Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Grant has allowed museum to acquire Charles Dickens' desk

The Charles Dickens Museum in London has been given a grant to buy the desk and chair where the author wrote Great Expectations, which has always been privately owned.
The desk and chair is finally on public display thanks to a £780,000 grant. They had been passed down through the Dickens family after his death in 1870, but were auctioned for the Great Ormond Street Charitable Trust in 2004.
Dickens used the desk in his final home in Gad's Hill Place in Kent. 
The furniture would have been sold at public auction if it was not for the grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).
Made famous in two paintings begun the year he died, the Empty Chair by Luke Fildes and Dickens' Dream by RW Buss, the desk and chair are already on display at the Charles Dickens Museum at the author's former home.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Finalists Announced for the Man Booker Prize

Ten writers have been announced as the finalists for the sixth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction.
The authors come from ten countries and none of them have appeared on a previous Man Booker International Prize list of finalists.
The finalists’ list is announced by the chair of judges, Professor Marina Warner, at a press conference hosted at the University of Cape Town in South Africa on Tuesday 24 March 2015.
The ten authors on the list are:
  • César Aira (Argentina)
  • Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)
  • Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)
  • Mia Couto (Mozambique)
  • Amitav Ghosh (India)
  • Fanny Howe (United States of America)
  • Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
  • László Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
  • Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo)
  • Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)
The judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 consists of writer and academic, Professor Marina Warner (Chair); novelist Nadeem Aslam; novelist, critic and Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University, Elleke Boehmer; Editorial Director of the New York Review Classics series, Edwin Frank, and Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London, Wen-chin Ouyang.
The 2015 Man Booker International Prize winner will be announced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 19 May.
Image: Paul Lowry, Flickr

Interactive Map Shows Edinburgh's Literary History

Edinburgh is a wonderful city that has featured in many literary works. Now a digital initiative is offering you the chance to explore the city’s streets through the eyes of the authors they inspired.
Launched this month, Lit Long: Edinburgh has an online interactive map that pinpoints the locations referred to in books, including some very famous works. Professor James Loxley of Edinburgh University, led the work. By applying filters to the map, it is possible to narrow the extracts, to works based on keywords, titles or authors.
Loxley and his team are even developing an interactive element to add a “sentiment visualiser” tool that employs algorithms to analyse the language of the extracts and reveal whether locations are portrayed in a positive or negative light. It will give you a pie-chart breakdown and a score so you can get a powerful visual sense of an area. 
It is hoped that the interactive programme will offer readers a new perspective on the city. The team who developed the programme hope that similar maps will be rolled out to other cities. 

Source: The Guardian
Image: Fraser Mummery, Flickr

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Review finds NHS performance is at it's worst for 20 years

We are all aware that services in the NHS in England are getting worse, but a review has found things are deteriorating in a way not seen since the early 1990s.
The King's Fund review said waiting times for A&E, cancer care and routine operations had all started getting worse, while deficits were growing. But the review has also acknowledged the NHS had done as well as could be expected, given the financial climate.
It said the next government had to address the funding situation, an extra £8bn a year is needed for NHS England by 2020, as a minimum. 
The report highlights a range of problems as well as achievements. These include:
  • Waiting time targets for A&E, hospital treatment and cancer care all being missed towards the end of the parliament.
  • Bed occupancy increasing to "very high levels", while delays in discharging patients have "risen significantly".
  • Funding being increased by 0.8% a year on average - higher than was predicted mainly because of the low levels of inflation.
  • Hospital infections, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, dropping to historically-low levels.
  • Public satisfaction levels reaching their second highest levels ever.
  • The number of doctors and nurses increasing, while management costs had been "significantly reduced".
  • Levels of deficits increasing though as the NHS struggles to keep up with demand.
It is clear from the report that the NHS is at a critical point, making its funding and survival a hot topic in the coming election. 
Source: BBC News
Image: e-Magine Art. Flickr

The March edition of the Words Worth Reading Ltd newsletter is now available to download

The March edition of the Words Worth Reading Ltd newsletter is now available to download.
This month has been a busy time for us as the Information Governance Toolkit submission deadline looms at the end of the month. The Words Worth Reading team have also been enjoying working with our writing clients, the ghost writing service we offer has attracted more and more interest from new clients this year. It is an exciting time, as spring gets under way.
To get the latest news about business, healthcare, writing, student life, and to find out what the Words Worth Reading Ltd team have been up to, download this month's newsletter from our website by clicking here.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Rise in minimal wage for carers

Story taken from homecare.co.uk

Many care workers working in care homes and for home care agencies are paid the National Minimum Wage, so news that it is increasing by 20p will be very welcome.

The adult rate for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will rise by 20p, from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour, from Thursday 1 October 2015, as recommended by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) in March this year.

