Health Bulletin - January 2015

Health Bulletin January 2015

Dear colleague,

Welcome to the January 2015 edition of our monthly health e bulletin bringing you news from LVSC, Regional Voices (of which LVSC is a constituent member), the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England.

Ebulletins regularly include information from the voluntary & community sector (VCS) in London.
Where relevant, ebulletins also contain policy related news about London - e.g. from the Greater London Authority, NHS England (London region), Health Academic Science Networks, etc.

If you wish to discuss any items to be included in future bulletins, please feel free to contact me.

Wishing you all a very happy and successful New Year.


Sandra van der Feen

Policy Officer, LVSC

LVSC news

Health Inequalities event (October 2014) - update

The report of our recent Health Inequalities event (held on 29th October 2014) is now in draft form and is being commented on by the event planning group partners. The report, which will include a number of recommendations, will be published within the next fortnight. If you haven't had the chance to look at the presentations and workshop notes, have a look on the LVSC website.

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Who's Who guide for London refreshed

Each of the regional networks that comprise Regional Voices including LVSC, have produced a "Who's Who" guide to key people working in health, wellbeing and care in each region. The guides include relevant people from clinical commissioning groups, health and wellbeing boards, CQC, NHS England area teams, commissioning support units and local Healthwatch.

The most regularly updated version of the London guide is available on LVSC's website.

The latest update now includes Oversight & Scrutiny contact details, JSNAs and Public Health Intelligence teams. It also contains most of the CCG engagement leads as well as the Equality leads at NHS England.

Please help us keep this guide up to date by notifying us of any changes, gaps or corrections.  We aim to update the guide as regularly as possible.

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The Social Value Act - Are we there yet? London for All/LVSC

The Public Services (Social Value) Act became law in April 2012. The Act places a requirement on commissioners to consider economic, environmental and social benefits of their approaches to procurement before the process starts. But what is meant by 'social value' and what are the implications for VCS and the people they work with?

25th February 2015 9:00am  to 1pm
Location: Voluntary Action Islington, 200a Pentonville Road, London, N1 9JP
More information and registration

This half day event will look at:

  • The requirements place by the Act on commissioners of public services
  • What is social value and how can it be measured?
  • What impact has it had on service delivery and on public and VCS organisations?
  • What are the opportunities for VCS organisations to improve services for the people they work with?

Due to high demand for places on our training courses, we can only offer one place per organisation.

In the event of a no-show without 24 hours' notice of cancellation, LVSC reserves the right to charge a fee of £50 per person. This is to ensure our administrative, catering and booking costs are covered.

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VCS Assist Workshop (LVSC): Monitoring & Evaluation - Evidencing Your Value and Impact

This workshop will give valuable tips and knowledge and enable delegates to plan and implement monitoring and evaluation to determine service efficiency and effectiveness and to be able to confidently demonstrate the impact and added value of what you do.

Tuesday 10th February 2015
2.00pm - 4.30pm (registration 1.30pm)
Voluntary Action Islington, 200A Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP

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London news

Age UK London Opinion Exchange Update

The Age UK London Opinion Exchange is a website from Age UK London. It is part of the organisation's 'Fit 4 Purpose' project, which is funded by London Councils.

The Opinion Exchange features opinion pieces and discussion forums to trigger debate and ensure older people's organisations are able to respond to the changing needs of their users.
The Opinion Exchange has seen several very useful articles go online in the last month.

The articles include:

  • Smart Metering:* Lynn Strother explains what smart metering is; there is also a more recent update to this story.
  • Family and Friends Test: An insight into the NHS Family and Friends Test (FFT) and what it means for you. [PLEASE NOTE: see article below: Patients invited to put primary care providers to the test]
  • Pension Credit Card: Lyn Strother tells us about the Pension Credit Card and asks whether or not it's a good idea.

* PLEASE NOTE that LVSC produced a briefing on Smart Metering last year.

You can read and comment on any of these articles, and many more, on the Age UK London website

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National news

New laws for more open and safe NHS care come into force

Two new duties have recently come into force: the Duty of Candour and Fit and Proper Person's Test.

  • The Duty of Candour places a legal duty on hospital, community and mental health trusts to inform and apologise to patients if there have been mistakes in their care that have led to significant harm.
  • The Fit and Proper Person's Test will help to ensure strong and safe leadership in healthcare organisations.

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Mental Health Taskforce announced

The Deputy Prime Minister announces that he will establish and chair a new Mental Health Taskforce.
The new taskforce will include the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Theresa May, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and ministers from Education, Health and Defence.

The taskforce will urgently examine:

  • how we can improve mental health services for young people
  • welfare and employment issues and helping people back into work
  • how we can improve crisis care and prevent the large numbers of people with severe mental health problems ending up in police cells and prisons

For more information, visit the government website.

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How GPs can help in ending violence against women

The role GPs can play in combating domestic violence has been highlighted by the Department of Health, Public Health England and the Royal College of General Practitioners in support of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. GPs speak to women and families over a long period of time which puts them in unique a position to empower women to seek help.

