In the News

PC&PE:  They were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for us, so are we doing enough for them? - In a report published last week the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee says public bodies need to do more to support Armed Forces veterans in Wales, particularly in the key areas of housing & health where there are currently problems with provision.  

The Committee recognises the commitment of the Welsh Assembly and UK Government, but the inquiry revealed some areas where there are problems and more needs to be done.

There are currently estimated to be more Armed Forces veterans in the UK than at any time since the Second World War.  It has been estimated there could be as many as 250,000 Armed Forces veterans in Wales alone today.
Press release & links ~ All Wales Veterans’ Health & Wellbeing Service (AWVHWS) ~ MoD: Bringing home the fallen ~ MoD: Seriously injured veterans to get financial support for life ~ MoD: Armed Forces veterans asked how transition to civilian life can be improved ~ Blue badge eligibility to be extended ~ Wales Office Minister marks Covenant contribution to Welsh Armed Forces community ~ CQC:  Time for the NHS to be run to DMS standards? (2nd item) ~ PM announces increased support for Armed Forces' families ~ Armed Forces discount card launched in time for Christmas ~ Battle Back Centre opens in Lilleshall ~ MOD's veterans' Medical Assessment Programme moved & renamed ~ £5m for veterans in need of new prosthetics ~ Bank fines to be used to support Britain’s Armed Forces community ~ Charity CEOs respond to Daily Mail article on homelessness ~ Government scheme helps 3,000 veterans start a business ~ Professor awarded knighthood for service to military healthcare

DH:  Remember that the Government has no money, ultimately it has to obtain it from the ‘tax-paying public’ - The Government has announced new measures for funding care to 'ensure that the elderly and those with disabilities get the care they need without facing unlimited costs'. 

The new measures are based on the recommendations made in 2011 by the independent Dilnot Commission.  Subject to the passage of legislation, the changes above will take effect from April 2017, so as to ensure that these changes are affordable & sustainable for the long term.

No-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care.  If people cannot afford their fees without selling their home, they will have the right to defer paying during their lifetime.  People of working age who develop care needs before retirement age will benefit from a cap that’s lower than £75,000.  People who have care needs before they turn 18 will effectively have their cap set at zero
Press release ~ Memorandum on care & support funding reform ~ DH: Caring for our future ~ New social care cap is too high, says TUC ~ PA: Cap on the costs of care ~ TKF  response ~ IEA: Government should resist a cap on social care contributions ~ Demos: 120,000 pensioners a year to miss outNHS Confederation gives 'cautious welcome' ~ TKF: Spending on health & social care over the next 50 years ~ IFS:  Whatever we are going to do to raise the care funding, we need to start doing it soon (3rd item) ~ Commission welcomes Court’s decision in Devon care home caseMonitor:  Integrated care is the only way we will be even barely able to afford future care demands (6th item)

CQCRemember, we will all get old in time - The findings of a report into home care by the Care Quality Commission, show that people want to be listened to, respected & able to exercise choice.  

The report entitled, ‘Not just a number’, found most providers were delivering a good service, but a minority of people are affected by late or missed calls, lack of continuity of care workers, unsupported staff; poor care planning, and failures of providers to listen to people using services and their families & carers.
Press release & links ~ EHRC welcomes CQC review of home care ~ Monitor publishes new provider licence ~ TKF: Outlook for NHS & social care pessimistic as financial squeeze bites ~ NHS Confederation comments on King's Fund quarterly monitoring report ~ AC: Councils could release over £300m to frontline social care by spending less on assessments & reviews ~ Successfully delivering care closer to home could improve outcomes for patients & save the NHS £3.4bn a year ~ NHS Confederation - Independent Commission issues ‘call to arms’ on improving dignity of care of older people in hospitals & care homes

DHRemember, everyone needs friends in their life - People across England are now able to sign up for sessions to become a Dementia Friend (DF).  Just over 12,000 people have already registered their interest in becoming DFs and they & many more will be able to attend information sessions to find out more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turn that understanding into action in their local community. DF is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative that aims to give 1m people a better understanding of dementia by 2015.
Press release & links ~ David Cameron joins the Dementia Friends ~ DH:  The more we talk about it, the less there is to fear

TWFWith understanding it is just an ‘inconvenience’ not a crippling ‘disease’ - A new report on why employment rates for people with schizophrenia remain so low (8% compared to the national average of 71%) and how these can be overcome was published last week by The Work Foundation.  A lack of understanding, stigma, fear & discrimination towards people with schizophrenia are needlessly preventing tens of thousands of people from finding or keeping jobs.

The report outlines a detailed set of interventions that would help reduce the barriers to work and highlights how work brings clear health benefits to people with schizophrenia.  Those in paid employment are over 5 times more likely to achieve functional remission than those who are unemployed or in unpaid employment. The research conducted for the report shows people with a history of the condition are able & willing to work.

Working with Schizophrenia: Pathways to employment, recovery & inclusion calls on healthcare workers, employers, policymakers, carers & individuals living with the condition to recognise & introduce work as a realistic aspiration.  Employers often find making adjustments in work to support an employee with schizophrenia both beneficial to the workplace & inexpensive.
Press release & links ~ Working with Schizophrenia: Pathways to employment, recovery and inclusion ~ Schizophrenia Commission ~ PC&PE: New support announced for MPs with mental health problems ~ NHS Confed:   Ministerial backing for nationwide roll-out of mental health recovery support ~ Employers urged to take 3 steps to improve mental health ~ New stress management tool holds up a mirror to poor managers ~ NICE: Improve your knowledge of guidance on common mental health problems ~ TKF: Failure to address mental health problems in people with long-term conditions costs NHS billions ~ DH:  Being flexible could keep the costs down (4th item) ~ DH: Hard enough task even in good times  

What they want is not necessarily what the RUK will agree to give them - A Group of ‘internationally renowned’ economists have presented to Scottish Ministers their first set of recommendations & proposals to deliver a framework for economic stability & sustainability in an independent Scotland.
Press release ~ Fiscal Commission Working Group – First report ~ ScotGov:  If the vote is negative the whole of the UK will need to answer the West Lothian question before deciding what new Devo Max powers could be agreed

DCMSWill the 3 parties be able to agree on a political solution? - Following the publication of Lord Justice Leveson’s Report on 29 November 2012, cross-party talks have been 'exploring different ways of implementing the tough self-regulatory system for the press that he recommended'.  A draft Royal Charter illustrates how a Leveson model might be created without using an Act of Parliament.  It is being published outside of the normal arrangements for collective agreement.
Press release & links

:  The new ‘frontline’ is both civilian & military - A National Audit Office review of the Government’s strategy for cyber security indicates that, although it is at an early stage, activities are already beginning to deliver benefits.  The cost of cyber crime to the UK is currently estimated to be between £18bn & £27bn.

Business, government & the public must therefore be constantly alert to the level of risk if they are to succeed in detecting & resisting the threat of cyber attack.  The NAO identifies 6 key challenges faced by the Government in implanting its cyber security strategy in a rapidly changing environment.  
Press release & links ~ Public Accounts Committee comments on NAO's UK cyber security strategy report ~ The UK cyber security strategy: Landscape review ~ Digital Agenda: European Commission supports research on Cyber security ~ BIS:  Physical locks & guards won’t keep them out

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