Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Councils risk hypocrisy on NHS cuts 30 August 2013 Councils are becoming increasingly aggressive in their opposition to hospital trust moves, such as changing an accident and emergency unit into a more modest urgent care centre. In the high court, Lewisham council won a major victory, blocking changes to their local hospital that were part of a plan to save the imploding South London Healthcare Trust. In west London, Ealing is objecting to changes to A&E services, while down the M4 Windsor and Maidenhead is fighting a plan to move a minor injuries unit to Bracknell and close a birth unit. Trafford council has voted unanimously to fight the closure of the A&E unit at Trafford general hospital, which at peak times see seven patients an hour according to the Department of Health, and expand services nearby. Councils are taking these actions while they themselves are making similar difficult decisions – closing, downgrading or sharing services, and sometimes handing them over to someone who is doing it better – such as Hampshire county council taking over Isle of Wight's children's services. Is there a whiff of hypocrisy? Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ GPs must give telehealth a chance 27 August 2013 The greatest benefits from telehealth are yet to come – as a catalyst for service integration and patient empowerment. But these will only be realised if doctors stop looking for opportunities to reject it. The development of telehealth has been dogged by politicisation of the issue and the way the conclusions of the "whole system demonstrator" programme were interpreted and debated. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is firmly committed to telehealth. The day after the publication last November of the first NHS Mandate, identifying its priorities for the coming years, he confirmed that seven pathfinders run by the NHS and councils would be signing contracts to provide access to telehealth for 100,000 people this year. In the poisonous relationship between the Department of Health and GPs, ministerial support for a big expansion in the technology is interpreted by some doctors as yet another attempt to impose politically motivated change on the way GPs work. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ SMEs crawl towards public contracts 27 August 2013 The onward crawl – if not exactly march – of SMEs and mutuals towards public sector contracts continues with a rule change, an idea and the gesture. The rule change comes in a partial rewrite of the EU public procurement directive, which it claims will make it considerably easier for public sector staff to establish employee owned companies such as mutuals. The changes, according to public service.co.uk, include raising the threshold at which contracts have to be advertised to €750,000, placing greater weight on the skills and experience of staff when evaluating bids, and making it simpler to break work into smaller contracts. The idea is that the best way for SMEs to win work from big companies is to…  collaborate with big companies.Collaboration nation, research commissioned by Fujitsu drawing on the views of around 500 UK SMEs, reveals that many  SMEs found the risks presented by costly, time- consuming and complex bidding processes were not justified by the work won. By contrast, 80% of those who had worked with big companies to win business were keen to do so again. The research highlights the chasm between the rhetoric around opening up public services to SMEs and the reality of small firms battling against the major players. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Building a dementia friendly world 8 August 2013 The idea of dementia-friendly communities brilliantly encapsulates what a progressive care system could deliver, both for those who need support and for the taxpayer. The concept is simple: to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and help them to become active members of the community. Making it happen involves bringing together every part of a community – health services, social care, transport, local businesses, charities and voluntary groups, the police, the fire brigade and local people. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are at the heart of the dementia- friendly drive, and their approach demonstrates how healthcare can and should extend well beyond the borders of the NHS. For some CCGs, the work around dementia builds on existing relationships formed to tackle different issues; shared efforts to reduce harm from town centre drinking, for example, involves many of the same professionals. The relationship between health and local government is key, as councils can provide much of the infrastructure needed to make a dementia-friendly community successful. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Departments lose buying autonomy 5 August 2013 The latest step in the drive by the Cabinet Office to infuse Whitehall with commercial skills is the launch of the Crown Commercial Service. In line with the Civil Service Reform Plan, the government has announced that the new service will begin operation in the autumn. Based on the existing Government Procurement Service, it will try to make a reality of the often expressed government dream to act as a single customer when buying goods and services. Restricting departments’ freedom to manage their own relationships is at the heart of the new operation. It intends to manage centrally the buying of items such as energy (which probably won’t cause too many problems) and professional services (which could cause a lot of problems). Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Civil service has a great deal to learn 2 August 2013 The cabinet office behavioural insights team – the "nudge unit" – has set up a training programme called Policy School. Responding to criticism that much civil service training is lecture-based, fast-track civil servants are given four days to design a policy that requires little investment, saves money and improves services. One of the first groups through the system was asked to design a programme to improve the health and lives of older people in a London borough. The results were less than impressive. This well-meaning stab at improving the policy-making quality of civil servants highlights the serious flaws that endure in the training and development of senior public servants. Despite many years of sporadic effort to open up civil service recruitment, it still fails in the essential test of learning from the outside talent it attracts. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network
