DH: Summary Care Records containing key medical information which will be accessible wherever patients are treated are being rolled out across London, the Department of Health has announced. The scheme is taking off across England over the next year as part of a national roll-out of the programme.
A Summary Care Record is a secure electronic summary of core information such as medications, allergies, adverse reactions & key health information derived initially from the patient’s GP record and added to, as necessary, by other healthcare staff treating the patient.
Everyone living in the capital will be written to, outlining the initiative, and offering them the choice to opt out of having a Summary Care Record created. SCRs can be enriched with extra information, such as a patient’s wishes about End of Life care. In Bury, one of the SCR early adopters, around 60 patients have done this.
Press release ~ Summary Care Records ~ NHS Care Records Service ~ The Register: Summary care records - you might die, but they never will
PCS: Over 1,000 PCS union members working on government IT contracts for EDS/Hewlett Packard (HP) began a strike ballot last week in a dispute over job losses & pay. There has been growing anger amongst staff since HP took over EDS in August 2008, with 3,400 staff already axed in addition to a pay freeze & voluntary pay cuts, with further 1,000 job losses planned for the first half of 2010.
The ballot which runs until 30 November is asking members to vote on action short of strike and strike action which could take the form of a series of 1 or 2 day strikes. Those being balloted work mainly on IT contracts for the Department for Work and Pensions in locations around the UK.
HO: Identity cards will be available to people who live & work in Greater Manchester from 30 November 2009. Anyone with a home or work address in the Greater Manchester region can now make an appointment to register for their identity card.
The £30 cards will provide a secure & convenient way for people to prove their identity when they are undertaking individual transactions or buying age-restricted goods. The cards can also be used in place of a passport for travel throughout Europe.
DCMS: Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster is being restored to its former glory, one of our finest Victorian railway stations will be transformed and fishermen’s cellars from the 1800s will be refurbished, as the latest round of the Government funded Sea Change programme is announced.
7 coastal resorts across the country are receiving a grant including, Plymouth, Barrow-in-Furness, Fleetwood, St Ives, Roker, North Tyneside and Margate. The Sea Change programme, funded by DCMS, is designed to invigorate England’s seaside towns through investment in culture & heritage.
MoJ: The Ministry of Justice has been made aware of a scam where consumers are telephoned by people claiming to be from the government, Office of Fair Trading, a high street bank or a legitimate claims management company, suggesting that the consumer could receive payments, for example, repayment of bank charges or other debts.
They are asked to provide personal information such as bank account details and make an upfront payment first, often by money transfer. These callers have no connection with Ministry of Justice, OFT or other bona fide organisations and have tricked & harassed victims into handing over hundreds of pounds, only to find that the call was a scam and they’re now even further in debt.
The MoJ are therefore warning consumers not to pass on personal or financial details to such callers, or to transfer money unless you are confident the company is legitimate. If you have already done so, contact your bank as soon as possible to stop or check any unauthorised transactions and report the incident to the police.
FSA: The Co-opis recalling 3 of its Truly Irresistible Indian Cooking Sauces, because the acidity levels are too low. As the acidity levels are too low, this means micro-organisms may grow and the sauces will be past their best before the 'best before' date that appears on the jar. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Food Alert for Information. No other Co-op products are known to be affected.
FSA: Tesco has withdrawn 2 batches of its own-brand wholegrain brown rice because they might be contaminated with insects. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Food Alert for Information. No other Tesco products are known to be affected.
Press release ~ Tesco Stores Ltd withdraws two date codes of own brand wholegrain brown rice due to possible contamination with insects
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has announced a series of changes in the way it is structured to better support its strategy for the next five years. The previously announced merger of the FSA and MHS into a single, stronger organisation, together with the creation of the new Operations Group and the drive for reduced administrative duplication, will result in a more effective & capable agency that can deliver the 2010-2015 strategic plan.
BIS: Last week (16-22 November) was Global Entrepreneurship Week, a worldwide movement of entrepreneurial people. Events took place in schools, colleges, universities, football grounds, pubs, town halls, businesses and workplaces. The initiative is run by Enterprise UK, the business-led, government-backed campaign to increase entrepreneurship in the UK.