To read more, visit the government website

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Patients invited to put primary care providers to the test

A million people see their GP every day across England and from 1st December 2014, they will be able to give their practice feedback at any time about their experience of care and treatment, with more primary care services inviting feedback from the New Year.

The NHS Friends and Family Test, a patient feedback tool that is already operating for some hospital services, is continuing to roll out across the NHS and it went live across all 8000 GP practices on 1 December 2014.  It will be used in community and mental health services across England as from 1 January 2015.

The FFT complements more traditional ways of finding out what patients think, such as the annual patient survey and local patient participation groups, but is ongoing and provides feedback very quickly to the people who can act on it.
Patients will be able to put their GP practice, community or mental health services to the test by anonymously filling out a short questionnaire that asks them to rate the service and add free-text comments to explain their views or make suggestions for how things can be improved.  It is intended to capture positive comments as well as to identify areas where healthcare providers need to do better.

The FFT is meant for all patients.  Providers have been given guidance on making the FFT accessible to people whose condition, language or literacy make it difficult to participate.

Scores will be published quarterly on the NHS Choices website and patient ratings could help people to choose which services they use.  The real strength of the FFT though lies in the way the GPs and trusts themselves use it.  The free-text comments offer a real opportunity to find out what is working well and what can be improved, making local healthcare better for everyone.

The Friends and Family Test was launched in April 2013 and is already operating in hospital inpatient services, A & E departments and maternity services. From 1 April, it will also be available in NHS dental practices, hospital outpatient services, ambulance trusts and across patient transport.

More than 4 million pieces of feedback have already been received for hospital services, leading to thousands of large and small improvements to services.


[PLEASE NOTE: see also FFT insight by Age UK London Opnion Exchange Update above]

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NHS England forms new alliance to support people with long term health conditions

NHS England has joined forces with a range of national health and care organisations to form a major new alliance committed to improving care and support for people with long-term conditions. The Coalition for Collaborative Care will champion a system-wide transformation of how those with long term conditions receive and use care to help them better manage their condition and maximise their well-being.

To read more, visit NHS England's website

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Care Quality Commission publish new data on GP care

NHS England has welcomed new 'intelligent monitoring' data on GP practices unveiled by the Care Quality Commission. The data highlights the work being done to ensure patients are offered high quality care in their local communities.

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Formal launch of MyNHS

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has formally launched MyNHS. This is a new site on NHS Choices where people can compare the performance of their local NHS hospital, their care services and their local authority with up-to-date information.

The launch comes 1 year after the government's response to the Francis Inquiry on Mid Staffordshire. It is the first time such a wide range of performance indicators has been made available to the public in this way.

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Plans to transform health and improve services using technology unveiled

Radical new plans to improve health through digital technology have been unveiled by the National Information Board, chaired by NHS England's National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey. The plans set how technology should work better for patients by 2020, through advancements including online access to their GP records.

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Planning for the Better Care Fund: National Audit office (NAO) report expresses doubts the programme will make the expected savings

This report gives a detailed account of how government departments devised, amended and assured planning for the Better Care Fund (BCF). LGiU says that in essence, while the NAO believes that the fund has potential, it is highly critical of how it has been managed, and doubts whether the programme will make the expected savings.

This is one of the most highly critical reports ever published by the NAO. Christine Heron, LGiU Associate argues that many of the points made are however consistent with the views of a range of health and care experts - the BCF is a good policy, but savings are too ambitious, timescales too tight, and revisions have taken it from its original local, preventative focus.

Christine states that despite all this, a huge amount of excellent work has gone into developing plans for integration, and the focus must now be on delivering the benefits to people who need health and care services.

This briefing will be of interest to councillors and officers in councils with adult social care responsibilities, and to those involved in health and wellbeing boards and health overview and scrutiny.

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Regional Voices news

Better data

One East Midlands, one of the Regional Voices constituent members has produced a briefing on the Better data project - open data sources that are useful in health and care.

LVSC recently held a data event for VCS and Healthwatch reps on the Health and Wellbeing Boards. A report will become available soon and data training for the sector will be planned for March this year with Public Health England. Watch this space but also feel free to contact me, Sandra van der Feen ( if you would like further information.

Also of interest may be the animated video on data sharing for NHS healthcare professionals, patients and  the public. It demonstrates the usefulness of data sharing and the benefits it brings. It's been produced by Waltham Forest, East London & City England (WELC) Integrated Care programme.

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NHS Standard Contract for 2015 - 16

Regional Voices has responded to NHSE's response to their consultation responses on the NHS Standard Contract for 15/16 . According to Jo Whaley, one of the Regional Voices' coordinators, particularly concerning is the move away from developing a light touch alternative to the Standard Contract for smaller voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) providers- instead offering to develop a standard grants template. Regional Voices would welcome a move to more VCSE services being funded by grants- but they don't think that this will achieve that.

NHS Standard Contract 2015-16 discussion paper

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How do we enable VCSE commissioning in health, wellbeing and care?

