DHThe NHS is not the only organisation celebrating 60 Years of Caring - Ahead of the publication of the Government's End of Life Care Strategy, Marie Curie Cancer Care (MCCC) has welcomed a renewed commitment from the DH and the NHS to ensuring more terminally ill patients have choice in ‘end of life’ care.  This announcement comes as MCCC celebrates its 60th anniversary with the news of a major increase in NHS commissioning of its nursing services.

MCCC increased the commissioning of its services by:
* Demonstrating, through the Delivering Choice Programme, that the charity can double the number of people supported to die at home, at no extra cost to the government
* Removing the price differential for cancer versus non cancer patients, so nursing services can be provided to all terminally ill patients
* Developing a commissioning toolkit, so commissioners can now see the detail of where their patients die and which level of service they need to commission to allow people to die where they choose

NHS trusts across the UK will invest an extra £3.8m in Marie Curie Nursing Services this year, giving more than 21,500 terminally ill people the choice to die at home, surrounded by their loved ones. 
Press release ~ DH - End of Life Care ~ Marie Curie Nursing Services ~ Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme ~ Marie Curie Cancer Care ~ Campaigning - Supporting the choice to die at home ~ Economic case study for expanding choice to die at home

DHEarly investment pays dividends over long term - The Government announced a £52m package last week to tackle the communication problems that can blight children's lives.  The funding comes as a result of a independent review by John Bercow MP, which identifies that communication is the key life skill for every child.

The review looks in depth at how to improve services for children and young people with problems ranging from severe speech & language impairments, to a vocabulary limited by social reasons, such as a family background where communication between family members is limited.

Alongside recommendations for Government, John Bercow urged parents to help their children gain vital communication skills by sharing activities like family meals or outings where conversation is the focus.  It also looks at the extreme consequences communication problems can lead to - from initial frustration at not being able to express oneself, to bullying or being bullied at school, fewer job prospects and even the descent into criminality.

A key theme of John Bercow's report is that ‘early intervention is key’ to tackling the communication problems that can ruin young people's later lives.
Press release ~ Bercow review of services for children and young people (0-19) with speech, language and communication needs ~ Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists ~ The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children ~ Teachernet, Stammering ~ British Stammering Association ~ I CAN ~ Afasic ~ Speech and language therapy : Directgov ~ Royal National Institute for Deaf People ~ Special Educational Needs: Assessment and Funding (October 2007) ~ Reducing Re-Offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps ~ Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) ~ BBC NEWS - Communication skills 'cut re-offending'

NESummer weather celebrates call for more wetlands - The Wetland Vision Partnership, an alliance of conservationists & government agencies, has issued a joint call for large areas of wetland to be created, protected & restored across England in the next 50 years if the country is to meet the challenges of the future.

The Partnership has produced a series of maps showing the loss & fragmentation of the country’s wetlands and where opportunities exist to create new ones.  Increasing pressure on land use and a changing climate mean our wetlands need to be protected & extended to:
* safeguard our heritage & wildlife
* reduce flood risk to people & property and
* combat climate change by storing carbon

England has lost 90% of its wetlands in the last 1,000 years, and those that remain are often small & isolated.  The maps and the information behind them will help target the restoration & creation of thousands of acres of reedbed, grazing marsh, ponds and wet grassland.
Press release ~ Wetland Vision Partnership ~ Natural England – Wetland Habitat Action Plan Steering Group ~ State of the Natural Environment Report ~ RSPB ~ The Wildlife Trusts ~ Environment Agency ~ English Heritage ~ Defra - Shoreline Management Plan ~ Environment Agency - Foresight Future Flooding ~ Wallasea Wetlands ~ Wetlands International ~ Wetland Archaeology and Environments Research Centre ~ Centre for Wetlands, Environment and Natural Resources ~ World Wetlands Day - The Chartered Institution of Water

HOAlways a tricky issue with no easy solutions - A pledge to increase the conviction rate for rape by ensuring a consistent police response has been made by the government and ACPO.  5% of all women have experienced rape but only 15% report it to the police, according to the British Crime Survey.  Of those that do report it, 70% of cases are lost before the case makes it to court. Overall the conviction rate for all rapes reported to the police is around 6%.

Tackling rape goes much wider than improving police performance and the Government is working to ensure that victims are supported throughout the entire criminal justice process. 

The Government has spent a total of £10m over four years to supplement local funding, on:
* Extending the network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (where victims receive medical care and counselling and can assist the police investigation through a forensic examination). There were five in 2001, currently there are 19 and there will be at least 36 by the end of the financial year 2008-09
* Piloting Independent Sexual Violence Advisors in 38 areas to provide advocacy and support for victims, and
* Providing funding through the Victims Fund for voluntary organisations supporting victims of sexual violence
Press release ~ Saving Lives, Reducing Harm Protecting the Public: Tackling Violence Action Plan ~ A gap or a chasm? Attrition in reported rape cases ~ Rape Action Plan ~ Rape and sexual assault of women: findings from the British Crime Survey ~ Providing counselling, support and information to survivors of rape: An evaluation of the ‘STAR’ Young Persons’ Project ~ Sexual Assault Referral Centres – Getting Started Guide ~ Rape Crisis Federation ~ National Service Guidelines for Developing Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) ~ Operation Advance programme ~ National DNA Database (NDNAD) ~ Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault ~ Improving outcomes for victims of sexual violence: A strategic partnership approach ~ Operation Matisse: investigating drug facilitated sexual assault ~ Toxicological findings in cases of alleged drug facilitated sexual assault in the United Kingdom over a three year period ~ Care & Evidence training package ~ Without Consent ~ Project Sapphire - Improving rape investigation and victim care

 HC:  ‘Spinned’ policies still have not been delivered on - The Healthcare Commission has urged the NHS to redouble efforts to improve maternity services by enhancing the quality of clinical care & the experiences of women, following the publication of a national report, which highlights recurring issues – such as inadequate staffing and poor teamwork – suggesting a systemic national problem.  Currently, maternity services accounted for one in ten requests to the Commission to investigate particular trusts.

In compiling its report, the Commission has a spotlight on services from the start of pregnancy, through labour & birth, to postnatal care.  The report contains 7 recommendations with a checklist for implementation.
Earlier this year, the government announced that it wanted to employ 4,000 more midwives in England over the next three years.  At the time, Unite/CPHVA said that ‘the next logical step’ would be a large boost to the health visitor workforce to mirror this investment.
 Press release ~ Unite/CPHVA press release ~ Towards better births - A review of maternity services in England ~ DH – Maternity, first years of life and families ~ Maternity matters: choice, access and continuity of care in a safe service ~ Making it better: For mother and baby ~ National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services: Maternity services ~ National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance for ante and postnatal maternal mental health ~ Making it better for children and young people ~ Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) ~ RCOG ~ DCSF ~ Children and families ~ Care Services Improvement Partnership

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