Thursday, 28 March 2019

Business, Big and Small, are Urged to Audit their Intellectual Property Regularly.

Intellectual property is an umbrella term used to cover creations by individuals or businesses which include; trademarks, design, copyright and patents. IP also links to other areas such as confidentiality and trade secrets.

The Intellectual Property Office recommends all businesses, big and small, regularly audit their intellectual property to ensure they are adequately protected.

1. Define Your Work

Understanding what IP you have within your business is vital to protecting it. For example, it is vitally important that you keep your patentable inventions secret at least until you have filed your application. However, keeping your company name a secret is obviously not advisable - the whole point of your brand is to get yourself known!
Make Use of the IPO's IP Equip tool for free to help you find out more about how IP relates to your business.

2. Do You Own It?

A businesses website is often created by a website designer, an app by a software engineer, a logo by a graphic designer, or advertising material by a marketing agency. But if these creators are not part of your business, perhaps they’re a subcontractor or a friend, then you may not own what is being made for you. In these scenarios, and in the absence of employment or a contract stating ownership, copyright will stay with the creator.

To find out the common issues that exist for businesses and what you may be able to do about them, you can use the IPO's IP Health Check tool.

3. Did You Get There First?

It’s not uncommon for a business to say, ‘I own my name, I’m registered at Companies House’. Now, although registering your company name at Companies House is very important, it is not, in fact, the thing that protects your name in trade - that is what a trademark is for.

You can search for your trademark on the IPO website for free!

4. Do You Plan of Selling Abroad

Intellectual Property is often a regional right and can be treated differently from country to country. Your patents, registered trademarks and registered designs will only be protected in the countries in which you’re registered and granted those rights.

Copyright is recognised automatically in most other countries. This means that your copyright will usually have protection without registration from the moment you create it. However be careful, certain countries will have different rules to what exactly is covered by copyright, as well as how long such rights should last in certain circumstances.

The IPO have a series of country guides which can help you understand certain nuances in certain countries. They also have an attaché network in Brazil, India, South East Asia and China which helps UK businesses understand and develop their IP in those countries.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Is Your Business Ready For Tax Going Digital on 1st April 2019?

Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. The programme will result in fundamental changes to the way the tax system works – with the aim of making it more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers to get their tax right.


VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold will be required to use the Making Tax Digital service to keep records digitally and use software to submit their VAT returns from 1 April 2019.

The exception to this is a small minority of VAT-registered businesses with more complex requirements. This week the government announced that in response to concerns about business readiness they have made the decision to delay mandation for these customers until 1 October 2019 to ensure there is sufficient time to test the service with them in the pilot before they are mandated to join - see the timeline below.

April 2019 
Making Tax Digital mandated for all customers (except those that have been deferred). 

October 2019
Making Tax Digital mandated for customers that have been deferred:
  • trusts
  • ‘not for profit’ organisations that are not set up as a company
  • VAT divisions
  • VAT groups
  • public sector entities required to provide additional information on their VAT return (Government departments, NHS Trusts)
  • local authorities
  • public corporations
  • traders based overseas
  • those required to make payments on account
  • annual accounting scheme users.

Plans to Make Income Tax Digital

Some businesses and agents are already keeping digital income tax records as part of a live pilot to test and develop the Making Tax Digital service for Income Tax. If you are a self-employed business or landlord you can voluntarily use software to keep business records digitally and send Income Tax updates to HMRC instead of filing a Self Assessment tax return.

Talking about the scheme HMRC said "The majority of customers want to get their tax right but the latest tax gap figures show that too many find this hard, with avoidable mistakes costing the Exchequer over £9 billion a year. The improved accuracy that digital records provide, along with the help built into many software products and the fact that information is sent directly to HMRC from the digital records, avoiding transposition errors, will reduce the amount of tax lost to these avoidable errors."

Other Taxes

Following extensive consultation with key stakeholders HMRC has decided to postpone the date for mandating businesses to digitally report for taxes other than VAT until at least April 2020.

Help and Support

HMRC provides a wide range of digital services and support for businesses and the self-employed.
Smarter experience for individuals - click here for more information.

Monday, 11 March 2019

CQC's Latest Report on Independent Ambulance Services Raises Safety and Quality Concerns

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is calling on independent ambulance services, commissioners and the wider system to do more to make sure patients are safe, following concerns identified during its inspections.

