Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Way the CQC Regulates Independent Healthcare Under Review - Have Your Say!

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is inviting people to give their views on proposals to change its approach to regulating independent healthcare services, such as independent acute hospitals, independent doctors and clinics, online services and independent substance misuse services in England.

Proposals include:
  • Plans to introduce quality ratings following inspections for independent healthcare services. 
  • Changes to the regulation of independent healthcare services, including the scheduling and intensity of its inspections and how the CQC will monitor providers. 
  • Improved systems for gathering intelligence to monitor the quality of care including the development of ‘CQC Insight’– a data monitoring tool currently in use for NHS hospital trusts and primary care providers – to help inform decisions about when and what to inspect, and a new regular provider information request to support and feed into CQC’s monitoring of services in between inspections. 
  • The phased introduction of a more targeted approach to inspection that is more responsive to risk and improvement and involves greater focus on leadership – similar to that introduced for NHS trusts, adult social care and primary care providers.
  • Changes to the core services that the CQC assesses during its inspections of independent acute hospitals and community health services. Including assessing and rating ‘outpatients’ and ‘diagnostic imaging’ services separately and combining the existing core services of ‘medicine’ and ‘surgery’ into a single ‘inpatient’ core service to better reflect the way these services are organised and managed at many independent hospitals. 
  • Introducing ‘community single specialty’ as a new core service for some independent community healthcare services. 
Commenting on the proposals, Sir David Behan, Chief Executive at CQC, said “The consultation sets out our plans to evolve our current approach to regulating independent healthcare services to be more focused, targeted and intelligence driven in line with our strategy and the approach we have introduced already for NHS hospitals, adult social care services and primary care.

“Our proposals are based on the learning from our inspections of the sector over the past three years and feedback from independent healthcare providers about our regulation, which will continue to focus on ensuring people receive safe, high-quality and compassionate care and on encouraging improvement. We welcome the further feedback that this consultation will bring.”

The consultation is open for eight weeks closing on Friday 23 March 2018. The CQC will formally respond to the feedback provided later in the year - click here to get involved.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Less Than Half of SMEs and Charities Aware of New Data Protection Requirements

The latest data released by the government shows that less than half of all businesses and charities are aware of the new data laws, coming into force in May.

Research shows that businesses in the finance and insurance sectors have the highest awareness of the changes to be brought in through the Data Protection Bill in May 2018, which see European GDPR regulations brought into force, as part of plans to help the UK prepare for a successful Brexit.

Businesses in the construction industry have the lowest awareness, with only one in four aware of the incoming regulation. Awareness is higher among businesses that report their senior managers consider cyber security is a fairly high or a very high priority, with two in five aware of the GDPR.

The survey found that more than a quarter of businesses and charities who have heard of the regulation have made changes to their operations ahead of the new laws coming into force.

Common changes to cyber security practices include:
  • creating or improving cyber security procedures
  • hiring new staff
  • installing or updating anti-virus software.
Organisations which hold and process personal data are urged to prepare and follow the guidance and sector FAQS freely available from the ICO.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said "This is a step change in the law; businesses, public bodies and charities need to take steps now to ensure they are ready.

Organisations that thrive under the new rules will be those that commit to the spirit of data protection and embed it in their policies, processes and people.

Our website is packed with information to help your organisation to get prepared for May 2018."

Businesses are also recommended to follow free guidance on protecting themselves from online attacks published by National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), such as the Cyber Essentials advice and the Small Business Guide.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Prince's Trust and Innovate UK Invite Young Entrepreneurs to Pitch Their Business Ideas

18 to 30-year-olds could win support to pursue an innovative idea under a new scheme run in partnership by the Prince's Trust and Innovate UK.

The competition - part of the ideas mean business campaign - will help young adults make their ideas a success, no matter where they come from.

Business ideas should focus on one of the following three areas:
  • changing something for the better in a local community 
  • a new way of using technology to fix an everyday problem 
  • a new way to tackle an environmental issue 
Support is available to young innovators who can commit 15 hours a week to developing their idea.

The award will include:

  • an allowance to cover time spent working on the idea 
  • coaching and mentoring from an innovation champion 
  • a funding pot for activities or resources, such as travelling to meet customers and partners, training courses, equipment, office space and IT.

