Sunday, 20 March 2011

2010 NHS Staff Survey results released

The results of the eighth annual survey of NHS staff have now been released. The results help NHS Trusts to review and improve the experiences of their staff, enabling them to provide better care to patients.

54% (of the 306,000 staff contacted) responded to the survey. Among these staff:

  • 77% have had appraisals in the last 12 months (69% in 2009).
  • 64% are happy with the standard of care provided by the trust (an increase from 62% in 2009)
  • 68% of staff say hot water, soap and paper towels are ‘always’ available when they need them (compared to 71% in 2009). The proportion of staff saying hot water, soap and towels are ‘always’ available for patients has also dropped from 63% in 2009 to 60% in 2010.
  • 41% have good opportunities to develop in their work (compared with 44% in 2009)
  • 28% said that they will look for a new job in the next 12 months (compared with 22% in 2009)
  • 8% overall reported experiencing physical violence from patients, relatives or other members of the public, while 15% said they had been subjected to bullying, harassment and abuse.
To find out more, head to the CQC website's News and Events pages.

Are you a Health or Social Care organisation that needs to register with the CQC? If so give us a call - we can help take the sting out of registration and assessment preparation.

Defined career path isn't necessary for Students

Target Jobs, an online publication aimed at individuals seeking employment at any stage in their life, has released a story stating that students who just don't know what to do with themselves post University are 'OK'.

The news story explores how the pressure of determining a career path whilst still studying can be paralysing for young individuals, and that there should be a reduction in the level of pressure put upon them to decide upon their future so early in their lives. Indeed, the article continues, if an individual's outlook on life is sufficiently flexible, they will find that they take any career opportunities presented to them, and use these opportunities to ultimately define a career path that works best for them.

So students take note! You don't need to know exactly what you want to be when you grow up by the age of 21. You can take as much time as you need...

New award for an old winner

The Nobel Prize for Literature winner of 1992, Derek Walcott, has won the TS Eliot prize for poetry with his 2010 collection of poems entitled White Egrets.

Derek Walcott, aged 81, beat Seamus Heaney who was also shortlisted for the prize, and indeed is a former winner of the TS Eliot prize. Simon Armitage was also amongst the ten shortlisted poets.

Vintage recordings of SF Masters now available

Science Fiction lovers take note!!

The Science Fiction Oral History Association (SFOHA) maintains an archive of audio and video recordings of historical people and events related to science fiction and fantasy. It has now begun a series called Space Dog Podcasts, thus enabling fans and writers alike to learn from the great names of the past and present.

A new podcast is released every two to three weeks, and each lasts about 1 hour. They can be accessed from the SFOHA website:

New edition to the Self Publishing family

A new self publishing company, Acorn Independent Press, launched earlier this year. The company has been created by a former Associates Assistant Agent and her industry-experienced brother.

Acorn Independent Press offers a number of different types of self-publishing services. These include three publishing and marketing Print On Demand packages and an ebook publication service.

In addition, Acorn Independent Press, has an Acorn's Write A Novel Scheme which takes the form of a monthly newsletter, mailed routinely to subscribers. Subscribers can expect short writing exercises, tutorials, tips and editorial advice. The company's founder states that the newsletter is, 'fun, and quite accessible, but it builds up so people can produce a longer piece of work.'

If you've got a manuscript that you'd like to see self-published, make sure you take advantage of our proofreading services to ensure that your text is squeeky clean before it goes to print.

New title from Brick Lane author Monica Ali

Monica Ali's new novel, Untold Story, is set to be published by Transword this month. The book is based on the life of a fictional princess and is inspired by Princess Diana, so the publication date is very timely.

The book is based on the premise of what if the fatal crash in Paris underpass in 1997 had actually never taken place and Princess Diana was still alive?

Let's wait and see what the critics will say...

Writing competition for all genres opens

Both published and unpublished authors from any genre of writing (including children's) can submit their work forward as part of the Exeter Writers Short Stories Competition.

