Summer Break:  Please note that whilst the Wired-GOV email alerting system will be operating as normal throughout August, our next weekly newsletter will be published & emailed to subscribers on Monday, 5th September 2016. 

We have ‘known’ about the problem for decades, but little ever seems to be achieved

A Public Accounts Committee report challenges the Government to address the scale & cost of delays in discharging older patients from hospital.  The Committee's report urges new measures to tackle discharge delays, which are bad for both patients' health and the financial sustainability of the NHS & local government.

The Committee finds there is a poor understanding of the scale of discharge problems, with official data substantially under-estimating the range of delays and the number of older patients affected.

There is unacceptable variation in local performance on discharging such patients, says the Committee, finding that while good discharge practice is well understood, "implementation is patchy across local areas".  It concludes poor sharing of patient information is a significant barrier to improving performance, while "the fragility of the adult social care provider market" exacerbates discharge difficulties.

While it recognises there is pressure on funding, the Committee does not accept this necessarily blocks efforts to make further improvements and urges a greater commitment to step up the pace of change.  It concludes: "NHS England shows a striking poverty of ambition in believing that holding delays to the current inflated level would be a satisfactory achievement."

Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Government shows 'striking poverty of ambition' on discharge delays

NAO:  Discharging older patients from hospital

NICE guidance can reduce delays in hospital discharge raised by critical report

LGA:  Councils respond to report on delayed discharges

The King's Fund response to the PAC report on discharging older people from hospitals

This is NOT just a case of inadequate resources

New ways to meet health challenges: apply for business contracts

NICE guidance addresses the need for safe & appropriate discharge from hospital

Nearly 2m patients to receive person-centred support to manage their own care

37 areas to lead rollout of tool to deliver person-centred care

Something for IPSIS to start with!

New Quick Guide supports patients’ choices

Treatment closer to home thanks to extra £1.2m every year

NICE:  Make a single person responsible for discharging patients to avoid delays

‘After Care’ is as important as treatment in hospital

The issue gets more urgent (& costly) every year

If NHS needs +£8bn, what do LA’s need for social care?

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

Longer independent living is vital for the NHS funding ‘crisis

Consultation: Professional Record Standards Body e-Discharge Summary


Irrespective of Brexit, the ICO has stated that ‘UK data protection reforms are "necessary" and that the data protection framework in the UK would need to accord to the standards outlined in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR will come into effect in 2018 and will change how organisations can collect, use and transfer personal data. Here, we outline the practical steps you can take to prepare for a new climate of increased regulation in 12 key areas including expert tips on how to:

  • Have a legal basis for processing personal information
  • Appoint a Data Protection Officer
  • Set up data breach procedures
  • Know individuals’ rights

Click here to access and download this helpful short guide to preparing for the GDPR.

Discharged patients then become responsibility of / burden on GPs

NHS England recently agreed new steps to implement plans to ‘strengthen general practice, ease the pressure on GPs and improve services for patients’.  The measures aim to help struggling GP practices, protect GPs from the rising cost of negligence claims and introduce new models of care that will create more joined-up services.  It follows the publications in April 2016 of The General Practice Forward View, a 5-year programme that aims to put General Practice on a sustainable footing for the future.

This support will include practical help to stabilise practices under most pressure and for those practices with workforce issues.  This will include access to specialist support on HR, IT, staffing & practice management. Importantly the offer is not conditional on matched funding.  NHS England’s local teams will manage the funding as it will allow support to be developed & targeted more closely to practices or groups of practices where support is needed most.

Practices can now register Expressions of Interest in joining a local Time for Care programme as part of the £30m general practice development programme.  National expertise & resources will be available for every practice in the country to have a 9-12 month series of workshops, learning sessions and agreed action plans. These activities will help practices to implement their plans to help release capacity and work together at scale, enable self-care, introduce new technologies and make best use of the wider workforce, so freeing up GP time and improving access to services.  Previous experience shows that most practices could expect to release about 10% of GP time over the 9-12 month period.

