HC: Increased commitment BUT less than 17% compliant! - The Healthcare Commission has praised NHS trusts for showing ‘increasing commitment’ to reducing healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). But it added that the NHS must maintain the pressure because spot-checks have revealed gaps in many trusts' systems and that comprehensive & consistent systems are needed to ensure infection rates continue to drop.
The Commission’s analysis of unannounced inspections at 51 acute NHS trusts in England (representing about 30% of the acute sector) found that most trusts had improved arrangements to ensure good leadership, appointed staff with clear responsibilities for infection prevention & control and put in place policies to ensure staff uniforms are clean & fit for purpose.
But only five trusts were compliant with all requirements of the hygiene code assessed, with more than half of the remainder being told to ensure a clean and well-maintained environment across all their premises.
PCS / FDA: Unions hold up yellow card to Pre-budget ‘savings’ - Both the PCS and FDA unions have responded to the pre-budget report, with the PCS warning that civil and public services would continue to suffer if further 'efficiency savings' were made at the expense of jobs & services.
80,000 jobs have already gone across the civil and public sector, with tens of thousands more planned by 2011 including; 10,000 in the Ministry of Justice, 12,500 in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and 10,000 in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The PCS union highlighted £21.5bn worth of uncollected tax and £25bn lost through tax evasion that could be ploughed into public services and stimulating the economy. The union urged the government to reverse its programme of job cuts in HMRC which will see over 200 offices close and 25,000 jobs go by 2011.
On average, each member of compliance staff has a tax yield of £640,000 after employment costs each year, leading the union to call on the government to increase resources & jobs in tackling uncollected tax and tax evasion. Highlighting the impact of job cuts on tax yield, the union also pointed to a HMRC local compliance report that calculated whilst cutting 600 staff would save £74m it would lead to a loss of £204m in tax.
Whilst welcoming the halt to Jobcentre closures, the PCS cautioned that the additional 6,000 jobcentre staff announced last week could be at the expense of services in other parts of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), such as pensions and carers. The announcement comes against a backdrop of 30,000 job cuts in the DWP and the closure of hundreds of jobcentres and benefit offices over the last 4 years.
The union called on the department to clarify whether it is still committed to cutting 12,000 jobs across the DWP as part of its 3-year plan (which runs until 2011) which would see 7,000 – 8,000 Jobcentre Plus staff loosing their jobs.
In addition, the FDA warned that the Chancellor's announcement that further savings will be identified in 2009 to be achieved in the next Comprehensive Spending Review period heralds an era of widespread cuts to services and potential damage to the capability of the public services if critical posts are lost.
ESRC: The Best ways to improve education - The Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), the largest research initiative into education related topics ever undertaken in the UK (funded & managed by the Economic and Social Research Council), presented its major conclusions last week after 9 years of investigations across all sectors of education, from the importance of preschool education to lifelong learning.
Findings cover all sectors of education including preschool, each phase of school, F&H education, workforce development, apprenticeships and lifelong learning. Directed by Professor Andrew Pollard of the Institute of Education, the programme was designed to increase the volume, quality and use of UK education research.
Following the success of this programme, the ESRC and Engineering Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) are funding further projects concentrating on the use of technology to enhance learning.
ScotGov: Limiting the damage done to individuals - A new support service for adults who suffered childhood abuse in care and their families has been launched. The In Care Survivors Service Scotland: A partnership led by Open Secret includes:
* A hub of specialist development workers able to link up with local services across Scotland to offer survivors and their families support, advocacy and confidential counselling
* A national confidential telephone support line - 0800 121 6027 - providing support, guidance and advocacy to those who suffered abuse and their families
* A new website and leaflet campaign highlighting the support available
* Help for survivors to access the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme and other legal services
CLG: Using Local Knowledge to implement Local Solutions - A new Strategy, with a 5-Point Action Plan, to tackle problems from traffic management to flooding, improved policy formulation and decision making by using better geographical information, has been launched by Baroness Andrews in a report Place Matters: The Location Strategy for the United Kingdom.
Too much crucial information about places in the UK and the public sector activities that occur at them are collected & stored in isolated documents and databases by councils, executive agencies and government, making it difficult to access, share and analyse that information.
The implementation of the UK Location Strategy (UKLS) will enable better risk management and better use of resources by introducing nationwide standards & services for cataloguing information such as crime statistics, animal movements & disease information, air & noise pollution information and traffic congestion statistics. The UKLS aims to simplify finding & using location data so that information can be accessed speedily to enhance decision-making.
Defra will now take this Strategy forward through the UK Location Council, which met for the first time on 28 November 2008 and will continue the work of the GI Panel which has now been disbanded.
FSA: Less need to switch savings - The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has introduced a rule change (temporarily until September 2009), which will enable merging building societies to keep their separate £50,000 compensation limits.
Industry News: Shedding light on alternative energy – Delegates at Kyocera’s recent Green Card Conference were given an insight into how to save & reduce energy within the workplace by an accomplished array of speakers from the nuclear and renewable energy industries:
* Joe Baker of Barking & Dagenham Council - Reducing the Council's Carbon Footprint
* John Gilbert, Head of Carbon Management - Energy from Waste
* Tristram Denton of the Nuclear Industry Assocation - Nuclear - Part of the Solution?
* Daniel Curtis of Oxford University - Implementing Power Management at Oxford University
* Neeta Dalal of Semplice Energy - Clean Technologies and the Benefits of a Hybridised Energy Solution
Green Card is Kyocera Mita’s environmental programme helping their customers to develop eco-efficient document strategies. This is reflected in the Kyocera Corporation business development strategy which supports efforts to create information and communications technologies that take into account environmental preservation and the quality of life.
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