Each submission should be a maximum of 3,000 words. All entries should be typed, doubled spaced, and on single sides of A4. Competitors should only record their name and contact details on the entry form itself; not on their actual competition submission. Entry forms can be found online at Each entry fee is £4.

More than one story can be entered, but it must appear as a separate entry.

All entries should be submitted by post and the entry deadline is the 31st March 2011 so you'll need to get writing!

The prize pot totals at £400, so it is well worth a go!

Need some help with your creative writing? Check out the Words Worth Reading Ltd website for details of our creative writing editorial service.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

SAGA and SEW magazines' freelance possibilities

Two magazines that are notoriously hard to approach with freelance ideas are actually 'crackable' according to the Writers' News publication.

They say that SAGA Magazine, which has a circulation of 1.6 million readers, does offer 6 - 7 freelance slots each month, and these are often offered to new writers who have excellent ideas and a demonstrably strong background in journalism.

The monthly magazine Sew Hip covers needlecraft with a friendly, casual approach. Readers are generally aged between 25 and 50 years of age. The editor of the publication is very keen to take on new writers and get new names into the magazine, so if you have a passion for textiles, take a look at their submission requirements.

Test your editorial skills

The Writing Magazine has provided three sentences that would benefit from 'some careful use of a red editing pen.' How would you re-write them?

1. Although she was a comparative newcomer to the company, Rose had somehow wrestled control of the editorial department from the girl who had been in charge for years.

2. Long before he started work on his non-fiction book, Clive aimed to martial all his facts and reference sources into a manageable order.

3. Robert had not completed any of the work he needed to do in preparation for the meeting, so he quickly invented an entirely fictional cold and excused himself on the grounds of illness.

Japan publication possibilities

A new opportunity for foreign titles to be published in Japan has now become available. More authors can now compete in the world's second largest publishing market, as Tokyo based publisher G.B. Company has started a new Japanese translation for English-language books. More information is available at

Self Publishing Index

Irish blogger Mick Rooney has launched a 'Self-Publishing index' of service providers which ranks self publishing companies according to user feedback, website comments and services offered. The list is helpful because it provides an indication of which sites / companies are expanding and are worth approaching, and which should potentially be avoided.

His blog also reviews self-publishing service providers in some depth, and feedback is passed on from service users. More information can be found at

AuthorHouse Self Publishing UK services

It is rumoured that the US self-publishing company AuthorHouse have closed their UK Milton Keynes office. Whilst it was clear that their marketing services within the UK were to close (and indeed did so last year) it appears that the entire UK office has now closed altogether.

The company is not sponsoring the Author Centre at the London Book Fair in 2011 as they did in 2010, which certainly indicates a reduction in their commitment and involvement in the UK market.

N3 and Prison Health IT win national awards

Taken from the Connecting For Health Newsroom report, with thanks.

N3 took the plaudits in the 'Central e-Government excellence: Team' category for collaborative working and connecting healthcare, presented by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude. Prison Health IT were also nominated in this category and took second prize, receiving a 'Highly Commended' accolade.

N3 earned its award for migrating much of the N3 network to newer, faster and lower-cost technologies over the past year, resulting in more than a £20 million reduction in the cost of N3.

N3 Programme Head Len Chard said: "Of all the awards N3 has received this one pleases me most for two reasons. Firstly this is the third year in a row we have won an e-Gov, which is something of an achievement in itself.

"Secondly whereas all the other awards have been for an individual N3 product or service this one is for the team, many of whom who have been with N3 since the beginning and whose dedication, loyalty, expertise and team working have absolutely made N3 the success it undoubtedly is."

Programme Director Martin Dennys added: "I want to give my congratulations for the fantastic win for N3. This is a fantastic achievement, as making the finalist list alone is worth noting, but being picked by the judging panel as the winner is brilliant.

"The e-Government awards are one of the most prestigious public sector technology awards that it is possible to be nominated for. It was a real privilege to collect the award on behalf of the team – and was only possible due to the team effort."

