Department of Health

Junior doctors vote to end new contract

The dispute between government and junior doctors continues, as the BMA reports the Junior Doctors Committee voted on 20 February to end the imposition of the new contract.

Health devolution in London

The Government has introduced a health devolution agreement for London signalling significant changes to the way health services are commissioned in the capital. New services designed to integrate physical and mental health and focusing on prevention will be introduced locally.

The agreement will begin with five devolution pilots to be launched across London focused on different topics:

New guidance on person-centred care

The Department of Health has produced new guidance for people working in the care sector to help people achieve control over their own care. The report, called ‘Voice, choice and control’ calls for the provision of “opportunities to take part in community life, including engaging in activities which match their interests, skills and abilities.”

Innovation in healthcare

The Department of Health and NHS England has announced a new £650,000 innovation prize to accelerate the development and scaling of digital tools that improve mental health outcomes.

Targeted funding for young people’s mental health services

Alistair Burt, Minister for Community and Social Care, discusses targeted funding for better mental health services for young people, giving a breakdown of the government’s intentional spend of £1.25 billion on improving children’s mental health services over the next 5 years.

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Department of Health suggests doctors consider new research into post-op music

Listening to music before, during and after an operation can help reduce pain, according to a newly-published review.

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London said the patients who had listened to music had been less anxious after their surgery and had needed less pain relief.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “This is very interesting research. We hope doctors consider the findings closely, because we want patients to have the best possible experience and recovery possible when they undergo surgery.”

Proposals for Health and Wellbeing Boards

The Local Government Association and NHS Clinical Commissioners have issued a call for local authorities to better support Health and Wellbeing Boards in taking a holistic approach to prevention and incorporating more creative approaches to tackling the wider determinants of ill health.

The report includes recommendations for Government and local authorities to do more to support Health and Wellbeing Boards in developing local health services that bring together the full range of services in a community in a holistic and person-centred approach.

Older people “trapped” in hospital

Age UK has published research looking at the failure of hospitals to connect with social care services in managing the discharge of older people from hospital. The charity is calling for more creative approaches to connecting health and care for the older population.

Age UK estimates that on 2.5 million occasions each year someone is spending an unnecessary night in hospital because of a shortage of resource in the community.

Health Secretary outlines priorities

The re-appointed Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has set out his priorities for the next five years. He highlights a focus on public health (with a particular emphasis on childhood obesity), General Practice and the culture of targets rather than outcomes in the NHS.

He was speaking at an event at the King’s Fund and the speech can be viewed here:

Design for dementia

The Department of Health has published a set of design principles for dementia-friendly environments in healthcare buildings. The guidance highlights the importance of artwork in the environment as well as calling for dedicated spaces for music and reminiscence activities.

The guidance draws together the best current knowledge for healthcare needs and has been published as best practice guidance for healthcare providers.


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