The Government rejected the LPC’s recommendation for the apprentice rate. The new apprenticeship rate will be set at £3.30 and represents a rise of 57p, the largest ever increase in the National Minimum Wage for apprentices.

Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “At the heart of our long-term economic plan for Britain is a simple idea – that those who put in, should get out, that hard work is really rewarded, that the benefits of recovery are truly national.
More financial security
“It will mean more financial security for Britain’s families and a better future for our country.”
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg added: “This is just one of the many ways in which we’ve created a fairer society whilst building a stronger economy. If you work hard, this Government is behind you all the way.”

“Whether you’re on low pay or starting your dream career through an apprenticeship, you will get more support to help you go further and faster.”

UNISON's general secretary, Dave Prentis, welcomed the increase but said he would have liked to have seen a bigger rise.

"More than a million low-paid workers who are still finding life particularly tough will welcome the extra cash they'll be getting in their autumn pay packets. But with many families feeling like the economic recovery is passing them by, the Government should have gone for a bigger increase.”
Government needs to get tougher on employers
He added: "But any rise in the minimum wage won't help the workers whose mean bosses still insist on paying them illegal poverty wages. The Government must get tougher still with those employers – especially those in the social care sector – who seem to think they are above the law.
"Ministers should be setting out a plan now to move the national minimum wage to a living wage, so that five million low-paid workers benefit. That would be best way to show we are all in this together."
Bolder increase needed
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, echoed his call for a higher increase, saying: “For the low paid to get a fair share of the recovery, this was a year in which we could have had a much bolder increase in the minimum wage.

“With one in five workers getting less than a living wage, this is nowhere near enough to end in-work poverty. Britain’s minimum wage workers should be very fearful of the billions of pounds of cuts to Government help for the low paid that the Chancellor is planning if re-elected.

“Apprentices will welcome the increase to their minimum wage, which will reduce the shortfall in their minimum pay relative to 16 and 17 year-old employees. But there really shouldn’t be a gap at all. The TUC will continue to call on the Low Pay Commission to recommend a future increase that will match the apprentice rate to that for 16 and 17 year-olds.”
From 1 October 2015:
• the adult rate will increase by 20 pence to £6.70 per hour
• the rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase by 17 pence to £5.30 per hour
• the rate for 16 to 17 year olds will increase by 8 pence to £3.87 per hour
• the apprentice rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30 per hour
• the accommodation offset increases from the current £5.08 to £5.35

This is the largest real-terms increase in the National Minimum Wage since 2007, and more than 1.4 million of Britain’s lowest-paid workers are set to benefit.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Pledge of £300m for dementia research

Story taken directly from carehome.co.uk

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a new, long-term strategy over the next five years to combat dementia, which includes investing £300m in research into the disease. 

The announcement comes hot on the heels of news from Alzheimer’s Research UK, which recently revealed a £30m research collaboration, which will see nearly a hundred new research scientists fast-tracking the development of new treatments for dementia. The three flagship drug discovery institutes at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and UCL (University College London) will make up a Drug Discovery Alliance dedicated to early stage drug discovery.

It is hoped the number of people taking part in dementia research will double in the next five years and a new online and telephone service to facilitate people taking part in dementia research studies will be launched next week, according to the Prime Minister.
Training for all NHS staff
Mr Cameron has also announced that all NHS staff – from surgeons to hospital porters – will be given training in dementia so that people have the know-how and understanding to provide the best possible standards in care.

Mr Cameron, said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, and I am proud that we are leading the world in fighting it.

“Because of the growing strength of our economy, we can invest in research and drug-development, as well as public understanding, so we defeat this terrible condition and offer more hope and dignity for those who suffer.

“That way, we can help make Britain a country that offers security in retirement for all.”

Britain has emerged as one of the world leaders in fighting dementia since 2010 with investment in research doubled, hundreds of thousands of NHS staff given specialist training and one million
‘Dementia Friends’ taking part in awareness sessions across the country.
Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020
The Prime Minister wants to build on that momentum both in the UK and worldwide. The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 is the next phase in the country’s effort to combat the condition.

GP diagnosis rates have increased from 42 per cent to 59 per cent in just three years but too many people are waiting up to six months for a full assessment, causing worry and uncertainty for people and their families.

This will no longer be tolerated, under the new drive to get better diagnosis rates. There will also be a greater focus on the support given to people following their diagnosis such as giving people with dementia better information about the services available locally, as well as advice and support for carers.

Dementia is a growing problem. In 10 years it is expected there will be one million people living with dementia in the UK.

