Archives for July 2008

CLAIM THAT BENEFIT REFORM WILL CAUSE ANXIETY FOR

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 July, 2008

A charity has raised fears that plans to scrap Incapacity Benefit and Income Support will lead to “serious anxiety” for carers. Carers UK is concerned about the measures set out in the ‘No one written off: reforming the welfare state to reward responsibility’ Green Paper in spite of Government claims that no carers will be worse off under the proposals.

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ORGANISATIONS TO TEST HEALTH AND CARE INFORMATION

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 July, 2008

The charity, the Disabled Living Foundation, has been named as one of the bodies chosen to try out a scheme designed to ensure good quality information is available across the health and social care sectors. Forty organisations have been selected from more than 120 applications to pilot the information accreditation scheme for the Department of Health.

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PLANNING SYSTEM FACING STAFF AND SKILL SHORTAGES SAY

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 July, 2008

A committee of MPs is warning that there is real risk that Government targets for house-building and regeneration will not be met because the local government planning system cannot cope. A report released today by the Communities and Local Government
Select Committee finds council planners will be unable to manage the volume or variety of tasks that are required between now and 2020.

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LONG WAIT FOR TALKING THERAPIES ‘DAMAGING LIVES’

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 July, 2008

The lives of people facing long waits for NHS psychological treatments are being damaged by the delays according to a group of leading mental health charities today. They say mental health problems can get worse and that relationships break down. Some
people are forced to take time off work or even give up their jobs.

In their report, “While We Are Waiting”, the Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and YoungMinds say national clinical guidelines recommend that psychological treatments should be made available on the NHS but accessing the therapies remains difficult and waiting times are
often more than six months and sometimes years.

One person whose case is included in the report told researchers, “The assessment was incredible. I felt that someone finally understood. When I was told that the wait after assessment was two years it felt like a real let down, offering a lifeline and then snatching it away.”

The report is being published before the roll out of the Government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, which is expected to bring 3,600 extra therapists to half of England’s primary care trusts over the next three years and to reduce waiting times in those areas. It says, though, that unless all PCTs are required to publish data about how long
patients have to wait for treatment,inequalities in access to talking therapies will continue.

“While We Are Waiting” is recommending that all PCTS should meet the aspiration that psychological therapy is available when needed urgently, within three to ten days. It also wants the NHS to communicate with patients about the different kinds of psychological treatments on offer and is calling for therapy
services to be flexible with weekend and evening appointments for those who work.

The Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, Andrew McCulloch, said, “It takes a huge amount of courage to ask for help for a mental health problem. It is vital that those who need psychological therapy get it as early as possible because the consequences of having to wait can impact terribly on a person’s
life.”

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PRIVATE SPENDING ON HEALTHCARE

Book News, PublicNet: 24 July, 2008

By Joe Farrington-Douglas and Miguel Castro Coelho

This report from the Institute of Public Policy Research examines the role of private spending in health. The think tank finds that the private sector plays a valuable role in the UK health system. However, it argues that attempts to meet the challenge of sharply rising healthcare budgets by shifting costs from the public to the private purse, for instance by greater use of co-payments and top-ups or a move to more private insurance, are unlikely to make the health service more efficient. It argues that public funding for the NHS is likely to have to continue increasing to reflect public preferences for improved levels of healthcare.

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COMMISSION REPORT ON CHIEF EXECUTIVES ‘NOT THE WHOLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 July, 2008

Local authorities say an Audit Commission report into factors influencing the jobs market for local authority chief executives does not give the full picture. The Commission’s discussion paper, ‘Tougher At The Top’ says poorer performing councils
increasingly hire chief executives with a track record, but there is no evidence that those brought in from other authorities are any more effective in delivering improved performance than those promoted from within.

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CHARITY SETS OUT IMPACT OF PO CLOSURES ON ELDERLY

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 July, 2008

The impact of Post Office closures on older members of local communities has been detailed in new figures from the charity Help the Aged. They show that almost a third of older people have seen their nearest post office close.

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DISCONNECTED CITIZENS: IS COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT THE SOLUTION?

Abstracts, PublicNet: 23 July, 2008

This paper from the Social Market Foundation suggests that if the Government’s Community Empowerment strategy doesn’t change, the disconnection between citizens and government will only get worse. It argues that although the Government’s intentions are laudable, the structures put into place aren’t tackling the problems.

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CALL FOR RESPECT FOR HEALTHCARE ASSISTANTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 July, 2008

Almost half of Healthcare Assistants believe they are poorly or very poorly valued and two thirds of them have thought about leaving the NHS according to a survey published today. It comes from the largest public sector union, UNISON which is calling for “just a little respect” for the work of HCAs in caring for patients.

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CHARITY HIGHLIGHTS LACK OF MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 July, 2008

A charity has highlighted what it claims is a shortage of skilled workers to treat the one in ten children in England and Wales who have severe mental health problems. In its response to the Government’s independent review of mental health services for children and young people, Young Minds, brands services as “inadequate”, especially for children with learning difficulties and for older teenagers.

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