Researched Links:

NHS England takes action to ease pressures on general practice & provide joined-up care

General Practice Resilience Programme

NHS England:  Improving the gateway to better healthcare

Not surprising so many only want to work part-time

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

One can never ‘cure’ the problems of the NHS; stability is the best one can hope for

Online for better health

New findings reveal NHS initiative to get vulnerable people online has dramatically improved their health & well-being and reduced demand for front line services

Helping guard against a return to pre-antibiotic medical care

Let’s be clear: early diagnosis is crucial for cancer patients

Kings Fund:  Cornerstone of NHS reforms faces uncertain future

Over 55m patients in England set to benefit from accessing their GP record online

Embrace the new hub culture

ScotGov:  Improving GP recruitment & retention

CRUK:  Worry about wasting GP’s time stopping people from reporting cancer symptoms

Kings Fund:  Causes of GP crisis revealed in new analysis

Healthcare change is messy but we are going in the right direction

LGA Councils respond to GP rescue package

Patient safety alert:  prioritisation of general practice home visits

Patients Association:  50% increase in the number of patients forced to switch GP surgeries

Patients Association:  Lack of GP services affecting patient access to care

Showing our appreciation once per year
Following the success of this year’s national Armed Forces Day event in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, attended by 120,000 people, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent and former PM David Cameron, Liverpool has been selected to host the next event on Saturday June 24, 2017.
Researched Links:

MoD:  Armed Forces Day 2017 to be hosted by Liverpool

Armed Forces Day - Saturday 24 June 2017

Campaign to promote Armed Forces benefits a success

PM announces employment support for armed forces community

Armed Forces Day Flag flies across Whitehall

Government suppliers encouraged to sign up to Armed Forces Covenant

Insurers offer better deal for Armed Forces personnel

Don’t let summer celebrations leave you ‘stone cold dead’

The Marine & Coastguard Agency have just launched their new film, which targets 18 to 29 year old males with a message about the dangers of cold water shock.  The new 40-second film aims to highlight the dangers of jumping or falling into water, especially after drinking, and reveals some stark dangers.

Even if the weather is warm, the waters around the UK remain extremely cold throughout the year.  If you fall into the water, you are likely to suffer from cold water shock – your breathing increases uncontrollably meaning that you are more likely to take water into your lungs and drown.

Researched Links:

Maritime & Coastguard Agency: Cold water shock short film

Stay safe this summer in and around the Thames Environment Agency warns

School’s out for summer, but don’t forget your water safety lessons

It's good to share - but not lifejackets

LAs are calling for health precautions as temperatures rise

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. 

When a Public Sector saving is just a transfer of costs to taxpayers

A Public Accounts Committee report warns that further cuts to Government spending on personal tax services could trigger another collapse in customer service.  In their report, the Committee raises concerns about plans by HMRC to cut the cost of these services by around a third in the next 5 years.

Customer service levels collapsed in 2014–15 and early 2015–16 as a result of HMRC underestimating the demand for telephone contact and reducing customer service capacity by releasing 5,600 staffAverage call waiting times tripled compared with previous levels and only recovered towards the end of 2015 after the recruitment of 2,400 new staff. 

Taxpayers spent some 4M hours waiting for HMRC to answer the phone in 2015–16 and also incurred direct call charges while on hold, with every £1 saved by HMRC on telephone services over this period resulting in an estimated £4 in extra costs to customers.

Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Taxpayers must not bear brunt of new HMRC spending cuts

CAB:  Response to NAO report on HMRC

CAB:  15m people’s problems with public service go unreported

New report shines a light on major failures at the Home Office in dealing with immigration & border-related issues

Report published on charges for customer telephone lines

Complain to HMRC - Detailed guidance - GOV.UK

Could this be a way forward for HMRC customer service?
A new digital product, launched by the Cabinet Office, will send reminders & updates on applications & services right across government.  Officially launched last week in public Beta, GOV.UK Notify will be used for issuing updates on student loans, lasting power of attorney, passports, voter registration, and the digital marketplace for SMEs.  A further 70 service areas from across government are already now looking to use GOV.UK Notify.

