Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGov: Patients in Scotland could be set to benefit from a new simpler, less expensive & quicker system of medical compensation. An expert group has been established to consider the introduction of no-fault compensation north of the border. The group's report should be submitted by October 2010.
At present compensation for medical injuries, through treatment provided by the NHS in Scotland, depends on proving legal responsibility and that there was clinical negligence. International evidence suggests that no-fault compensation reduces the administrative & legal costs of handling claims, is less expensive and quicker in resolving cases.  In New Zealand straightforward cases can be resolved within weeks and all cases have to be determined within nine months.
Press release ~ Related news item ~ Report of the expert group on financial and other support ~ New Zealand Accident Compensation Scheme
DH: The Department of Health is rolling out a new systems-based approach to improve stop smoking interventions in primary care.  This new approach is claimed to have increased referrals to local NHS Stop Smoking services by up to 49% in pilot areas. People who are referred to local NHS Stop Smoking Services are up to 4 times more likely to quit.
The new approach was developed to ensure stop smoking interventions by healthcare professionals are routine & systematic, providing a tailored & consistent approach to patient referral.  It will be rolled out to practices over the next few months by trained local NHS Stop Smoking Service advisers who will support its implementation in local primary care settings.
The approach recognises smoking as a key clinical issue requiring treatment or referral to a specialist, joining standard issues such as hypertension or high cholesterol. The system ensures that basic advice on stopping smoking is offered to all smokers, which doubles the likelihood of a quit attempt.
Press release ~ NHS Stop Smoking Service ~ Statistics on Smoking - England ~ Guidance on preventing the uptake of smoking by children and young people ~ Smoking cessation services in primary care, pharmacies, local authorities and workplaces, particularly for manual working groups, pregnant women and hard to reach communities ~ Behaviour change at population, community and individual levels ~ Workplace health promotion: how to help employees to stop smoking ~ Brief interventions and referral for smoking cessation in primary care and other settings ~ NHS - Go Smokefree ~ Smokefree England: One Year On and related documents ~ Consultation on the future of tobacco control ~ UK National Smoking Cessation Conference
ScotGov: A blueprint to crack down on violence against women in Scotland has been launched by the Scottish Government and COSLASafer Lives, Changed Lives - a Shared Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women in Scotland, outlines how the Government, local authorities and key support agencies will work together to tackle all forms of violence against women.
It aims to increase the focus on prevention and considers the best means to support those experiencing violence & abuse, including those more marginalised women and children;
Press release ~ Safer Lives: Changed Lives - A Shared Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women In Scotland ~ COSLA ~ Scottish Women’s Aid ~ CAB – Domestic Violence ~ Fact or Fiction ~ Castlemilk Domestic Violence Project/D.A.R.A. ~ Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse ~ ScotGov - Violence against Women
NE: A new project to re-introduce the short-haired bumblebee to Southern England has been announced by Natural England, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), RSPB and Hymettus. It became extinct in England in 2000, but for over a century a small number of the original English population has clung on in New Zealand, having been transported there in the late nineteenth to pollinate crops of red clover.
The bees were shipped aboard the first refrigerated lamb boats, and established small populations the south island of New Zealand, but there they remain unprotected and under threat.
Poul Christensen, Natural England’s Acting Chair, said: “Bumblebees play a key role in maintaining food supplies - we rely on their ability to pollinate crops and we have to do all we can to provide suitable habitat and to sustain the diversity of bee species.  This international rescue mission has two aims – to restore habitat in England, thereby giving existing bees a boost; and to bring the short-haired bumblebee home where it can be protected”.
Press release ~ Natural England – Help Save the Bumblebee ~ Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) ~ RSPB ~ Bumblebees in North and West Scotland ~ Hymettus
ScotGov: Scotland's leading crime fighting agency (the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce) is to have its staff numbers boosted by more than 25% over the next 2 years as part of a major new drive against serious organised crime. The £4m ScotGov funding package spearheads a raft of initiatives which include:
* providing 80 new posts at SCDEA (includes covert officers, e-crime specialists & financial investigators
* the creation of a Scottish Intelligence and Co-ordination Unit to permanently 'map' organised crime
* provide Scotland's first dedicated expert resources to build the intelligence picture to support complex fraud & human trafficking investigation
* the publication of Scotland's first multi-agency strategy to ensure that law enforcement, businesses, public bodies and communities work together to defeat organised crime
The Taskforce also published details of the ground-breaking 'mapping' initiative which shows that:
* 367 serious organised crime groups involving over 4,000 individuals are operating across the country.
* over half the groups are involved in multiple types of crime, with 90% involved in drug crime
* over half the groups have access to firearms
Press release ~ Scottish Business Crime Centre (SBCC) ~ Serious Organised Crime Strategy - Letting Our Communities Flourish ~ Organised crime ~ Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) ~ Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill
WAG: The First Minister for Wales, Rhodri Morgan, has welcomed a new report on poverty & social exclusion and outlined the actions to be being taken by the Welsh Assembly Government.  The report, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, highlights the detrimental effects that the recession has had on poverty and in particular levels of unemployment.
Press release ~ Recession in Wales: nearly half the unemployed are under 25 ~ WAG - Helping more people into jobs  ~ WAG - Leading Wales out of recession ~ Finance Wales plc ~ Support when you need it ~ Redundancy Action Scheme (ReAct) ~ Flexible Support for Business
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