Paediatric Continence Forum
Political and Parliamentary Monitoring
Week Commencing 1st October 2018
Major health announcements were made at the Conservative Party conference this week, including an increase in emergency funds for social care and extra resources for hospitals this winter. Recently, we have reported on the concern many trusts have over rising patient demand and increase in the number of patients presenting themselves at A&E. This summer has been likened to a ‘summer crisis’, with the hot weather causing a spike in admissions.
Now, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has announced an emergency injection of £240 million in to the care system in an attempt to ease pressure on the NHS this winter. In a speech on Tuesday, Mr. Hancock told the Conservative conference that the extra funding will prevent unnecessary admissions and mean that delays to routine operations experienced when staff are diverted to the frontline would now be avoided. “I want to help the NHS through this winter, too”, Mr. Hancock added.
The move comes after managers in the social care sector declared hat it needed at least £1 billion to adequately relieve the intensifying pressure faced in the care system. The Shadow Social Care Minister, Barbara Keeley, said the amount earmarked by Hancock was a “drop in the ocean” and called urgently called for further investment.
The PCF will welcome the news that the Secretary of State is investing more money in social care in order to alleviate demand in A&E and routine surgery. In the last year, continence care specialists either providing treatment or diagnosis have been diverted to emergency care, thus delaying the care that many young people with bladder and bowel issues urgently need. An extra investment is therefore useful in avoiding another ‘winter crisis’.
- Essity report update
- Minister highlights needs to promote community nursing
- SEND cuts ‘breaking’ nurseries
Essity have reached out to Whitehouse to inform the PCF about the progress which has been made on their School Hygiene Essentials initiative. The PCF provided a quote for the Initiative in May this year, and the organisation has now provided details of the next phase of development.
The next phase will include a survey that has been set up in partnership with the National Association of Primary Education to survey teachers from across the UK about what resources would be most helpful for Essity to create. The survey has now gone live and the results will soon be analysed and shared with the PCF via Whitehouse.
Whitehouse will distribute the results of the Essity Report, as well as the resources it plans to develop, when the report is finalised and distributed
Minister highlights need to promote work of community nurses
The Care Minister, Carol Dinenage, has promised to fight to get the voice of community nurses heard in Government. In a speech to the Queen’s Nursing Institute Conference, Ms. Dinenage told the audience that “much of what you do goes unnoticed and that simply must change”. Ms. Dinenage’s brief includes community services, for which she said she was “passionate” about improving. The theme of the event was Healthcare in the Community: From Silence to Voice, and looked at the challenges facing community health.
Ms. Dinenage set out three particular areas of focus for the Government, including: the workforce, improving data collection and analysis and joining up structures. The Minister announced the introduction of a ‘Golden Hello’ of up to £10,000 for new graduates entering district nursing roles, and confirmed that “big progress” was being made on the community services dataset, which would improve data collection on staff and patients and in turn create a more efficient health service. The dataset will also allow Commissioners to compare data from different areas, and, therefore, better understand where to focus resources.
In a post-speech question and answer session, one delegate was applauded for challenging Ms. Dinenage, saying that “ you can’t develop an already diminished and stretched workforce”, and asked her to bring back the student nurse bursary. The Minister insisted that “she heard” and understood the concerns of the sector, but added that such matters were “beyond my paygrade”. In all, she emphasised the Department of Health & Social Care wanted to learn about what nurses were doing, and encouraged delegates to use the TalkHealthandCare digital platform to record best practice and highlight concerns.
This PCF will welcome the news that the Government wants to prioritise community healthcare. Whilst Ms. Dinenage does not have oversight of all public health nurses, as these are now funded and administered via local authorities, the emphasis on good community care suggests a subtle change in Government policy which has, thus far, involved slashing funding streams for district nurses. Whitehouse will engage with Ms. Dinenage, and invite her to meet with us to discuss concerns over staffing levels, the importance of early intervention, and paediatric issues more broadly.
SEND cuts ‘breaking’ nursery schools
Funding to support some of the most vulnerable children in the education system is being cut, according to research released by Early Education, a profession association for early years nursery schools, has shown. Figures indicate that one in six maintained nursery schools got no extra funding for children with special education needs or disabilities despite having children eligible for SEND support and additional funding via education, health and care plans.
More than a third of the 128 schools surveyed reported that less funding had been available since April 2017 or that they had pupils whose increased funding did not match their increased hours. One nursery reported that they were at “breaking point”. Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive Early Education, said that “schools are having to meet the needs of children with SEND with less funding than they used to be able to access”. Maintained nursey schools are widely seen as a canary in the coal mine for the education service, because of the high concentration of children with SEND. Whereas schools for older pupils have a notion SEND budget, which is used to pay for up to £6,000 of support per child, but early years providers do not – meaning that they must use their core budget and request a top-op from their authority.
The figures come just weeks after the National Association of Head Teachers warned that 94 per cent of headteachers were funding it more difficult to resource SEND provision than they had done two years ago. Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “We have been clear all along that the Government needs to provide significant, ongoing and sustainable funding to help council manage their rising demand in support from pupils”. In response, the Department for Education highlighted that a record high of £6 billion was being spend on high-needs funding for children with SEND.
This news will interest the PCF. Identifying bladder and bowel issues at an early age is crucial to early intervention. Mapping childhood development and identifying areas of concern help address continence issues in young people. By reducing the funding and resources for nurseries, there is the risk young people may ‘slip through the net’ in terms of support and care.