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Health, public health and social care round-up: March 2014

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:
• major developments in March
• health and social care reform and finance
• public health
• health and social care quality and practice.

Health Committee report on Public Health England

• The House of Commons Health Committee is satisfied that some Public Health England (PHE) functions are operating well, but has concerns regarding PHE’s policy work, the way in which policy priorities are identified and the nature of PHE’s relationship with Government.
• Of particular concern to local authorities will be the misgivings expressed by the Committee that, in relation to emergency preparedness, there is a lack of clarity around the roles of local authorities, PHE’s 15 local centres and national bodies.
• Local authorities will also be interested in the Committee’s critical conclusions about PHE’s production of a report on the health impacts of shale gas extraction (fracking).
• Local authorities will also be interested in the Committee’s views on the priority of the NHS Health Check programme, which is one of the mandatory public health functions of local government.
• The report also contains some concerns about the future public health workforce which will be of concern to local authorities.
• This briefing will be of interest to Leaders and health portfolio holders, chairs of health scrutiny, Chief Executives and Directors of Public Health.

Health Committee report on public expenditure on health and social care

• This briefing summarises and comments on the recent report of the House of Commons Health Committee on public expenditure on health and social care.
• The report ranges widely over a number of important and topical issues in health and social care, including:
- allocation of resources
- deficits in NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts
- integration of health and social care
- reconfiguration of services
- system leadership
- competition
- ‘cherry picking’ of patients

• The report touches on a number of issues of particular concern to local authorities, including the strategic commissioning and ‘system leadership’ role of health and wellbeing boards which the Committee believes should be strengthened.
• The Committee concludes that:
- the NHS has provided savings during the first two years of the programme, but there is a question about how sustainable they are
- all possible straightforward savings have now been made
- the transformation of care that will be required to make the NHS sustainable in the future and able to deal with increasing demand has yet to take place.

• The briefing will be of interest to council Leaders, portfolio holders for health and social care, chairs of health and wellbeing boards and officers with health and social care responsibilities, including finance directors.

Health, public health and social care round up: February 2014

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:
• major developments in February
• health and social care reform and finance
• public health
• health and social care quality and practice.

Closing the gap: priorities for essential change in mental health

The Department of Health has published its priorities for transforming support for people with mental health problems over the next two to three years. The priorities are to be carried out at national and local level and include:
◾a crisis care concordat setting out expectations for patients in crisis
◾an ‘information revolution’ to improve data, including work by PHE to gather information on promoting wellbeing and preventing mental ill-health
◾choice of consultant/mental health professional at first outpatient appointment.

Integrating health and social care: The Better Care Fund and its chances for success

The Integration Transformation Fund has been renamed the Better Care Fund and the final guidance, planning templates for local Better Care Plans and good practice tools have been issued, available variously on the websites of:
◾the LGA
◾NHS England.

This policy briefing summarises and comments on the guidance, drawing on other recent publications about integration, and considers what chance this initiative has of achieving seamless health and social care.
As well as officers and members working in social care and health positions in upper tier councils, this briefing will be of interest to partners in district councils, particularly those working in housing.

Health, public health and social care round up: December 2013

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:
◾major developments in December
◾health and social care reform and finance
◾public health
◾health and social care quality and practice.

Health, public health and social care round up: November 2013

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:

major developments in November
health and social care reform and finance
public health reform and practice
health and social care quality and practice

Health, public health and social care round up: October 2013

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:
- major developments in October
- health and social care reform and finance
- public health reform and practice
- health and social care quality and practice.

Viewpoint: Pick up self help reading from local libraries

Viewpoint2

There has been a major step change in the way in which public libraries can make a difference to the health and well being of local people. In this guest viewpoint the Reading Agency’s Debbie Hicks discusses the innovative ‘Books on Prescription’ scheme.