While the regulator has seen evidence of good practice and improvements made by some individual services, concerns remain about how safely and effectively independent ambulance providers are caring for people using their services.

In a national report published today (Thursday 7 March) the CQC presented an analysis of the findings from its comprehensive inspection programme of independent ambulance services in England. The programme was completed in March 2018 and involved inspections of independent ambulance service providers registered with CQC at the end of December 2016.

Key Findings

  • The quality and safety of independent ambulance services varies greatly. 
  • Many services inspected had a poor understanding of governance which often led to weak recruitment processes. Checks to ensure that staff had the appropriate employment references, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates, and driving licence categories (for example to operate heavier vehicles) were not being enforced consistently.
  • Many providers offered either no or very limited staff training. This was particularly apparent in relation to emergency driver response training to ensure the skills required to transport a patient using blue lights or sirens, training to equip staff to recognise and escalate safeguarding concerns, and to effectively support patients with mental health needs.
  • The standard of medicines management was extremely variable. While some services had robust policies to support the safe administration of medication, others showed a lack of understanding, especially around controlled drugs and the need for their safe administration and secure storage. Some services did not have the required Home Office licence for the procurement and storage of controlled drugs.
  • In some cases they found vehicles that had not been regularly serviced, with missing or faulty equipment (including paediatric apparatus for transporting children in emergencies) and an absence of regular equipment checks.
Looking at the sector more widely, the CQC’s report also raises concern about those independent ambulance services that are not subject to CQC regulation, such as where medical cover is provided at temporary events.

Ellen Armistead, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals and lead for ambulance services, said “We have found and highlighted pockets of good practice in individual services, with compassionate one to one care from ambulance staff, and evidence of improvements in some services when we have been back to reinspect. But we remain concerned about the overall standard of care across the independent ambulance sector.

“Providers have a responsibility to ensure that people within their care receive appropriate treatment, that the vehicles used to transport patients are fitted with the right equipment, that staff are appropriately trained and supported to carry out their roles, risks and incidents are reported and addressed, and that medicines are stored securely. This was not the case in many of the services we inspected.

“It is wholly unacceptable for people using these services to be put at risk and where we have identified concerns we have held those providers to account by making clear where improvements must be made - using our enforcement powers where needed to protect people.

“Those who deliver and commission care must learn from the services that are getting it right so that people are protected from risk and can have confidence in the quality of care they receive from independent ambulance services across the country.”

As well as improvement from providers, the CQC is calling for NHS England, clinical commissioning groups and others that commission independent ambulance services to ensure they make safety and quality a priority, and that they use the quality ratings that the CQC can now award to independent ambulance services to help them make robust commissioning decisions.

The CQC will be strengthening its assessment of how those NHS hospital trusts that sub-contract ambulance services from independent providers ensure they have continued oversight of performance and quality. It will also continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care to close the gaps in the regulation where it means independent ambulance services that fall outside of the CQC’s remit could pose a risk of people being exposed to poor care.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Over Half of UK Retail SMEs Selling Online Sell Through 3rd Party Marketplaces

According to a study, commissioned by Royal Mail, almost six in ten (58 per cent) UK SME online retailers now sell their products through a 3rd party online marketplace, such as Amazon or Etsy, even if they have their own website selling direct to customers.

Over half of the SMEs talked to for the study reported that they are looking to expand in 2019. With a variety of options for reaching customers being looked at:
  • 41 per cent are looking for space in another physical store to sell goods,
  • 39 per cent are considering listing on additional marketplaces,
  • 27 per cent plan to sell via exhibitions or trade fairs.
The research found that almost half (47 per cent) of UK SME online retailers have a physical store as well as a presence online. For those that sell in a physical store, 80 per cent reported selling through their own outlets and a third reported selling through others outlets either exclusively or in tandem with their own stores. Other popular ways to sell goods for these retailers include:
  • over the telephone (22 per cent), 
  • via exhibitions (13 per cent),
  • and via a catalogue (12 per cent).
Just under one in five (19 per cent) UK SME online retailers import goods, 16 per cent export goods and 52 per cent do both.

Over eight in ten (81 per cent) of those that sell overseas target Europe, 42 per cent sell to the USA and 29 per cent to Canada. Asia (27 per cent) and Australasia (23 per cent) are also common destinations to target.

