CO: It has always been a question of ‘who you know’, not ‘what you know’, even for some manual jobs - A new strategy to ensure everyone has a fair opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, was published last week by the Deputy PM. The strategy, Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers, focuses on inter-generational social mobility: ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to do better than their parents.
It aims to tackle unfairness at every stage of life with specific measures to improve social mobility from the Foundation Years to school & adulthood. The Government has also published its child poverty strategy; Tackling the causes of disadvantage and transforming families’ lives. A year after the Child Poverty Act it, sets out how the Government will transform people’s lives by breaking the entrenched cycle of deprivation.
As part of this agenda, a new Social Mobility & Child Poverty Commission will be established, strengthening the role of the Child Poverty Commission in holding the Government to account. The Commission will report to Parliament and ‘monitor & drive progress towards ending child poverty, improving life chances and increasing social mobility’.
To set up the new Commission the government will amend legislation and (in the interim period) will broaden the remit of the current Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility, Alan Milburn, to include child poverty.
DH: Protectionism or justified caution regarding speed of changes? - PM David Cameron, DPM Nick Clegg and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley have launched the Government’s listening exercise on NHS modernisation. Setting out the Government’s desire to modernise the NHS with the support of patients, the public & health professionals, Andrew Lansley announced that engagement over the coming weeks will focus on:
* The role of choice & competition for improving quality
* How to ensure public accountability & patient involvement in the new system
* How new arrangements for education & training can support the modernisation process
* How advice from across a range of healthcare professions can improve patient care
Andrew Lansley also announced that a ‘new group of patient representatives, doctors & nurses will be brought together to listen and report back to Government’. Chaired by Birmingham GP & former Royal College of General Practitioners Chairman, Steve Field, the new 'NHS Future Forum’ will provide a valuable channel for the thoughts & opinions of patients and staff on the ground.
CQC: Small groups but often with bigger problems - The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published the results of the final Count me in census about the ethnicity of mental health inpatients and calls for organisations beyond the healthcare sector to help improve mental health & well-being among black & minority ethnic (BME) groups.
Greater understanding is needed about the factors that lead to the variations that exist between the proportions of some ethnic groups on mental health wards, says CQC. Early intervention is vital to reduce the need for admitting people to hospital.
CQC also says the proposed NHS Commissioning Board and general practitioner (GP) consortia, under the Government’s health reforms, will have a crucial part to play. They will have a statutory obligation to promote equality & reduce inequalities in healthcare, something that is also enshrined in the Equality Act 2010.