Can standards be maintained?

People’s experience of accessing general practice remains positive, with almost 9 in 10 patients reporting in 2014-15 that they could get an appointment.  Patient satisfaction with access is, however, gradually & consistently declining and a fifth of patients report opening hours are not convenient, according to a report from the National Audit Office.

Worsening access to general practice matters: if patients cannot access general practice they are more likely to suffer poorer health outcomes or to use other, more expensive, NHS services such as A&E departments.

Researched Links:

NAO:  Stocktake of access to general practice in England

Patients Association - NAO report: Stocktake of access to general practice in England

ScotGov:  Blueprint for out-of-hours care

King’s Fund:  Primary Care

They do a 4-year Masters Degree (MPharm) + 1 year preregistration training

Primary Care Transformation Fund promises major upgrades to GP premises

PM pledges to deliver 7-day GP services by 2020

1 in 4 GP appointments potentially avoidable

Major change to bureaucratic system of GP payments

CQC inspectors highlight good care as reports are published on 63 more GP practices

Urgent action is a moral imperative – Tim Kelsey

NICE announces new indicators for improving care in general practice

NHS Confed - The art of the possible community health services role in new care models

NHS Confed and NAPC response to Hunt's new deal for general practice

CAB:  Almost £400m a year spent on GPs doing non-health work

New GP return to practice scheme launched nationally

ScotGov:  Review of out-of-hours primary care

New plan to improve primary care services in Wales unveiled

Reducing visits to A&E

Hospitals are too expensive for anything but specialist ‘non-mobile’ treatment

Way forward for the NHS in the community


Digital Maturity in the NHS Survey:
Take part for your chance to win £100 worth of M&S Vouchers! 

NHS England believes an enhanced use of digital technologies can deliver significant efficiency and quality of care improvements across health and care services.

Towards this goal, national health bodies require that providers complete a digital maturity assessment by January 2016, and that CCGs complete a digital roadmap by April 2016

This survey has been designed to evaluate the readiness of organisations to complete these objectives, and identify key success factors for the stepwise digital transformation programme outlined in the “Five Year Forward View”

The survey should take less than 2 minutes to complete and closes at 5pm, Friday, 18th December 2015

Click here to take part in the survey and enter the prize draw!

‘After Care’ is as important as treatment in hospital
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGA’s Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, responded to a study from the Royal Voluntary Service which shows that family networks struggle to support older people leaving hospital; "With increasing demand and continued funding pressures, elderly & vulnerable people face an uncertain future where the dignified care & support they deserve, such as getting back to independence, help getting dressed or getting out and about, is at risk”.
Researched Links:

LGA responds to royal voluntary service report of families supporting older people

RVS:  Let's end going home alone

Something for IPSIS to start with!

Joined-up care by law

EHRC:  Britain must do more to tackle ‘virus of social isolation’

A matter of concern for most people (eventually)

We won’t be able to afford the NHS unless we ‘solve’ this problem

It saves the state £bns

Make a single person responsible for discharging patients to avoid delays

Cutting reliance on paper will make patients safer, says NHS England

HealthWatch inquiry illustrates our call for action to ensure the safety of homeless people leaving hospital

Getting hospital discharge right would stop suffering and save £ms

Supporting people who need social care, as they move between hospital and home: NICE consults on draft guidance

Community Pharmacy Discharge Medicine Service to continue

Saving the world!
Paris in the news again for more ‘positive’ reasons than recently, but the threat could be even greater than ISIL, even if it hasn’t dominated the UK news;
Researched Links:

10DS:  CHOGM 2015: PM announces package of support for small island developing states to tackle climate change

10DS:  UK joins new international clean energy initiative

10DS:  PM speech to the COP21 summit in Paris

Met Office: COP21

Met Office:  Find out how climate action could shape future vulnerability to food insecurity

Climate change adaptation in Europe: tracking progress & sharing know-how

Many Europeans still exposed to harmful air pollution

PX:  Nearly 25% of all school children in London are exposed to illegal & harmful levels of air pollution

WWF welcomes Unilever’s new commitment

WWF-UK response to HRH The Prince of Wales’ opening speech to the Paris climate talks

techUK:  Low carbon innovation gets a huge boost during the first day of climate talks

WAG:  Minister to highlight pioneering Welsh approach to tackling climate change in Paris

Time to start reading Dickens again?

Will ‘safety’ always trump possible ‘solutions’?