A spokesperson from Royal Mail said “Entrepreneurial UK SME online retailers are increasingly turning to online marketplaces to sell their products. The rise of online marketplaces is impacting the way consumers shop online and how retailers sell to their customers but the physical store still has a role to play. As the ecommerce sector becomes increasingly global, UK SME online retailers should look at opportunities to expand the international side of their business”.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

EU Copyright Directive Set to Strengthen Authors Rights

Following several months of negotiation and weeks of political deadlock the European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached agreement over the wording of the new Copyright Directive.

The passage of the Directive has not been straightforward. It was first presented by the Commission in September 2016 and has faced numerous setbacks, including being rejected by the European Parliament last June.

The Directive still needs to be confirmed by member states and MEPs before it is formally adopted but passing this stage of the drafting process is a significant step in the right direction.

What is the Copyright Directive?

Currently authors, creators and rights-holders are not adequately protected or remunerated when their work is used online, the Directive is designed to address this imbalance.

The publicity around the Directive has mostly centred around Articles 11 and 13. Article 11 will oblige US tech giants such as Google to negotiate licensing agreements with rights holders before publishing links to their content (for example on Google News). Article 13 will require internet platforms such as YouTube to acquire licences for the content they host and ensure that there is no copyright infringement on their sites. These Articles have been fiercely discussed and negotiated. We are awaiting the final texts but it seems that what has emerged provides a fair balance that will benefit creators and users without being unduly onerous to hosts.

What Does it Mean For Authors, Scriptwriters, Translators and Illustrators?

Under the terms of Article 14, creators will be entitled to transparent information on how their works are being exploited by their publishers. This will make it easier for authors, scriptwriters, translators and illustrators to negotiate future contracts and to receive a fairer share of the generated revenues. If publishers or producers fail to exploit the rights that the creators have transferred to them, authors and performers will be allowed to revoke their rights. In addition, Article 15 introduces a contract adjustment mechanism (or “bestseller clause”) allowing creators to claim additional remuneration when sales are much better than expected.

Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors, said: “This is excellent news for all creators and rights-holders. the Copyright Directive is a vital piece of legislation which affirms the rights of creators whose work is used online.

“The ‘bestseller clause’ will ensure that our members receive the remuneration they deserve when their work does better than expected. And if it isn’t being exploited, creators can get their rights back.

“We aren’t celebrating just yet, as the Directive still needs to be confirmed by member states and voted on by MEPs. But this breakthrough following weeks of deadlock comes as a huge relief, and we are optimistic that the Directive will soon be passed into EU law - and then into UK law within the following two years.”

Friday, 22 February 2019

CQC Campaign to Encourage Patients and Families to Raise Concerns Over Quality of Care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is calling for people to speak up about their experiences of care, as new research showed that almost 7 million people in England who have accessed health or social care services, in the last five years have had concerns about their care, but never raised issues with staff.

The most common reasons for not raising a concern were:
  • not knowing how (20%) or who (33%) to raise it with, 
  • not wanting to be seen as a ‘troublemaker’ (33%) 
  • and worries about not being taken seriously (28%). 
Over a third of people (37%) felt that nothing would change as a result.

However, when people did raise a concern or complaint, the majority (66%) found their issue was resolved quickly, it helped the service to improve and they were happy with the outcome.

The research has been published as part the CQC's ‘Declare Your Care’ campaign. The campaign is encouraging people to share their experiences of care with CQC to support its work to improve standards of care in England.

The majority of people who did raise a concern or complaint were motivated by a desire to make sure that care improved for others. This included wanting to improve the care they, or a loved one, had received (61%) and improve care for everyone using the service (55%) with a smaller number also hoping for an apology or explanation (26%).

The main reasons given for raising, or wanting to raise a concern, were delays to a service or appointment, lack of information and poor patient care. Additionally, over a fifth indicated that they have raised or wanted to raise concerns about the lack of communication between health and care services.

Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said "Our annual State of Care report shows that most people are getting good care, a real testament to the hard work of the many people working across Health and Social Care in this country.

“We know that when people raise a concern they have a genuine desire to improve the service for themselves and others. We also know that the majority of services really appreciate this feedback and make positive changes, as this new research shows.

“Hearing from people about their experiences of care is an important part of our inspection work and contributes to driving improvements in standards of care. Everyone can play a part in improving care by directly giving feedback to services, or by sharing information and experiences with us so that we can take action when we find poor care. Sharing your experience also enables us to highlight the many great examples of care we see.”

