Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A New Home For Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature

Have you discovered the Unbound Worlds website yet? 

The successor to Suvudu it is dedicated to the literary worlds of science fiction and fantasy. The website offers readers insight into books and authors from all publishers at the crossroads of science fiction and fantasy, including slipstream, pop science, fairy tales and folklore, magical realism, urban fantasy, and more.

Authors are encouraged to get involved with the site, with Unbound Worlds looking for ideas from writers in relevant genres, as well as those who have been influenced by science fiction and fantasy literature.

The team behind Unbound Worlds describe the site as original, smart, engaging, and quirky. The site offers a sleeker, vastly updated design, mobile features, and an expanded editorial scope providing even more of the engaging content that defined Suvudu. Visitors to Unbound Worlds can expect to find:

· Exclusive content such as interviews and original author essays.

· Event coverage of conventions with details about author appearances, panels, and signings.

· Features that include book lists, 50-Page Friday excerpts, and coverage of popular series.

· Sweeps and giveaways such as prizes, swag, and advance reads.

· Cage Match, an annual original bracket-style tournament of fictional characters that enlists writers to create fictional battles and readers to vote for winners.

Kristin Fritz, Unbound Worlds Director said “Unbound Worlds welcomes readers of all stripes, from fangirls to sci-fi diehards and those new to the genre. As we evolve and expand Suvudu into this new experience, our hope is that readers find Unbound Worlds the ideal go-to destination for the latest happenings in science fiction and fantasy books and news.”

Check it out for yourself at www.unboundworlds.com

Monday, 24 October 2016

Pharmacists Encouraged to Provide Services in Care Homes

Plans to modernise community pharmacies have been announced by the government.

The modernisation plans are designed to make the most of pharmacists’ skills in all health care settings, including GP surgeries and care homes. Pharmacists’ payments will be based on quality of service, with establishment payments being phased out and a new Pharmacy Integration Fund will support community pharmacies develop new clinical pharmacy services and new ways of working, in new settings and online, in support of the NHS as a whole.

Under the new Quality Payment Scheme pharmacies will receive funding based on their ability to provide a quality service to the public. Examples of standards they will need to demonstrate they meet include:
  • Demonstrating that they are a ‘healthy living-pharmacy’, helping prevent health problems developing rather than simply treating them.
  • Publishing the results of patient experience surveys so people can making informed choice about which pharmacy to go to.
  • Demonstrating that staff are trained in how to support patients with conditions such as dementia.
By incentivising pharmacists to make their services available in a range of settings such as GP surgeries and care homes, it is hoped that patients will receive a better service, when and where they need it, and pressure will be relieved from A&E and GP surgeries.

Beginning in December 2016, NHS England will be working to embed pharmacies into NHS urgent care by expanding the services already provided by community pharmacies in England for those who need urgent repeat prescriptions and treatment for urgent minor ailments and common conditions. This will help to relieve GPs’ workloads, and help to bring about real practical long-term change.

Health Minister David Mowat said “Far from jeopardising services, our modernisation package will make the most of skills and transform how pharmacists and their teams operate in the community, ensuring the public receives the very best care in the places they need it, 7 days a week.”

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Amazon & The Guardian Offering Free Advice to SMEs Wanting to Embrace Digital Retail

If you are looking to grow your business by improving your knowledge of the internet and digital technology to increase online sales and exports this is the event for you!

Enterprise Nation has partnered with Amazon and The Guardian Small Business Network to deliver a one-day event with advice from a host of experts on how to succeed in the digital economy, as well as practical workshops on how Amazon can help your business grow.


In the morning, you'll be able to find out how you can make the most of the digital opportunity as a small business, with insight from Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal; Amazon UK Country Manager, Doug Gurr; Emma Jones, Founder of Enterprise Nation; and other experts. In particular there will be discussions on how SMEs can boost exports, reach a bigger customer and improve the customer experience by using the internet, mobile apps and more.

There will be networking opportunities over lunch and in the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to attend practical workshops on:

· Reaching new customers by exporting across the globe through Amazon Marketplace

· Scaling your digital infrastructure to successfully grow your business with Amazon Web Services

· Reaching customers in exciting new ways through Alexa, Amazon’s new voice service

· Looking beyond the shop window to sell your food or drink products online to Amazon's UK customers

· Publishing your own book to a potential audience of millions of customers around the world.

