Weekly political news round up – 27th June 2014

June 27, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

NurseryWorld has reported that Children’s Minister Edward Timpson told Inside Government’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) conference that the “acid test” of the SEN reforms success would be the joint commissioning of services provided for children with SEN. He added that “if we can get this right we will get a better relationships between [all parties]…, better outcomes and save on costs.” He added, “There must be a greater ability for those working in pre-schools to draw health services in”.

Children and Young People Now has conducted a survey of seven leading year years and children’s organisations, asking what they believed the top three policy priorities should be ahead of the 2015 general election. The organisations, which included Barnardo’s, the National Day Nurseries Association and the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said that they wanted increased government investment in the early years sector, as well as an increased investment in training and continued professional development of childcare professionals.

Scottish Government announces 500 new health visitors by 2017-2018

The Scottish Government has announced that a total of 500 new health visitor posts will be created over the four years until 2017-2018. Health Secretary Alex Neil said that £40m would be spent over four years to create new posts, as well as to further educate  existing health visitors.

The announcement was backed by the Royal College of Nursing Scotland and Unite CPHVA in Scotland, who have both been involved in campaigning and discussions leading to this announcement. Both organisations will be assisting in taking forward the Scottish Government’s plans.

Commenting on the announcement, Health Secretary Neil said that “as front-line NHS workers, working with people to reduce health problems from an early age, these new health visitors will play a key role in the Scottish Government’s efforts to reduce health inequalities”.

Children and Young People’s Minister Aileen Campbell added that “Health visitors who support infants and their parents and carers in the earliest years of life play a key role in delivering a universal service to children and families and the Scottish Government is committed to supporting them”.

Health Service Journal reports that Health Education England is planning a “drastic” reorganisation

The Health Service Journal has reported that Health Education England (HEE) is planning a “drastic” reorganisation in an attempt to reduce its spending by 20 per cent. A paper was leaked to the HSJ which highlighted the proposals and motivation for reorganising HEE, which commissions training for healthcare professionals.

The paper said that HEE “often feels to staff and stakeholders like 14 organisations with a national body called HEE and 13 local bodies”, which in turn meant that “a number of functions of HEE [are] being carried out 14 times differently, which is not financially or culturally sustainable”.

In addition to expected cuts to senior staff salaries, the 13 boards will have their current “semi-autonomous freedoms” replaced by a new “cross HEE model”. Furthermore, each board will be expected to appoint the chief executive of a local provider to the position of vice chair. The national body will create four new national directors responsible for a number of boards, who will report directly to Peter Cummings, HEE’s chief executive.

According to the HSJ, the paper aims to address variations in contracts between universities, external suppliers and other functions such as estate management and the recruitment of healthcare students.