17. July 2012 15:10
New Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) have been established to deliver contracts for specialised healthcare services worth £7.5bn during 2012/13.
As a resource for the NHS Commissioning Board, the CRGs will develop and approve contracts for dentistry, maternity, community pharmacy and ophthalmic services for 2013/14 and beyond.
Originally designed for contract assurance, the CRGs will now lead the development of specialised commissioning during the transition year and provide strategic and clinical advice beyond that.
Each CRG will have a ‘core’ set of products to develop in 2012/13, and will develop these products for the Board as directly commissioned services ready for 2013/14 contract inclusion.
With 13–21 members, each group will include a Chair, a Public Health Lead, a Commissioner Lead, eight Sector Clinicians and two PPE representatives, as well as additional clinical members and people from related organisations.
The Chair will be a clinical leader in the field of the identified service with experience as a clinical director, network director, medical director or professional body leader, and will provide clinical leadership to the CRG.
17. July 2012 14:22
A new development tool has been created for shadow health and wellbeing boards to identify how effective they are in practice and how they can improve in the future.
The tool allows boards to explore their strengths and to “inspire their ambition” to develop a “clear sense of purpose” which will help transform services and outcomes for local people.
The Local Government Association worked with a series of organisations, including the DH and the NHS Confederation, to create the development aid.
It builds on the achievements of previous self-assessment documents and includes 17 key issues to assess how individual boards are performing.
The tool has been developed so it can be used to assist the exploration of key issues by board members acting collectively or by individual board members working independently.
The key issues, which range from strategy, purpose and vision to measures and accountability, include one-year and three-year targets for boards to meet.
The tool can be accessed here.
17. July 2012 13:24
National Cancer Director Mike Richards has outlined plans for a series of public awareness campaigns promoting early diagnosis of cancer.
The DH plans to repeat its national bowel cancer campaign, followed by local campaigns focused on ovarian cancer and ‘constellations’ of cancer symptoms.
Regional pilots are planned for campaigns around breast cancer in elderly women and renal/bladder cancer.
In a letter to NHS trust and PCT chief executives, Richards emphasises the importance of early diagnosis for improving cancer survival rates and notes the Government’s aim of saving 5,000 more lives per year by 2014/15.
The national bowel cancer awareness campaign that ran from January to March 2012 achieved a 50% increase in urgent GP referrals for suspected colorectal cancer in regions not involved in the pilot campaigns.
To build on this effect, the DH plans to repeat this campaign for four weeks from 28 August, using a range of advertising and community engagement strategies. It warns trusts that the campaign may increase pressure on secondary care facilities.
From January to mid-March 2013 the DH will test local campaigns on ovarian cancer and cancer symptom ‘constellations’, and will run regional pilots of campaigns on breast cancer in women over 70 and blood in urine (a potential symptom of renal or bladder cancer).
Hosted by regional Cancer Networks, the campaigns will form part of a national partnership programme to combine primary care and diagnostic services.
17. July 2012 11:55
NICE has launched its new medicines advice service to provide “high quality” evidence to the NHS and patients in England on the latest treatments or those with new or updated indications.
The summaries do not constitute formal guidance but aim to support the managed introduction of new drugs for commissioners, budget holders and groups such as prescribing committees.
Professor Mark Baker, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said the summaries “take the process a step beyond the regulatory requirements” for new treatments to be prescribed.
Summaries are produced by NICE’s Medicines and Prescribing Centre, who expect to publish advice on up to 20 new medicines annually.
Medicines will be considered for summary either at the point of product launch, or up to 12 months in advance of being launched.
Astellas’ Dificlir (fidaxomicin) for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the first medication covered as part of the new service. Dificlir is the first in a new class of macrocylic antibiotics recently licensed by the EMA for CDI.
The evidence summary concludes that Dificlir, based on evidence from two randomised controlled trials, is non-inferior to vancomycin in curing patients with mild to severe CDI. Also, its side-effect profile appears similar to that of oral vancomycin and may have advantages in reducing the rate of recurrence.
17. July 2012 10:53
The Foundation Trust Network (FTN), the membership organisation for NHS public provider trusts, has appointed Chris Hopson as its new Chief Executive.
Hopson joins the FTN from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), where he has held a number of senior roles.
He will take over from Sue Slipman, who leaves the FTN at the end of July.
FTN Chairman Peter Griffiths said Hopson’s “hands-on experience of working across Government and his strategic communications background” will be important for developing the Network.
“Working in such a vibrant and innovative part of the public sector is a very exciting prospect,” commented Chris Hopson. “There are huge opportunities to be grasped, and I look forward to working with the FTN membership, board and team to realise that potential.”
Hopson’s roles at HMRC have included Customer Contact Director and Communications and Marketing Director. His previous roles include Corporate Affairs Director at Granada Media Group.
Sue Slipman will become a Non-Executive Director at the Kings College Hospital Foundation Trust.