The Prime Minister launched the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia in 2012, and hosted the first-ever dedicated G8 event on dementia in 2013 to secure greater global cooperation between leading nations. Over 437,920 NHS staff have already received dementia training and more than 100,000 social care workers have received dementia awareness training, more than any other country worldwide.
UK diagnosis rates highest in the world
Diagnosis rates in the UK are also now the highest in the world. Hilary Evans, charity director of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Over the past three years we’ve seen the Prime Minister’s challenge play a pivotal role in creating a heightened focus on dementia and boosting the case for more research.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is proud to have spearheaded the research challenge and successfully launched a number of pioneering global initiatives that will bring us ever closer to finding a cure.

“It is vital that we continue to energise a movement across society to improve the lives of people with dementia and that research into the condition continues to be a priority.”

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, added: “This Government has rightly prioritised dementia. We would all acknowledge the work that remains to be done, but the PM deserves credit for the phenomenal achievement in getting dementia on the national and global agenda and this has resulted in significant progress.”

Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s national clinical director for Dementia, said that awareness of dementia is at its highest level and “to have one million Dementia Friends shows the enormous strides we have taken in the last 3 years”.

He called for people to continue to raise awareness, invest in the search for new treatments, and most importantly improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England called for collaborative working and said: “The sheer scale of the challenge posed by dementia means we all need to work together to address it. Public Health England is doing all it can to raise awareness of this disease and in helping the public and businesses support people living with the disease by becoming Dementia Friends.”

Health watchdog accused of siding with the NHS

This article is taken directly from The Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk)

'More than 200 patients and their families have accused the country’s foremost health watchdog of letting them down by taking sides with the NHS organisations it is supposed to be investigating.
A damning new report claims the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is “secretive”, “defensive” and “adds to the already great distress “ of families who have suffered harm at the hands of the health service.
The Patients Association’s report was compiled after it was contacted by NHS patients and their families angry at the way they have been treated by the PHSO, which was itself set up to investigate complaints that individuals have been treated unfairly or have received poor service.

It comes as bereaved parents whose babies died following a litany of failings at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust called for the resignation of the ombudsman for failing to properly investigate the scandal and refusing to admit its own mistakes.
An independent inquiry last week found that 11 babies and one mother died as a result of “a lethal mix” of failures in a “seriously dysfunctional” maternity unit at Furness General Hospital, which is run by the trust. Parents told the inquiry how the ombudsman refused to investigate what was happening at the hospital.

The Patients Association’s report found that:

* More than half of the patients claimed the PHSO “takes sides with the organisation it is investigating”
* Nearly half felt it was “unwilling to challenge” NHS organisations
* That the ombudsman “fails to investigate complaints fully”
* It “produces final reports full of inaccuracies”
* And it “makes patients feel like they are a nuisance for complaining”

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: “Patients feel completely let down by the PHSO; which overlooks or ignores evidence, takes far too long to communicate with families, is dismissive and insensitive and leaves patients feeling that they are in the wrong for raising a complaint.”

The report cites the case of Avril Bonsall, a retired English lecturer who died aged 64, in October 2011, after waiting 94 days for surgery on her ampullary cancer at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre teaching hospital.

This appeared to be in breach of the NHS’s maximum 62 day target. But when her husband Brian complained to the PHSO it’s initial report it named the wrong cancer, failed to make any reference to the cancer target and its investigator appeared to be ignorant of the target’s existence.

Mr Bonsall, 73, a retired physics lecturer, of Draycott-In-The-Clay, Derbyshire, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I was staggered by their lack of knowledge. The draft report even got the type of cancer my wife had wrong. I hoped for an independent and thorough investigation by qualified, knowledgeable and competent staff at the Ombudsman. This was not the experience I had. I felt very let down.”

In another case Laurence Poulton complained to the PHSO about the care his late wife Christina received for her ovarian cancer, claiming that the overly negative attitude of oncology staff at the Sussex Cancer Centre in Brighton “had devastating consequences” on him and is wife’s ability to cope or “develop any sense of control”. Mrs Poulton, a retired upholsterer, died aged 61 in August 2013.

Mr Poulton, 62, a former computer consultant, of Hassocks, West Sussex, said the ombudsman’s subsequent report into his complaint had the effect of letting his wife down once again. He said of it: “Facts were wrongly stated, wrongly interpreted and in addition other relevant facts were not considered at all. I felt totally let down by the ombudsman. They seemed very ready to evade things and not confront failings at the hospital.”

The Morecambe Bay families say the ombudsman’s failings were further highlighted by the independent inquiry into what happened at Furness hospital in Barrow, Cumbria, between 2004 and 2013. This uncovered a series of failures “at every level” from the maternity unit to those responsible for regulating and monitoring the trust which runs the unit.

Among the “shocking” problems found were substandard clinical competence, extremely poor working relationships between different staff groups and repeated failure to investigate adverse incidents properly and learn lessons.