Cabinet Office:  Updates on your student loan, straight to your phone

Editorial commentary: Puzzled of rUK

While English voters may now have a greater understanding of what is meant by a ‘Project Fear’ campaign thanks to George Osborne, many of us are somewhat baffled by the way the SNP is ignoring some basic facts that would seem to make Scottish independence (while maintaining EU membership benefits/ membership) a non-viable proposition, in the short term at least.

In a recent major speech to members of the IPPR in Edinburgh, FM Nicola Sturgeon said the UK’s negotiating position must allow those parts of the UK that voted to leave the EU the option of doing so, while those parts which voted to stay should have the option to remain.  She also condemned the lack of planning for a Leave vote by those who proposed the referendum. 

The first statement flies in the face of electoral democratic logic as a UK-wide vote has to end up with the majority having the final say, albeit the majority may be an alliance of voting blocs and its policies a compromise.  So in this case ‘Brexit’ means Brexit for the whole of the UK.

As for the second point, Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty provides for a minimum of 2 years negotiations AFTER the UK ‘pushes the button’, while the SNP’s own referendum timetable was to declare independence on 24 March 2016  – a mere 18 months later!

A few basic facts to consider:

Finally, before the UK PM gives her permission for another referendum, one would suggests she gets (in writing) agreement that Scotland would pay for its share of the UK national debt and accept that ownership of UK worldwide assets such as Embassies remained with the UK, thus avoiding a repeat of past ‘threats of the previous First Minister’!
ScotGov:  Options to protect Scotland in EU ~ ScotGov:  Scotland’s future in the EU ~ ScotGov:  EU environment pledge ~ Telegraph:  no-boost-in-support-for-scottish-independence-despite-brexit ~ Fabian Society:  The Barnett formula and the union


 More contributions following EU Referendum

Still a ‘hot topic’, with widely spread views, for those who put fingers to keyboard in order to ‘share their views’:

Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Parliament must have role in scrutinising Brexit, Committee reports

ScotGov:  Scotland’s future in the EU

10DS:  PM to visit Northern Ireland: 25 July 2016

ScotGov:  EU environment pledge

CBI: Manufacturing prospects muted after Brexit

TUC publishes 5 tests the PM must meet before triggering Article 50

ScotGov:  Options to protect Scotland in EU

10DS:  PM and Taoiseach Enda Kenny statements: 26 July 2016

PC&PE:  Absence of certainty on Brexit migration issues, says Committee

TUC: Government must act to protect recent growth from risks following Brexit vote


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:

Examples of public service failures, such as Mid Staffs, Rotherham and Doncaster, can have a disastrous impact on people's lives. At the very least, they should provide valuable lessons for other organisations to improve. Oliver Ilott from the Institute for Government says that rather than indulging in the knee-jerk reaction to appoint blame or restructure when failure happens, public bodies need to work together to champion good practice and learn from the past.

Also on the network

Without a radical overhaul of transport, UK suburbs face poverty

Without a radical overhaul of transport, UK suburbs face poverty
Too many cars and poor public transport services linking outlying areas to city centres have increased poverty and social isolation in the suburbs

Whitehall chief John Manzoni's grand plans now lie shattered

Whitehall chief John Manzoni's grand plans now lie shattered
Here’s another damning NAO report on a lack of coherent planning and management, made worse as civil servants get sucked into Brexit work

My best professional experience is when someone puts on the kettle without help

My best professional experience is when someone puts on the kettle without help
Working with vulnerable people is its own reward for many support workers - but we should still be properly paid and resourced

I clean HMRC’s offices for an unfair wage. I hope our strike has embarrassed them

I clean HMRC’s offices for an unfair wage. I hope our strike has embarrassed them
The strike by HMRC cleaners has highlighted the number of people not directly employed by public bodies but who still work in public service. Wherever you work, our letter to the public series aims to give a voice to those hit by mounting cuts and rising demand. Share your story by emailing kirstie.brewer@theguardian.com

News in brief
• HMRC cleaners strike as their hours are cut
• IPCC admits errors in case against officers accused of attacking firefighter
• Counter-terror training criticised as inadequate
• Labour urged to delay mayoral vote in Manchester and Liverpool
• The Pokemon Go craze could have a positive impact on your community