DH: Was the only ‘successful’ re-organisation of our health service when the NHS was originally created? - Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, last week set out the Government's ‘ambitious plans to reform the NHS during this Parliament and for the long-term’. The White Paper - Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS - details ‘how power will be devolved from Whitehall to patients & professionals’.
Under the new plans, patients will be able to choose which GP practice they register with, regardless of where they live, and choose between consultant-led teams.
Groups of GPs will be given freedom & responsibility for commissioning care for their local communities. Strategic Health Authorities & Primary Care Trusts will be phased out.
This White Paper is the start of an extensive consultation that will take place over the coming weeks. The Department of Health will shortly be publishing a number of consultation documents to seek views on more detailed proposals.
Defra: First World ‘greening’ can often come at great cost to the environment of the Third World - A radical research programme to map how the UK uses imported palm oil could halt the loss of rainforest thousands of miles away. Palm oil is a cheap ‘miracle product’ used in food, cosmetics, animal feed, tyres and biodiesel.
But the expansion of plantations in South East Asia is wiping out forests, driving up greenhouse emissions and threatening wildlife such as the orang-utan. Work on the research project is due to begin in July 2010, with the initial findings announced early in 2011.
The oil can be grown sustainably without damaging forests & wildlife and the research project will for the first time examine how palm oil is used by consumers in the UK. It will document how much we use, how much of that is sustainably sourced and consider how changes can be made to lessen environmental damage.
Also starting in July (under the Defra partnership with China on sustainable development) is a project working with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to develop the ‘business case’ for sourcing sustainable palm oil for Chinese companies and to draw up options for the Chinese Government to encourage sustainable sourcing. China is the world’s largest country consumer of palm oil, followed by the EU & India
ScotGov: Democracy in action or just a way of deflecting blame for necessary cuts in services? - A ‘comprehensive, wide-ranging programme of public engagement will help ensure the people of Scotland have their say on the country's next budget’, Finance Secretary, John Swinney, said recently.
Publication of the Independent Budget Review (IBR) at the end of the month would trigger a period of consultation, led by Government, but providing the whole of society with a chance to air their views.
The public engagement will feature public meetings and online tools to allow groups & individuals across Scotland to get involved. Full details will be announced when the IBR is published. An analysis published by Scottish Government economists recently shows Scotland could lose some £42bn over the next 16 years.
CRC: One suspects that public sector cuts will make rural life even tougher - The Commission for Rural Communities has been working with the NHF, CPRE, the Countryside Alliance and ACRE in producing a new report - Affordable Housing – keeping villages alive. Over the last year the NHF has been working on raising the profile of affordable rural housing as a means to creating more vibrant & sustainable rural communities.
Villages have a long history of resilience & self help. In tackling today’s challenges, many rural communities have identified affordable housing as part of the solution. Typically, just a handful of well designed homes can help sustain more local services & jobs for local people.
WAG: Should the State have a right to a share of both our estate & body for the greater good of society? - The Welsh Assembly Government will seek the power to introduce presumed consent for organ donation in Wales, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has confirmed. Wales aims to be the first UK country to introduce such a system, where people have to opt out of the organ donation system rather than opt in.
Under the proposed ‘soft’ system of presumed consent, health professionals will still consult with families on whether they wish their relative to donate an organ after death.
The First Minister said he hoped the move would increase the number of organs available for transplant. Latest figures from the end of March show that there were 333 people on the waiting list for a transplant in Wales.
: IT Agility through Application Delivery Networking - The delivery of secure and fast applications that are always available across any network has been hotly pursued by both government and business communities for years. But this can only be achieved with a fundamental change in mindset – away from being led by tactical or static applications (eg, load balancing), towards optimising the strategic advantages which rest, often untapped, within application delivery networking (ADN).
ADN is not only an approach but also a suite of technologies that can transform IT and help organisations create an agile IT infrastructure that aligns with their business demands.
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