August 2013
Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Councils risk hypocrisy on NHS cuts 30 August 2013 Councils are becoming increasingly aggressive in their opposition to hospital trust moves, such as changing an accident and emergency unit into a more modest urgent care centre. In the high court, Lewisham council won a major victory, blocking changes to their local hospital that were part of a plan to save the imploding South London Healthcare Trust. In west London, Ealing is objecting to changes to A&E services, while down the M4 Windsor and Maidenhead is fighting a plan to move a minor injuries unit to Bracknell and close a birth unit. Trafford council has voted unanimously to fight the closure of the A&E unit at Trafford general hospital, which at peak times see seven patients an hour according to the Department of Health, and expand services nearby. Councils are taking these actions while they themselves are making similar difficult decisions – closing, downgrading or sharing services, and sometimes handing them over to someone who is doing it better – such as Hampshire county council taking over Isle of Wight's children's services. Is there a whiff of hypocrisy? Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ GPs must give telehealth a chance 27 August 2013 The greatest benefits from telehealth are yet to come – as a catalyst for service integration and patient empowerment. But these will only be realised if doctors stop looking for opportunities to reject it. The development of telehealth has been dogged by politicisation of the issue and the way the conclusions of the "whole system demonstrator" programme were interpreted and debated. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is firmly committed to telehealth. The day after the publication last November of the first NHS Mandate, identifying its priorities for the coming years, he confirmed that seven pathfinders run by the NHS and councils would be signing contracts to provide access to telehealth for 100,000 people this year. In the poisonous relationship between the Department of Health and GPs, ministerial support for a big expansion in the technology is interpreted by some doctors as yet another attempt to impose politically motivated change on the way GPs work. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ SMEs crawl towards public contracts 27 August 2013 The onward crawl – if not exactly march – of SMEs and mutuals towards public sector contracts continues with a rule change, an idea and the gesture. The rule change comes in a partial rewrite of the EU public procurement directive, which it claims will make it considerably easier for public sector staff to establish employee owned companies such as mutuals. The changes, according to public service.co.uk, include raising the threshold at which contracts have to be advertised to €750,000, placing greater weight on the skills and experience of staff when evaluating bids, and making it simpler to break work into smaller contracts. The idea is that the best way for SMEs to win work from big companies is to…  collaborate with big companies.Collaboration nation, research commissioned by Fujitsu drawing on the views of around 500 UK SMEs, reveals that many  SMEs found the risks presented by costly, time- consuming and complex bidding processes were not justified by the work won. By contrast, 80% of those who had worked with big companies to win business were keen to do so again. The research highlights the chasm between the rhetoric around opening up public services to SMEs and the reality of small firms battling against the major players. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Building a dementia friendly world 8 August 2013 The idea of dementia-friendly communities brilliantly encapsulates what a progressive care system could deliver, both for those who need support and for the taxpayer. The concept is simple: to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and help them to become active members of the community. Making it happen involves bringing together every part of a community – health services, social care, transport, local businesses, charities and voluntary groups, the police, the fire brigade and local people. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are at the heart of the dementia-friendly drive, and their approach demonstrates how healthcare can and should extend well beyond the borders of the NHS. For some CCGs, the work around dementia builds on existing relationships formed to tackle different issues; shared efforts to reduce harm from town centre drinking, for example, involves many of the same professionals. The relationship between health and local government is key, as councils can provide much of the infrastructure needed to make a dementia-friendly community successful. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Departments lose buying autonomy 5 August 2013 The latest step in the drive by the Cabinet Office to infuse Whitehall with commercial skills is the launch of the Crown Commercial Service. In line with the Civil Service Reform Plan, the government has announced that the new service will begin operation in the autumn. Based on the existing Government Procurement Service, it will try to make a reality of the often expressed government dream to act as a single customer when buying goods and services. Restricting departments’ freedom to manage their own relationships is at the heart of the new operation. It intends to manage centrally the buying of items such as energy (which probably won’t cause too many problems) and professional services (which could cause a lot of problems). Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Civil service has a great deal to learn 2 August 2013 The cabinet office behavioural insights team – the "nudge unit" – has set up a training programme called Policy School. Responding to criticism that much civil service training is lecture-based, fast-track civil servants are given four days to design a policy that requires little investment, saves money and improves services. One of the first groups through the system was asked to design a programme to improve the health and lives of older people in a London borough. The results were less than impressive. This well-meaning stab at improving the policy-making quality of civil servants highlights the serious flaws that endure in the training and development of senior public servants. Despite many years of sporadic effort to open up civil service recruitment, it still fails in the essential test of learning from the outside talent it attracts. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network