This first WGPlus newsletter of 2011 includes some items published since the last newsletter of 2010 in addition to items for the week 10 – 16 January 2011.
Civitas: Change (especially rapid change) is not always for the best - The wholesale abolition of Primary Care Trusts proposed in the NHS White Paper could have a negative impact on patient care, and ‘should be halted in favour of a more incremental approach to commissioning reform’, according to a new report released by independent think-tank Civitas.
A risky business: the White Paper and the NHS argues that the Government's approach to the latest reorganisation of the health service could undermine hopes of making efficiency gains in many areas of the country, which are crucial if services are to retain the current level of provision.
It follows comments by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, at a recent Health Select Committee hearing, that some PCTs are now 'effectively in meltdown'. Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, agreed with that description. Moreover, at a King's Fund breakfast recently, Robert Creighton, CE of Ealing PCT suggested 'this could be a bloody awful train crash'.
In response to concerns like these, Oliver Letwin MP (Number 10's policy-fixer) has been brought in to scrutinise the new health policy. The report poses 12 big questions that Letwin should be asking of the reforms. Another publication by Civitas (Refusing Treatment: the NHS and market-based reform) documented the findings of an in-depth study of commissioning in the NHS. It pointed to a number of weaknesses.
PT: Guiding them to ‘a safe port’ - A 2-part documentary has been made about the ‘Working one to one with young offenders’ project in Northern Ireland. The first part was shown on BBC1 Northern Ireland on 4 January 2011 and the second part was shown on 11 January. Each part of the documentary can be viewed on BBC iplayer for the 7 days following broadcast.
This Prince's Trust project enables former offenders to support young offenders through their transition from custody to the community. The mentors work as a team by visiting the prison on a monthly basis to deliver a motivational talk to a group of young people. Mentors share their life experience to inspire young people that they too can turn their life around and live successfully.
NHSC: ‘Feeling Better’ is a vital part of ‘Getting Better’ - A report published by the NHS Confederation last week argues that the importance of patient experience should not be forgotten amid efforts to find savings & efficiencies in the health service. A new NHS Confederation report - Feeling better? Improving patient experience in hospital - looks at what we know about improving patients' experiences of hospital care.
The report says that well informed patients who feel they are listened to and are comfortable in their surroundings are less likely to develop complications or need readmission. It also cites case studies from the US which suggest that this can also lead to better performance against measures of mortality as well as producing better long-term health prospects for patients.
IfG: Helping Public Bodies adapt to their 'New Year Diets' - The Institute for Government and Public Chairs Forum (PCF) have published a joint guide to help arm's length bodies & departments manage the transitions set out by the government on the future of public bodies, announced in October 2010. It pulls together a selection of case studies, lessons learned, and experiences from quangos that have already managed major organisational change such as the:
* Hearing Aid Council
* Learning and Skills Council
* General Medical Council.
There are currently over 900 quangos, accounting for 13% of total government expenditure. The government announced plans to close, merge or radically reform a third of these bodies. The guide builds on a joint seminar run by the PCF and the Institute for Government in 2010 and it identifies the key components for successful transitions, based around 5 central themes.
Spotlight on Lean in the Public Sector – A Wired-GOV Special Report - The first in a series of features we will be running, the aim of which is to focus on a significant part of public sector management, Spotlight on Lean focuses on a discipline which has been mistakenly thought to be a thinly veiled ruse to reduce headcount and cut spending.
On the contrary, for those who understand its true intentions and outcomes, Lean can deliver huge benefits to the organisation, its staff and customers and can become the keystone in the management of the severe budget reductions all public bodies are now facing. We have sought to explode the myths surrounding Lean, to reveal the real value that its successful application can bring, and to highlight how Lean is having dramatic effects within certain departments and agencies today with commissioned articles from key practitioners, leading academics along with case studies from HMRC, MoJ and Home Office.
View and Download Spotlight on Lean in the Public Sector