Tag Archives: NHS

Justice Secretary Unveils New Bill To Cut Car Insurance Premiums

Justice Secretary David Gauke today (20 March 2018) unveiled the Civil Liability Bill, offering hope of lower insurance premiums to millions of motorists

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Justice

  • Clampdown on whiplash claims to save motorists about £35 per year
  • The whiplash changes are part of government’s wider programme to tackle the compensation culture which is driving up costs to consumers and taxpayers
  • Bill includes changes to the way the personal injury discount rate is calculated to bring certainty and transparency to the system, and savings for the NHS

The legislation sets in law measures which will reduce the unacceptably high number of whiplash claims and allow insurers to cut premiums, with motorists anticipated to save on average about £35 per year.

The whiplash measures form a major plank of the Government’s wider work to tackle the country’s compensation culture, ensuring a more balanced and fair system for all concerned. They follow earlier reforms including the forthcoming ban on cold calling, tougher regulation of claims management companies, and a clampdown on spiralling holiday sickness claims.

The high number of whiplash claims has contributed to increased insurance premiums but these measures will mean about £1 billion in savings which insurers have pledged to pass on to drivers.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said:

The number of whiplash claims has been too high for too long, and is symptomatic of a wider compensation culture.

We are putting this right through this important legislation, ensuring whiplash claims are no longer an easy payday and that money can be put back in the pockets of millions of law-abiding motorists.

Road traffic accident related personal injury claims are 50% higher than a decade ago, despite the fall in the number of reported accidents and the UK having some of the safest roads in Europe.

This rise has been fuelled by predatory parts of the claims industry that encourage minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims, driving up the costs of insurance premiums for ordinary motorists.

The whiplash measures are aimed at cracking down on these claims. The measures will ensure fairness to both motorists and claimants by:

  • setting fixed amounts of compensation for whiplash claims; and
  • banning the practice of seeking or offering to settle whiplash claims without medical evidence

Also contained in the Bill are changes to the way the personal injury discount rate for serious injuries is calculated.

The changes, first mooted in September, will provide a more balanced approach to compensation that fully compensates victims of catastrophic accidents, including the most vulnerable, while addressing issues around overpayment which could have a knock-on effect on public services with large personal injury liabilities – particularly the NHS.

The discount rate is the percentage used to adjust compensation awards for victims of serious personal injury, according to the amount they could expect to earn by investing it. Its application is an important part of the calculation of awards. It only relates to compensation for future loss.

The adjusted awards should put claimants in the same financial position they would have been in had they not been injured – they should receive neither more nor less than full compensation.

In February last year the discount rate was reviewed as required by the law and reduced from 2.5% to minus 0.75%. This dramatically increased the size of awards of damages to individuals.

At the time, the government acknowledged that this move was likely to have a significant impact, launching a consultation on the way the discount rate is calculated in March, followed by the publication of draft legislation in September.

We have also carefully considered the report of the Justice Committee on the draft legislation and accepted the majority of its recommendations.

The changes to the discount rate now being introduced through the Civil Liability Bill will create a fairer and better system of setting the discount rate, which will still provide full compensation. To ensure this happens we will:

  • set the rate with reference to ‘low risk’ rather than ‘very low risk’ investments as at present, better reflecting evidence of the actual investment habits of claimants;
  • establish a regular review of the rate, the first within 90 days of the legislation coming into force and at least every three years thereafter;
  • establish an independent expert panel Chaired by the Government Actuary to advise the Lord Chancellor on the setting of the rate.

Derby And Burton Hospital Trust Merger Cleared By CMA

The CMA has cleared a merger between 2 hospital trusts as it believes patients in the Midlands are likely to benefit from improved care plans

Doctors Hospital Corridor Nurse Pushing Gurney Stretcher Bed

Doctors Hospital Corridor Nurse Pushing Gurney Stretcher Bed

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the merger between Derby Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust is expected to result in substantial patient benefits, and that these outweigh any potential competition concerns that may arise as a result of the merger.