Friday, 15 February 2019

Universities Urged to Boost Number of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education

Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister, is urging universities to boost the number of students with disabilities going into higher education and to do more to help them succeed when they get there.

Although the number of people going to university from this underrepresented group has increased to a record amount they still only represent 13% of entrants this is well below the proportion of working-age adults with a disability.

Chris Skidmore has asked key stakeholders to meet with him to discuss how the higher education sector can continue to break down barriers and secure improvements for students with disabilities.

Talking about the issue the Universities Minister, said "No-one’s background or circumstances should hold them back from the opportunity of a university education and there is no reason why disability should be a barrier to fulfilling someone’s potential.

I want to see the access and participation plans that universities are beginning to produce increase the ways they can support this group."

"Institutions such as Brunel University, with their award-winning Disability and Dyslexia Service, and the University of Worcester, who have built their entire campus with accessibility in mind, are leading the way – there is no reason why other universities can’t follow suit and match their provision. Working with key stakeholders and disabled students, I believe that we can do more to break down access and participation barriers in higher education by focusing on spreading good practice and listening to disabled students about their needs."

The Department for Education has published research showing that the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) has helped to break down barriers that can exist for disabled students at university. The research shows results from a survey of disabled students, which found that 69 per cent felt confident about completing their course and 68 per cent felt confident about passing their course.

Universities that charge fees above the basic level must draw up an access and participation plan agreed by the Office for Students and higher education providers have legal responsibilities to support disabled students under the Equality Act 2010.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

CQC Publishes Advice on Managing the Risk of Hypothermia in Care Settings

Hypothermia can develop in vulnerable people after a relatively short exposure to cold weather. It can even develop after a small drop in room temperature.

Many people who use health and social care services may be at risk of developing hypothermia. They include:
  • older people in care homes and receiving care at home
  • people with reduced mental capacity, reduced mobility, or a sensory impairment
  • people who cannot communicate that they are exposed to cold
The risks to people are serious.  In one incident a 91-year-old woman died of severe hypothermia in a care home. She had not been given any hot food or drink as she spent her last day asleep in her room. Her body temperature was so cold it would not have registered on a standard thermometer.

The provider was found to have failed in their duty of care, was guilty of systemic failures and was fined £1.6 million. The judge said this was “an accident waiting to happen”.

This incident demonstrates how important it is for providers to have contingency plans to keep their residents warm – particularly over the winter months.

People receiving care at home may be at greater risk. NICE have produced a Quality standard for Preventing excess winter deaths and illnesses associated with cold homes. This includes priority areas for home-care staff to:
  • ask vulnerable people, at least once a year, whether they have difficulty keeping warm at home
  • consider room temperature when they are making home visits
  • ensure good communication between agencies to identify and address any needs and to avoid duplication.
The NHS has also published useful information about hypothermia. Age UK’s Keep well in winter guidance includes what to do in cold weather to keep warm.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Inadequate Safeguarding and Risk Management Systems Lead to GP Practice Being Placed in Special Measures by the CQC

Dr Dauod Yosuf Abdulrahman Shantir’s surgery in Forest Road, Waltham Forest, has been rated Inadequate overall by the Care Quality Commission and been placed in Special Measures.

The practice was rated Inadequate for being safe, responsive and well-led. It was rated Requires Improvement for being effective and caring, following the inspection in November 2018.

Key Issues

  • Inspectors found that safeguarding systems were not clear and did not keep patients safe or protected from abuse.
  • The practice did not have systems to monitor or manage outcomes and actions associated with risk assessments such as infection prevention and control. 
  • The vaccine refrigerator temperature was not effectively monitored.
  • Inadequate smear rates were not monitored or managed.
  • The practice did not effectively maintain personnel records for some clinical members of staff, including training records, professional indemnity and professional registration status
The provider must now make improvements as it is on breach of regulations are to ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients and establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care. 

The practice has also been told to consider ways to improve confidentiality in the reception area and to continue to review how patients with caring responsibilities are identified and recorded on the clinical system to ensure information, advice and support is available to them.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Save Money on Tuition Fees by Choosing One of a Range of New Two Year Accelerated Degrees

Proposals to increase choice for students and help them save on tuition fees have been passed by the House of Commons.

Students starting university from September 2019 are set to have more choice than ever before about how they study after MPs approved legislation to support the expansion of two-year and other accelerated degrees.

