RHWP:  Being sick is no holiday - The National Director for Health and Work, Dame Carol Black, published the first ever review into the health of the working age population - Working for a Healthier Tomorrow - calling for urgent & comprehensive reform and a new approach to health & work in Britain.

The review recognises that for most people work is good both for their long-term health and for their family's well-being.  Its proposals focus on keeping people healthy at work and also on helping them return to work if they get ill.

The review found that ill health was costing the country £100bn a year - enough to run the entire NHS.  But Dame Carol emphasised that although the economic cost was substantial, the human cost to families was immeasurable.  She spelled out the key challenges in the review, which include insufficient access to good work-related health support in the early stages of sickness, including mental health conditions.

Provision is currently disproportionately concentrated among a few large employers, leaving the vast majority of small employers without support.  Other issues include the current sick note process which concentrates on what people can't do, instead of what they can.
Press release ~ Health, Work and Wellbeing website ~ Carol Black's review ~ Consensus statement ~ Other related documents ~ DWP - Pathways to Work - Welfare Reform ~ Health, work and well-being – Caring for our future A strategy for the health and well-being of working age people ~ Stress: Why tackle work-related stress? ~ Line Managers' Resource ~ DWP - Welfare Reform - In work, better off: next steps to full employment ~ HSE - Managing sickness absence & return to work ~ Faculty of Occupational Medicine statement ~ Health and Well-being of Working Age People ~ Workplace Health Connect ~ HSE – Back pain in workplace ~ HSE – case study ~ Managing sickness absence in the public sector ~ Lone Parents, Health and Work (report series number 214) ~ Seven steps to managing absence in the workplace ~ New approaches to cutting staff absence ~ Rehabilitation: the missing link in workplace safety and sickness absence ~ Wales Centre for Health - Workplace Health

DHWhy not just let Health Visitors keep doing it more cheaply & cost effectively? - The government has published a new updated Child Health Promotion Programme (CHPP) which is meant to build on the children's National Service Framework (NSF) that was published in 2004 and it is intended to ‘provide services tailored to the individual needs of children and families, acting as a best practice guide for health and social services’.

At the launch of the updated programme, Beverly Hughes also announced details of 20 new sites which will test the Family Nurse Partnership scheme - a model of intensive nurse-led home visiting for vulnerable first time young parents which involves family nurses visiting young, disadvantaged young parents from early pregnancy until the child is two years old.
Press release ~ New updated Child Health Promotion Programme (CHPP) ~ Sure Start ~ DCSF: Children and Families ~ DH – Children’s Services ~ The Contribution of the NHS to Reducing Health Inequalities: Written Evidence to the House of Commons Health Select Committee submitted by Unite (Amicus Section) ~ Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association
SCPostal voting, a good idea destroyed by bad implementation - The Standards Committee has called for its recommendations on restoring integrity to the electoral system to be implemented following the judgement of the electoral petition relating to the local elections held in Slough on 3 May 2007.

Sir Christopher Kelly, Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life commented: "This latest example of electoral fraud in Slough at last year's local government elections highlights the need for fundamental changes to our electoral system as recommended by my Committee in its Eleventh Report on the Electoral Commission.

Electoral fraud is not a trivial matter. It is an affront to the democratic principle of one-person one vote. Left unchecked it will eventually undermine trust and confidence in the democratic process and by implication the electorate's consent to the outcome of elections.

This case has shown that the safeguards introduced by the Government to combat electoral fraud particularly in relation to postal voting are easily bypassed because of the fundamental weaknesses in the current system of electoral registration.  The current system of household registration has no robust safeguards to stop bogus names being registered and then to be used as fraudulent postal votes".
Press release ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life - Eleventh Report ~ BBC News: Vote fraud 'undermines democracy' ~ Guidance on preventing and detecting electoral malpractice ~ Guidance on policing elections in England and Wales ~ The Electoral Commission - Elections 2008 ~ Electoral Administration Act 2006 ~ 'Governance of Britain' Green Paper ~ Response to Electoral Commission report on absent voting identifiers ~ Government response to the Committee on Standards in Public Life's eleventh report, 'Review of the Electoral Commission' ~ The Government's response to the Electoral Commission's recommendations on the May 2007 electoral pilot schemes

DH Not ‘life threatening’ but no less deserving of a 'full life' - Children and young people must be given the support they need to overcome speech, language and communications difficulties so they enjoy the same opportunities to learn, socialise and succeed as anyone else, according to an interim report presented by John Bercow MP.

The Bercow Review, which the Government commissioned in September 2007, aims to improve services for children and young people from birth to 19 who have speech, language and communications difficulties, which could range from a delay in speaking to a severe stammer, or could be related to other disabilities such as autism or cerebral palsy.

The report found that some families feel their children are not a priority for local services and they have to struggle to obtain help. Information can be hard to find and services hard to access.  Many feel agencies do not work together effectively or share a common language. Others found it difficult to maintain continuous support, especially as some professionals are stretched for time and resources - while others don't have the training to step in.

The interim report highlights the main issues and has identified five key themes:
* Speech, language & communication are essential life skills and a fundamental human right
* Early identification of problems & intervention are essential to avoiding social & economic problems later in life
* Services should be a continuous process from an early age - not just the odd session
* Joint working between services and with families is critical
* The current system is patchy - there is in effect a 'postcode lottery'

John Bercow said: “Although there are some skilled professionals and very good facilities, the overall position is highly unsatisfactory……….. Above all, local commissioners attach a low priority to the subject and this must change”.
Press release ~ Bercow Review website and Interim report ~ Special Educational Needs: Assessment and Funding (October 2007) ~ Speech and language therapy : Directgov ~ Royal National Institute for Deaf People ~ Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) ~ I CAN ~ Afasic

NICEPlanned transition helps ensure healthier outcome - Ivan Lewis, Care Services Minister, has announced the publication of good practice guidance for health professionals and their partners on the transition planning for young people moving into adulthood.  Transition from children's to adult health services is recognised as an important issue, as more children are now surviving into adult life with conditions which once would have been fatal in early childhood. 

Many of these conditions will be unfamiliar to health professionals working in adult service and often the young person needs care from a number of different specialities.  The co-ordination of care which they have received in children's services all too often fades away when they transfer to adult care.

Young people with a neuro-disability such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy are the least well served when the time comes to move on to adult care. 

The guide is intended to help ensure that the young person and their family are better prepared for the move to adult care and that the adult care team has been involved in planning for the transfer.
Press release ~ Transition: Moving on Well ~ Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People ~ DH: Transition from children's to adult health services ~ MCH 13-24: The transition of young adults with disability: A study of the effectiveness of inter-agency transitional planning ~ Aiming High for Disabled Children ~ Council for Disabled Children ~ Preventing Social Exclusion of Disabled Children and Their Families ~ Family Fund ~ Support groups for parents of disabled children : Directgov ~ Support for families of disabled children - Every Child Matters

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