The 2 trusts provide services predominantly in the Derbyshire and East Staffordshire area and the hospitals they operate overlap across a number of healthcare services. Following the merger, the CMA found that patients would have less choice for some services, potentially reducing the Trusts’ incentives to maintain or improve quality in these services.

However, it found that these concerns were outweighed by substantial expected benefits overall. Both trusts are resource constrained and the CMAhas found that the merger will enable them to use their resources much more effectively for patients across a wide range of specialities.

In reaching its decision, the CMA placed significant weight on the advice of NHS Improvement, the regulator of NHS trusts, which strongly supports the merger.

This is the second time the CMA has cleared an NHS hospital merger on the basis of patient benefits at the ‘Phase 1’ stage, following its clearance of the merger of 2 Birmingham hospital trusts.

All information about this merger investigation is available on the CMA’s dedicated case page.

Public Health England Urges Vigilance About Spotting Signs Of Scarlet Fever

Public Health England (PHE) is advising parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of scarlet fever following a substantial increase in reported cases across England in 2017 to 2018

Public Health England (PHE)

Public Health England (PHE)

Scarlet fever is a very contagious, seasonal bacterial illness that mainly affects children and is not uncommon for this time of year.

The latest Health Protection Report (9 March 2018) showed 11,982 cases of scarlet fever have been reported since mid-September 2017, compared to an average of 4,480 for the same period over the last 5 years. There were 1,267 cases reported for the most recent week (12 to 18 February 2018).

This increasing trend is in line with usual patterns although cases are currently higher than those reported at this point in the last 4 seasons. It is not possible at this point to determine what the final numbers will be for this season. Scarlet fever is a clinical diagnosis and not usually confirmed by laboratory testing so the activity we may be seeing could be due to increased awareness and reporting of scarlet fever, although the exact cause is still being investigated.

Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness; PHE is advising parents to be on the lookout for scarlet fever symptoms, which include a sore throat, headache and fever with a characteristic fine, pinkish or red rash with a sandpapery feel. If signs of scarlet fever are suspected, it is important to contact your local GPor NHS 111. Early treatment with antibiotics is important and can help reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia and the spread of the infection. Children or adults diagnosed with scarlet fever are advised to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.

Nick Phin, Deputy Director at Public Health England, said:

It’s not uncommon to see a rise in cases of scarlet fever at this time of year. Scarlet fever is not usually a serious illness and can be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of complications and spread to others. We are monitoring the situation closely and remind parents to be aware of the symptoms of scarlet fever and to contact their GP for assessment if they think their child might have it.

Whilst there has been a notable increase in scarlet fever cases when compared to last season, greater awareness and improved reporting practices may have contributed to this increase.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that usually presents with a sore throat, fever, headaches, and a rosy rash that generally starts on a patient’s chest.

It is a very contagious disease and much more common in children under 10 than teenagers or adults, but it can be treated quickly and effectively with a full course of antibiotics and all GPs are trained to diagnose and treat it.

Scarlet fever used to be a lot more common than it is now, but GPs are noticing more cases than in previous years at the moment. If a patient thinks that they, or their child, might have symptoms, they should seek medical assistance.

PHE is also urging GPs, paediatricians, and other health practitioners to be mindful when assessing patients and promptly notify local health protection teams of cases and outbreaks.

For further information on scarlet fever visit the NHS Choices website.

Guidelines for the management of scarlet fever are also available from the PHE website.

NHS-Funded Nursing Care Rate Announced For 2018 To 2019

The NHS-funded nursing care standard rate is being increased to £158.16 from 1 April 2018

Department of Health and Social Care

Department of Health and Social Care

The NHS-funded nursing care standard weekly rate per patient will increase by 2% from the current rate of £155.05 to £158.16 for 2018 to 2019. This is to reflect overall nursing wage pressures.

The higher rate of NHS-funded nursing care will increase by 2% from the current rate of £213.32 to £217.59 per week for 2018 to 2019. This is only relevant for people who were already on the higher rate in 2007 when the single band was introduced.