Legislation was passed in the Commons which means students studying shorter university courses – such as three-year courses condensed into two – would save 20 per cent on tuition fees compared to traditional courses. For example, students who opt for a two-year degree will save at least £5,500 in total tuition costs compared to a standard three-year course. The regulations will now go to the House of Lords for approval.

In addition to saving on tuition fees, students will also benefit from a year without paying any maintenance costs through an accelerated course, which would allow them to access the workforce quicker.

Accelerated degrees have been a key part of the Government’s ambition to maximise choice and flexibility for people wanting to study in higher education, and are expected to remove barriers for a number of underrepresented groups, including mature students.

Accelerated degrees offer the same qualifications and are quality-assured in the same way as a standard degree, but delivered over a shorter, more intensive timespan. For example, a two-year accelerated degree will condense 3-year degrees with 30 weeks’ teaching into 2 years with 45 weeks’ teaching.

Proposals allow institutions to charge up to 20 per cent more per year for accelerated degrees (in recognition of the increased teaching time required), but the overall tuition fee cost to the student is at least 20 per cent less than the same degree over three years.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

National Theatre Wales and BBC Cymru Wales Competition to Find Wales First Writer in Residence

Applications are now open for the inaugural Wales Writer in Residence scheme from the BBC and National Theatre Wales.

New and established writers are invited to apply for this prestigious new scheme, aimed at furthering a writer’s career across a portfolio of media and which includes a guaranteed broadcast credit.

The new scheme is a partnership between BBC Cymru Wales and National Theatre Wales, along with BBC Writersroom Wales, with the intention of supporting new writing talent.

The winning writer will be awarded a total bursary of £12,000 to cover their year-long placement as Wales Writer in Residence. Over the 12 months they’re in post they’ll be offered two consecutive residencies; an initial 6 months with BBC Cymru Wales including working with BBC Studios, followed by 6 months with NTW gaining bespoke mentoring and training, and access to expertise and contacts. In addition their winning script will be commissioned, developed and produced for BBC Radio 4 and/or BBC Sounds.

This opportunity is open to writers who can represent the culture of Wales with authenticity (for example they may be from, or have lived or worked in Wales). The scheme will be run by BBC Writersroom Wales.

To enter writers must submit a complete original English language audio script that is at least 30 minutes/pages in length and no longer than 50 pages. Your script must be saved as a pdf file.

Entry is via the BBC Writers Room online e-submissions system

The deadline for entries is Monday 3rd June 2019 at 11am - best of luck!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Government Publishes Report on the Way Forward for GP Partnerships

The report gives recommendations to revitalise the GP partnership business model and ensure a sustainable future for general practice in England.

General practice is one of the most important and respected institutions in our communities; it is the foundation of the NHS. It has been credited as a major reason for the NHS being one of the most cost-effective models of healthcare, outperforming many countries in the Western world which spend significantly more on their health care systems. 

The strengths of general practice that deliver these outcomes include: 
  • organising care based on a registered list, with the vast majority of the population registered with a practice;
  • providing care from cradle to grave; 
  • having a holistic approach to care, looking after the whole person and not simply focusing on one disease or a single episode of care; 
  • knowing more than one generation in a family, having a lifelong medical record; 
  • providing continuity of care where needed; 
  • and managing the undifferentiated presentation of symptoms. 
In recent years partnerships have become less popular with GPs and there is a risk that, without both the continued commitment of existing partners and the input of new partners, the model could be lost.

Talking about this possibility Dr Nigel Watson, who lead the review, said: "In my view, and the views of the vast majority of those who have contributed to this review, this would be a real loss to both general practice and the patients and communities it serves. I firmly believe it is important to consider the strengths of the partnership model of general practice, and what value the model offers above and beyond an alternative salaried model."

Strengths of the Partnerships Model

  • the freedom to innovate; 
  • relative autonomy in decisions relating to patient care, with the ability to act as a powerful independent advocate for patients;
  • being part of, and accountable to, a community;
  • creating the desire to succeed as business owners;
  • providing value for money. 

Weaknesses of the Partnership Model

  • GPs do not feel valued as a profession, and that general practice does not feel valued in all local health systems. 
  • GPs' workload is exceeding capacity, the working day feels unmanageable, and the intensity of work and the complexity of patients has risen, with inevitable challenges in terms of managing clinical risk.
  • The balance between continuity of care and access to services, has been eroded.  Care over a period of time with a person you know and trust ('relational continuity') is at the heart of general practice, valued by patients and GPs alike and shown to deliver better outcomes. 