BIS: As more than 25,000 British Muslims travel to Mecca for Hajj, the Government is urging pilgrims to know their rights & report scam artists. In previous years, some Hajj pilgrims have been ripped off by a variety of scams, including paying for a five star hotel but getting substandard accommodation or, in extreme cases, some agents have disappeared & taken pilgrims’ money with them.
Pilgrims who are unhappy with their trip should, as soon as possible, bring this to the attention of a representative of the travel company. If you can’t resolve the problem complain to your nearest Local Council Trading Standards Departments. They can investigate if a firm fails to honour its responsibilities and can advise on how to seek compensation if the service pilgrims received was not what was promised.
Press release ~ Council of British Hajjis ~ Check for ATOL ~ FCO – Hajj ~
BSI: Package Travel Fact Sheet
STFC: Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and its ability to obtain images as sharp as if taken from space, astronomers have made the first time-lapse movie of an unusual shell of matter ejected by a ‘vampire star’. The ‘vampire star,’ known as V445 in the constellation of Puppis (‘the Stern’), has been gulping down gas from its close companion star eventually causing it to undergo a nova explosion, becoming 250 times brighter than before and ejecting a large quantity of matter into space.
This enabled a team of astronomers, including UK researchers from the Universities of Warwick & Manchester, to study V445 Puppis in great detail and determine the distance & intrinsic brightness of the outbursting object. The Science and Technology Facilities Council funds UK membership of ESO, allowing our astronomers access to its telescopes to carry out their research.
Defra: Brits are happy to recycle & follow green practises at home, but leave their environmental conscience at the door when they arrive for work. That’s the conclusion of a new survey by Tickbox.net/Opinion Matters, which highlights how attitudes towards recycling & energy saving differ between the home and the workplace.
For instance, just over 40% of people said they recycled plastics at home but not at work, with women being the worst culprits. Similarly, other poor workplace practises include unnecessarily printing out emails (21%) and putting recyclable items into the non-recycling bin (21%).
The impact isn’t simply on the environment though. Defra figures indicate that UK businesses could save £6.4bn each year by implementing resource efficiency measures that are of no or very low cost. Simple steps such as turning down thermostats, turning off lights and addressing dripping taps can help Britain’s businesses to save money and be more environmentally friendly.
Newswire – CABE: Sir John Sorrell has called for a new generation of architects with the attitude & talent to make Britain more delightful. Sorrell challenged the architecture profession, in a talk at Tate Modern on 16 November 2009, to stop being the servant of poor quality development.
The speech made the case for new and different values underpinning the architecture which should emerge from this recession. He argued that many architects have exactly the optimism & inventiveness which Britain needs to progress from an age of anxiety to an era of delight.
Sorrell also called on the Government to sustain investment in public buildings, particularly schools. He argued that Government should not squander the investment already made and it should use the emerging quality of public buildings as a springboard for the future.
TfL: Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Lost Property Office (LPO) has donated hundreds of brand new toys to The Salvation Army to give to disadvantage children in south London over the Christmas period. The toys will appeal to children of all ages and range from board games to cuddly toys. The Salvation Army based in Deptford, south London, will work with the local council to distribute the toys to families in need.
The LPO handles almost 200,000 items a year left behind on buses, London Underground, London Overground, DLR, licensed taxis or in the Victoria Coach Station. All the toys donated to The Salvation Army are found on TfL’s transport network. The LPO only donates unclaimed toys which are more than 3 months old and are still in their original packaging.
HSE: Rogue gas fitters are being warned that they will be taken to task over shoddy jobs that risk lives. The Health & Safety Executive used Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (16-20 November) to renew its commitment to bring them to justice.
The Gas Safe Register, the body responsible for registration of gas engineers, recently launched a review of the enforcement regime to see how it can be improved further. Stakeholders including the industry, engineers and victim support groups are being asked for their ideas.
EH: A 28-year-old Herefordshire woman has won a coveted training post with English Heritage. Samantha Barnes has beaten nearly 1,000 other applicants from around the country to claim 1 of 7 places on the Historic Environment Traineeship (HET) scheme and will spend the next 2 years working with heritage specialists in Birmingham.
English Heritage is committed to doing more to train a new generation of conservation managers and this initiative aims to equip people with the all-round skills required to work as conservation managers and help protect the nation’s priceless heritage in the future. Along with nurturing traditional craftspeople like masons, glaziers and carpenters, they have a key role to play in keeping historic buildings & landscapes in good condition and putting them at the heart of regeneration.
