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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2011): National Health Service - primary and community care

Bread and dripping: a lesson for junior doctors from past masters

C. Smith

The Times, Dec. 22nd 2010, p. 17

One of The Times's Christmas charities, Retired and Senior Volunteers Programme (RSVP), brought together older people and medical students for a frank exchange of views in order that the students would realize that the elderly are more than bed-blockers and inconvenient statistics draining NHS resources. They covered how eating habits change with age. 'Many of the young had not heard of bread and dripping.' They also discussed living alone and loneliness which leads to calls to doctors just for human contact. Volunteers and students learnt a lot from each other in the session.

Can higher education improve the professional identity of CNNs?

S. Frankland

Community Practitioner, vol. 83, Dec. 2010, p. 34-36

Community nursery nurses (CNNs) are an important part of the multidisciplinary team. This paper discusses how two students undertaking a foundation degree in early years experienced changes to their personal and professional identities. Both students would not have entered higher education had it not been for the widening participation drive. The higher education experience had a positive influence on their personal and professional identity. However, changes to higher education funding and public spending cuts have raised concerns about the continued ability of CNNs to access such courses. This could have a negative effect on their continuing professional development.

The challenge of contributing to policy making in primary care: the gendered experiences and strategies of nurses

A. Hughes

Sociology of Health and Illness, vol. 32, 2010, p.977-992

This paper explores the experiences of nurses working within the policy-making arena. Nurses were given a place alongside GPs and other health professionals on the boards of Local Health Groups, bodies set up in 1999 in Wales by the Labour government to commission health services for communities. Nurse board members faced a number of challenges in their attempts to contribute to and influence local health policy. This ethnographic study suggests that medical authority and control, and hierarchical power relations between doctors and nurses on the board, were seen by nurses as significant obstacles to their participation in this new policy arena. In response to their perceived lack of power and subordinate status, nurses employed a number of strategies to negotiate their participation as board members. These included 'getting it right', 'achieving the right balance', 'self-presentation' and 'unassertiveness'.

Extent of corporate influence on health policy revealed

F. Lawrence

The Guardian, Dec. 10th 2010, p. 19

The extent of corporate influence over the public health agenda emerged yesterday, when the health minister, Anne Milton, was forced to disclose the full list of industry representatives invite to help write 'responsibility deals'. The list includes spirit manufacturers (Diageo, Bacardi), brewing companies (SAB Miller, Heineken, Molson), supermarkets (Tesco), processed food and drinks giants (Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Pepsi Cola), fast food chains (McDonald's) and various trade associations and industry lobby group (British Beer and Pub Association, the Wine and Spirit Association).

Millions of patients to take greater control of health care

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 8th 2010, p. 8

Reports that the first 52 GP consortia will take over responsibility for commissioning health services for their local populations from primary care trusts in 2011. This first wave of the new consortia will cover almost 1,860 GP practices in England, accounting for about 13 million patients, almost 25% of the population.

Ministers pledge 4bn to tackle smoking, drinking and obesity

S. Boseley

The Guardian, Dec. 1st 2010, p. 21

The government has promised to ring fence 4bn to improve the nation's health by tackling issues such as smoking, excessive drinking and obesity. The white paper received a cool welcome from experts who doubt whether 'nudging' people into good habits actually works. Dr. Vivienne Nathason of the British Medical Association (BMA) said 'if people live in an environment where they are surrounded by fast food advertising and glamorous alcohol marketing, 'nudging' will have limited effect'.

National NHS patient survey programme: survey of women's experiences of maternity services 2010

The Care Quality Commission


Over 25,000 women who had given birth in January and February 2010 responded to this survey. This was a response rate of 52%. All women aged 16 or over who received care from the 144 NHS Trusts in England, and who had given birth in a hospital, birth centre, maternity unit or at home were eligible to take part. Participants were asked about all aspects of their maternity care, including the first time they saw a clinician and the quality of care provided at their home in the weeks following the birth of their baby. Key findings:

  • More women were seen by a midwife rather than a GP or other member of staff, and 53% had a booking appointment before nine weeks.
  • 83% of women were offered a choice of location for birth (compared with 81% in 2007), with nearly three quarters (74%) offered a home birth.
  • 95% of respondents had dating scans, up from 89%.
  • 74% of women were always involved in decisions about their care (increased from 67%).
  • 73% 'definitely' had confidence and trust in the staff caring for them during labour and birth, compared with 68% in 2007.
  • Many respondents felt they were treated with kindness and understanding after the birth of their baby, with just 7% saying they were not treated well, down from 9%.
  • 79% of women were 'always' or 'generally' given consistent advice on feeding by midwives (compared with 76%).
  • 86% of women were given support and encouragement in how to feed their baby (compared with 78%).

NHS Trusts will use the results of the survey to identify areas of improvement. The Care Quality Commission will use the results throughout its regulatory duties such as monitoring trusts' compliance with the essential standards of quality and safety.

Not simply black and white: dignity and respect

K. Ly

Community Practitioner, vol.83, Dec. 2010, p. 22-23

Despite there being some positive efforts within community nursing, black and minority ethnic patients can still feel that they are not treated with dignity and respect when accessing the service. This can be due to communication problems and lack of cultural understanding. The situation could be improved if more black and minority ethnic community nursing staff were recruited.

Postnatal care: exploring the views of first-time mothers

S. Bailey

Community Practitioner, vol. 83, Dec. 2010, p. 26-29

Government policy has highlighted the provision of a postnatal service that responds to mothers' physical, psychological, social and emotional needs. This paper presents the results of a small qualitative study which explored the question of what support first-time mothers actually wanted from health visitors. Although the mothers valued the support provided by their health visitor highly, there were varying levels of satisfaction with the pattern and frequency of contacts. The findings suggest that mothers would prefer more contact, domiciliary visiting and support from health visitors during the postnatal period to help them adapt to motherhood.

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