Here are a few of the more significant health and wellbeing policy news items from the last week. A fuller list is available here.
31 August 2016
Junior doctors are to hold 5-day strikes every month until the end of the year, after the BMA Council agreed proposals from the Junior Doctors Committee. The first strike will be from 8:00 until 5:00 each day from 12th to 16th September. This follows rejection by the membership of the deal negotiated on their behalf with the Government, leading to the Health Secretary imposing the new contract.
01 September 2016
The BMA have announced strike dates for October, November and December. Jeremy Hunt continues to criticise the BMA. Various bodies, including National Voices and the Patients' Association condemn the proposed strikes. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said it was disappointed at the prospect of sustained industrial action. Three of the 22 medical royal colleges are known not to have signed the statement (GPs, paediatrics and radiologists). Labour defends the junior doctors against portrayals of them as militant and overpaid.
25 August 2016
244,000 children will be affected by the reduction in the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 in the rest of the country, reducing the incomes of affected families by £60 a week on average, according to the Government's latest impact assessment of the policy.
01 September 2016
Cuts to public health are a 'false economy', the Health Select Committee has said in a report on 'Public Health post-2013'. The cuts add to the future costs of health and social care and risk widening health inequalities. It says more cross-government working is required to tackle health inequalities, with a Cabinet Office minister given responsibility for embedding health across all areas of government policy, including education, employment, housing and the environment. The Committee also says that local authorities should be given more powers, such as making health a 'material consideration' in planning and licensing decisions.
Press release: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/news-parliament-20151/public-health-report-published-16-17/
The report: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhealth/140/14002.htm
27 August 2016
The Prime Minister has announced an "audit of public services to reveal racial disparities" to show how outcomes differ by ethnicity in areas including health, education and employment. The work is to be led by a new team in the Cabinet Office, reporting to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer.
30 August 2016
The living wage has benefitted care workers, leading to higher wages, including among those not directly affected, despite fears that employers would recoup costs by reducing hours, accoding to research by the Resolution Foundation based on pay data for 80,000 employees from more than 2,000 care providers. They say that 57% of frontline workers have benefitted directly from the new minimum wage.
(31/08/16) Feature, comment and analysis: https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2016/aug/31/care-worker-pay-further-increases