Who can apply?

UK residents who:
  • have the right to work in the UK, or are applying for the right to do so.
  • are unemployed or are working less than 35 hours a week if applying through the online programme, or working less than 16 hours a week if applying through the in-person programme 
  • are not studying or studying less than 14 hours a week 
  • are age 18 and 30.
People currently receiving support from the Prince’s Trust’s in-person Enterprise programme are also eligible to apply.

How to apply

Applicants will need to register with The Prince’s Trust, where they will then be able to sign up to attend one of a series of regional events. These events are designed to help applicants develop their ideas and give more information about the application process.

You must attend an event in order to apply. 

1st Round of Events

  • Cardiff, Wales, 5 February 
  • Ipswich, East Anglia, 5 February 
  • Birmingham, West Midlands, 6 February 
  • Brighton, South East, 7 February 
  • Plymouth, South West, 8 February 
If you attend one of these events you will need to submit your application by 1 March 2018.

2nd Round of Events

  • Newcastle, North East, 26 February 
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, 26 February 
  • York, Yorkshire and the Humber, 27 February 
  • Manchester, North West, 1 March 
  • Glasgow, Scotland, 2 March 
  • Nottingham, East Midlands, 2 March 
Delegates to these events must apply by 22 March 2018.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Lack of Proper Policies and Procedures Leads to Home Care Service Being Rated Inadequate by CQC

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told a Wakefield care service, Auscare Professional Service Limited that they must make improvements to protect the safety and welfare of people they care for.

Auscare Professional Service Limited provides care and support to people living in their own homes in the Sheffield area.

At the time of the CQC inspection visit the registered manager told inspectors the service was providing personal care to 11 people.  However, the inspectors discovered since the inspection that this number was incorrect and it was 20 people.

Staff recruitment procedures were not safe and there was no recorded evidence of staff receiving appropriate induction, training or support. 

Staff were not aware of their responsibilities in relation to the Mental Capacity Act and staff completing capacity assessments had not been trained to do so and were not aware of the principles of the assessment.

In total inspectors found seven breaches of regulation in relation to:
  • person-centred care,
  • consent, 
  • safe care and treatment,
  • managing complaints,
  • good governance, 
  • staffing and fit and proper persons employed.
Inspectors also found that complaints were not recorded or responded to.

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North, said “There were a number of issues from this inspection that I had concerns about and of most concern was that calls were not always made in accordance with the planned times; inspectors found some calls recorded for as little as three minutes. It is difficult to assess what could feasibly be delivered in such a short time period.

“Inspectors also found that there was no evidence of person-centred care - care plans were insufficient to provide staff with the information they needed to support people and they found the plans were not always up to date.

“The service was not well-led. The registered manager demonstrated a lack of awareness of their responsibilities in their dual role as registered provider and manager. Inspectors did not see any record of 'spot checks' having been made by management to observe staff in their work and staff told us there was no system in place for them.

“To ensure this service remains safe we are currently considering our options in line with our enforcement policy and will report on this further when concluded.”

Want to Get Your Book Stocked in a High Street Bookshop?

So you’ve written your book. After weeks, months, years, of writing it’s finally finished, you have it printed and you’re ready to share with readers. But how do you get your independently published novel onto the shelves of a high-street bookshop? Will the bookshop stock it?

The Booksellers Association has published a new guide aimed at independent authors looking to do just this!  The guide also offers ideas and tips for authors published by a mainstream publisher.

Sheilla O'Reilly of Village Books, Dulwich, said "With so many books published, sometimes getting books onto the shelves of bookshops - and in front of customers - can be challenging. Authors are constantly striving to ensure that their books are in the bookshops, and are always looking for hints and tips as to how to achieve that. Booksellers, similarly, are regularly asked by authors how they should best approach their local bookshop.

So we thought we’d pull together all the advice and tips into one document. Our Top Tips for Authors gathers together advice from a variety of booksellers and bookshops, with the aim of producing a comprehensive document to help authors get their books into bookshops."

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

CQC Pausing Some Routine Inspections

The CQC has taken the decision to pause some routine inspections of NHS acute services, GP practices and urgent care services planned for January.

