General Reports and Other Publications
CC: Personal banking customers in Northern Ireland will benefit from new measures next year to increase competition following the publication of the final report from the Competition Commission (CC) on the market for personal current account (PCA) services in Northern Ireland.
The CC found that competition was limited by banks' unduly complex charging structures & practices, their failure adequately to explain them and customers' reluctance to switch to another bank.
Banks in Northern Ireland must now make major improvements to their PCAs, including:
- providing better & clearer information to customers to help them understand banks' PCA services, charges & interest rates
- giving customers at least 14 days' notice before deducting charges & interest from their accounts, and
- introducing improvements to the switching process to ensure customers who switch banks do not incur costs in doing so
DH: The NHS must continue to change if it is to deliver better cancer care to patients says the National Cancer Director for England in a new report - Getting it right for people with cancer: the clinical case for change.
According to the report this should be through:
- better co-ordination of patient care by ensuring a specialist team coordinates a patient's care
- centralisation of complex services so staff develop expertise & experience to get the best results
- moving simpler tests & treatments closer to patients so people are not forced to travel large distances
- using staff more flexibly and ensuring support is available so that people are not admitted to hospital when they don't need to be, and that they can come home from hospital when they no longer need to be there
Press release ~ 'Getting it right for people with cancer: The clinical case for change'~ 'Cancer Ten Years On: Improvements across the whole care pathway' ~ King's Fund - Future Trends and Challenges for Cancer Services in England: A review of literature and policy ~ DH - Cancer
DH: Patricia Hewitt has claimed that people across the country will benefit from hundreds of new health services over the next twelve months.
Details about what the investment will deliver are outlined in a new report 'Local Spending for Local Needs' , which catalogues schemes being taken forward across the country and coincides with local plans published by Strategic Health Authorities.
Press release ~ 'Local Spending for Local Needs' ~ NHS Allocations
ESRC: A simple request, when placed in a certain context, has the potential to create conflict. This is epitomised in the phrase - ‘Does he take sugar?’ - an approach society has learned to avoid when speaking about a disabled person. New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) seeks to better understand the ways in which people strive to avoid disagreement in every-day conversation.
The results reveal our ability to choose the right, rather than the wrong form of words to avoid potentially troublesome situations. Carried out between six different European countries, the research could provide valuable guidance for improving the use of language in potentially troublesome circumstances. With increasing migrant flows across Europe, this could have an important impact on language learning in general and on improved inter-cultural relations in particular.
Press release ~ 'Affiliation and disaffiliation in interaction: language and social cohesion' ~ ESRC Society Today ~ Language and social action
DH: Partnerships between patients & clinicians are as important as those between primary and secondary care in providing high quality diabetes services, according to a new report. There are an estimated 2.35m people living with diabetes in the England and this is set to rise to 2.5m by 2010, due to an ageing population and a rise in obesity. 5% of NHS budget is spent on treating diabetes and its complications
The report says that innovative ways of delivering services and more joined up care in community settings is vital for the NHS to continue to provide first-rate services to the growing number of people with diabetes. For example, moving overbooked annual assessments with long waiting lists out of hospitals and in to GP surgeries means more comprehensive check-ups, less duplication of tests and a more convenient service for people with diabetes.
Press release ~ Working together for better diabetes care ~ DH - Diabetes ~ Diabetes national Support team ~ Diabetes UK
Defra: The results of a study which explored some of the ways in which nanotechnologies could cut the use of non-renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions have been published. The study investigated the opportunities & potential obstacles to adoption of a number of environmentally beneficial nanotechnologies.
The resulting report explores the application of nanoscience in the areas of insulation, photovoltaics, electricity storage, engine efficiency and the hydrogen economy. In these areas nanotechnology could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 2% in the near term and up to 20% by 2050 with similar reductions in air pollution being realised.
Nanotechnology refers to the application of materials at atomic, molecular and macromolecular scale where properties differ from those found in the same material in gross form. A human hair is 80,000 nanometres (nm) wide, a red blood cell 7,000 nm wide, and a water molecule 0.3 nm wide.
Press release ~ Oakdene Hollins ~ Environmentally beneficial nanotechnologies: barriers and opportunities ~ Appendices ~ Defra - Nanotechnology ~ DTI's Micro and Nanotechnology Manufacturing Initiative ~ Centre of Excellence for Metrology in Micro and Nano Technology (CEMMNT) ~ Centre for Micro and Nano Moulding (University of Bradford) ~ metaFab (Cardiff University) ~ Fluence (Epigem Ltd) ~ Photonix ~ Institute of Nanotechnology ~ Nanotechnology Issues Dialogue Group