A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison (Francis Bacon)

The King’s Fund has published a new report which shows that the psychological problems associated with physical health conditions, & vice versa, are costing the NHS more than £11bn a year and care is less effective than it could be.  The report argues that by integrating physical & mental health care the NHS can improve health outcomes and save money.

The £11bn a year is the collective cost of:

  • high rates of mental health issues among those with long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease
  • limited support for the psychological aspects of physical health, for example during & after pregnancy
  • poor management of ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ such as persistent pain or tiredness

The separation between physical & mental health has a high human cost: the life expectancy for people with severe mental illness (such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia) is 15 to 20 years below that of the general population, largely as a result of physical health conditions.

Researched Links:

Kings Fund:  £11bn cost of treating physical & mental health separately

NHS Confederation:  Mental Health Network welcomes the Kings Fund report on the cost of treating mental & physical health separately

NHS Confederation:  Funding for children's mental health services is not reaching the front line

Is it because we cannot see / touch mental health symptoms?

Not everyone is capable of asking for checks

When Mother & baby are at their most vulnerable

Working towards better mental health

This impacts on the economy as well as individuals

One never knows if a sudden crisis will impact on you or a family member

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This has been an issue for decades

The Health Secretary has announced plans to improve NHS safety transparency at the first ministerial-level Global Patient Safety Summit.  He described a range of new measures including an independent Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and legal protection for anyone giving information following a hospital mistake.

 Legal ‘safe spaces’ will mean those co-operating with investigations will be supported and protected to speak up to help bring new openness to the NHS’s response to tragic mistakes.  Families will be told the full truth more quickly and the NHS will become better at learning when things go wrong and acting upon it.

From April 2018, expert medical examiners will independently review & confirm the cause of all deaths. This was originally recommended by the Shipman Inquiry, and subsequently by Robert Francis following the events of Mid Staffs.  If any death needs to be investigated and if there is cause for concern, appropriate action will be taken.

Researched Links:

DH:  Plans to end the cover-up culture in the NHS

DH:  An NHS that learns from mistakes

Monitor:  New league launched to encourage openness in the NHS

NHS Confed:  Response to Secretary of State for Health 'learning from mistakes' league table

The fact that the numbers are ‘statistically small’ is NOT comforting

Is the NHS just too big to improve?

If you don’t ‘complain’ someone else may ‘suffer’ in a similar situation

An ‘illness’ that impacts on the whole family

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has published the dementia implementation plan which will empower people with dementia and their family through improved care & transparency.  As part of the government’s aim of building a higher-quality NHS for patients, with safer care throughout the week, the dementia implementation plan will make sure:

  • for the first time, people with dementia and their families will benefit from greater transparency and will be able to compare the quality of dementia care in their local area
  • the Care Quality Commission will include standards of dementia care in their inspections to make sure services are safer for people with dementia 7 days a week
  • every person with dementia will receive a personalised care plan

As part of plans to raise awareness of health concerns, a new pilot scheme will extend NHS Health Checks. For the first time, NHS Health Checks will include awareness raising, education & discussion of risk reduction for dementia for people aged 40 or older.  This is currently only available for over 65s.

Researched Links:

DH:  Health Secretary unveils plans for safer 7-day dementia service

NHS England:  Dementia Declaration has potential for step change in care

LGA responds to Prime Minister's 2020 Dementia Challenge

Would you want your mother/father treated like this?

Unlike ‘Death & Taxes’ we CAN do something about it

Balancing ‘needs’ & ‘wishes’

Trouble is many of us stopped living healthily in middle-age!
Living healthily in midlife can double your chances of being healthy at 70 & beyond.  Everyday habits & behaviours, such as eating too much unhealthy food, drinking more than is recommended, continuing to smoke and not being active enough, are responsible for around 40% of all deaths in England, and cost the NHS more than £11bn a year.
Researched Links:

DH/PHE launches One You

LGA responds to launch of One You Campaign

We cannot afford more diabetics

Evidently it’s not just little girls that are made of ‘sugar & spice and all things nice’

NHS Chief announces plan to support ten healthy new towns

HCA:  Health & well-being to be at the heart of Northstowe

LGA:  Premature deaths: more people need to take up grassroots sports to live longer, say councils