This is in response to increased pressure on the health and care system as services try to cope with additional demand driven in part by a rise in respiratory illness and flu.

For the remainder of January, consideration will be given to rescheduling planned routine inspections of acute NHS Trusts, based on individual Trust circumstances. Responsive inspections which have been scheduled based on concerns about quality or safety will continue as usual.

There will be a temporary pause in re-inspections of GP practices and urgent services (including NHS 111, GP out of hours and urgent care centres) rated good or outstanding, where there is no information to indicate concerns about quality or safety.  Re-inspections of services rated requires improvement or inadequate will continue as scheduled, while inspection to follow up on concerns will be unaffected.

A normal inspection schedule is expected to resume in February but this will be subject to review based on close monitoring of system performance. 

Any inspections deferred during January will be rescheduled as soon as possible.  Providers will be contacted directly about any changes to planned inspections.  

Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC, said "As we highlighted in our State of Care report, the entire health and social care system is at full stretch – now an increase in respiratory illness and flu has further intensified this pressure. To support the system as much as possible, we are rescheduling some routine inspections of services. This is to allow frontline staff and leaders to focus on continuing to ensure that people receive safe, high-quality care during this period of increased demand.

"However, inspections scheduled in response to concerns about quality or safety will go ahead as planned. These include those that are in response to new information, as well as those to follow up on previously identified concerns.

"We will always act in the best interests of people who use services – so while it's appropriate to recognise the need for staff to focus on patient care at this particularly busy time, we must balance this with our responsibility to check that increased pressure doesn't result in deterioration in the quality of care. We will continue to monitor performance very closely and will act to protect people if necessary.

"It is important to reiterate that these pressures do not originate with and are not restricted to Emergency Departments, or to NHS acute trusts. As we set out in the interim findings from our first six local system reviews, this is a whole system issue, which demands a whole system response.

"The long-term solution must be for health and care providers and commissioners to collaborate to provide health and social care services that meet the needs of their local population, with a stronger focus on keeping people well and helping them stay out of hospital, and on reducing variation that can inhibit people's access to and choice of services."

Universities Given Tools to Raise Awareness With Students of Intellectual Property Rights

In September 2017, the IPO (Intellectual Property Office) published a suite of tools for students and lecturers looking at the role if Intellectual Property in the work and marketplace.

The tools were developed by the IPO, CIPA, CiTMA, lecturers and industry professionals and this month the IPO launched the first update - IP Tutor Plus, updating and building on these resources.

The new resources aim to develop a greater understanding of Intellectual Property with students, explaining how IP impacts on their future careers.

There are four modules;
  • creative, 
  • humanities, 
  • STEM and law, 
  • business and accounting
aimed at developing student's understanding of managing and exploiting IP, and explaining its relevance for their future academic studies or careers.

In addition to IP Tutor Plus the IPO has also launched IP for Research.  Created for PhD students and researchers to develop a greater understanding of how IP can maximise the impact of their research. The IP for Research resource includes:
  • 6 quick guides on commercialising IP
  • an IP workshop
  • an IP skills lens
  • IP management tools

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Healthcare Websites and all Independent Healthcare Providers to be Rated by CQC

The Department of Health has confirmed that it will grant the Care Quality Commission (CQC) the power to rate even more healthcare services, such as those offering medical advice and prescriptions from GPs online, independent community health services and independent doctors (previously reported on but not rated).

This confirmation means that people will have clear, accessible and independent information about even more of their healthcare services in England.

The CQC is already inspecting many of these services, but to date has only published findings in the form of a report, now each organisation will be awarded a rating in the same way as independent hospitals, general practices and adult social care services as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate.

The CQC will develop its approach for rating these additional services in the coming months and plans to consult on plans as soon as possible.  In the meantime, they will continue to inspect these services and publish findings in reports without ratings.

Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: “CQC’s ratings of health and care services are helping people to make informed choices about their care as well as supporting providers to improve. Never before has the public had such clear information about the quality and safety of their health and care services."

“CQC already inspects and publishes reports for these additional services and so, the ability to award ratings to them will bring increased transparency for the public about the quality and safety of their healthcare."