When babies died, midwives conspired to cover up the failings, the inquiry chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup suggested.

But parents of babies who died say that when they first raised their concerns about standards of care at the hospitals their fears were dismissed by the PHSO.

James Titcombe, whose newborn son Joshua died at Furness hospital in 2008, from a simple infection which could have been treated with antibiotics, said the ombudsman refused to investigate the death, saying such an inquiry would be “unlikely to result in a worthwhile outcome”.

It was only after Mr Titcombe began judicial review proceedings over the PHSO’s decision that the organisation undertook an investigation. This concluded last year that there was “no evidence that the midwives colluded to present 'false evidence’”.

However, these findings were contradicted by Dr Kirkup’s report, which found midwives had made a “significant and regrettable attempt to conceal” the truth about Joshua’s death and that their reaction “was allowed to distort some of the processes of the investigation that ensued”.

Dr Kirkup’s report expressed a “degree of disquiet” about the PHSO’s original decision not to investigate Joshua’s case and concluded that “the PHSO failed to take opportunities that could have brought the problem to light sooner”.

Following the publication of his report the PHSO issued a statement saying it “stood by their investigation” into Morecambe Bay and claimed the report had not questioned their findings”.
But after Dr Kirkup intervened to rebuke the PHSO, it revised its statement, saying: “The Morecambe Bay investigation had access to more evidence, including a range of interviews and over 15,000 documents from 22 organisations and therefore it’s not surprising that he reached different conclusions.”

Mr Titcombe, along with Carl Hendrickson, Liza Brady and Simon Davey, who all lost babies at the troubled hospital, last night called for the head of the PHSO, Dame Julie Mellor, to step down.
They said: “Time and time again we feel that the ombudsman’ office has shown the wrong culture and has acted in an indefensible way. Our families wish to lead the call for Dame Julie Mellor to resign so that new leadership can start to change this culture and recover the shattered creditably of this organisation. The many patients who have been forced to experience this tier of the NHS complaints system deserve nothing less.”

The PHSO said that since Dame Julie arrived at the organisation in 2012, it had made substantial improvements, including moving from investigating hundreds to thousands of complaints.
A spokesman said: “Our decisions are independent, robust and evidence based. We recognise that we still need to change our service and culture further, by making it less complex and confusing and making it more empathetic. We are engaged in a public consultation to develop a set of promises to service users.”

The ombudsman acknowledged that in just over half of all the cases it investigated it find that services had acted correctly, saying: “It is therefore understandable that some people will be disappointed when we don’t uphold their complaint.”

The PHSO said it would study the Patients Association’s report and apologised for failing to investigate Mr Titcombe’s complaint in 2009. “We let his family down and apologise unreservedly. We welcome and endorse the Morecambe Bay investigation,” said the spokesman.

The Where's Wally Fun Run for 2015

The National Literacy Trust are organising another Where's Wally fundraising event on 22nd March 2015, in Victoria Park - London. The fundraising event consists of 5km and 10km runs across the park, with runners dressed in Where's Wally costumes.

The Trust say; "Our Where's Wally? fun run is back and bigger than ever! Walk, jog or run 5 or 10km dressed as Martin Hanford's eponymous creation and help disadvantaged children read and write.
Registration fee of £25 includes an official Where’s Wally? costume, with all proceeds going to the National Literacy Trust. All are welcome, including children aged eight and over (who must be accompanied by an adult). Race starts at 11:00am but please arrive at 10:00am to collect your costume."

Good luck to all who are taking part - what a fabulous and worthwhile cause. 

Alternatives to the crippling costs of college life in America

This article is taken directly from The Economist (economist.com)

'WILLIAM BOWEN, a former president of Princeton, calls it “Harvard envy”. Other American universities try to emulate the Ivy League, which raises costs. They erect sumptuous buildings, lure star professors with fat salaries and hire armies of administrators. In 1976 there were only half as many college bureaucrats as academic staff; now the ratio is almost one to one. No wonder average annual fees at private universities have soared to $31,000 in 2014, a rise of around 200% since the early 1970s (see chart). Each new graduate in America is now about $40,000 in debt. People who take costly arts degrees may end up poorer than if they had never been to college.

Digital technology can make college cheaper without making it worse, says Michael Crow, the president of Arizona State University (ASU) in Phoenix and co-author of “Designing the New American University”. This idea is not new. For a few years now, massive open online courses (“MOOCs”) have enabled universities to beam lectures to wide audiences for a tiny marginal cost. The problem has always been that taking a MOOC is not the same as attending college in person. MOOCs are cheap, but students cannot bump into each other in the library and swap ideas, chit-chat or body fluids.