Membership of social groups after retirement ‘boosts health & wellbeing’

40 cycling schemes underway on England’s biggest roads

New global overview of physical activity

Chronic smoking-related lung disease blights over 1m lives in England

Visits to the great outdoors reach record high, survey reveals

Encouraging physical activity

Funding for physical activity

LGA response to Health Committee report on physical activity & diet

Step into Spring with over 40 TfL free guided walks

Put your best foot forward this May

New campaign launched as dementia tops the list of health worries in Wales

Nicotine “no more harmful to health than caffeine”

Most Ethnic Groups Report Better Health than ‘White: Scottish’

New resources to improve health through the home

£50m endowment award to Centre for Ageing Better

Healthier eating made easier than ever for Scotland’s families

New NICE guidelines set out how high street dentists can promote better oral health

NICE guideline to improve quality of life for older people with multiple long-term conditions who need social care support

‘Frailty’ may be inevitable with age, but its ‘management’ can still allow an ‘active’ lifestyle

SME Supplier Locator update...

UK Government and public sector spend with SME’s is continually on the increase and by 2020, it is the stated intent of Cabinet Office that £1 of every £3 spent on government contracts goes to SME’s. The past 5 years have seen government make a priority of getting money through its supply chain into the hands of SMEs, by both setting targets and introducing new procurement mechanisms.

Against this backdrop, the WiredGov 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.

Click here to find out more and view this week’s new arrivals to the SME Supplier Locator service. 

You don’t have to make an appointment to see one
Pharmacists across Wales will provide new NHS services for people with minor illnesses.  The Choose Pharmacy service will see pharmacists take responsibility for managing a range of minor ailments. People will be able to see their pharmacist for free treatment instead of making an appointment to see their GP. The scheme will help to free up GP time to deal with people with more complex needs – up to 18% of GPs’ workload and 8% of A&E consultations are estimated to relate to minor ailments, such as coughs, colds, ear ache, hay fever, conjunctivitis and head lice.
Researched Links:

WAG:  New Choose Pharmacy scheme to be rolled out across Wales

Evaluation of the Choose Pharmacy common ailments service

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

Are we too protective?
A major new study for the Food Standards Agency has found that introducing allergenic foods to the infant diet from 3 months of age may be effective in food allergy prevention if the recommended quantity of allergenic food was consumed.

FSA:  Giving allergenic foods to infants from 3 months old may prevent allergies

And that is without considering the latest EU migration issue
A Public Accounts Committee report calls for clarity over the management of the UK's borders – warning that the Home Office's e-Borders programme and its successors are ‘set to cost over a £bns, be delivered 8 years late, and not provide the expected benefits’.
Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Serious concerns over borders programme 'vital to national security'

PC&PE:  Shortage of asylum seeker accommodation and "appalling" prejudice, says report

Rather worrying given current situation with terrorist threats and migration crisis

If it works and is ‘secure’
The National Infrastructure Commission recently published its first report Smart Power stating that the by UK could save up to £8bn a year 2030 with a smarter, more flexible electricity system.  The report finds that by supporting innovations in interconnection, storage & demand flexibility Government can help secure UK energy supply for generations.
Researched Links:

techUK:  Smart energy could save £8bn a year

Smart grid technology can help UK tackle carbon emissions

New energy data sharing systems to be developed

WAG:  New scheme launched to help public sector save money and become more energy efficient

New tools available for National Grid to manage tight Electricity Supplies from Winter 2014/15

The role of energy innovation in helping the UK to meet its low carbon & energy security goals

Put to the test: smart energy solutions for the military

Energy Security: Operational Highlights - NATO

NATO's energy security agenda

Smart Grid and Cyber Security for Energy Assurance

Independence for Scotland just doesn’t add up

Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) 2014-15 has been announced by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

*Scottish total public sector revenue (including an illustrative geographic share of North Sea revenue) is estimated at £53.4bn (8.2% of UK public sector revenue).

*Total expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the ScotGov, UK Government, and all other parts of the public sector was £68.4bn (9.3% of total UK public sector expenditure - £12,800 per person, which is £1,400 per person greater than the UK average.