During her training programme Samantha will learn more about archaeological sites, managing heritage assets through the planning system, protecting listed buildings & landscapes and exploring solutions for tough cases where heritage is at risk.
DH: The swine flu vaccination programme will be extended to offer children over 6 months and under 5-years protection against the virus. Extending the vaccination programme to young children is supported by the panel of experts that provide advice on vaccination issues - the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Children under 5 are more likely than other groups to be hospitalised if they become ill with swine flu. Young children also have high rates of admission to critical care and, sadly, there have been some deaths.
DH: Chelsea fans may be currently celebrating being top of the Premier League, but there is room for improvement off the pitch as they struggle to kick the habit and give smoking the red card. As the latest standings in the Smokefree United League are announced, it's revealed that only 77 Blues fans have signed for Smokefree United to quit smoking - leaving them trailing behind their Man U rivals who top the table with 274.
Smokefree United is a virtual club of quitters that provides coaching & support to help football fans & players to stop smoking. Launched in October 2009, more than 1,500 fans have already signed up. In addition to quitting advice & entry into competitions to win ‘money can't buy prizes’, footballers & fans that sign up boost their team's position in the Smokefree United League.
SE: While most bright ideas in the pub are forgotten by the morning, Cathy Rooney's resulted in 150 women in Nottinghamshire taking up running, many for the first time. And to acknowledge her innovation & tenacity, earlier this month Cathy was named Sport England's Community Club Volunteer of the Year at the Sunday Times 2009 Sports Women of the Year Awards.
"In January 2009 a group of friends were sitting in the Vale pub chatting over a pint and some pork scratchings about how they wanted to get fit and tone up ," said Cathy. "I offered to take them out running and that was it, the Woodthorpe Huffers and Puffers was born." Less than 11 months after launch, this community club now boasts 150 female runners and women who could barely run for a minute are now entering 10km races & successfully completing half marathons.
DfT: An innovative online game to help reduce the number of children killed & injured on Britain's roads has been launched by Road Safety Minister Paul Clark. 'The Code of Everand' uses a virtual world to help children develop skills - such as finding a safe place to cross & planning ahead - which will help them to stay safe in the real world.
These skills are particularly vital for children as they make the transition from primary to secondary school and start making longer journeys on their own. Twice as many 12-year-old than 9-year-old pedestrians are hurt each year on Britain's roads and in 2008, 17 children aged 10-12 were killed on the roads while more than 2,500 were injured.
The multi-player online game is set in the fantasy land of Everand which is criss-crossed by spirit channels, inhabited by dangerous creatures. Players are ‘Pathfinders’, the heroes of the society, who travel about the land and are trained to cross the spirit channels safely. In a world first, the game uses real road data so players confront hazards based on the real situations that children face on the roads.
MoD: A ‘beast’ of a new vehicle has arrived in the UK to prepare for its unleashing in Afghanistan’s Green Zone to support British troops. Warthog can wade through water and is powered by a 7.2 litre engine that produces 350 bhp - while carrying up to 12 troops and offering improved levels of protection. The highly agile, all-terrain vehicle will be able to climb steep gradients, cling to severe slopes, tackle vertical obstacles and cross wide trenches.
The MOD has bought more than 100 Warthog amphibious vehicles from Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK). The first has been unveiled at Thales UK’s new vehicle integration facility in Wales, as the company will install UK-specific kit to the vehicles. This will include additional armour, specialist electronic counter-measure equipment & communication tools, before the vehicle is deployed to Afghanistan early next year.
Warthog, which will succeed the Viking tracked amphibious troop carrier currently in service in Afghanistan, will come in 4 variants - a troop carrier, an ambulance, a command vehicle and a repair & recovery vehicle.
Press release ~ British Army Equipment and Vehicles ~ Singapore Technologies Kinetics ~ Testing the latest armoured vehicles for Afghanistan
STFC: Alongside teleportation and the AIDS vaccine, the Herschel Space Observatory has been voted one of the greatest inventions of 2009 by Time magazine. Herschel is placed at number 7 in the list of 50 inventions, which also includes the Electric Eye and the Personal Carbon Footprint.