DH: Wasting away - Health Minister, Ivan Lewis, has published a Nutrition Action Plan in conjunction with over 25 leading stakeholders, outlining a range of actions to tackle malnutrition and ensure the nutritional needs of older people in hospitals and care homes are better met.
The action plan outlines five priorities for health and social care organisations, which are to:
* raise awareness of the link between nutrition and good health and that malnutrition can be treated
* ensure that accessible guidance is available across all sectors and that the most relevant guidance is appropriate & user-friendly
* strongly encourage nutritional screening for all people using health and social care services; with particular attention to those groups who are known to be vulnerable
* encourage provision & access to relevant training for frontline staff and managers on the importance of nutrition for good health and nutritional care, and
* clarify standards and strengthen inspection & regulation
As part of the plan, the Government and stakeholders will also be encouraging the NHS to use the Council of Europe Alliance (UK) ‘10 Key Characteristics of Good Nutritional Care’ - a landmark document which creates a common understanding of what good nutritional care looks like in hospital settings.
Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern, has been asked by Ivan Lewis to chair the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board that will ensure delivery of the Action Plan.
BERR: Coalition of the committed rather than the posturing? - A coalition of European Union countries, the European Commission, U.S. states, Canadian provinces, New Zealand and Norway have announced the formation of the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) to fight global warming.
ICAP will provide an international forum in which governments and public authorities adopting mandatory greenhouse gas emissions cap & trade systems will share experiences and best practices on the design of emissions trading schemes.
This cooperation will hopefully ensure that the programs are more compatible and are able to work together as the foundation of a global carbon market. Such a market should boost demand for low-carbon products & services, promote innovation and allow cost effective reductions so as to allow swift and ambitious global reductions in global warming emissions.
DfT: Detailed achievable framework or politically correct aspirations - A new framework to deliver a transport system to support the economy and reduce carbon emissions has been unveiled by Ruth Kelly. 'Towards a Sustainable Transport System' is the Department for Transport's response to both the Eddington Transport Study and the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change.
It is the first stage of a consultation process to deliver a transport system that meets the key objectives of supporting the country's economic competitiveness and helping address climate change.
It argues that forcing the pace of technological improvements and removing the obstacles to behavioural change will be key to ensuring transport makes a substantial contribution to the goal of at least a 60% reduction of CO2 by 2050.
It will begin the development of a plan for cutting transport's carbon footprint and will hopefully ensure that attention is focused where the most benefit can be gained. The next stage will be the publication of a Green Paper and formal consultation in the spring 2008.
CLG: Just how much power has the Treasury and GLG handed over? - The government claims that Councils and communities have been given ‘a new era of greater power and influence to tackle the issues they care about with less Whitehall control’, as the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act received Royal Assent.
Minister John Healey declared it as ‘D-day for devolution’ confirming that new opportunities for local action will be in place within six months, but adding that ‘this was just the beginning’.
The Act opens the door to implementing councils' proposals for unitary status. The Minister claimed that ‘this is an opportunity to create new flagship authorities which can lead the way on meeting today's challenges of promoting prosperity, empowering citizens and communities and modernising local service delivery’, as well as pledging:
* new measures on local petition powers
* improving representation
* greater local action to tackle worklessness, and
* a concordat enshrining a more mature relationship between central & local government by the end of this year
He will also be setting out a detailed Local Government White Paper Implementation Plan within days.
MoJ: Would you trust a politician with the collection plate? - Talks between the three main political parties to reach agreement on measures to reform political party funding have been suspended, Sir Hayden Phillips, the Chairman of the Talks, has announced.
In announcing the suspension of the talks Sir Hayden said:
"The issue of how political parties are funded is one of considerable public importance, not just in terms of probity and propriety, but also in terms of helping to restore trust and confidence in the wider political system…..
I said at the outset of these talks that I believed that a consensus between the parties on future reform was both desirable and possible….. I am now publishing the draft agreement that I put to the parties in late August. I hope that this will inform the current public debate".
CC: So it’s even more big superstores then! - The UK groceries market is delivering a good deal for consumers, but action is needed to improve competition in a number of local markets and to address relationships between retailers and their suppliers, the Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally concluded.
In its provisional findings report, the CC states that a lack of competition in certain local markets not only disadvantages consumers in those areas but also allows retailers to weaken their offer to consumers nationally. Further, some retailer land holdings and other practices, such as restrictive covenants, mean that competition is not as effective as it could be in a number of areas.
The CC is also concerned about the ability of grocery retailers to transfer excessive risk & costs to suppliers through various purchasing practices, such as retrospective changes to supply agreements. The CC considers that these practices could damage investment and innovation in the supply chain to the ultimate detriment of consumers.
The CC will now consider a range of measures to address these concerns before deciding on its final remedies. Options under consideration include the lifting of restrictive covenants and exclusivity arrangements, sales of land holdings, and recommending changes to the planning system to place greater weight on competition and choice.
The CC will also consider changes to the Supermarkets Code of Practice (SCOP), which regulates retailer - supplier relationships.
The CC would like to hear from all interested parties, in writing about both the provisional findings report (by 30 November 2007) and the notice of possible remedies (by 23 November 2007).
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