Health & Care Review

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Health & Care Review

March 18, 2016

Keeping up with all the latest developments in health and care policy could almost be a full time job and PSNC regularly receives questions from LPCs and pharmacy contractors about what is going on in the wider health and care landscape beyond community pharmacy. To help answer some of these questions and to help contractors and LPCs stay up to date, PSNC provides this update service outlining the latest information in an easily digestible format. Weekly updates are published on our website and contractors can ensure they do not miss them by signing up to PSNC’s email newsletter service here.

The reviews extend the work we have been doing for some time to help LPCs stay informed about the NHS changes, and they inform the more detailed PSNC briefings which we continue to publish on this topic; these can be accessed in the Healthcare Landscape section of the website.

Increase in scarlet fever across England

There has been a sharp increase in scarlet fever cases across England, according to the latest data from Public Health England (PHE).

This is the third consecutive season in which the incidence of scarlet fever has progressively risen. There has been a total of 6157 confirmed cases since September 2015, when the new season began, with around 600 cases being notified each week at present.

PHE expects to see a marked elevation of scarlet fever cases between late March and mid-April, the peak season for the condition.

Health practitioners are informed to be vigilant and mindful of scarlet fever when assessing patients.

MMR vaccination call following recent measles cases 

Recent data released by PHE showing an increase in measles cases in February has prompted PHE to ask people to check that they have received two doses of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Since the beginning of February 2016, 20 cases of measles have been confirmed across London and the East of England, predominantly in unimmunised adolescents and young adults, many of whom required hospitalisation.

The NHS Childhood Immunisation Programme in England routinely provides the MMR vaccine.

2016 Child Health Profiles

PHE has published Child health Profiles 2016 to present data across 32 key health indicators of child health and wellbeing. They are designed to help local authorities and health services improve the health and wellbeing of children and tackle health inequalities.

The health profiles draw together information to present a picture of children and young people’s health by local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group. They can be used to compare information locally, regionally and nationally.

There is a 4 page profile for each local authority in England which includes:

  • an ‘At a glance’ summary description of child health in the area which highlights key findings;
  • maps and charts showing how the health of the area compares to the national view and other local authorities in England; and
  • a ‘spine chart’ health summary showing the difference in health between the area and the England average for 32 indicators within the 5 domains of the Public Health Outcomes Framework

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said: “Not only will the profiles help set local healthcare priorities, but commissioners can reach out to high performing local authorities and share best practice.”

Health and care bodies reveal the map that will transform healthcare in England 

Local authorities and other health care services have worked together to produce 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) to bring local health and care leaders, organisations and communities together.

These are geographic areas in which people and organisations will work together to develop robust plans to transform the way that health and care is planned and delivered for their populations.

These plans will help accelerate the implementation of the Five Year Forward View (5YFV).

Most of the 44 areas will be led by people already working in the local health and care economies, with named individuals responsible for convening, overseeing and coordinating their STP work.

This comes as a response to the NHS Shared Planning guidance, which asked every local health and care system in England to come together to create their own ambitious local plan for accelerating the implementation of the 5YFV.

Levy on high sugar drinks 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his Budget to Parliament on Wednesday 16th  March 2016.

It was announced that there will be a new soft drinks industry levy to help tackle childhood obesity. The levy will be targeted at producers and importers of soft drinks that contain added sugar.

The levy will be charged on volumes according to total sugar content, with a main rate charge for drink above 5 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres and a higher rate for drinks with more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.

The levy will be introduced in two years to give companies time to consider reformulating their products. It is hoped that the levy will encourage soft drinks companies to consider reducing the amount of added sugar in drinks they produce.

PHE has released a statement on the announcement, welcoming the move to tackle obesity and other related health conditions.  

Key facts and trends in mental health: 2016 update

The fourth edition of the factsheet, Key facts and trends in mental health, has been published by the Mental Health Network.

 The updated publication reflects new figures, statistics and resources on the major trends and challenges faced by mental health services.

The factsheet sets out available data relating to:

  • investment in services;
  • trends in morbidity;
  • suicide and homicide rates;
  • service activity;
  • use of mental health legislation;
  • mental health of children and young people;
  • service user experience;
  • inequalities experienced by people with;
  • mental health problems; and
  • workforce and staff satisfaction.

Parliamentary briefing on structure of the NHS in England

A briefing on the structure of the NHS in England has been published in the House of Commons Library.

The briefing provides an overview of the funding and accountability relationships under the new system introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and an introduction to the roles of key organisations. It discusses the following topics:

  • background to funding;
  • commissioning;
  • access to treatment;
  • regulation and accountability;
  • competition and non-NHS providers;
  • public health services;
  • health and Wellbeing boards and Healthwatch;
  • the future; and
  • health services in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

Key health priorities for the current Parliament such as patient safety, funding, and the integration of health and social care are also highlighted in the document.

New Eatwell Guide illustrates a healthy, balanced diet

PHE has launched a new Eatwell Guide, a tool which shows the revised proportions of the food groups consistent with official advice on nutritional requirements.

The guide replaces the eatwell plate and has been updated to reflect the new dietary recommendations from the Scientific Advisory committee on Nutrition’s report in 2015.

The guide recommends including even more fruit, vegetable and starchy carbohydrates and even fewer sugary foods and drinks and serves as an illustrated representation of a healthy balanced diet.

PHE encourages organisations and individuals to use the Eatwell Guide to make sure a consistent message is shared across received by everyone.

Building the foundations: Tackling obesity through planning and development

The Town and Country Planning Association, PHE and the Local Government Association, with support from Leeds Beckett University and local councils, have published a report, Building the foundations: Tackling obesity through planning and development.

The practice-based report demonstrates innovative practice from 14 local authority areas across England and their partners on how to tackle obesity and other problems by using planning policy and in making decisions on new housing and mixed use developments.

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