In the News
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CQC: Can anyone still believe the NHS doesn’t need to change how it delivers its services? - A Care Quality Commission programme of inspections of services for people with learning disabilities found that there was a 1 in 2 chance of people being in a service that did not meet the required standards.
The findings are revealed in a national report that analyses the results of 145 unannounced inspections carried out in the wake of the abuse uncovered by the BBC Panorama programme at Winterbourne View Hospital. Inspections focused on examining the care & welfare of people who use services and whether people were safe from abuse.
CQC: Time for the NHS to be run to DMS standards? - The Care Quality Commission has published a review which praises the exceptional services run by the Defence Medical Services (DMS), the British military's trauma & rehabilitation unit for personnel injured in battle as well as military primary care services for service personnel and their families.
The report praises the care provided to casualties of war, highlighting the truly world class systems in place in the treatment of major injuries, the training of staff, design of field hospitals, clinical audits to feedback important lessons, and rehabilitation for injured personnel.
However, it found that there were still ongoing issues in the primary health care for services personnel & their families that required action. The buildings where care is delivered remain a major problem, causing deficiencies in the quality of patient care. Concerns over safeguarding arrangements were still apparent and documentation & information systems remain in need of improvement, which may have contributed to shortfalls in patient care.
IFS: Whatever we are going to do to raise the care funding, we need to start doing it soon - Raising revenue to pay for the proposals suggested by the Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support offers an opportunity for the government to rationalise the tax & benefit system for those above State Pension Age, Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has said.
In a new report funded by the Nuffield Foundation, IFS researchers look at ‘how pensioner incomes have evolved in recent years, how the tax & benefit system provides additional support for pensioners and how it could be reformed to raise the £1.7bn a year the Dilnot proposals would cost’.
DH: Being flexible could keep the costs down - Thousands of individuals with mental health needs could be offered more flexible working under a new initiative launched by Health Minister Lord Howe. Leading companies, including manufacturing umbrella body EEF & EDF Energy have signed up to a new Responsibility Deal pledge to help manage & support employees with mental health needs in the best way possible.
The approach, which has been developed as part of a new health & work pledge, is set out in a simple guide (see press release). 1 in 4 people experience a mental heath problem at some point in their lives - poor mental health currently costs the economy an estimated £105bn and is the most common reason for incapacity benefit claims.
NAO: Taxing times for HMRC as it struggles to collect all revenues due - Amyas Morse, the Comptroller & Auditor General, has issued a report on the 2011-12 accounts of HM Revenue & Customs. It details progress by HMRC in stabilising the PAYE service since the serious problems that emerged when it introduced the new National Insurance & PAYE service (NPS) in 2009. The report also covers HMRC’s performance in managing tax debt; and its progress in tackling fraud & error and in managing debt in respect of tax credits.
The NAO recommends that the Department identify the full cost and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of each of its debt collection activities. It should also accelerate its work to undertake full risk profiling & customer segmentation of its debt balance, as recommended by the Public Accounts Committee.
DH: Insurance is about ‘risk’, so why should they have the information? - An agreement with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the Concordat & Moratorium on Genetics and Insurance, continues to guarantee that anyone who has had a predictive test to assess their susceptibility to genetic conditions, such as breast and ovarian cancer, can take out significant insurance cover without disclosing the results. The agreement has been extended to 2017 and sets out that all future reviews of the agreement will take place 3 years before the provisional end date.
NAO: One wonders what a similar report on the NHS inventory would turn up - The National Audit Office has published a report on the Ministry of Defence's management of its inventory - its store of supplies & spares. The indication is that the money spent on unnecessary levels of stock could be made available to be spent elsewhere.
Quoting extracts from the press release:
* The MoD is buying more inventory than it uses
* It has also not consistently disposed of equipment & supplies which it either no longer needs
* The planned return of the armed forces from Afghanistan & Germany will place even more pressure on the little room left in the MoD's central depot space
* Over £4.2bn of non-explosive inventory has not moved at all for at least 2 years
* A further £2.4bn of non-explosive inventory already held is sufficient to last for 5 years or more.
* During 2010 & 2011, the MOD identified inventory worth a total of £1.4bn that could either be sold or destroyed, but it was unable to provide information on the value of the stock that had been destroyed.
* The MOD purchases, holds and uses over 710m items of inventory across 900,000 different types
WAG: Time to volunteer if you want Welsh culture to flourish - People with an interest in Welsh-medium education are being invited to become members of a new group to advise on the Welsh Government’s strategy. Applications are invited from individuals with expertise & experience of matters relating to Welsh-medium education & training. The closing date for receipt of applications is 16 July 2012.
FCO: Your chance to praise or complain - The Government Digital Service is conducting a survey to understand how people use news content on UK central government websites, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. There are 9 questions and it can take as little as 1 minute to complete the survey. All considered responses are greatly appreciated.
Press release & links
Latest Research Paper: Government Web Sites Under Sustained Attack: Protecting Against Modern DDoS Threats - With the recent high profile attacks on sites including MoJ, SOCA and the ICO, married to the pledge from hacktivist group Anonymous for sustained DDoS attacks on UK government web sites, preventing and mitigating such attacks is a top priority for all public sector organisations. It is clear that DDoS attacks are continuing to increase in both size and complexity. Furthermore, the motivations behind attacks have also broadened to include ideological hacktivism and Internet vandalism, increasing the risk to government. These institutions can rely upon Arbor Networks for DDoS attack research, detection and mitigation.
Arbor Networks was initially founded through government funding and is a frequent network security advisor to governments, international and regional security alliances and CERTS around the world. Arbor Networks security researchers have been invited to testify before the House of Lords on behalf of the European Union on the subject of “Protecting Europe Against Large-scale Cyber-attacks”.
The latest paper from independent research specialists Frost and Sullivan, looks at DDoS attacks in detail and describes why the threat to organizations is greater than ever before. The paper also explains why traditional firewall and IPS solutions fall short in protecting organizations against today’s sophisticated DDoS attacks and goes on to suggest a solution.
Click here to receive the research paper on 'Protecting Against Modern DDoS Threats'.
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