New safety guidance for lone workers

The Royal College of Nursing has published a new guide to support nursing staff who work alone.

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The guide has been produced after a 2015 survey of RCN members found almost half of nursing staff based in the community have been subjected to abuse during the last two years. In more than 11% of cases, this involved physical abuse or assault as well as verbal abuse.

As well as offering advice on personal safety, the guide also contains a checklist for RCN safety reps who work on negotiating improvements to workplace safety for members and nurse managers who manage lone working staff.

A pocket guide is also available.

NHS England announces major boost for general practice

NHS England has announced measures to help general practice cope with increasing demand.


A nationwide, NHS GP health service will be introduced in January 2017, aimed at improving access to mental health support for general practitioners and trainee GPs.  The GP Induction and Refresher scheme will also be revamped to speed up the time it takes for GPs to return to practice in England.

The General Practice Forward View pledged to simplify the current Induction and Refresher (I&R) scheme, aiming to slash the time it can take doctors to return to practice, with the ambition to support at least an extra 500 doctors back into practice by 2020/21, as part of a broader plan to see an additional 5,000 doctors in general practice by 2020/21.

A working group, including Health Education England, the British Medical Associationand the Royal College of General Practitioners was established this year to review the scheme and deliver a package of improvements.

Digital health interventions: Hype or hope?

Muray, E. BMJ Clinical Evidence Blog. Published online: 30 September 2016

computer-1149148_960_720By Elizabeth Murray

Digitising the NHS is back in the news with the publication of the Wachter report on using IT in the NHS to achieve healthcare’s triple aim of better health, better healthcare and lower cost. As Wachter says, not “giving highest priority to digitisation would be a costly and painful mistake”.

Although the report focuses on digitising secondary care, many of the recommendations are equally applicable to digital health interventions (DHI). DHI are interventions delivered on a digital platform, such as the web or mobile phones, which aim to deliver health care or health promotion, including behaviour change, self-management support,  or treatments such as Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT). Because of their potential to combine personalisation with scalability, they hold out real hope for delivering better health, better healthcare and lower costs, but the potential has yet to be realised, despite the millions of commercial “health apps” available.

Read the full blog post here

Making patient groups part of the team

volunteers-601662_960_720People are rarely told how to become patient representatives. They are just expected to get on with it. No wonder CCGs sometimes struggle to get the most out of patient groups they set up.

Worse still, groups established to meet the statutory requirement to involve patients and the public in commissioning can become difficult to manage.

This article, in the latest edition of Commissioning Excellence, describes how these problems can be overcome by giving patient groups a basic understanding of the NHS and the role of commissioning supported by training on how to work as an effective team.