SRH sector join forces and call on SoS Jeremy Hunt to strengthen local authorities’ SRH mandate Key SRH and public health stakeholders such as FSRH, BASHH, BHIVA, FPH, NAT, THT, FPA and Brook have sent an open letter to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt highlighting the challenges currently faced by the sector. The open letter puts forward a set of recommendations, including fully-funded SRH services based on the needs of the population; delivery of SRH services by local authorities in accordance with nationally recognised standards such as FSRH, BASHH and the new BHIVA standards; enhanced accountability mechanisms, among others. The […]
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‘U-turn’, ‘Fiasco’, ‘Chaos’ – Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been back in the news at the start of 2018 and the headlines don’t make good reading for the government. Back in March 2017, the government changed the eligibility criteria for the mobility component of PIP to exclude claimants experiencing ‘psychological distress’ from receiving the enhanced rate of the benefit. However, the High Court found that the government’s amendments ‘were blatantly discriminatory against those with mental health impairments and cannot be objectively justified, and concluded that ‘the wish to save nearly £1 billion a year at the expense of those with mental health impairments is […]
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In 2009 the internal market was abolished in the Welsh NHS. Seven unified Health Boards (and three trusts – Ambulance, Public Health and Velindre cancer services) took over the responsibility of the former 22 Local Health Boards and most of functions of the seven Trusts to both plan and deliver health care for the population resident in their geographical areas. In the initial phase following the internal market abolition the acute hospital sector seemed to have “captured” the planning process. But as things have matured the Welsh Government has sought to re-balance matters with the introduction of Integrated Medium Term […]
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That this year is still the 100th anniversary of World War 1 seems to have escaped many people. 1918 was a momentous year, beginning with the onslaught of German Spring Offensive as their armies, freed from the Russian conflict, turned to the west. Thanks largely to a restored Haig’s strategy and British fighting ability the offensive failed after two weeks. It was the beginning of the end for the Germans. Within 6 months the war was over. Victory had been snatched from the jaws of defeat. But the cost had been enormous, totalling nearly 180,000 British casualties – in just […]
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Once upon a time there were public services that treated everyone the same, and people had to take what they were given. Patients, school children, students, welfare recipients were grateful and deferential, and prefaced all their requests with ‘if it’s not too much trouble’. There would be an audible gasp if ever they did an Oliver Twist and dared to ask for more. Then came Margaret Thatcher with her faith in markets and a feeling that government would run a whole lot better if lots of things were privatised, and those public services that remained were run like businesses. Users […]
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The case for a new Beveridge Report One of the last Labour Government’s real successes was to preside over an increase in life expectancy. In addition, the gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor decreased. Fast forward nearly 8 years, to March 2018 the Office for National Statistics published data showing that under Tory austerity the gap in life expectancy had widened. For women, the gap is the largest since the 1920s. There is overwhelming evidence that these inequalities are not inevitable. They are socially reproduced. They can be changed. And that should give us all hope. But […]
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NHS rally in York, 7.4.18

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Government policy on Accountable Care Organisations remains confused and confusing. The Health Select Committee’s recent grilling of Simon Stevens and Stephen Barclay shed little light on critics’ concerns, while the relative responsibilities of the Accountable Care Organisation and its commissioners remain murky, and subject to legal proceedings. What is clear, however, is that Accountable Care Organisations will be responsible for deciding most of the issues that really matter to the public in the provision of health and care services. This will be even more the case if commissioning is on the basis of long term health outcomes. It will be […]
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It’s lovely to be here and with my dear friend and former colleague, Dr Alex Scott-Samuel. Alex and I were co-Directors of a research unit at the University of Liverpool, and it’s really my tackle inequalities that drove me into politics. As a public health consultant for over 20 years, I knew that if you’re serious about tackling health inequalities you have to get policy right as its being designed. At the same time I was at Liverpool I was also chair of Rochdale Primary Care NHS Trust for nearly 5 years, resigning in 2006 over my concerns of the […]
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Last week I handed in my badge.  No, I was not playing a disgraced sheriff in a western.  It was my NHS badge and my term of office was up. I carry some treasured memories away with me.  The first thing I have to say is that everyone I encountered was very dedicated and extremely professional about how they did their job.  Secondly I am convinced that the NHS needs fundamental reform and that will not be easy. It needs more resources.  Even Theresa May thinks that. But that is not all. We need to think about what we are […]
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Deborah Harrington’s interesting posting on “The Myths and Legends of Hypothecated National Insurance” (March 29 2018) in particularly relevant in the light of media speculation about hypothecated taxes or National Insurance contributions to pay for health or social care. In Wales there is a further variation on this general theme with Professor Gerry Holtham (Dept. of Regional Economics at Cardiff Metropolitan University ) proposing the establishment a social care levy for Wales. (See link below) The levy, based on weekly payments between £1.75 and £7, would differ from a tax in that the receipts would not go into a general […]
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Advanced paramedics in England will be able to prescribe medicines to people who do not need hospital treatment, under new laws starting on Sunday.  Who will be able to prescribe? Advanced Paramedics  – those undertaking or having completed a Master’s-level (Level 7) qualification – will be allowed to complete a prescribing module, if their employed role has a need for it (i.e. you must be employed in a prescribing role, e.g. in a GP surgery. An AP cannot complete it if employed in a standard frontline paramedic role where prescribing is not a required qualification). How does this fit with […]
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