37 areas to lead rollout of tool to deliver person-centred care

People with long-term conditions in 37 areas across England are next in line to receive person-centred support to manage their own care, thanks to the roll-out of an evidence-based tool over the next five years.

The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) is a validated tool which captures the extent to which people feel engaged and confident in taking care of their health and wellbeing, helping professionals tailor support to better meet their needs.

NHS England agreed a deal to grant 1.8 million people access to the tool as part of its developing Self Care Support programme, and invited local NHS organisations and their partners to apply to use them in their areas.

37 bids – including a number of new care model vanguards and sites working as part of the Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) Programme – have now been confirmed, which will see use of the tool spread across England and applied to help improve care and outcomes for a variety of different patient groups.


Thousands to benefit from kick-start of mental health services transformation

Thousands of children and adults of all ages with conditions such as psychosis, depression and anxiety will be among the first to benefit from improved services as work starts on a major transformation programme for mental health care.

‘Implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health’, published last month, outlines the changes people will see on the ground over the coming years in response to the Mental Health Taskforce’s recommendations to improve care.

Intended as a blueprint for the changes that NHS staff, organisations and other parts of the system can make to improve mental health, the plan also gives a clear indication to the public and people who use services what they can expect from the NHS, and when.

The report details how new funding, pledged in response to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, rising to £1bn a year by 2020/21 in addition to the cumulative £1.4bn already committed for children, young people and perinatal care, will be made available for CCGs year on year. It also shows how the workforce requirements will be delivered in each priority area and outlines how data, payment and other system levers will support transparency.


New National Commissioning Framework for Hearing Loss Services launched

A new guide to help organisations responsible for planning and commissioning local hearing services for deaf people and those with diminishing hearing was launched by NHS England last month.

The Commissioning Services for People with Hearing Loss – a Framework for Clinical Commissioning Groups, following a key recommendation made in the Action Plan on Hearing Loss last year, has been produced with patient groups, services users, hearing loss charities and healthcare providers.


New findings reveal NHS initiative to get vulnerable people online has dramatically improved their health and well being and reduced demand for front line services

A report published last month shows an NHS programme to train vulnerable people to use the internet has led to over half feeling more confident to manage their health, 21% making fewer calls or visits to their GP and 6% making fewer trips to A&E.  This behaviour change is estimated to have saved the NHS £6 million in avoided GP and A&E visits in just 12 months.

As a result of the Widening Digital Participation programme, run by NHS England and Tinder Foundation, 59% of learners report feeling more confident to use online tools to manage their health, 65% feel more informed and 52% say they feel less lonely with 62% saying they feel happier as a result of social contact, an important indicator for overall well being.


Accessible Information Standard comes into force

New framework will ensure clearer health and care information for disabled people and their carers.

People with disabilities will benefit from improved health and care after new requirements come into force today, ensuring they receive easily accessible information and support.

The Accessible Information Standard aims to ensure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read or understand with support so they can communicate effectively with services. Examples of the types of support that might be required include large print, braille or using a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

All organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care are required to follow the new standard, including NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, and GP practices.

The standard was published in July 2015, meaning that organisations then had a year to get everything in place to be able to meet the requirements of the Standard by 31st July 2016.


NHS England offers Trusts over £100 million funding pot to set up centres of global digital excellence

Twenty six of the most digitally advanced trusts have been invited by NHS England to apply for a £100m+ funding pot to become centres of global digital excellence and drive forward better use of technology in health.

In a bid to win up to £10m each to invest in digital infrastructure and specialist training, the 26 acute trusts, already advanced in their use of technology in hospitals, will need to demonstrate their potential to become world leaders in health informatics. Between 10-16 trusts will be selected to become centres of global digital excellence.

Once established, the centres will lead the way for the entire system to move faster in getting better information technology on the ground, delivering benefits for patients and sharing learning and resources with other local organisations through networks.

NHS England will partner the global centres of digital excellence with international sister organisations to help maximise the benefit they get from the systems and support workforce development by encouraging local IT leaders to become the next generation of Chief Clinical Information Officers.


NHS England kickstarts programme to help 30,000 more new or expectant mums with serious mental illness

The NHS is kick starting a new programme that will each year help an extra 30,000 new or expectant mums who experience serious mental ill health, offering them the right care at the right time in a bid to reduce even further the rare tragedies that can occur when it is left untreated.

As a first step NHS England is launching a £5m Perinatal Community Services Development Fund to help close a wide gap in the availability of high quality care for women with severe or complex conditions: fewer than 15 per cent of areas currently provide services to levels recommended in national guidelines, and more than 40 per cent provide no service at all.

These specialist community services provide care and support to women with a mental illness in pregnancy or the postnatal period. They also respond to crises, aim to decrease risks to mothers and babies and offer after care following an inpatient stay in a mother and baby unit. The cost of perinatal mental ill health to society is estimated at £8.1 billion for each annual birth cohort, or almost £10,000 per birth.

Overall, £365m has been allocated for specialist perinatal mental health services over the next five years, so that, by 2021 30,000 more women each year will be able to access care and treatment.