Prison Health IT won a 'Highly Commended' trophy for its work to date in deploying the TPP SystmOne Prison IT system to prisons across England.

"It's great to be recognised, particularly as we were up against incredibly stiff competition from across the whole of the public sector," said Prison Health IT Programme Director Mary Barber.

"We're very proud of the close and collaborative way we've been working with other organisations to roll-out a national clinical IT system to prisons across England, including the Department of Health, the National Offender Management Service, the SHAs and PCTs and our suppliers."

CQC responds to BBC report

On the 10th March, the BBC News featured a report on care home regulation by Mark Easton. His angle was ‘localism’, but the CQC claim that the report included a number of inaccuracies about regulation.

For example, Mark Easton said:

“Regular national inspection of care homes ended last October”. This is clearly not true – the new system came into force in October, and this involves assessments and inspections of homes.

“English care home regulation relies on relatives and residents alerting the authorities to problems.” Again, not true. We stress the importance of the views of relatives and residents as one of our many sources of information about homes. And we still visit homes as part of our regulatory activity.

“It will be down to councils and communities to keep an eye on standards”. Councils and communities have important roles to play, as do providers. But it is CQC’s job to monitor compliance with standards.

The introduction to the report said campaigners have expressed fears that “shifting responsibility to local communities will lead to a decline in standards”. Responsiblity remains with CQC, but the engagement of local communities is to be welcomed.

Student job opportunities released

There is a definite warmth to the air nowadays; at least once the crisp chill of the morning has vanished. This can mean only one thing...summer is coming. We may need to jump over spring first, but nonetheless that summer is definitely on its way.

Once those final year exams and end of term essays have been completed and handed in, you'll find that your time is your own. So why not take the opportunity to find a student summer job? Not only will you earn a bit of cash but you'll also get the chance to enhance your CV too. is already advertising some fab placements to sink your teeth into this summer!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Free, downloadable student articles

We have a full range of Student-related articles that can be downloaded free of charge from our site. If you're in a bit of a pickle when it comes to deciding upon which course to study, academic study itself, the completion of essays or simply deciding upon a career path, why not come and take a look?

Maintaining CQC compliance post registration

Registering with the Care Quality Commission can feel very frustrating. It can take ages to get a response from them once you have submitted your paperwork, then the CRB check comes in late and the references are out of date, then you re-submit the references only to find that you now need to pay them a new fee! It can then take an eternity to actually be called for a site visit, and once you are, you spend the week before panicking over where all of the documentation is filed!

However, a painful process it may be, but nonetheless it is now mandatory to be registered with the Care Quality Commission if you want to practice as a Healthcare Provider in England.

Often one of the mistakes made is forgetting that you (or the organisation you work for) has to keep demonstrating compliance against its registration to the Care Quality Commission post registration - it is not enough to simply receive the registration certificate, sigh in relief and forget about maintaining the standards and the documentation you presented at your initial assessment.

As well as providing documentation and CQC assessment support to organisations across the country, Words Worth Reading Ltd also provides free advice and information sheets on how to manage your Care Quality Commission registration. Our latest is on 'Monitoring your CQC compliance post registration', and can be viewed from here:

Data Mapping for IG

Do you have to provide the Information Governance lead role in your organisation?

Words Worth Reading Ltd can help! Not only do we offer bespoke Information Governance documentation, training and assessment services, we have also produced downloadable templates that can be accessed via our website, and informative articles and news bulletins that can keep you up to date with your national Information Governance responsibilities. Our latest article, 'Understanding the data mapping requirements for your Information Governance Toolkit Assessment' is available online now:

Review site for self published authors

A new review site devoted to self published books and those published through very small presses has been launched. Indiereads ( was set up by Ali Cooper, and the site reviews most genres of fiction and non-fiction in print and ebook format (with the exception of Erotica, Horror or anything that might be considered violent or gratuitous).

Authors can submit their work for review, and the site's reviewers will select which books that want to review formally after having considered sample chapters of the submitted pieces.

Words Worth Reading Ltd works with writers every day to help them improve their manuscripts and publisher submission packs.

