Weekly political news round up – 20th June 2014

June 20, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

The Welsh Government has appointed Dr Mike Shooter as the independent reviewer of the role and function of the Children’s Commissioner in Wales. Dr Shooter, a former consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry, will also look at the impact of the Children’s Commissioner, conduct a review of the legislation around the role, and look at its governance and accountability. He will soon announce a call for evidence and will report back to the Welsh Government with his findings in December 2014.

The Times has reported that a study commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing has found that district nursing is on course for “extinction”. The study found that three quarters of district nurses do not have time to care for people properly, and that half the district nurses in England have left their roles in just over a decade. The RCN said that the problem will only worsen as a third of district nurses are over 50 and heading towards retirement.

BBC News has reported that research conducted by the University of London’s Institute of Education has found that primary schools pupils in England with special educational needs are twice as likely as other children to endure persistent bullying. The study found that 12% of seven-year-olds with SEN felt bulled all the time, compared with 6% of non-disabled peers

NICE publishes four-year surveillance review of clinical guideline 99 – constipation in children and young people

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published their 4-year surveillance review of clinical guideline (CG) 99 – constipation in children and young people. This review, which is the first substantial one undertaken since the CG was published in 2010, found that the guideline should not be considered for an update at this time.

By way of background, NICE undertakes two different types of review every 2 years. One is more substantial than the other.

The first surveillance process is at the 2-year, 6-year and 10-year time points following initial publication of the document. These reviews, which do not call for the views of the original Guideline Development Group members, are less-resource intensive and are intended to be done relatively quickly.

More substantial reviews are done at the 4-year and 8-year dates after publication. These reviews consider whether the guideline is still appropriate, or whether it needs to be updated in light of new evidence. During this process, the original guideline development group members (who helped produce the guideline), will be surveyed to get their opinions on the existing guideline, recent developments in the topic area and their knowledge of any new important evidence since the original publication. The NICE Information Services team are tasked to conduct a literature search across a range of databases.

Reviews have five possible outcomes, which are:

  • Substantial update – the update will follow the standard guideline development process, much like a new clinical guideline would. The update would be consulted on.
  • Rapid update – discrete changes will be made following an assessment by the Updates Standing Committee. Draft recommendations would be consulted on.
  • No update – no changes will be made. A consultation will be held if this happens.
  • Transfer to static list – clinical guidelines that have undergone a review and been recommended for ‘no update’ will be considered for the static list. Guidelines on the static list will only be assessed every five years. A consultation will be held on this decision.
  • Withdraw the guideline – the guideline will no longer apply. Stakeholders will be consulted.

In the case of CG 99, it was decided that there was no update to be issues. As such, a consultation has been launched where stakeholders will be able to input their views into whether or not the decision was correct, and suggest changes where appropriate.

The consultation closes on Friday 27th June 2014.

If the decision is maintained that there will be no update, then CG 99 will next be reviewed briefly in 2016, and reviewed again more substantially in 2018.

Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston elected Chair of the Health Select Committee

The Speaker of the House of Commons has announced that Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has won the election for Chair of the Health Committee, following the recent resignation of Stephen Dorrell. Her appointment takes effect immediately.

She received 226 votes, 31 more than Phillip Lee, the Conservative MP for Bracknell.


In her first interview as Chair, Dr Wollaston outlined to the Health Service Journal her priorities for the Committee over the next few months. She said that she would like the Committee to look at whistleblowing, patient safety and the safeguarding of patient records. In spite of this, she highlighted that these areas reflected her own personal views, and that any actual enquiries would be decided by a vote of the majority of the committee.

Prior to entering parliament in 2010, Wollaston had worked as a GP and had also been an examiner for the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Health Service Journal reports that CQC has been asked to consider take responsibility on patient safety by NHS England

The Health Service Journal has reported that there have been preliminary discussions between the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS England over transferring the patient safety directorate to the CQC. The directorate was created following the abolition of the National Patient Safety Agency in 2012.

Under Section 13 of the Health Act, NHS England is responsible for gathering and disseminating information relating to patient safety. However, Section 13 also states that NHS England can delegate these functions to other organisations.

David Prior, chair of the CQC, told the Health Select Committee last year that the CQC felt that patient safety should be with them rather than with NHS England.