In the light of the issues that arose in the paper " The Voluntary and Community Sector and Localised Commissioning", this working paper is a short look at questions that it would be useful to address nationally, to get the most of partnership work with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE). The questions are posed to the Department of Health, NHS England, Public Health England, the Health and Care Voluntary Sector Strategic Partnership and other VCSE infrastructure organisations. Progress is already being made towards answering some of the questions in some areas, and work over the next year will continue to find solutions to the issues and sharing good practice from around the country.

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Implications for VCS of charging new migrants for NHS services

As the Immigration Act (2014) is implemented, a new charging regime for primary care is scheduled come into force next year- which may impact voluntary & community sector sector (VCS) providers and on the health of BME groups. The charge is targeted at migrants who are in the UK for less than six months and who have not paid a new health surcharge. Regional Voices has provided additional information and will respond to the consultation when it happens. The Regional Voices' page includes a helpful briefing of the Immigration Act by Race Equality Foundation.

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National resources & research

I'm Still Me: a narrative for coordinated support for older people - developed by older people working with UCL Partners

I'm Still Me: a narrative for coordinated support for older people has recently been published and sets out how coordinated - or integrated - care and support looks and feels to older people and is written from their point of view.

The publication, developed by older people working with UCLPartners, National Voices, Age UK , Alzheimer's Society, British Geriatrics Society and partners, challenges health and care services to work together and improve the outcomes older people say are most important to them - things like independence, social interaction and relational support.

More information about the publication can be found on the UCLP website

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Race Equality Foundation event presentations 'Tackling health inequalities in private rented housing.'

All the presentations are available on the REF website

See also: Effective Strategies and Interventions - Environmental health and the private housing sector and The health impact of poor housing by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

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Pathway publications on homelessness, health and exclusion

Pathway Healthcare for Homeless People is a model of integrated healthcare for single homeless people and rough sleepers. It puts the patient at the centre of their own care pathway and works to transform health outcomes for one of the most vulnerable and deprived groups in our society.

Pathway has developed a range of publications and resources available that address health inequalities in particularly in relation to homelessness and exclusion. The resources include health service standards for commissioners and service providers,mental health service interventions for rough sleepers, integration and many others.

Real Live - real voices: earlier in 2014, the  Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health conference saw 10 former homeless people come together for two days in London. This report is based on what they thought about the conference, the messages they wanted to send back to all those who attended and of course those who didn't't

Up and coming event and further resources: Building a Digital Library on Homelessness, Health and Inclusion

Pathway conference report from 2014

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Events & training

Making personalisation and integration a reality

Date: 10.30 - 1.30pm, 23 February, London

Making health and social care support truly personal continues to be an aspiration and a challenge.  A number of initiatives (NHS Health and Social Care Act, Better Care Fund, personal budgets, integration pioneers and personal health budgets) as well as action on the part of agencies and professionals have attempted to give additional impetus to the user-led movement for change, however, the evidence suggests that at best the experience of service users is variable.

This free seminar aims to explore:

  • developments in personalisation;
  • how developments in the integration of health and social care have progressed personalisation;
  • examples of good/better practice in personalisation and integration;
  • the role of voluntary and community sector in delivering change; and
  • ways to ensure personalisation and integration promote equality.

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HEAR network - Working Together for Health Equalities

Wednesday 25th March 2015
From 9.30am arrival for 10am start -4pm
Venue: Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EA

  • What are the inequalities in health experienced by Londoners?
  • How does the intersection of different characteristics impact on health inequalities?
  • What are equalities groups and organisations in London doing to help lessen these inequalities?
  • How are they working with the public sector and how can all sectors work better together?

Please email to reserve a free place or indicate your interest in being commissioned to present a case study, facilitate a workshop or otherwise contribute to this event (all creative and interesting suggestions on the topics above welcomed).

Please note that The HEAR network reserves the right to prioritise specialist/equality groups over generic organisations as the event is expected to attract a lot of interest.

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Online training for VCS and others - Understanding the Health and Social Care Environment

"Understanding the Health and Social Care Environment" is flexible online training accredited by Certa - it is for people interested in understanding the health and social care environment and / or with responsibility for improving health such as Local Healthwatch staff and volunteers, community groups, Local Authority Engagement Leads and Clinical Commissioning Group staff.

"This course is excellent value for money and is a must do for anyone working in health" Theo Harris (CEO, Kingston Centre for Independent Living)

What the course covers:

  • Who the key stakeholders are in the new health and social care environment and their relationship to each other
  • How you can influence these stakeholders and where you fit in the bigger picture
  • Choosing and testing appropriate tools and methods to influence health and social care

Course details:
The (UHSCE) Certa accredited course is delivered online over twelve weeks with regular start dates. The course includes a practical assignment and ends with a day of assessed presentations. The course is currently free to voluntary & community sector organisations with an annual turnover of less than £500,000. For anyone else the course costs £350 per learner but group discounts can be negotiated. The next course starts on the 19th of January 2015 with a face to face presentation day in the week commencing the 27th April (probably in Bradford, unless there is a large group in a different part of the country).

To book or for more information contact:
Email: Phone: (01274) 256 919. Website

More information can also be found on the Regional Voices' website

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