Online Poetry Group

The Poetry Book Society has introduced an online poetry reading group that is free to join and is open to everyone. To become a member all you have to do is enrol online. Once a member, you'll be automatically sent a monthly newsletter.

This new reading group can be found at The group offers two monthly Choices to members, deliberately chosen to provide contrast. Choices could taken from single author collections, anthologies or classics. In addition, articles will be available on each month's Choices and online discussions will take place, stemming out of both the 'Choice' texts of the month and out of the monthly articles that have been written about them.

Interested in learning more about poetry? Check out our website...

Popularity of e-readers soars

It's a debate we've all been having - just how good are electronic book readers, and what are the chances of them ever replacing the good old fashioned paperback?

Certainly at the Words Worth Reading offices we've seen a division in opinion. Some of us see the real benefits of having access to hundreds of publications (magazines and newspapers included) at the touch of a button. The romantics amongst us however just can't see how an electrical device could possibly replace the smell, touch and comfort of a good old fashioned book.

However, throughout the general reading population there seems to have been a real increase in the number of individuals buying and using electronic reading devices. Indeed, a study completed in France and published in The Bookseller reported that by 2015, 25% of books will be sold in a digital format. As long as they continue to be published in a paperback format too, we really don't mind!

The Prix Goncourt is awarded

The Prix Goncourt is one of the most prestigious literary prizes to be awarded in France and the controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq has been awarded the prize for his novel La Carte et le territoire. Within this novel his lead character, who is actually named Houellebecq is brutally murdered (scary stuff!)

Somewhat disappointingly however, the award, despite being regarded extremely highly across Europe, actually only has a 10 euro (£8.60) cash value!!

Fancy learning more about writers and their masterpieces? Find news, information and forum discussions at the Words Worth Reading principle website.

Unusual poetry and fiction wanted

The UK literary magazine Neon is looking for submissions of poetry and prose that (and I quote) 'is beautiful, shocking, intense, memorable, cold, contemporary and beautifully written.' I think they may have gone a little overboard with the request for beautiful language in that statement but we'll let them off the hook this one time.

Neon is a free magazine that is published quarterly and has a readership of 2,000 - it is available both online and in printed format. The magazine's guidelines state that 'there are no limits on form or word count. Darker pieces are generally favoured over humerous ones, as are free verse poems over those that rhyme. Genre work is welcome and experimentation is encouraged.'

As always, it is advised that you read a copy of Neon first before submitting your work, and all work can be submitted through their website:

If you're a poetry and / or prose writer then give us a call. We can offer advice, guidance and critiquing support.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

New excellence scheme for adult social care

CQC (the Care Quality Commission) announced their plans to develop a new scheme to recognise excellence in adult social care on the 28th February 2011. The scheme is set to be launched in April 2012.

A consultation on how to define excellence in adult social care will launch in May, building on work carried out for CQC by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

The scheme will be voluntary (social care providers can choose to apply for the award) and will involve a proportionate charge. CQC will seek expressions of interest to deliver the scheme in the spring, and will welcome bids from across the private and voluntary sector.

Chief executive Cynthia Bower said: “CQC’s role is to identify and react to signs that people may be at risk of receiving poor care. This means we can say we don’t see signs of risk at a provider, but this is not the same as saying a provider is offering ‘excellent’ care.

“We do, however, firmly believe that care providers should aspire to deliver the best possible outcomes. An excellence award can recognise best practice, be a spur to improvement for providers who already meet CQC’s essential standards, and can help people who need longer-term care to make choices.

“We look forward to working with people who use services, their families and carers, commissioners and providers to develop the scheme.”

The CQC requires all organisations to be registered and assessed by them as 'suitable to practice'. If you need help with your registration, give us a call!

Pharmacy IG requirements clarified

As new provider types come onto the Information Governance scene, it can be difficult as a Provider to know exactly what information you need to provide and which standards you need to comply with.