ASU seeks to mix online and face-to-face instruction in a way that makes both more effective. For example, one reason why college costs so much is that many students fail to graduate on time. Only three-fifths finish a four-year degree within six years. This may be because they are ill-prepared when they arrive: shaky numeracy leads many to drop out of courses that require maths. ASU uses technology to diagnose and address such shortcomings. All students are tested on arrival and given remedial help if they need it.

Teachers cannot keep an eye on all their charges, so the university’s “eAdvisor system” nags them instead. Since 2008 it has given all freshmen an online achievement plan, including a constantly updated dashboard that shows whether they are on track or drifting towards the exit.

Online introductory courses, full of prompts and explanations, ensure that teachers do not have to keep going over the basics in seminars. This frees time to teach the more difficult stuff. Data analytics allow tutors to identify which students are stuck and arrange the right response.

Early results look good: ASU has almost doubled undergraduate enrolments since 2002, to 82,000, kept its degree costs reasonably low ($10,000 a year for in-state applicants) and increased the share of students who graduate after four years from under one-third to half. The goal is to raise that to two-thirds in this academic year.

As well as chivvying laggards, software can make courses more fun. One of the most popular at ASU, on space exploration, offers nifty interactive sessions, allowing students to learn astronomy by way of a quest to find out what a habitable extraterrestrial world might be like.

Providing more of its coursework online also helps a university to serve students far away. Phil Regier, the dean of online studies at ASU, says that the number of students who study remotely is growing fast. They tend to be older, holding down jobs, bringing up families and fitting in their studies whenever they can grab time in front of a screen. They pay the same fees as in-state students who live on campus.

This works out well for the university, which can educate more fee-paying students without building bigger lecture halls. Extra sources of income are handy at a time when the state of Arizona is cutting funding for higher education. Mr Crow is quick to spot opportunities: ASU has linked up with Starbucks, a coffee chain, to provide online degrees for company staff.

The notion that online degrees are inferior is starting to fade. Top-notch universities such as Pennsylvania State and Columbia now offer them in many subjects. Georgia Tech has had an online-only master’s degree in computer science since 2014, which it considers just as good as its campus version. Minerva, a “virtual” university based in San Francisco, offers online seminars to students who hop from city to city gaining work and cultural experience.

Even Harvard, long a digital resister, has softened a bit. From this year, its master’s course in public health can be done full-time, part-time or in intense bursts. For much of it, students do not need to be present on campus, so long as they gain the required course-credits. That touches on another idea that could change the way other courses are taught, paid for and accredited: the SPOC (Small Private Online Course).

Whereas the mass-market MOOC is aimed at large numbers of people with different levels of knowledge and commitment, SPOCs are focused on particular groups of students who are qualified to take the course and ready to interact with others while learning. Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government runs a popular SPOC on American security policy: alongside the campus students in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 500 more take the course online. They are required to dedicate time to it and do lots of homework, but so far they can receive no formal credit for it.

That seems odd. Robert Lue, who runs HarvardX, the university’s digital arm, says that it is becoming easier to imagine prestigious universities creating SPOCs for course-credits. Mr Lue approves. “The Harvard idea for the 21st century is not to end up as the education equivalent of a heritage park,” he says.

Clayton Christensen, the Harvard professor who coined the term “disruptive innovation”, thinks American universities are too firmly wedded to their old costly ways to embrace the digital revolution. But Jose Ferreira, who runs Knewton, an education technology firm, predicts that as online courses proliferate and are made easily available in the (computational) cloud, students will embrace them. The present design of colleges he sighs, resembles “a 19th-century factory that builds everything on site”. In the next few years, Mr Ferreira says, at least one of America’s large elite institutions will break ranks and accept credits from the best online courses as part of a mainstream degree. At that point, he reckons, “the rest will quickly follow.”

Freeing universities from their geographical constraints might mean that undergraduates at, say, Ohio State could collect an extra course-credit or two from Harvard. That could increase choice for students and create new revenue streams for the universities with the best digital offerings.

Old-fashioned colleges that fail to offer value for money, however, may find that their lecture halls start to empty.'

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

NICE Consult on Draft Guidelines for Home Care and Carers

NICE are now consulting on the first draft guideline which has been developed by the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care (NCCSC). 

It focuses on older people receiving home care and their carers. It does not cover younger adults (although many of the recommendations may also be relevant to younger adults). 

The guideline is for commissioners of home care in local authorities and CCGs, health and social care practitioners, providers, home care managers and home care workers. 

There is currently significant and far-reaching legislative change in social care. The Care Act 2014 comes into effect in April 2015 and requires substantial change in the way local authorities operate. The duties within the Act and its related statutory guidance cover areas also contained within the scope of this guideline. 

