Weekly political news round up – 2nd February 2018

This week, a parliamentary question has been answered on NHS England’s assessment of the implementation of the Excellence in Continence Care guidance. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has highlighted the opposition expressed to some of the changes it has proposed to nurse education, and the King’s Fund has said that the level of public support for the NHS will prevent it from being privatised. The former Children’s Minister Edward Timpson has also been appointed as an adviser to the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield.

Parliamentary question on Excellence in Continence Care guidance

The Labour MP David Drew has received an answer to a written parliamentary question on what plans the Department of Health and Social Care has “to ensure that all clinical commissioning groups implement NHS England’s Excellence in Continence Care guidance.” The question received a response from Public Health and Primary Care Minister Steve Brine, who clarified that NHS England is:

  • Arranging for CCGs to access teams of expert clinicians, commissioners from areas that have adopted the guidelines and people with experience to review their existing service against the guideline and make appropriate improvements;
  • Exploring the potential for a mandatory data set to provide transparency about the continence service CCGs are commissioning via the CCG assurance process which enables NHS England to check how CCGs are meeting the health needs of their population;
  • Encouraging CCGs to develop integrated commissioning arrangements with local authorities to ensure improved coordination, experience and use of resources; and
  • Ongoing communication and education campaigns to raise awareness about the Framework.

Nursing and Midwifery Council faces opposition to education changes

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has highlighted opposition to the changes to nurse education it proposed last year, with the consultation receiving 1,932 responses from individuals and organisations. Early analysis of the consultation was included in NMC council papers and reported in the Nursing Times. Some of the main areas of disagreement were whether all student nurses should have to be competent in the same communication and relationship skills regardless of whether they were training in adult, children, learning disabilities and mental health nursing and whether the maximum number of hours which a student can spend in simulation as part of their practice should increase beyond 300. The NMC noted that “there is a widely held conviction that simulation should not be seen as a substitute for hours spent in practice settings.”

The NMC indicated it would not change its stance on controversial issues if it has other evidence to support its stance, saying that plans will not be dictated like “the X Factor vote” and be led by popular opinion. The NMC’s separate consultation on withdrawing its standards for medicines management received mixed responses, with 40% of respondents disagreeing with the plans, 27% agreeing and 33% not having a view either way. The NMC’s director of education, Geraldine Walters, said “We’d already taken account of evidence, recommendations in national inquiries, and took the view of stakeholders and experts.”

King’s Fund: public support will prevent NHS privatisation

A report by the think tank the King’s Fund has argued that the NHS is not at risk of being turned into a US-style private system, as many campaigners fear the Conservatives are trying to do, as public support for its current funding model is too strong to allow for a change. The King’s Fund analysed 34 years of data from the British Social Attitudes survey which reflected consistently high levels of support among the public for the NHS, suggesting that “for anyone in politics who was trying to privatise the funding of the NHS, it would be an act of political suicide.”

Edward Timpson appointed as Children’s Commissioner adviser

The former Children’s Minister Edward Timpson, who lost his seat at the last general election, has been appointed as a part-time adviser to the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield. Timpson will advise Longfield on how her powers can be used to promote and protect children and young people, as well as what the priority issues and challenges are for children, families and the sector. As a former minister, Timpson had to seek approval for the appointment from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and cannot lobby the Government on issues relating to the role for the two years from his last day in ministerial office.