Weekly political news round up – 8th September 2017

September 8, 2017 in News by Whitehouse

Overview

In the first week following the parliamentary summer recess, the PCF has been discussed during a debate on incontinence in the House of Commons, and Select Committee memberships have been decided pending approval from MPs. A report by the National Association of Head Teachers has found that many children aren’t considered to be “school-ready”; and the Scottish Government has announced it will lift the public sector pay cap, prompting speculation that the UK Government could do the same.

PCF discussed during debate on incontinence in House of Commons

The Labour MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group, Madeleine Moon, held an adjournment debate on incontinence in Parliament this week. The impact of incontinence across all ages was discussed and followed by a response from the Public Health Minister, Steve Brine.

The debate included supportive interventions from a range of MPs, including Melanie Onn, Jim Shannon, David Drew and Rosie Cooper. Mrs Moon highlighted the number of adults with bladder and bowel dysfunction in the UK, along with the number of children and young people with continence problems, using the statistic we provided her with. The statistics from this year’s PCF FOI survey – that only 41% of CCGs and Health Boards commissioned all four paediatric continence services + product provision – were also used to highlight the variability in provision of paediatric continence services, which Mrs Moon described as “absolutely shocking”.

Statistics from Crohn’s and Colitis UK were cited to highlight the social impact of continence problems on young people. The slow implementation of the Excellence in Continence Care guidance was also mentioned, and Mrs Moon asked whether the minister would ensure that every local authority and health authority has to have a clear continence pathway, as “they should be doing it already”.

Mr Brine responded that “A group of specialist nurses for adults and another group for children are currently preparing some consensus guidelines on commissioning continence products, which in due course the Excellence in Continence Care board will consider for endorsement as a supplement to the framework.” It was unclear whether this referred to the consensus document created by Bladder and Bowel UK in 2016, or a different document. Mr Brine also discussed Madeleine Moon’s letter to the Department of Health on the loss of ChiMat, and said the following:

“Let me take the opportunity to reassure her that the ChiMat legacy website can still be accessed. Paediatric continence is a very important issue. I understand that Public Health England is grateful to the Paediatric Continence Forum for its productive collaboration over the years and that it wishes this relationship to continue. It has agreed that if PHE’s infrastructure remains the best place within the health system to enable these reports and to make these data available at a local level, it will make every effort to recreate the paediatric continence needs assessments during its 2018-19 business planning process. I am the Minister responsible for Public Health England. I see its leaders regularly and I will raise it with them next time I see them.”

Select Committee memberships decided

Elections to choose the Conservative members of Select Committees have taken place this week, after Labour members were selected prior to the summer recess. The full nominations for Committee membership are available on the Order Paper for Monday 11th September ahead of their approval by the House of Commons.

The membership of the Health and Education Committees is comprised of:

 

Health Education
Dr Sarah Wollaston (Chair) (Con) Robert Halfon (Chair) Con
Luciana Berger (Lab) Lucy Allan (Con)
Ben Bradshaw (Lab) Michelle Donelan (Con)
Lisa Cameron (SNP) Marion Fellows (SNP)
Rosie Cooper (Lab) James Frith (Lab)
Dr Caroline Johnson (Con) Emma Hardy (Lab)
Diana Johnson (Lab) Trudy Harrison (Con)
Johnny Mercer (Con) Ian Mearns (Lab)
Andrew Selous (Con) Lucy Powell (Lab)
Maggie Throup (Con) Thelma Walker (Lab)
Mr Paul Williams (Lab) William Wragg (Con)

Report indicates children aren’t “school-ready”

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has published a report on school-readiness, based on a survey of school leaders conducted in June and July 2017. Of 780 school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the survey found that 83% believe that how ready children are to start school is an issue and most think this has worsened over the last five years. School-readiness is based on children’s abilities in five areas, namely communication and language; physical development (including coordination, control and movement, such as whether children can use the toilet independently or put on outdoor clothing); personal, social and emotional development; literacy and mathematics; and understanding the world.

78% of respondents said that physical development was of concern to them, and 13% said this was of most concern to them. This made physical development the issue of third highest concern, with speech, language and communication and personal, social and emotional development being of higher concern (listed as a concern for 97% and 94% of school leaders respectively). When asked what were the likely reasons that children are not school ready, 67% cited a failure to identify and support additional needs early enough; 63% said a reduction in local services to support families; and 57% highlighting a reduction in local health services to support families.

Responding to the survey, the Local Government Association said “Councils have worked hard to protect funding for children’s services in response to this rapidly rising demand, but ongoing cuts to local authority budgets are forcing many areas to make extremely difficult decisions about how to allocate increasingly scarce resources.”

Scottish Government lifts public sector pay cap

The Scottish Government has confirmed it will remove the 1% cap on public sector pay as it set out its legislative plans for 2017/18 this week. The decision was welcomed by Scottish Labour as a “U-turn [that] is long overdue” from the SNP, after Scottish Labour announced the policy in its election manifesto earlier this year. The decision has prompted speculation that Theresa May is also considering a phased approach to lifting the public sector pay cap in England following public discontent over the Conservative Party’s approach during the general election campaign. The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said May recognises “the sacrifice” NHS workers are making under current pay conditions, and did not rule out an end to the policy this Autumn.

The RCN has continued to campaign for the removal of the pay cap for nurses, holding a ‘Scrap the Cap’ rally outside Parliament on Wednesday. The Chief Executive of the RCN, Janet Davies, said: “Experienced nursing staff are leaving in droves – not because they don’t like the job, but because they can’t afford to stay, while the next generation do not see their future in an under-valued profession. If the Government fails to announce a change of direction in the Budget, then industrial action by nursing staff immediately goes on the table.”