While the Care Act and other legislation describe what organisations need to do, this guideline is focussed on how they fulfil those duties, and deliver support to older people using home care and their carers. You can now review and comment on this draft guideline.

The consultation will end on 16th April 2015. 

Image, Ethan Prater, Flickr

Launched today: First vanguard sites to develop replicable new care models

Today saw the announcement of the first vanguard sites to develop replicable new care models. This is part of the vision outlined in the Five Year Forward View that the NHS needs to rapidly develop new ways of delivering care to patients that better meet 21st century patient needs. 

Sites have been shortlisted using patient, third sector and local government input. The final sites were selected by voting for each other in a form of peer review. There is a strong emphasis on really understanding their support needs and then providing the bespoke support they want, as opposed to what the NHS system thinks they should have. There is also a real focus on how the learning developed will be shared and replicated, something the NHS hasn’t always done particularly well. 

This process has generated lots of enthusiasm from NHS Providers’ members. They have worked with the rest of their local health and social care economy to develop innovative new care models. The vanguards have been chosen for how advanced and replicable their models are. Those who have not been selected must continue to develop and deliver new care models that work for their local service users.

Image: Fletcher Prince

Friday, 6 March 2015

New Style Dental Inspections for CQC

The CQC have been testing out their new approach of inspecting dental practices recently. On the 5th march they published their first reports on the quality of care provided by 12 practices.

In line with CQC's other inspections, the reports focus on whether services provided are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. The CQC will use their experiences from these new inspections, along with feedback from a recent consultation, to further develop their approach which will then be fully implemented from 1 April.

Unlike other regulated sectors, primary care dental services will not be given a rating in 2015/16. Over the next year the CQC plans to inspect 10 per cent of England’s 10,000 dental practices.

A press release provided by the CQC: 'CQC inspectors publish new-style reports on 12 dental practices' provides a list of the dental practices inspected.

Story source; cqc.org.uk. Image source; cliparts.co

CQC announces new human rights and equality partnership

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) announced on the 5th March 2015 that the British Institute of Human Rights will deliver equality and human rights training to all CQC staff from April 2015.

A partnership between CQC and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has led to the development of a staff learning programme.

The learning will focus on the fundamentals of equality and human rights and how staff can improve how they look at equality and human rights issues in their work.

It will include learning on the biases and beliefs that we all have and how these affect our thoughts, behaviours and how we relate with others; particularly those who are different from us, as well how people can develop strategies to tackle these unconscious biases and beliefs.

It will also be tailored for particular staff groups such as inspectors, policy and analytical staff and volunteers who want to become “Equality and human rights champions” in order to embed equality and human rights in the work of their teams.

Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission David Behan, said: “Everyone has the basic right to be treated fairly, and with respect and dignity. We want to promote equality, diversity and human rights in everything we do and tackle inequality where we find it – both in how we regulate and as part of our own culture.

 “We know from our work there is variation in the quality of care and that not everyone gets the care they need. This imbalance must be addressed and working with our partners the Equality and Human Rights Commission and British Institute of Human Rights will help us to achieve this.

“All of our inspections take into account human rights and equality and we must continue to embed a human rights and equalities approach across all our work.”

Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Mark Hammond, said:
“Equality and Human rights are for everyone, and provide an important safety net for people in the most vulnerable situations.

“This training will help health and care professionals fulfil their human rights responsibilities with confidence, help ensure the needs of patients and service users are put first, and their human rights to dignity, choice, privacy and differing needs are fully respected.”

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Society of Young Publishers Mentor Scheme

Part of the SYP’s mission is to provide tools for young publishing professionals to advance their careers while also expanding their network in the creative industries. The SYP currently provides a wide-ranging series of events and seminars aimed at those who are entering the publishing world for the first time, including a very popular talk at London Book Fair – ‘How To Get Into Publishing’. The SYP also organises a similar event for publishing professionals who are trying to move forward from their first job: ‘How To Get Ahead In Publishing’, once again at London Book Fair.

In 2014 we launched a mentor scheme to address the needs of another group of young publishers – those reaching for the next step in their career. The scheme, whose aim was to provide a set of tools to guide career progress, the experience and expertise of a successful publishing professional and the support of peers is now renewed for 2015.

Unlike other schemes, instead of being a one-to-one session each SYP mentoring meeting is built around a small group of young publishing professionals (5–10 people per group).

Each group is assigned a mentor, a young, dynamic publishing professional who has already achieved a remarkable level of success in his or her career. The mentees are assigned to a specific group based on their job description and interest, which then allows us to pair them up with a mentor who has experience in that particular field.

