News in Brief – October 2011

Self Care Week 2011
During this week, from 14-20 November, 2011, clinicians are encouraged to raise awareness of the services they provide to help people take care of themselves and manage any health conditions they may have. A range of resources is available to help get this message across.

Caring for the Carer online stroke resource
NHS Improvement – Stroke has launched an online resource to help stroke teams and other healthcare professionals provide the best support they can for carers. It includes information on the principles of carers’ support after stroke, evidence and national policy and practical resources and case studies. NHS Improvement worked with carers and carers organisations, stroke survivors, charities and stroke health and social care professionals to produce the resource.

Duty of candour consultation  
The Government has launched a consultation on implementing a duty of candour. This would be a contractual requirement, imposed through the NHS standard contract, on NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health care providers, to be open with patients when things go wrong with their healthcare and give them information about any investigations that have taken place, or any lessons learned. The duty of candour, which forms part of the Government’s plans to modernise the NHS by making it more accountable and transparent, is intended to be an enforceable duty on providers. The consultation asks a number of questions, including how primary care providers can help to support their patients in such circumstances and whether this approach should be extended to primary care providers in the future.

New campaign to promote flexible activity guidelines
The ‘Get Going’ campaign encourages adults to get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week, in bursts of ten minutes or more, simply by increasing the pace of their daily activities. This includes everyday activities such as brisk walking, or even digging in the garden. The campaign comes at the same time that a new survey by Loughborough University suggests single people are most likely to get their recommended 150 active minutes each week. It also found that only 27 per cent of adults met the flexible physical activity guidelines.



Funding boost for veterans’ support
The Department of Health and Ministry of Defence have committed £250,000 to fund a one-year pilot of the Big White Wall, a specialised online support forum for veterans. The charity Help for Heroes has committed an additional £100,000. The free service provides 24-hour access to online forums, where serving personnel, veterans and their families can chat anonymously to others who may have gone through similar experiences. A team of specially trained counsellors is always online to offer support.

Treating non-UK residents
New regulations and guidance on charging overseas visitors for NHS hospital treatment are now in force. They include some new exemptions from charge categories, an extended disregarded absence period for UK residents and revised guidance on when to provide treatment to those not entitled to it free. AHPs should follow the guidance when any person requiring treatment is not ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK. It is important to note that this is not guaranteed by nationality, holding a British passport, being registered with a GP, having an NHS number or owning property in the country.


NHS to get 111 urgent care number
A national telephone number 111 is being introduced to improve the public’s access to NHS urgent healthcare services. The new NHS 111 service, which will replace the NHS Direct 0845 service, will be free to use and available 24 hours a day to assess callers’ symptoms and direct them to the service best placed to help them. For example that could be an out of hours doctor, the nearest A&E department or walk-in centre, a community nurse or pharmacist, or an emergency ambulance, which the NHS 111 service will be able to despatch immediately if a caller is assessed as needing one. The service will also provide health advice and information. NHS 111 will be staffed by fully trained call advisers, who will be supported by experienced nurses. It is expected to be available across the country by April 2013. NHS 111 is working closely with GPs, both locally and nationally, to address any concerns about NHS 111.

European Antibiotic Awareness Day
In the lead up to European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November, the Department of Health has published several resources for healthcare professionals to help promote responsible prescribing and use of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is considered one of the most significant threats to patient safety in Europe and is driven by over-use and inappropriate prescribing.



News round-up

The following stories have appeared in the online AHP bulletin since the publication of the September 2011 issue:

NHS Bursary – Health Professional Students: Academic Year 2011/12
The new NHS Student Bursary application system goes live from 28 October 2011 at 12 noon. New students commencing courses from 1 January 2012, who are eligible for an NHS Bursary for the academic year 2011/12, will be able to apply via the Bursary Online Support System (BOSS).

Call to action on obesity
‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A call to action on obesity in England’ sets out new national ambitions for a downward trend in excess weight by 2020.


Obesity learning centre
The Obesity Learning Centre (OLC) lists quality assured information for everyone working with obesity.


Making Open Data Real – Cabinet Office consultation
The Cabinet Office recently launched a public consultation on ‘Making Open Data Real’, which is open until 27 October 2011.


Judicial Appointments Commission launches selection exercise
The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) are an independent commission that selects candidates for judicial office in courts and tribunals in England and Wales.

Clinical networks and senates – get involved
AHPs are being urged to get involved in work on the proposals for new clinical senates, and the role of clinical networks in the new system.

Consultation launched on independent prescribing for some Allied Health Professionals
The Department of Health, in conjunction with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has launched two public consultations: one concerning proposals for independent prescribing for physiotherapists and one concerning proposals for independent prescribing for podiatrists. Both of these consultations will run from the 15 September to 8 December 2011.


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