DH: The price of health is continuing prevention - The Department of Health claims that it is making extra vaccine and more funds available to help local health trusts put in place a campaign to vaccinate every child up to the age of 18 against measles. In a letter sent to all Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), the Chief Medical Officer asks them to help reduce the risk of a measles epidemic by offering the MMR vaccine to every child up to the age of 18 who has not been vaccinated.

The number of cases of measles in England is rising following a decade of relatively low vaccine uptake. In 2006 and 2007 there were 1,726 confirmed cases in England & Wales - more than the previous ten years put together. From 1996 to 2005 there were just a total of 1,621 confirmed cases.

It is estimated that around 3m children aged 18 months to 18 years have missed either their first or second MMR vaccination. Between 1992 and 2006 there were no deaths from acute measles in England. However there was one death in 2006 and another in 2008.

Estimates suggest that a measles epidemic in Britain could result in 30,000 cases or in a worst case scenario more than 100,000 cases of measles in children & young people. These children & young people will also be susceptible to mumps and rubella.

PCTs receive funding for immunisation as part of their annual settlement. The DH will provide an additional sum to assist PCTs with initiating the programme. London PCTs will receive £60,000 while PCTs outside London will receive £30,000.
Press release ~ PL CMO (2008)5: The MMR vaccination catch-up programme ~ Report of the Director of Immunisation 2008 ~ DH - Immunisation ~ NHS - Immunisation ~ WHO/Europe - European Immunization Week 2008 ~ European Immunisation Week video ~ Top Ten Winners for UK Immunisations ~ HPA: Vaccination/immunisation ~ New study finds no link between MMR vaccine and autism ~ Don't let your child catch it leaflet ~ Don't let your child catch it poster ~ Introduction of routine HPV vaccination programme ~ Human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) - immunisation research ~ NHS – Immunisation HPV

HC: Never again, hopefully - NHS and private healthcare providers have taken positive steps to improve the monitoring & management of controlled drugs following the Shipman Inquiry. However, the main finding of a new Healthcare Commission report is that more work is necessary to ensure all concerns are picked up, investigated and, where appropriate, action is taken.

The report outlines the steps that have been taken to improve monitoring of controlled drugs since the Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations came into force in England on 1 January 2007, which gave the Healthcare Commission an overarching responsibility to coordinate this work.

The regulations followed the Government’s response to the fourth Shipman Inquiry report, The Regulation of Controlled Drugs in the Community (July 2004) and provide a new legislative structure for the safer management of drugs that are liable to abuse, including narcotics such as diamorphine.
Press release ~ Healthcare Commission – Controlled drugs ~ The safer management of controlled drugs - Annual report 2007 ~ Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations ~ Fourth Shipman Inquiry report, The Regulation of Controlled Drugs in the Community ~ DH – Controlled Drugs ~ Medicines management ~ Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

ScotGov: Eat local and eat well - The Scottish Government has announced that £6m will be invested in businesses producing, processing and marketing local food to help put more local food on Scots' dinner tables. In line with the emerging national food & drink policy, businesses will work closer together, forming local food networks and creating a healthier, more environmentally-friendly supply chain ‘from farm gate to plate’.

Capital grants from the National Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation Scheme have been awarded for a total of £5,997,230 to 27 companies. The scheme is provided under the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP). It does not cover fish, which will be covered by the European Fisheries Fund due to launch later this year.

Up to £10m per year is available to food processors and producers to help:
* Construct new facilities, refurbish existing premises and purchase new equipment
* Support marketing & business, including website development & consumer education
* Provide resources to support collaboration within the food chain such as distribution and accessing markets
Press release ~ Food Awards 2008 ~ ScotGov - Food ~ Food and Drink in Scotland: Key Facts ~ The future of food in Scotland: Analysis of Responses to the national discussion ~ National Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation Scheme ~ Processing and Marketing of Primary Products ~ Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) ~ European Fisheries Fund

ACE: You cannot please everybody all of the time - The Arts Council England has recently published its response to the McIntosh Review – an independent report commissioned by Chief Executive Alan Davey, which examines the process used to reach funding decisions last February.

Baroness Genista McIntosh’s report recognises that the Arts Council has ‘not only the right but the responsibility’ to make hard decisions about funding, but makes a number of recommendations about how that process should be handled in future.
Press release ~ Review of Arts Council England’s regularly funded organisations investment strategy 2007- 08 - Lessons learned (includes the McIntosh review) ~ Arts Council England (See also ‘Annual Reports’ section).

LL UK: An excellent way to find educational information - Lifelong Learning UK reports that the Quality Improvement Agency’s (QIA) Excellence Gateway, a complete online service for all those working in the FE system in England, has been going from strength to strength. Only a year since its launch - the latest data shows a total of 43,460 unique visitors representing almost a 50% rise in less than five months and a 480% increase over the year.

The Excellence Gateway is the largest further education portal available and the main online service for those working in the sector. It incorporates some 50 education websites, a resource bank comprising over 75,000 pages and more than 12,000 separate pieces of content.

These include the quality-assured inspection related materials from the Ofsted Good Practice Database, the new Excellence Gateway TV channel and a news service. Registration & use of the Excellence Gateway is completely free and allows further education staff to save their searches and bookmark resources for future use, submit their own resources, as well as rate & review resources for other users.
Press release ~ Quality Improvement Agency’s (QIA) Excellence Gateway ~ Lifelong Learning UK

BERR: A new focus on consumer rights - The new body being set up by the Government to fight for the rights of consumers will be called Consumer Focus and it will start work on 1 October 2008, merging:
* the National Consumer Council
* Scottish Consumer Council
* Welsh Consumer Council
* energywatch and
* Postwatch
Press release ~ Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 ~ National Consumer Council ~ Energywatch ~ Postwatch ~ Scottish Consumer Council ~ Welsh Consumer Council ~ Consumer Direct

Cabinet Office: How risky is it living in the UK - As announced in the National Security Strategy published earlier this year, the Cabinet Office has published the National Risk Register which sets out the Government assessment of the likelihood and potential impact of a range of different risks that may directly affect the UK. The register also includes details of what the Government and emergency services are doing to prepare for emergencies.
Press release ~ National Risk Register ~ National Security Strategy ~ UK Resilience ~ Risk and Regulation Advisory Council (RRAC) ~ Public Risk - The Next Frontier for Better Regulation ~ Risk, responsibility and regulation. Whose risk is it anyway?

Industry News: Comet Business Services celebrates its 20 year anniversary - Comet Business Services was founded 20 years ago after a request from an organisation requiring a bulk order delivery. Since then, the specialist division has gone from strength to strength, and has amassed a wealth of experience most notably in the Public Sector market. And whilst the business is unrecognisable from the fledgling department 20 years ago, the philosophy remains the same – to offer the widest range of products, at great prices supported by the best possible service.

Today, Comet Business Services offers solutions for a variety of Public Sector organisations with services including up to 10% discount via the Public Sector Discount Card, 4 hour delivery slots, next day delivery, installation and repair, warranties and their Green Collection.
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