Looking to the Future

  • The NHS is moving towards a team-based multidisciplinary way of delivering care, which must involve general practice working more closely with colleagues in primary, secondary and community care and ensuring we make the best use of all skills. 
  • In recent years an increasing share of the NHS budget has been invested in hospital-based care at the expense of general practice, community services and mental health. The additional £4.5 billion of investment for primary and community care recently announced in the NHS Long Term Plan is a step in the right direction to address this imbalance.
  • More GPs are entering training than ever before, addressing some of the important concerns around recruitment. 


  • The personal risk and unlimited liability currently associated with GP partnerships needs to be reduced.
  • There needs to be a wide range and number of healthcare professionals available for services in the community, embedded as part of general practice 
  • Funding for GP training places should be increased and a more specialised focus in medical training on general practice as a positive career choice should be introduced.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Students Interested in How Space Based Technology Can be Used on Earth Encouraged to Enter Space Agency Competition

The UK Space Agency is offering young people expert advice and a share of £50,000 for their ideas of how satellites could improve life on Earth.

The SatelLife Competition, now in its third year, is looking for innovative proposals that have the potential to use data collected from space to benefit our economy, health or the environment.

Ideas from previous year’s competition included:
  • a wristband that uses satellite location data and communications services to identify the locations of swimmers and surfers in the sea
  • a tool that would map change in urban areas using satellites and algorithms, identifying where building is taking place and potential sites for development.
  • An app to provide information on coastal flood risks.
  • Software that uses satellites and drones to help people in isolated areas who cannot access basic health care such as vaccines, birth control or medicine
Satellites support the economy and everyday life, and this competition gives young people the chance to test their ideas with industry experts and perhaps one day become part of the fastest growing sector of the UK economy. The UK space industry is a success story – it supports 38,000 jobs and generates just under £14 billion in revenue across the country.

Ieuan Higgs, 21, a student at the University of Reading, who has been offered a job in the space sector when he graduates since winning last year, said: "Entering the SatelLife Competition allowed me to develop my critical thinking and problem-solving skills in an interesting, challenging way.

This has certainly helped me to push forwards on my way towards finishing university and provided me with the confidence to pursue my interests as I prepare to launch an exciting career."

The competition, which is open to those aged 11 to 22 and split into three age groups, aims to support the development of science, data handling and technological skills. There are two overall prizes of £7,500 for the best individual and best team. A further seven entries from across the age categories will win £5,000, making a total prize fund of £50,000.

The judging panel will be made up of experts including representatives from the UK Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Satellite Applications Catapult in Harwell and industry.

Entries can be as teams or individuals and all prize winners will be able to pitch their idea to a panel of ‘dragons’ from the space sector who will offer more prizes. Over the last two years the competition winners have been offered further funding, patent advice and invitations to discuss job opportunities as well as introductions to the other relevant experts for further help.

The competition closes on 3 March 2019. Visit the SatelLife Competition entry page for more information and to apply - and best of luck!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Policies and Procedures Need to be Embedded into Daily Practice if Inadequate CQC Rating is to be Avoided

Halbutt Street Medical Practice in Dagenham, has been rated Inadequate overall by the Care Quality Commission and has been placed into special measures.

The practice, in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham, was rated Inadequate for being safe and well-led, it was rated Requires Improvement for being effective, caring and responsive.

Inspectors found that the practice:

  • was not consistently following its own policies and procedures. 
  • did not have clear systems to manage risk so that safety incidents were less likely to happen.
  • still scored below the national average in the National GP Patient Survey in relation to satisfaction with both doctors’ and nurses’ consultations. The practice was aware of this and had identified themes in patient feedback and had an action plan in place to address lower scoring areas in the NHS national patient survey. 
  • had failed to act effectively on issues with telephone access for patients.

The provider must now:

  • Ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients.
  • Establish effective systems and processes to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care.

It should now:

  • Improve uptake of childhood immunisations and cervical screening.
  • Improve engagement with patients with diabetes.
  • Consider how to record verbal complaints and actions.
  • Review systems to allow patients with communication needs to access services.
Professor Ursula Gallagher, Deputy Chief Inspector, Primary Medical Services, said: “I am disappointed with the lack of improvement at Halbutt Street Medical Practice. We are placing it into special measures, which will give people who use the service the reassurance that the care they get should improve. The provider will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.”