UK-India partnership on energy & climate change agreed

Studying the causes of extreme weather in 2014

Coal is choking and renewable energy growing says new WWF report

CCC: Setting parameters for UK efforts to tackle climate change

EU agrees next steps to tackling climate change

WWF:  Crisis in global oceans as populations of marine species halve in size since 1970

Big changes underway in the climate system?

Urgent action needed now to avoid increasing costs and impacts of climate change in the UK

Make things last to tackle climate change

UK should appoint an Ambassador for the Arctic

Response to the report by the Centre for Policy Studies

From sunlight to jet fuel: EU project makes first ‘solar’ kerosene

Children will bear the brunt of climate change: Unicef

CCC: Next step towards low-carbon economy requires 57% emissions reduction by 2030

CCC:  New low-carbon electricity generation is cost-effective option for UK power sector investment in 2020s & beyond

New report highlights changing fortunes of grasshoppers, crickets and allied species

Shift from coal requires stronger support for renewables, says TUC

Sodexo and WWF pilot Green & Lean meals

New direction for UK energy policy

Government announces plans to close coal power stations by 2025

EC welcomes strong EU commitment to boost climate assistance for developing countries

Rather worrying given current situation with terrorist threats and migration crisis
The Home Office spent at least £830m between 2003 & 2015 on the e-borders programme and its successors, delivering some valuable new capabilities, but has so far failed to deliver the full vision, according to a recent report from the National Audit Office.
Researched Links:

NAO:  E-borders and successor programmes

techUK:  NAO report on e-Borders draws valuable lessons for wider Government

PC&PE:  Committee calls for risk based check pilot at borders

Launch of US Global Entry Service to British citizens

New visa system announced for Kuwaiti visitors to UK

New eGates at Heathrow Airport signal future of expedited travel

Launch of Biometric Residence Permits in Mauritius

EU signs visa waiver agreements with 7 ACP countries

Temporary passport extension stamp ends for British citizens living abroad

Registered Traveller scheme extended

'Exporting the border'? An inspection of e-Borders - Independent

MPs call on Home Office to take direct responsibility for Borders 'Agency'

Best practice of EU countries in the field of integrated border management

Home Secretary letter on the e-Borders programme arbitration

Supplier Locator: December update…

Many of WiredGov’s stakeholder departments within Central Government have been working hard to deliver on the Government’s pledge that 25% of all direct and indirect central government spend should be with SMEs by 2015 but there is still a great deal more work to be done.

Against this backdrop, our Supplier Locator service has been developed specifically to embrace the SME Agenda and provide the ideal platform for SME’s to promote their services, solutions, accreditation and success stories directly to our ever increasing audience across all government and public sector verticals and Tier 1 suppliers.The most recent arrivals to the Supplier Locator include:

Business Systems (UK) Ltd

Global Services Consultancy


Moore-Wilson New Media Ltd


Sample Answers

Click here to find out how to register your company with the Supplier Locator.

A growing problem with another ‘immigrant’
Boaters, anglers & others who visit the River Ouse around Bedford are being asked to report any sightings of floating pennywort to the Environment Agency.  The plant can quickly establish dense mats of vegetation, out-competing native species & dominating watercourses.  The plant chokes waterways making it difficult for boats to navigate and increases the risk of flooding by clogging channels.  It can also pose a threat to fish & other aquatic life by starving the water of light, oxygen & nutrients.
Researched Links:

EA:  Help track down invasive plant on the Bedford Ouse

Floating pennywort

Angling Trust

Make children exercise at school?
Health Committee publishes report saying the scale & consequences of childhood obesity demand bold & urgent action from Government.  Treating obesity and its consequences is currently estimated to cost the NHS £5.1bn every year.  By contrast, the UK spends only around £638m on obesity prevention programmes.
Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Childhood obesity demands bold Government action committee report finds

LGA:  Obesity crisis - Councils respond to HoC Health Committee report on obesity

BBC:  Stirling school kids run or walk a mile a day to keep fit

Adam Smith Inst:  Sugar taxes will further distort the cost of living

IEA:  A sugary drinks tax will hit the poorest the hardest

Every little ‘reduces’

A bitter pill for most

Joined-up care in early years

CMO: Prevention pays - our children deserve better

New Change4Life campaign encourages families to make sugar swaps

NICE issues standard on improving maternal & child nutrition

Helping children & adults manage diabetes: NICE publishes updated suite of guidelines

