Weekly political news round up – 24th October 2014

October 24, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

NHS England has appointed Professor Toby Young as the new National Clinical Director for Innovation. Young, a practising Consultant Urological Surgeon, will be tasked with driving the uptake of proven innovations across the healthcare system.

The Telegraph reports that the new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will allow head teachers to register two-year-olds as pupils – in the same way as normal school-age children – rather than classifying them as part of separate early years provision. Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said that “two-year-olds have very specific learning and development needs which differ significantly from those of three- or four-year-olds, and many schools simply won’t have the appropriate physical environment or suitably-trained staff to be able to meet these needs”.

The Department for Education has announced that it will be rolling out the early years pupil premium (EYPP) nationwide from April 2015. Under the EYPP, which is worth a total of £50 million, schools, nurseries and childminders will be given up to £300 for every 3- and 4-year-old from a low-income family to help prevent a performance gap between wealthy and less wealthy children.

NHS England publishes NHS Five Year Forward View

NHS England has published the NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV) – a strategy which sets out the vision for the future of the NHS. The purpose of the FYFV is to state why change is needed, what that change might look like and how it might be achieved.

It was developed in coordination with a number of health service bodies, including Public Health England, Monitor, Health Education England and the Care Quality Commission, as well as patient groups, clinicians and independent experts.

Although continence is not explicitly mentioned, the strategy suggests that care for those with long term conditions could be improved through a more personalised and integrated health and care system. Also mentioned in the strategy is health innovation, including with regards to devices and equipment. Other areas covered include improving public health, as well as financing and new partnerships to deliver services. Children’s services receive little mention in the document.

In terms of the management of long term conditions, the strategy states that patients will have a greater degree of control over the care that is provided to them. One of the ways in which this will happen is through integrated personal commissioning (IPC) – a new voluntary approach which allows patients with complex needs to plan and pay for their own care using NHS funds.

With regards to the acceleration of useful health innovation, the strategy states that NHS England will work with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to expand work on devices and equipment and to support the best approach to rolling out high value innovation. It recognises that new devices go through NICE’s assessment processes less frequently than pharmaceuticals.

The strategy rejects further organisational change, noting that there is “no appetite for a wholesale structural reorganisation” in the NHS. As such, it states that any new models of care should occur within current NHS structures, with “one size fits all” approaches something to be avoided. It terms of funding, it notes that a combination of demand, efficiencies and funding would need to be addressed to avoid a projected £30 billion shortfall by 2020-2021.

Responding to the news, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham commented that NHS was in need of “capital investment” to drive service change, but admitted that he had not yet worked out how the funding would be released. Burnham also repeated Labour’s proposals for £2.5 billion in extra funding for the NHS, as well as plans for hospitals to evolve into “integrated care organisations”. He concluded by commenting that the FYFV would not bring about reforms as quickly or extensively as he would like but was nevertheless a “big endorsement of our vision”.