The event has the seal of approval the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. In attendance at the event will be Deputy Mayor for London, Rajesh Agrawal, who will speak about the need for SMEs to embrace digital channels. “Having run my own international business, I have seen first-hand the power of the digital economy and what it can do for growth and job creation. The Mayor and I are working hard to ensure that small businesses are supported to grow and scale-up through initiatives like The Mayor’s International Business Programme. I am therefore delighted to be supporting Amazon, Enterprise Nation and The Guardian in helping SMEs build the skills needed to succeed on the global stage.”

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation and SME ambassador, said “Businesses are without doubt missing out if they don’t develop their digital expertise, but many firms find it hard to get access to realistic early stage support. Today more and more people are setting up at home while holding down a day job and quite a lot of it can be guess work with success being hit and miss. The Amazon Digital Business Academy can help address this by showing how and in what way the digital economy can play a role in every business endeavour.”

Time: 9.30am - 4pm

Location: Amazon Fashion Photography Studio in Hoxton, London

Cost: Free to attend


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

CQC State of Care Report Exposes Pressures on Social Care Services

The CQC’s annual State of Care report has been published and it shows that most health and adult social care services in England are providing people with safe, high quality and compassionate care, but it also raises concerns about the sustainability of this position in the future.
The report is based on findings from over 21,000 inspection and, for the first time, repeat inspections. Despite increasingly challenging circumstances, many services have managed to either improve or maintain quality. However, there is evidence of deterioration in quality, with some providers struggling to improve.
Around three-quarters (76%) of NHS services, care homes, general practices and other services that were rated as ‘inadequate’ were able to improve their ratings following re-inspection. 23% went from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ and 53% went from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’.
47% of providers that were re-inspected following a rating of ‘requires improvement’ were not able to improve their rating. Most worryingly, in 8% of cases, the quality of care had deteriorated so much that the rating was downgraded to ‘inadequate’.
The report raises concerns that the fragility of the adult social care market is now beginning to impact both on the people who rely on these services and on the performance of NHS care. The combination of a growing and ageing population, more people with long-term conditions, and a challenging economic climate means greater demand on services and more problems for people in accessing care.
Commenting on the report, David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, saidWhat distinguishes many of the good and outstanding services is the way they work with others – hospitals working with GPs; GPs working with social care and all providers working with people who use services. Unless the health and social care system finds a better way to work together, I have no doubt that next year there will be more people whose needs aren’t met, less improvement and more deterioration.”

You can read the full report at http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/state-of-care

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Student Accommodation in London is the Most Expensive in the World

The variation in the cost of living and studying for domestic and international students around the world has been highlighted in Savills latest World Student Housing report.

While Boston and New York are the most expensive cities for both domestic and foreign students, when you break the costs down and look at the cost of staying in purpose-built accommodation, London is the most expensive place to study.

In many countries tuition fees for local students are lower than for international students. Students looking to avoid a hike in tuition fees should head for Shanghai, Berlin, Beijing and Munich where they will find they are not paying more than the locals, or Tokyo, Seoul or Bristol where the fees are only slightly higher.

The research assessed the costs of living, purpose-built accommodation and tuition for students studying at top ranking institutions in major student cities around the globe.

Overall, mainland European and Asian cities tend to be the most affordable destinations for both types of students, while US, Western European and Australian cities are the most expensive. Students in a high ranking US institutions can expect to pay between $3,000 and $4,000 per month in tuition fees and $1,000 to $1,600 for private, purpose built accommodation and additional monthly living costs. London, Sydney and Melbourne then follow, given high fees for international students ($2,000 to $2,400 per month) and comparatively high accommodation costs.

By contrast, mainland European cities are notable for their affordability. Living and studying in Berlin, Lyon and Munich is comparable to studying in Beijing and Shanghai – but with even lower tuition fees. Both domestic and international students pay a nominal monthly fee for tuition, the cost of living is low, and private purpose built student accommodation tends to cost less than $500 per month.

Marcus Roberts, director of Student Investment and Development at Savills, commented “Many students still choose to study in the US, UK and Australia despite the expense due to the fact that courses are taught in English and that these locations are home to many institutions that appear at top of the rankings tables.