Net Fiscal Balance 2014-15:

  • Including an illustrative geographic share of North Sea revenue, was a deficit of £14.9bn (9.7% of GDP).
  • For the UK, was a deficit of £89bn (4.9% of GDP).
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2014-15

ScotGov:  Foundations of Scottish economy strong – FM

IPPR Scotland: The '£2bn question' facing Scotland

Editorial Commentary: Is the SNP threat of another Referendum realistic?

And it will be the English taxpayer who has to pay for setting it up & funding those ‘flexibilities’

And without a Degree of Debt
200,000 apprenticeships will be created in the public sector by 2020, of which over 30,000 will be in the Civil Service.  The Civil Service Fast Track programme gives people the chance to earn a competitive salary while they work towards a Level 4 Apprenticeship, gaining the skills & experience that they’ll need for a successful career in the Civil Service.  Apprentices will be able to apply for roles in business, commercial, digital, finance, project delivery and communications.

CO:  Matt Hancock opens Civil Service Fast Track apprenticeships scheme

Editorial Commentary:
Do you know your GDPR from your DPA 1998?

As most people know, one of the prime requirements of Data Protection is to keep one’s data / secrets safe and it appears that one of the current best kept secrets in the public sector is GDPR, or the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation……..

The Reform consists of two instruments:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation will enable people to better control their personal data. At the same time modernised and unified rules will allow businesses to make the most of the opportunities of the Digital Single Market by cutting red tape and benefiting from reinforced consumer trust.
  • The Data Protection Directive for the police & criminal justice sector will ensure that the data of victims, witnesses, and suspects of crimes, are duly protected in the context of a criminal investigation or a law enforcement action. At the same time more harmonised laws will also facilitate cross-border cooperation of police or prosecutors to combat crime & terrorism more effectively across Europe.

The reform is intended to allow people to regain control of their personal data.  Following political agreement reached in trilogue, the final texts will be formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council at the beginning 2016.  The new rules will become applicable 2 years thereafter.

Quoting Public Technology.net; …fines have been agreed as part of a draft General Data Protection Regulation which is aimed at regulating the processing of citizens’ data across the continent.  Businesses breaching the rules face the massive fines, but the text of the new directive allows the UK government to restrict the scope of the rules under a number of circumstances which are likely to cover government. Councils uncertain over effect of European Union GDPR

It looks like the Information Commissioner’s Office, Socitm, techUK, et al. have a busy 2 years ahead of them publishing guidance and getting the UK public sector up to speed on this issue over the next 2 years!

Researched Links:

Agreement on Commission's EU data protection reform will boost Digital Single Market

A further step towards comprehensive EU data protection

ICO:  “20m reasons for organisations to get EU data reforms right”

EC proposal on new data protection rules in law enforcement area backed by Justice Ministers

The UK and France create new joint Data Taskforce

Public Technology.net:  EU data protection – What does the new regulation mean for public sector suppliers?

EPP New General Data Protection Regulation is response to questions of the last century

Pinsent Masons:  GDPR

Ashfords:  The new EU General Data Protection Regulation is finally here


 More contributions to the EU Referendum

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

Researched Links:

Electoral Commission opens applications for EU Referendum lead campaigner designation

WWF:  EU Vote: The UK’s Leading Conservation bodies call on ‘In’ and ‘Out’ camps to say what they will do for the environment


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

Audit Scotland:  Auditor General sets out support for Parliament in scrutinising new fiscal framework

WAG:  Wales Bill - “The Bill we could still deliver together”; Carwyn Jones

IPPR Scotland: The '£2bn question' facing Scotland

WAG:  First ever Welsh Tax legislation passed

ScotGov:  Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2014-15


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Historically, the working culture in the civil service has been one that promotes intellectualism, assertiveness and political acumen. In fact, according to Catherine Haddon, a fellow at the Institute for Government who has interviewed female officials past and present, some senior staff felt they had managed to get ahead because they were the right sort of “female chap”, as one put it. In tribute to International Women's Day, Haddon writes about the impact this kind of culture has had on the progression of women in Whitehall.

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News in brief
• 97% of top officials at 'northern powerhouse' department work in London
• Conservative council leaders back Sunday trading reforms
• Government ‘wasting billions on procurement’, says Reform
• Middlesbrough mayor calls for fairer dispersion of asylum seekers
• Inspections of children's services 'not working' say council leaders
• Unions angered by 'miserly' 1% pay rise for public sector workers