The potential benefits are ‘dodgy’ and now it appears the human cost is rising unnecessarily as well
A small, tight-knit community was denied the chance to stay together due to a catalogue of errors by HS2 Ltd, an investigation by the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman has found.  A group of 6 families, from Staffordshire, fell victim of a number of failings by HS2 Ltd over 2 years, placing them under severe stress & worry, hugely impacting their home lives, jobs, careers & health.
Researched Links:

National Ombudsmen:  Community faces separation after their only chance to remain together was squandered by HS2 Ltd

Editor’s Commentary: The devil is in the detail with consultations

Poor Government case for a £50bn investment in HS2

Lessons learned from major rail infrastructure programmes report published

PM and Chancellor give green light to develop HS3

Government refused to raise ambition of HS2's environmental protections

NEF - We’re still not asking the right questions about HS2

Just what is the BBC for?
Think Tank IPPR has published a collection of essays from leading media commentators on the future of the BBC, amid the Charter Review into the licence fee and remit of the public service broadcaster.  There is general agreement that the BBC is a valued & trusted broadcaster that is doing a lot right, and that the licence fee should be retained.  However there are concerns that the BBC is insufficiently distinctive, particularly in peak times, relying on endless repeats & recommissioned ‘hardy-annuals’.
Researched Links:

IPPR:  Future of the BBC - ‘Auntie’ is valued but needs to improve service amid Charter Review, say leading media figures

ScotGov:  BBC shake-up could deliver major economic boost

ScotGov:  Priorities for BBC Charter Renewal

BBC pleads poverty

BBC ‘luvvies’ have already started protesting at possible threat to their ‘mega fees’

Building Young Futures
A partnership programme between UNICEF UK and Barclays, has reached more than 90,000 young people across 6 countries.  Over 3 years, the programme has helped to create 11,000 new businesses and has delivered sustainable long term change for young people.
Researched Links:

Pioneering Barclays and UNICEF global youth employment programme leaves impressive ongoing legacy, says independent evaluation report

Building young futures four years on

Building Young Futures brochure

Help form policy
Call for evidence from all interested parties for a review into how local Council Tax support schemes are working across the country.  The review follows the reform of Council Tax benefit to give councils the power to design their own schemes according to their local needs.

CLG:  Launch of review into Council Tax support

ScotGov:  Council Tax Reduction for over 500,000 Scots

Patient Safety Alert
A Patient Safety Alert has been issued by NHS England to raise awareness of the importance of taking, recording & responding to vital signs where restraint has been used to manage a person’s behaviour if they are at risk to themselves or others.

NHS England:  Patient safety alert – The importance of checking vital signs during and after restrictive interventions/manual restraint


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

Researched Links:

WAG:  Cross-party support for a long-lasting fair funding agreement welcomed – Jane Hutt


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

It's been a turbulent year for UK public services. Ever-diminishing budgets in local government. A civil service now at its smallest since the second world war. An NHS in debt, and a police service preparing for terrorist attack.
We expect next year to be just as challenging, which is why we're asking members of our network to help us find leaders to advise us on our content over the next 12 months. The time has come to appoint a new Guardian Public Leaders editorial advisory board for 2016.
Once again, we want a board that reflects all those who deliver public services, including central and local government and the private and voluntary sectors. Nominees can work in any organisation and in any sector, as long as they have a proven role in public services. Nominate here.

Also on the network
Why it matters that the chancellor won't fund council technology

Why it matters that the chancellor won't fund council technology
Investment in digital directly improves services such as social care, but only central government lucks out

The greenest city mayors take home the fight against climate change

The greenest city mayors take home the fight against climate change
An organic farmer turned politician, a woman with solar panels on her shed and a man who cycles in snow

This is not a plea for sympathy, but I want you to know police officers are people too

This is not a plea for sympathy, but I want you to know police officers are people too
Letter to the public: I have seen more misery than is good for anyone, and cuts are making it even harder

On universal credit
Universal credit could prove an uphill struggle for low income families

Universal credit could prove an uphill struggle for low income families
Receiving monthly benefits could encourage better control of finances, but many will end up worse off

Universal credit is undermining even the Tory ambition to make work pay

Universal credit is undermining even the Tory ambition to make work pay
Emily Thornberry: Drastic cuts to the Tory flagship welfare reform will hit single parents hardest

News in brief
• West Midlands can rival 'northern powerhouse', says Birmingham leader
• Worcestershire NHS trust placed in special measures due to safety concerns
• Only one-quarter of Britons believe legal system is fair
• Junior doctors' strike called off but disruption still widespread
• Cuts ‘to hit care of elderly in poorest areas’, warns LGA
• Bob Kerslake to review whether Treasury is 'fit for purpose'