This first WGPlus newsletter of 2011 includes some items published since the last newsletter of 2010 in addition to items for the week 10 – 16 January 2011.

Civitas:  Change (especially rapid change) is not always for the best - The wholesale abolition of Primary Care Trusts proposed in the NHS White Paper could have a negative impact on patient care, and ‘should be halted in favour of a more incremental approach to commissioning reform’, according to a new report released by independent think-tank Civitas.

A risky business: the White Paper and the NHS argues that the Government's approach to the latest reorganisation of the health service could undermine hopes of making efficiency gains in many areas of the country, which are crucial if services are to retain the current level of provision.

It follows comments by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, at a recent Health Select Committee hearing, that some PCTs are now 'effectively in meltdown'.  Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, agreed with that description.  Moreover, at a King's Fund breakfast recently, Robert Creighton, CE of Ealing PCT suggested 'this could be a bloody awful train crash'.

In response to concerns like these, Oliver Letwin MP (Number 10's policy-fixer) has been brought in to scrutinise the new health policy.  The report poses 12 big questions that Letwin should be asking of the reforms.  Another publication by Civitas (Refusing Treatment: the NHS and market-based reform)   documented the findings of an in-depth study of commissioning in the NHS.  It pointed to a number of weaknesses.
Press release ~ A risky business: the White Paper and the NHS ~ Refusing Treatment: the NHS and market-based reform ~ Clinical and service integration: the route to improved outcomes ~ Civitas: Moves to transfer commissioning responsibility to GPs could cost the NHS its £20bn efficiency savings target & worse ~ Related subsequent Civitas commentary ~ Related King’s Fund press release ~ Related CQC press release ~ Related NICE press release ~ Giving GPs budgets for Commissioning: What needs to be done? ~ NHS Atlas of Variation ~ Build and Beyond: The (r)evolution of healthcare PPPs ~ Mental health and the productivity challenge: Improving quality and value for money ~ Choosing a high quality hospital - The role of nudges, scorecard design and information ~ NHS 'Right to Request' scheme ~ DH: Social Enterprise ~ Related Unite union press release ~ KF: Inquiry into the Quality of General Practice in England ~ GP commissioning: does size matter? ~ Commission for Leadership and Management in NHS ~ Liberating the NHS? Analysis and questions on the white paper ~ Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS ~ NHS Confederation briefing on White Paper ~ Socialist Health Association ~ Health B4 Profit campaign ~ The 'Patchwork Privatisation' of our Health Service: A users' guide ~ NHS Scotland ~ AC: Is the treatment working? - Progress with the NHS system reform programme ~ AC: Payment by Results (PbR) ~ Key NHS reform successfully implemented but needs to develop to achieve more for patients ~ Putting commissioning into practice (Audit Commission, 2007) ~ A prescription for partnership: engaging clinicians in financial management (Audit Commission, 2007) ~ NHS Scotland's Efficiency and Productivity Programme ~ The Impact of NHS Re-Organisation on Service Commissioning Costs: A Welsh Case Study ~ A Systems View of NHS reorganisations - the pain and cost of boldly going where we have been before ~ NAO: Tackling inequalities in life expectancy in areas with the worst health and deprivation ~ Patient Choice: How patients choose and how providers respond ~ Formulas at war over two sorts of inequality in health funding ~ Failing to Figure: Whitehall’s costly neglect of statistical reasoning ~ NHS Allocations

PT:  Guiding them to ‘a safe port’ - A 2-part documentary has been made about the ‘Working one to one with young offenders’ project in Northern Ireland.  The first part was shown on BBC1 Northern Ireland on 4 January 2011 and the second part was shown on 11 January.  Each part of the documentary can be viewed on BBC iplayer for the 7 days following broadcast.