Following a number of queries, the Information Governance Policy team have issued an information notice to clarify the position regarding the status of IG Toolkit scores for community pharmacies.

For IG Toolkit version 7 (2009-2010) community pharmacies were required to carry out a baseline assessment against the requirements. This was to provide a baseline for improvements to be made where necessary. By 31 March 2011 community pharmacies will be expected to attain level 2 against the version 8 requirements.

Do you need support with your Information Governance Assessment completion? Give us a call.

Student riot case to be heard in Kingston

Following the recent student riots over increased annual fees, a number of defendants will be facing charges for their actions at a local protest. Each of their individual cases will be heard at Kingston Crown Court.

The court, which is renowned for dealing with high-profile terror cases, will hear cases for about 150 defendants who are linked to the protests. It is thought Kingston was selected for the size of its court rooms, not for security reasons.

E-Books sales fly!

Christmas 2010 certainly helped the rising trend in e-book sales this year! A barrage of digital technologies for the new media consumer was vying for Santa's attention, including the Amazon Kindle, Apple IPad, Barnes and Noble Nook amd the Entourage eDGe. It is estimated that £3-5 million e-readers were activated the week after Christmas.

It is anticipated that 2011 will see a further increase in e-book sales. Particularly with Google's long-awaited e-books platform all ready and waiting, which generated close to 1300 news stories overnight!

The Book World takes a financial hit

We all know that the recession is affecting most areas of the economy, and the publishing industry is unfortunately no different.

Spending on books fell by more than £56million in the UK in 2010. In addition, Christmas sales figures show a demonstrable decline when compared with those in 2009. Three key reasons have been stated for this Christmas decline:

- Bad weather
- Closure of Borders
- An uncertain economic climate

Kindle allows book loaning

One of the stated drawbacks of Electronic Book Readers such as Kindles is that they remove the ability to be able to lend books to your friends and family, and to be able to share books amongst your reading and social circles.

However, Kindle have stated that they have now removed this drawback from their product! Amazon are now allowing purchasers of its e-books to transfer each virtual volume to one friend for up to two weeks. This therefore allows readers to share their books with at least one of their friends. Not quite the same as passing your favourite paperback around your closest friends...but still, a step in the right direction perhaps!

Are you a book fan? Get weekly book reviews on our Forum!

Ethnic Writing Award

Commonword, Puffin Books and Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Agency have announced the Commonword Children's Diversity Writing Prize, which will be awarded annually from 2012.

The award will be presented to a writer who can demonstrate ethnic diversity. This can be demonstrated through either their own ethnic diversity or within their writing.

The award will be a £500 cash prize, access to professional mentoring, and £100 worth of Puffin Books.

Fancy writing a book? We can help...

Test your proofreading skills

Borrowed from Writers' Forum, the extract below contains 20 errors. Can you find them?

'The first thing the groundkeeper saw when he went to tend to the small cemetery behind St. Sebastians was the body that someone had forgotton to bury.
She was lying on top of a grave her head pressed close to the headstone, her arms crossed over her stomach. she was almost as white as the seven faded granite markers that surrounded her. The groundskeeper takes a deep breath, dropped her trowel, and crossed himself. He inched toward the body and leaned over, casting a shadow.
Somewere overhead a gull screamed, and as the womans eyes flew open, the groundskeeper turned and ran threw the iron gate into the dizzying streets of los Angeles.
The woman looked into the sky. She did not know where she was, but it was quiet; and since her head was pounding, she was grateful She tried to remember how she had gotten their in the first place.
Sitting up, she touched the gravestone and squinted as the letters dipped and blurred before eyes. She pulled herself to her feet and, balanced against the stone for support. The she leaned over and wretched, clutching her stomach and blinding back tears at the pain shooting through her temples.
"A church" she said aloud, jumping at the pitch of her own voice. This is a church."
She walked to the gate and stared as the cars and buses going by.
She had taken three steps away from the church before she realized she did not know where she was supposed to go. "Think," she commanded herself. She put a hand to her forehead and feels the slip of her own blood.'

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