Weekly political news round up – 31st October 2014

October 31, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

The Health Service Journal has speculated that the Department of Health wishes to extend NHS joint commissioning with councils to public health and children’s services.

The Department for Education has published guidance on bullying in schools. The guidance suggests that schools could invest in specialised skills to help their staff understand the needs of their pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

The Department for Education has also published an evaluation of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) pathfinder programme on the provision of personal budgets and integrated resourcing, as outlined in the Children and Families Act 2014 and the subsequent SEND Code of Practice.

Tabled written questions on outpatient coding and paediatric continence

Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow has tabled four written parliamentary questions on outpatient coding and paediatric continence, asking the Health Secretary:

  • When the Health and Social Care Information Centre next plans to review the list of treatment function codes for outpatient procedures.
  • What recent discussions he has had with the Health and Social Care Information Centre on the inclusion of a specific treatment function code for paediatric continence.
  • What assessment he has made of the potential financial effect of NHS healthcare trusts failing to properly record data on outpatient procedures.
  • How many hospital admissions there were for constipation in children in 2013; and what the estimated cost to the NHS was of treating such admissions.

Health Service Journal reports Labour could make NICE clinical guidelines mandatory

In an interview with the Health Service Journal, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has revealed that Labour may consider making NICE clinical guidelines mandatory rather than advisory, should they come to power in 2015.

Burnham stated that Labour would review ways in which NICE could be strengthened, including making all clinical guidelines mandatory, noting that there had been evidence that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were opting out of NICE guidelines. He stated that:  “We can’t just have national entitlements broken up… We need to look at how you strengthen NICE. Where they have said something is effective and affordable, on what basis does a local commissioner withhold that from somebody? I’m not comfortable with that. I don’t support that”.

In the same interview, he also stated that CCGs could start to function as the operational arms of health and wellbeing boards, which would assume the role of “signing off” health plans. Burnham said that by having health and wellbeing boards authorise the commissioning of services, the issue of public accountability would be addressed.  Health and Wellbeing boards are made up of councillors, senior council officers and GP commissioners.