DH: The Department of Health has published statistics from its Report on the National Patient Choice Survey, May 2008, England and provisional headline results of the July 2008 survey.
Defra: The Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) succeeded in testing over 12,000 samples for avian flu in just a 15 day period, after an outbreak in November 2007 in Suffolk. This and other achievements are detailed in the VLA's Annual Review for 2007/08. Other achievements during the year include VLA's emergency response to three disease outbreaks, avian influenza, foot & mouth disease and bluetongue.
The Review also includes special feature articles on FLU-LAB-NET, a web-based global interactive community for avian influenza and a new initiative, the Fellowship Scheme, introduced to develop specific skills within VLA.
DH/HC: The Healthcare Commission (HC), England's healthcare watchdog, has published its Annual Health Check. Despite the DH claiming improvements, the assessment includes the following issues:
* 114 trusts (25%) - failed to meet one or more of the three core standards relating to infection control, rising from 111 trusts last year. In addition, only 52% of acute trusts met the target to reduce rates of MRSA by at least 60% over three years (or a maximum of 12 cases of infection)
* There was a dramatic decline in the number of PCTs meeting the target that every patient should be able to see a GP within two working days, down to 31% this year from 80% last year.
* Only 16% of PCTs achieved the target on provision of convenience & choice, which includes the use of the online choose-and-book system.
Any trust scoring 'weak' in either quality or finance will be asked to prepare an action plan by 23 October, detailing steps taken and further plans to address weaknesses. In addition, DH will be meeting with trusts scoring 'weak' in both components to address concerns.
Defra: Flytipping on public land across England has decreased by 7.5% in a year, according to new figures published by Defra for 2007 – 08.