This Prince's Trust project enables former offenders to support young offenders through their transition from custody to the community.  The mentors work as a team by visiting the prison on a monthly basis to deliver a motivational talk to a group of young people. Mentors share their life experience to inspire young people that they too can turn their life around and live successfully.  
Press release ~ Quitting Crime ~ Princes Trust ~ Working with employers to Reducing Re-offending ~ NAO report: The youth justice system in England and Wales ~ Related earlier press release ~ Multisystemic Therapy ~ Fitting the Crime: Reforming Community Sentences ~ NAO: Managing offenders on short custodial sentences ~ Reducing Prisoner Re-offending ~ Making Good ~ Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) ~ MoJ: Youth justice ~ London Criminal Justice Board ~ Heron Unit ~ Mayor's youth plan 'Time for Action' ~ Youth Crime Action Plan ~ Feltham Young Offenders Institution ~ Reducing Re-offending Through Social Enterprise ~ Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) ~ EDM - Communication Difficulties and Young Offenders ~ BBC NEWS - Communication skills 'cut re-offending' ~ Locking up or giving up? Why custody thresholds for teenagers aged 12, 13 and 14 ~ Barnardo’s ~ Children in Trouble Campaign ~ Locking up or giving up - is custody for children always the right answer? ~ Community sentencing: Public Perceptions and Attitudes - Summary Research Report ~ Alternatives to Custody ~ Re-offending of juvenile statistics ~ HM Inspectorate of Prisons: Report on Young Offenders in Adult Establishments ~ 'Transitions: a Social Exclusion Unit interim report on young adults' ~ Read the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Ramsbotham’s, statement to the House of Lords on the value of speech and language therapy in prisons (scroll down to column 1447) ~ Ethnic minority young people: Differential treatment in the Youth Justice System ~ 'The Bradley Report - Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System' ~ IDeA: Offender and ex-offender health ~  TH: Reducing re-offending ~ Lets talk about it - A review of healthcare in the community for young people who offend ~ Getting help with drug problems that prevent you working ~ National Treatment Agency ~ CQC: Healthcare in Prisons ~ CQC: Commissioning health and social care for offenders ~ MoJ: Prison Policy Update ~ Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) ~ RAPt – The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust ~ A Survey of Buprenorphine Misuse in Prisons: July 2007 ~ Channel 4 News video report

NHSC:  ‘Feeling Better’ is a vital part of ‘Getting Better’ - A report published by the NHS Confederation last week argues that the importance of patient experience should not be forgotten amid efforts to find savings & efficiencies in the health service.  A new NHS Confederation report - Feeling better? Improving patient experience in hospital - looks at what we know about improving patients' experiences of hospital care.

The report says that well informed patients who feel they are listened to and are comfortable in their surroundings are less likely to develop complications or need readmission.  It also cites case studies from the US which suggest that this can also lead to better performance against measures of mortality as well as producing better long-term health prospects for patients.
Press release ~ Feeling better? Improving patient experience in hospital ~ Public perceptions of privacy and dignity in hospitals ~ Essence of Care 2010 ~ Dignity in Care videos on YouTube ~ National Cancer Patient Experience Survey Programme - 2010: national survey report ~ Frontier Economics report: One to one support for cancer patients (scroll down) ~ Measuring for Quality Improvement ~ Releasing Time to Care (RTC) initiative ~ The Productive Ward ~ Related ScotGov press release ~ Related DH press release ~ Dignity in Care Campaign ~ Design for Patient Dignity ~ Design Bugs Out ~ Good doctors, safer patients ~ Free to Lead, Free to care ~ Scottish Patient Safety Programme ~ Listening, learning, working together?: A national study of how well healthcare organisations engage local people in planning and improving their services ~  NHS complaints procedure ~ Good practice ~ Is anyone listening? A report on complaints handling in the NHS ~ The Complaints Toolkit – Handling Complaints in NHS ~ Health Ombudsman ~ Ombudsman’s reports

IfGHelping Public Bodies adapt to their 'New Year Diets' - The Institute for Government and Public Chairs Forum (PCF) have published a joint guide to help arm's length bodies & departments manage the transitions set out by the government on the future of public bodies, announced in October 2010.  It pulls together a selection of case studies, lessons learned, and experiences from quangos that have already managed major organisational change such as the:
* Hearing Aid Council
* Learning and Skills Council
* General Medical Council.

There are currently over 900 quangos, accounting for 13% of total government expenditure.  The government announced plans to close, merge or radically reform a third of these bodies.  The guide builds on a joint seminar run by the PCF and the Institute for Government in 2010 and it identifies the key components for successful transitions, based around 5 central themes.
Press release ~ Piecing together the quango reforms – a practical guide for managing transitions ~ Where next for arm's length bodies? ~ Read Before Burning: how to increase the effectiveness and accountability of quangos ~ The Guardian: A quiet battle for life: IVF regulator aims to show its worth ~ Public Bodies Reform – proposals for change ~ Related PCS union press release ~ Related DH press release ~ Related BIS press release ~ Second related BIS press release ~ Related DfT press release ~ DfE press release ~ Related Defra press release ~ Related MoJ press release ~ Related CO press release ~ Related OFT press release ~ Related LGA press release

Spotlight on Lean in the Public Sector – A Wired-GOV Special Report - The first in a series of features we will be running, the aim of which is to focus on a significant part of public sector management, Spotlight on Lean focuses on a discipline which has been mistakenly thought to be a thinly veiled ruse to reduce headcount and cut spending.

On the contrary, for those who understand its true intentions and outcomes, Lean can deliver huge benefits to the organisation, its staff and customers and can become the keystone in the management of the severe budget reductions all public bodies are now facing. We have sought to explode the myths surrounding Lean, to reveal the real value that its successful application can bring, and to highlight how Lean is having dramatic effects within certain departments and agencies today with commissioned articles from key practitioners, leading academics along with case studies from HMRC, MoJ and Home Office.
View and Download Spotlight on Lean in the Public Sector

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