RCN Health News Alert

Saturday 13 June - Monday 15 June

House of Lords reform

A column in The Times proposes reforms to the current system of appointing peers to the House of Lords. The articles says that there should be strict limits on the number of peers appointed by the Government, and that the remainder of the House should be filled by members of professional bodies, suggesting the Royal College of Nursing as well as others including the British Medical Association and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Government proposes one-off £12,000 payment for elderly care

Older people could choose to pay a £12,000 lump sum for nursing care under proposed Government reforms to the way long-term care is funded in England and Wales. The reforms are intended to replace the current system, where long-term care is means-tested and many older people are left having to sell their homes to pay for nursing home costs. Under the plans, the one-off payment would be deducted from their estate after death, or paid when the person retires.

NHS has to cut £20 billion

The Sunday Telegraph reports that NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson has said that NHS Trusts have to cut between £15 billion and £20 billion in funding in the period from 2011 to 2014. The cuts could equate to six percent of the NHS budget. A column in The Sunday Telegraph calls for alternative methods of funding for the NHS to be introduced, such as using non-profit voluntary sector organisations for certain services.

Lib Dem politician calls for more hospital porters

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesman Vince Cable has called for more backroom staff, such as hospital porters, saying that the NHS is unable to work effectively due to a shortage of people in these crucial 'unglamorous' roles.

First Briton dies from swine flu

Yesterday a patient in Scotland was confirmed as the first UK death from swine flu. The patient is believed to have been treated at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. The total number of confirmed swine flu cases in Britain was confirmed to be 1,226, with 498 of those cases in Scotland.

Drugs company clashes with World Health Organisation over flu drug donation

The drug company Novartis has ruled out making a donation of flu vaccines to developing nations. The company defended its position, saying that they would offer a discount to developing nations, however would not offer the drugs for free. The World Health Organisation had last week urged drug companies to show 'solidarity' by donating flu vaccines to developing countries to fight the current flu pandemic.

Parliamentary Update

House of Commons

North West Regional Committee - Meeting in Manchester
The impact of the current economic situation on the North West and the Government's response
Witnesses: CBI, Federation of Small Businesses, Chambers of Commerce North West, TUC, Learning and Skills Council and Jobcentre Plus

PQs: Children, Schools & Families

House of Lords

Grand Committee in the Moses Room - WELFARE REFORM BILL: Committee stage (Day 3)

Public Accounts Select Committee- Room 15
Supporting people with autism through adulthood
Witnesses: Hugh Taylor, Permanent Secretary, David Behan, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships, Department of Health, Rebecca Sudworth, Head, Disability and Work, Department for Work and Pensions, and Hardip Begol, Deputy Director, Special Educational Needs and Disability Division, Department for Children, Schools and Families