
Professor Peter Tass, the German inventor of the Coordinated Reset device, has published the first evidence that it works, in the journal, Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.
PCT Staff Leading Support Service Plans
Primary care trust directors and managers are leading the development of commissioning support services in many areas.
Twenty two named individuals across the country were names as responsible for developing and leading commissioning support services. This information was collated from 95 of the 151 PCTs that responded to the query.
Many of these organisations have no clear leadership in place. They are expected to carry out much of the administration of commissioning from April next year and about 20 are expected to cover the whole of England.
Three of the leaders named are PCT cluster chief executives and two PCT chief executives. A dozen are PCT directors or more junior staff.
National Pay Rates To Go
Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce in this week’s budget that public sector employees in some parts of the country should have their pay frozen until it is brought in line with local private sector workers.
Mr Osborne originally intended to introduce local pay rates in April 2013, but has decided to bring the plans forward by a year to try and boost the economic growth.
The plans will initially affect civil servants working in Jobcentres, the DVLA and border guards, but they are expected to roll out to other sectors, including the NHS, from next year.