The scheme will provide mentoring in the following areas of publishing:

• Digital and Publicity
• Sales and Marketing
• Design and Brand Management
Author representation

Each group will meet their mentor roughly every two months beginning in March, for a total of five meetings throughout the year. Each mentor will be completely free to organise their mentoring sessions as they see fit. The SYP will provide a rough outline for the scheme.

The scheme will be open to young publishing professionals who are already working in the industry and need advice on how to further advance in their career. To be eligible, prospective mentees will have to meet the following criteria:

• Be an SYP member
• Be under 30 years of age
• Have worked in publishing for at least one year, but no more than five
• Be able to attend meetings in London

Details of how to apply are listed below. All applications will be reviewed by the SYP, who will then select the members of each group.

Confirmed mentors include:
Auriol Bishop, Creative Director at Hodder > Mentor in Design and Brand Management
Sophia Blackwell, Marketing Manager at Kogan Page > Mentor in Marketing and Sales
Tom Chalmers, Founder and Managing Director of Legend Press > Mentor in Marketing and Sales
Laura Summers, Cofounder of BookMachine and Head of Marketing at YUDU > Mentor in Marketing and Sales
Anne Perry, Editor at Hodder & Stoughton > Mentor in Editorial
Hellie Ogden, Agent at Janklow & Nesbit > Mentor in Author representation
Laura Macaulay, Publisher at Daunt Books > Mentor in Editorial
Tom Bonnick, Business Development Manager at Nosy Crow > Mentor in Digital and Publicity

Mentor scheme announcement (social media & trade press)

Mentees recruiting (deadline for application 9th March)

March– November: 4–5 mentor meetings

Christmas party

SYP members under the age of 30, who have been working in publishing for between one and five years, will be able to apply for the scheme by emailing a CV and a short paragraph, explaining why they would like to take part in the scheme and which stream they would like to be considered for, to mentoring@thesyp.org.uk by 9 March 2015.

L.A. Times says, 'The Sellout' is a bruising novel that readers will likely never forget

The review by

"I knew when I read "The White Boy Shuffle" as a junior in college that Paul Beatty had written the book every afflicted black boy wannabe novelist dreamed of creating. Because we lived in the United States, and because we were black boys, and because we were not white boys, and because the publishing industry in the United States was the publishing industry in the United States, we knew there could be only one.

Not one great one. Not one from the West Coast. Not one who got the chance to publish something filled with layers of odd-shaped nihilism, and so many shades of black love, black awkward and black fear. American literature was not hip-hop. We knew that. There could only be room for one youngish black boy novelist who dared to love us and show us that we were way mushier, way weirder and way more brilliant than we thought. White supremacy would have it no other way.
Beatty — who grew up in West Los Angeles, went on to study with Allen Ginsberg and now lives in New York — shifted the expectations of what we could do with secondary characters and literary sound for a generation of young novelists influenced by hip-hop, pull-up jumpers, Toni Morrison and Richard Pryor.

Twenty years later, it's fairly obvious that the United States is a Kara Walker exhibit and a Paul Beatty novel unknowingly masquerading as a crinkled Gettysburg Address. Appropriately, in "The Sellout," Beatty's newest novel, we initially meet our narrator, Bonbon, in the frigid chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Told mostly in flashback, "The Sellout" shows us how a young black boy raised by a single father, who is also a renegade academic, ends up in front of the Supreme Court. As a young man, Bonbon is led to believe that his father's ambitious academic work might lead to a lucrative memoir that will ensure financial security.

However, after police kill his father, Bonbon realizes that instead of an actual memoir, his father left him a bill for a drive-thru funeral. Inspired by the imagination of Marpessa, his ex-girlfriend and neighborhood bus driver, Bonbon tries to revive the town of Dickens, a "locale" that has literally been removed from the map of Southern California. With the help of Hominy Jenkins, the last surviving Little Rascal, not to mention the most well-known resident of the town and a wannabe slave, Bonbon manages to reinstate a peculiar kind of slavery, segregate the buses and the local high school and get shot. All of this lands him in the Supreme Court.

"The Sellout," like "The White Boy Shuffle," is piloted by black American voices. Long flourishing passages that often feel too thick and too concentrated might be read as the necessary work of unfolding, undoing, unlearning and ultimately understanding confused characters in a clumsy nation committed to lots of death, dumb and destruction.

Nearly every chapter gives us an opportunity to meet wonderfully etched secondary characters like Marpessa, King Cuz and the superbly trifling Foy Cheshire, who actually names the narrator "the sellout." But we're also given a slew of other peripheral characters who often too conveniently exist to drop well-timed one-liners. This repetitive narrative move doesn't slow the pace of the novel as much as it makes a spectacle of the novel's pace. Ultimately though, as the book gets closer and closer to the Supreme Court trial, "The Sellout" makes room for both satirical spectacle and earnest literary whispers. Beatty's reliance on so many textured backstories and secondary characterizations feels both revelatory and absolutely intentional.