“The old order, however, is changing. With greater commercial focus, more courses taught in English and alignment to the bachelor system, European universities are on the rise. France, for example, has seen the number of institutions in the QS Top 700 increase from 19 to 26 since 2012, Germany has the third most ranked institutions globally with Spain the tenth. China, meanwhile, has overtaken Japan to take fifth position.”

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Funding Opportunity for Projects Wanting to Tackle Rising GP Demand Announced

NHS England and the academic health science network is seeking to invest in innovative ways to deal with increasing demands on GP surgeries. Organisations can apply for up to £100,000 to develop innovative ideas that will help GP practices cope with increasing demands placed on their practices.

The demand for general practice is at its highest ever level. The number of face-to-face consultations increased by 13% between 2010 and 2015 at the same time as the number of GPs was declining.

GPs are expected to face increasing demands on their practices as more and more elements of care are pushed out of hospitals and into general practice.

The NHS is seeking to fund projects under a SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) in three areas:
  • workload and demand management: solutions that better forecast the demands that will be placed on surgeries and help to release GP time
  • diagnostics and earlier triage: technology that allows rapid diagnostic testing to take place within general practices rather than in acute care
  • self-care: products that help the patient to look after themselves in partnership with their GP

Competition Information

  • The deadline for applications is at noon on 24 November 2016.
  • Single companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities, can apply.
  • Up to £100,000 is available for individual feasibility studies in the first stage of the competition.
  • Successful projects could attract contracts of up to £1 million for further development of the idea.
  • Funding is available in the form of 100% funded development contracts.
  • Briefing events will be held in Cambridge on 25 October 2016 and in Bristol on 27 October 2016.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Online Rateable Value Calculator Launched for Business

The Valuation Office Agency has launched its online rateable value calculator for businesses big and small.  The online service allows you to view your draft rateable values and get an estimate of your 2017-18 bill.

Anyone in England and Wales who pays business rates, can go online to check their new draft rateable value. From this they can get an estimate of what their business rates will be from April 2017.

It only takes a couple of minutes to click, find and review a rateable value and if you think the information held about your property is incorrect, you can ask the Valuation Office Agency to update their records.

The agency has also updated its online service, based on detailed research into what ratepayers want and need. The new service allows ratepayers to use it at a time and in a way that suits them, including on smart phones and tablets.

Click here to use the calculator, simply enter your postcode or street address.  Rateable values used are based on rental values on 1st April 2015.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

CQC Issues Guidance on Hospital Discharge Needs Assessments

The CQC has issued guidance for care homes on Hospital Needs Assessment, following concern that care home providers are not readmitting people after periods in hospital without conducting full, in person assessments of need.

The CQC statement aims to make clear the legal requirements around this subject and offer some best practice guidance. The advice and guidance applies equally to community adult social care services.

Regulation 9 of the 2014 Regulated Activities Regulations makes it clear that providers must undertake a needs assessment before providing a service, and must do so in collaboration with the person being cared for or someone with legal powers to make relevant decisions. This is an important requirement and one of the fundamentals of providing good care.

However, while needs assessments of people not previously admitted to a service will normally require face-to-face contact, where an existing service user has been admitted to hospital, regulation 9 does not necessarily require the provider to physically see the person when reviewing their needs and planning the re-start of their care on discharge.

Where a provider is confident that they can rely on information from hospital or care management staff, and that on the basis of this information they are able to meet the person’s needs, they do not necessarily need to see them in person. This includes in relation to gaining consent to their care and treatment being transferred back to the care home.

The CQC stresses that every decision about a needs assessment requires careful judgement, and will need to take into account a variety of variables. Care providers will ultimately need to be confident about:
  • The reliability of the needs-related information supplied by other sources.
  • Their ability to meet the person’s continuing and any new needs
  • The person’s (or someone with valid legal powers’) continuing consent to the care they will provide
These elements can be discussed, assessed and concluded by any appropriate means, for example by telephone, email or in person. The mechanisms involved and what was agreed and decided must be recorded.

Ultimately, if a provider is not convinced by or confident in the information provided to them by a third party, they need to undertake their own needs assessment.