General Reports and Other Publications
TKF: A major inquiry commissioned by The King’s Fund has concluded that, while the majority of care provided is good, there are widespread variations in performance & gaps in the quality of care delivered by general practice. The inquiry's report strongly endorses the principle that GPs should be generalists rather than specialists.
However, with GPs set to be handed £80bn of public money and a central role in implementing the government’s health reforms, it calls on general practice to embrace radical change if it is to maintain its international reputation for excellence. The report highlights evidence of variations in the quality of clinical care.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has told Devon County Council that it ‘must take action to improve services at 3 of its care homes to comply with essential standards of quality and safety’. Inspectors visited 4 homes unannounced, speaking to residents & staff. Full reports have been published on the CQC website.
DFID: The UK must strengthen the way it responds to international emergencies if it is to cope with a predicted rise in the number of disasters caused by earthquakes, floods and conflict, Lord Ashdown has warned, as part of an independent review into the UK’s humanitarian response system.
The review sets out 40 key recommendations aimed at overhauling the way that the UK responds to emergencies. They range from high-level policy reforms, through to practical measures designed to improve operations on the ground.
NICE: NICE has published a report on its pilot diagnostics project. The project, on the assessment of non-invasive diagnostic tests for the detection of liver fibrosis in patients with suspected alcohol related liver disease, was completed in December 2010. The report highlights the important lessons learnt from the pilot and how these have been used to inform the development of the process & methods that NICE will use to assess the use of diagnostic technologies.
DH: The critical role community nurses play in ensuring ill & disabled children get tailored care & support, was set out recently by Public Health Minister Anne Milton as she published a new report aimed at helping commissioners & providers improve services.
SDC: The Coalition Government's plans for feed a growing population sustainably & healthily are 'insubstantial', according to the Sustainable Development Commission’s final report on food matters. It argues that the Coalition Government has failed to layout any defined plans to underpin its commitment to producing more food in the UK. It also argues that Andrew Lansley’s plans for 'responsibility deals' with business to tackle obesity are ‘weak and lack defined goals & adequate monitoring’.
The report warns all 4 UK Governments not to ‘step back from the challenge of making our food systems more sustainable, calling on them to raise their game and speed up the pace & scale of change in the light of uncertain oil prices, climate change and public health challenges.
HMIC: New data published last week identifies the ‘front line’ in each police force and opens their books so the public can see how police resources are deployed in their area in comparison with other forces.
RUSI: Creating harmonised, clearly set & rigorously enforced baseline standards on international aviation security must be a priority for governments around the world, a new report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) argues.
Newswire – CBI: The CBI last week warned that the Government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme is untenable in its current form, as it reiterated its call for the incentive behind the Carbon Reduction Commitment to be restored.
Launching a new policy brief, Back to the Answer: Making the CRC work, the CBI argues that the Government’s decision to remove the revenue-recycling element at October’s Spending Review has undermined the original purpose of the scheme of encouraging organisations to cut emissions.
DWP: New research published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) presents findings from an evaluation of the sanction of Housing Benefit (HB) piloted in 8 local authority areas in England from 1 November 2007 to 31 October 2009.
IISS: Following the August 2008 war and Russia’s unilateral recognition of Abkhazia & South Ossetia, the security regime along both Administrative Boundary Lines (ABL) remains fractured. International actors need to find ways of responding to emerging vulnerabilities in a sustainable manner.
WWF: New figures released by WWF-UK last week show that at least 1.7m electric vehicles will be needed by 2020 and 6.4m by 2030 if the UK is to achieve its climate change targets. Findings from the report Electric avenues: driving home the case for electric vehicles show that a rapid introduction of EVs is needed if we are to reduce 80% of carbon emissions by 2050.
The study (which examines 3 scenarios) finds that the highest levels of EV uptake would lead to significant reductions in UK fuel demand representing over £5bn a year in avoided oil imports. Also in the highest case scenario, the combination of extensive EV uptake, driving less & improving internal combustion engine vehicles ‘could potentially reduce UK fuel demand by 80% and deliver a 75% reduction in car emissions by 2030’.
NAO: Value for money is not being achieved across all trusts in the planning, procurement & use of ‘high value equipment’, such as CT, MRI scanners and Linear Accelerator Machines (linacs). There are significant variations across England in levels of activity and a lack of comparable information about performance & cost of machine use. Trusts are not collaborating to purchase machines and they are not getting the best prices according to the National Audit Office.
Newswire – NHSConfed: The NHS Confederation has praised the Government for prioritising public health in its recent white paper, but has warned that a ‘number of proposals need to be rethought to avoid unintended consequences for the health of the nation’.
The NHS Confederation's response to Healthy lives, healthy people, the Government's public health White paper, says that funding is a key concern. While public health funding is to be ring fenced, it is not easy to identify & measure the activity it is spent on.
iea: New research shows that the UK is potentially missing out on £bns of investment through its over-regulation of the gambling industry. Strict gambling laws are also leading to pub closures and do nothing to reduce the problem of addiction.
In a study published in its termly journal Economic Affairs, the Institute of Economic Affairs shows how other countries are reaping the reward of liberalising their gambling laws and how relaxing gambling regulation could be the factor which saves many of Britain’s struggling pubs. The study also contends that gambling is over-regulated in the UK because it is seen as purely harmful – the converse is true.
TKF: The King’s Fund has called for a single performance framework to ensure that NHS & social care services work together to improve outcomes for patients & service users in a new paper. Integrating health and social care: Where next? says that the government’s NHS reforms offer an opportunity to integrate health & social care, but cautions that plans for separate outcomes frameworks for the NHS, social care & public health could threaten effective joint working at a local level, reducing benefits for patients & service users.
The Fund is calling for the frameworks to be aligned, with a view to creating a single outcomes framework for all 3 services. The report also highlights the potential for new health & wellbeing boards to improve joint working between health & social care.
In a separate report, the Fund highlights experience from Torbay, where local NHS & social care staff are delivering integrated care by working together in single teams, with a pooled budget. New analysis undertaken for Integrating health and social care in Torbay: Improving care for Mrs Smith shows this has reduced daily hospital bed use by a third since 1998/99: Torbay also performs well in reducing delaying transfers of care from hospital and achieving lower rates of emergency admissions for older people than areas with a similar demographic.
Newswire – NHSConfed: A new NHS Confederation paper analyses concerns raised about the proposed NHS reforms and suggests measures the Government could take to address them. Where next for NHS reform? is designed to ‘start a conversation about practical solutions to the concerns that will help the NHS manage the significant risks involved’. There are 4 broad areas where concerns have been raised during the debate over the health reforms.
BIS: Small businesses need to do more to protect & exploit their innovations, according to research published by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
NAO: A report by the National Audit Office acknowledges that the Office of Rail Regulation has significantly developed the methods it uses to judge efficiency. However, limitations in Network Rail’s information on its own costs are hampering the ability of the Regulatorto judge the genuineness of the efficiency savings reported by Network Rail. The Regulator has also determined that substantial scope remains for Network Rail to improve its efficiency.
Newswire – EAC: A report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee published recently has called for a competition probe into the Big Four auditors’ oligopoly. Their ‘complacency’ and ‘dereliction of duty’ contributed to financial crisis, the report found.
IfG: Director of the Institute for Government, Andrew Adonis, has called for a new generation of public service entrepreneurs in Ethos magazine. He argues that a shift in mindset is needed to meet the unique set of challenges of the government's reform agenda.