Near the end of the book, Bonbon remembers watching a black comedian go off on the only white folks at a comedy show, a white "interloping" couple who kept laughing inappropriately at what the comedian called "our thing." Lamenting his inability to ask the comedian to explain what he meant by "our thing," Bonbon recalls, "No, when my thoughts go back to that evening, I think about my own silence. Silence can be either protest or consent, but most times it's fear. I guess that's why I'm so quiet and such a good whisperer…"

This acceptance of stillness in such a loud, spectacular book, which may also be read as Beatty's brand of narrative whispering, is where this novel is at its most dazzling and ironically its least absurd. "The Sellout," while riding beneath terrifying waves of American racial terror and heteropatriarchy, is among the most important and difficult American novels written in the 21st century.

The novel nudges us to understand and then conveniently forget that while black Americans have always been watched, imitated and uber-disciplined, we've rarely been loved or cared for or fairly treated by those watching. Our communication, like the communication between black characters in "The Sellout," will always be incredibly nuanced, comically basic and ultimately private precisely because we have always been under surveillance by a nation obsessed with watching and listening but wholly unable to see or really hear us.

"The Sellout," in all its spiky satirical absurdity, exists not just in a world created by hip-hop and cradled by the Internet. "The Sellout" firmly situates itself between white supremacy and black love, between thick anti-blackness and communal black innovation. It is a bruising novel that readers will likely never forget, especially those readers with the stomach to imagine and the will to remember the mystery and enduring thump of "our thing.""

Has the government put mental health on an equal footing with physical health? The Kings Fund pose the question!

The King's Fund verdict is their take on the big questions ahead of the general election in May 2015. In this posting we have provided the report that the Kings Fund wrote on what progress has been made following the government's pledge to put mental health on a par with physical health.

This is there report:

"What's the issue?
A longstanding criticism of health and social care in England is that people with mental health problems often fail to receive the same access to services or quality of care as people with other forms of illness. For example, three in four people with a mental health problem in England receive little or no treatment for their condition, and there are large gaps in terms of health outcomes – people with the most severe mental illnesses die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population.

Responding to these concerns, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 created a new legal responsibility for the NHS to deliver ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health, and the government has pledged to achieve this by 2020. Parity of esteem involves ensuring that there is as much focus on improving mental as physical health, and that people with mental health problems receive an equal standard of care.

What happened?

The government launched a new mental health strategy ‘No health without mental health’ in 2011, and subsequently has used its annual ‘mandate’ to instruct NHS England to prioritise achieving parity of esteem. A number of specific commitments and initiatives have followed.

Waiting times targets

In October 2014 the government announced waiting time standards for some mental health services – the first time such targets, used widely in other parts of the health service, have been set for mental health. From April 2015 waiting times will be measured for two types of service: psychological therapies provided through the Improved Access to Psychological Therapies programme (see below); and early intervention services for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. The ambition is to extend targets to other forms of mental health care over time.

Crisis services

There has been a recent focus on improving crisis services for people experiencing an acute episode of mental distress. This is in response to a number of concerns, including reported shortages of inpatient beds in some areas, and variable practices in terms of how police forces respond to emergencies involving people with mental illnesses.

The Crisis Care Concordat, launched by the Department of Health in February 2014, has triggered joint agreements at the local level between the police, social care, mental health and ambulance services to improve how professionals work together. Some achievements have already been made, including a significant drop in the number of people being detained in police cells during mental health crises. The government also announced a national initiative aiming to reduce deaths from suicide, with three mental health providers in England already pursuing a ‘zero suicide’ ambition and others being urged to do the same.


The financial squeeze affecting many public services is creating intense pressure in some parts of the mental health system. Some have asked whether mental health receives a fair share of NHS funding. Mental health problems account for 23 per cent of the burden of disease in the United Kingdom, but spending on mental health services consumes only 11 per cent of the NHS budget.

The reduction in the prices paid to mental health providers in 2014/15 (which exceeded reductions for hospitals providing physical health care) led many to conclude that institutional bias against mental health remains as strong as ever. This criticism has been partially addressed by NHS England’s recent planning guidance, which directs clinical commissioning groups to boost spending on mental health at least in line with each group’s overall budget increase for 2015/16, ensuring that mental health receives a proportionate share of additional funding.

In terms of specific programmes, the government has also continued to invest in the Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, a primary care service aimed mainly at people with depression or anxiety disorders. The number of people treated through this programme has increased annually, and IAPT services are now being extended to include children and young people. However, the funding provided to expand the programme has not been ring-fenced, raising concerns about whether the national ambition has been reflected consistently in local spending decisions."