Registered nursing care is funded by the NHS for eligible nursing home residents. These rates are based on the best evidence currently available to the Department of Health and Social Care on the costs of providing nursing care in the sector.

The Department of Health and Social Care will undertake a full cost study of the NHS-funded nursing care rate ahead of setting the 2019 to 2020 rate, and then at least every 5 years to ensure that it remains accurate.

Plans To Cut Excess Calorie Consumption Unveiled

Steps to reduce 20% of calories in popular foods by 2024 announced to tackle childhood obesity

Children walking up stone city stairs

Children walking up stone city stairs

Major steps to cut people’s excessive calorie intake have been unveiled by Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), as part of the government’s strategy to cut childhood and adult obesity.

The package includes:

  • new evidence highlighting overweight or obese boys and girls consume up to 500 and 290 calories too many each day respectively
  • a challenge to the food industry to reduce calories in products consumed by families by 20% by 2024
  • the launch of the latest One You campaign, encouraging adults to consume 400 calories at breakfast, and 600 for lunch and dinner. This comes as adults consume 200 to 300 calories in excess each day

Too many children and most adults are overweight or obese, suffering consequences from bullying and low self-esteem in childhood, to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers as adults. An obese parent is more likely to have an obese child, who in turn is more likely to grow up into an obese adult.

Obesity affects us all, as it is a burden on the NHS and local authorities. The NHS spends around £6 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions. Obesity-related health problems also keep people out of work, stifling their earnings and wider economic productivity.

The government’s challenge to the food industry is set out in Calorie reduction: the scope and ambition for action, published today, Tuesday 6 March 2018, by PHE. As with the sugar reduction programme, the industry has 3 ways to reduce calories:

  • change the recipe of products
  • reduce portion size
  • encourage consumers to purchase lower calorie products

Categories of food covered by the programme include pizzas, ready meals, ready-made sandwiches, meat products and savoury snacks.

If the 20% target is met within 5 years, more than 35,000 premature deaths could be prevented and around £9 billion in NHS healthcare and social care costs could be saved over a 25 year period.

The report also includes new data on children’s daily calorie consumption. Depending on their age, overweight and obese boys consume between 140 to 500 calories too many each day and for girls, it is 160 to 290 when compared to those with healthy body weights. Adults consume on average 200 to 300 calories too many each day.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE, said:

The simple truth is on average we need to eat less. Children and adults routinely eat too many calories and it’s why so many are overweight or obese.

Industry can help families by finding innovative ways to lower the calories in the food we all enjoy and promoting UK business leadership on the world stage in tackling obesity.

Steve Brine MP, Public Health and Social Care Minister, said:

There can be no doubt that obesity is now one of our greatest challenges – one that is fuelling an epidemic of preventable illnesses like type 2 diabetes and cancer. These not only shorten lives but put unsustainable pressure on our health service.

We have a responsibility to act, which is why we are supporting families to make the healthy choice. Our calorie reduction programme – the first of its kind from any country in the world – will continue to build on the progress of our world-leading childhood obesity plan, which has led to positive steps by industry.

The latest One You campaign aims to support people to be more calorie-aware when they are out and about with its simple tip 400-600-600. Aim for 400 calories at breakfast, and 600 for lunch and dinner. Major high street brands are partnering with PHE on the campaign, signposting to meals that meet the 400-600-600 tip. Total daily calorie intake recommendations remain at 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said:

It’s hard for people to make healthy food choices, whether for themselves or their families. That’s why we are challenging the food industry to take 20% of the calories out of everyday foods, building on their good work on salt and promising announcements on sugar.

We are also working through our campaign and its partners, to give the public the information they need to help make those choices easier.

The 20% reduction target is the result of analysis of the new calorie consumption data, experience of sugar and salt reduction programmes, and more than 20 meetings with the food industry and stakeholders.

The next step in the programme involves engagement with the whole food industry such as retailers, manufacturers, major restaurant, café, takeaway, and delivery companies, and health and charity sectors, to develop category guidelines. These will be published in mid-2019.

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