DH: If NHS spending has trebled since 1997, why hasn’t it happened already? - Building work to finally eliminate mixed-sex accommodation in hospitals across England has started with over 700 projects planned across 200 organisations, Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced.
The work is part of the government's pledge to ensure that men and women will not have to share sleeping areas, bathrooms or toilets when admitted to hospital and that their privacy & dignity is upheld whenever possible.
Some improvement works started in April 2009 after Alan Johnson allocated a £100m Privacy and Dignity Fund to all Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) in England. Approximately £40m of the funding has been allocated for new & refurbished same-sex sanitary facilities such as bathrooms, with the rest spent on other work including:
* Erecting separating walls
* Provision of same-sex lounges
* Improved partitions
* Approved pan-trust bed management systems
SE: Triumphs over adversities - Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, has challenged everyone in sport to do more to encourage participation by people with learning disabilities. He laid down the gauntlet as Sport England announced an investment of £200,000 in the 2009 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games.
Thousands of athletes are expected to compete in the games, supported by over a thousand coaches and 2,000 volunteers. The event, which is open to children & adults with a learning disability, is being staged in Leicester from 25 to 31 July 2009.
WAG: Simpler paperwork for Welsh Farmers - Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has announced a shift in approach to land management schemes in Wales. From 2012, the 5 existing agri-environment schemes will be replaced by 1 scheme – Glastir - which is ‘better positioned to meet current & future environmental challenges’.
The announcement meets the One Wales commitment to undertake a review of programmes under Axis 2 of the Rural Development Plan. The 5 existing schemes are Tir Gofal, Tir Cynnal, Tir Mynydd, the Organic Farming Scheme and the Better Woodlands for Wales scheme.
As a consequence of the announcement Tir Gofal and Tir Cynnal schemes will close to new entrants with immediate effect. Those farmers who are in the process of negotiating a management agreement or have received an initial farm visit will have their applications processed. The last Tir Mynydd payment will be in 2011.
Transitional relief will be in place to bridge the gap between the closure of existing schemes and the opening of the new scheme. The delivery of the new land management arrangements is subject to agreement with the European Commission. A formal proposal will be submitted to the Commission next month.
HO: Sticking doggedly to a justifiable system or just a ‘Dog’s Breakfast’? - New proposals to ‘reassure the public’ that the right people are kept on the DNA database have been outlined by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in a public consultation (closes on 7 August 2009) - 'Keeping the right people on the DNA database'.
The consultation includes plans to:
* Destroy all DNA samples like mouth swabs, hair or blood as soon as they are converted into a profile
* Automatically delete profiles of those arrested but not convicted of serious violent or sexual crimes after 12 years
* Automatically delete profiles of those arrested but not convicted of all other crimes after 6 years
* Retain indefinitely all DNA profiles & fingerprints of those convicted of a recordable offence
* Remove profiles of young people arrested but not convicted, or convicted for less serious offences as a teenager, when they turn 18
* Change the law to retrospectively add all serious violent & sexual criminals who were convicted before the DNA database was established, including those who are now back in the community
* Change the law to allow the police to take DNA from those who were convicted of serious violent & sexual crimes abroad upon their return to the UK
* Keep fingerprints for those arrested but not convicted of serious violent or sexual crimes for 12 years, and 6 years for all other crimes, before automatic deletion
DH: Can the NHS ever be run on commercial lines? - The government claims that commercial & procurement skills across the NHS will receive a major boost to help deliver high quality, personalised care for patients, following the publication of a new Commercial Operating Model (COM) by the Department of Health. Changes will be implemented over the next 12 months.
The COM is intended to improve support & increase commercial capability throughout the NHS by:
* creating new regional Commercial Support Units (CSUs), offering a range of dedicated commercial support to NHS health care providers & service commissioners to ‘help them improve their skills, gain better value from procurement and respond more effectively to the commercial challenges of operating in today's NHS’
* making the 10-year NHS Supply Chain contract work harder & smarter to deliver greater efficiencies for providers & commissioners alike, with more transparent pricing, increased responsiveness and better strategic management
* transferring the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency's (PASA) functions to organisations that can add greater scope, scale and impact to the procurement of goods and services
* creating a new commercial centre within the Department of Health - the Procurement, Investment and Commercial and Division (PICD) to strengthen commercial & procurement support for the department
* ensuring that the third, voluntary and private sector have a clear & visible point of contact in each region
Cabinet Office: After all our taxes paid for its ‘collection’ - Minister for Digital Engagement, Tom Watson, has outlined the next steps in the Government's Power of Information (POI) programme. In a speech to the NESTA / UNESCO Public Service Media 2009 Conference, the Minister announced plans for an overhaul of Crown Copyright rules that will make it easier for citizens to re-use Government information and new standards that will 'improve the quality of official websites'.
Ofsted: Ofsted responds to child safety reports - Ofsted has published its responses to Lord Laming’s inquiry The Protection of Children in England: A Progress Report and to Sir Roger Singleton’s report Keeping Our Children Safe, a review of safeguarding arrangements in independent schools, non-maintained special schools and boarding schools in England.
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