DH: Is the reason why the NHS costs so much is because the politicians keep changing their minds? - A new strategy published by the Department of Health - 'Our vision for Primary and Community Care' - published as part of the Next Stage Review of the NHS, sets out the future direction for primary & community care in England, ‘where essential standards are ensured and excellence is rewarded’.
It underlines the central role primary & community care services play in keeping people healthy, preventing illness and promoting healthy life styles, as well as tackling regional variations in health and well-being.
The government claims what the new strategy means is:
* listening & responding to what people tell us
* greater choice of GP
* everyone with a long-term condition will have their own personalised care plan - and those with complex health needs - a care co-ordinator - by 2010
* creating a new secure web-based system called 'myhealthspace'
* faster & simpler access to a wider range of community based
* more online performance & quality information available on NHS Choices website
* identifying those most at risk of ill-health and offering early interventions
* piloting more joined up services to help people who want to return to work
* increasing access to 'healthy living services'
* investing in new programmes of clinical leadership, innovation and high-quality training
* transforming community health services to ‘unlock the talents of the 250,000 nurses, health visitors, allied health professionals & other staff’
HM Treasury: One wonders what the CPA will make of these claims for savings - Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper has launched the Operational Efficiency Programme, which forms a key part of the Government's drive to achieve greater efficiency savings across public spending, with ‘the potential to deliver billions of pounds of savings’. The programme is meant deliver its recommendations by Budget 2009.
The government claims that the Operational Efficiency Programme will be ‘wide-ranging, focussing initially on five strands examining cross-cutting areas of government spending and drawing on the best public and private sector experience’.
Each of the first four strands will be led by an experienced figure from the private sector who will provide expertise & fresh ideas, and who will ‘challenge the Government on its plans to ensure that they are as ambitious as possible’. The strands will be lead by:
* back office & IT - Martin Read
* collaborative procurement - Martin Jay
* asset management and sales - Gerry Grimstone
* property - Lord Carter of Coles
A fifth area - local incentives & empowerment - will take forward work aimed at increasing efficiency by encouraging frontline professionals and the users of public services to bring forward their own ideas on how to cut waste.
MoJ: Here come the Judge - An on-line programme in which members of the public can decide what they think is the most suitable sentence for virtual offenders has been launched, as a new poll claims the public think reforming offenders to cut re-offending is equally as important as punishment.
The survey, which analyses the public's understanding of community sentencing and their views around crime & punishment, showed that 82% thought rehabilitation was as important, or more important, than punishment when sentencing offenders.
The survey polled over 3,000 people across England & Wales and revealed only 25% of the public understood what makes up a community sentence, typically a combination of rehabilitation and punishment. ‘Judge for Yourself’ will hopefully help tackle these misunderstandings.
Its interactive design is intended to help educate people about Community Sentencing and the National Probation Service. The publicly available programme will also be available to schools from September.
DH: Will vision turn into reality? - Health Minister Ara Darzi has unveiled the government’s plans to raise the quality of healthcare for patients right across the NHS. After a 12-month review, led by 2,000 clinicians and staff across the country and involving 60,000 patients, public and staff, Lord Darzi has set out proposals that he claims will give patients more choice & information, reward the hospitals & clinics that offer both the highest quality of care and provide the most responsive services.
The final report of Lord Darzi's review, entitled ‘High Quality Care for All’, sets out plans that show how innovation and creativity of staff can further improve services.
The changes will be driven not through top-down targets, but by giving responsibility to the staff at local level and the values that led to the creation of the NHS 60 years ago will be enshrined in a new Constitution, as well as setting out for the first time the rights of all patients.
CLG: What are your targets? - The results of a comprehensive shake up of council targets and priorities have been published. The priorities - agreed in partnership with central government - show the pattern of issues across England that councils will now have to grapple with over the next three years.
The results of a new YouGov poll reveal that people want areas to prioritise the issue of community safety – 82% of the population selected this as among the most important jobs for councils. To help them do this, the government claims to have slashed the number of local targets it has imposed from over 100 to 35 to ensure a more rigorous focus on what matters to local people.
These local targets - called Local Area Agreements (LAAs) - have been produced in consultation with those at the sharp end of providing services to the public - like the Police and Jobcentres. Each locality has identified the specific priorities that will most improve the quality of life for its residents that reflect their own individual challenges and circumstances.
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