NHS workforce race equality: a case for diverse boards

This resource is targeted at NHS boards, especially the chairs of NHS boards. It
recognises the important role chairs play in shaping the way members interact,
behave, and set priorities – in short, how they establish the culture of a board.

The guide is not about how boards become more ‘representative’. Instead, it is about how a board uses the talents of everyone who sits round the table. It is about how boards capitalise on their diversity.

Full document: NHS workforce race equality: a case for diverse boards


Best start in life: cost-effective commissioning

A tool to help local commissioners provide cost-effective interventions for children aged up to 5 and pregnant women | Public Health England

This return on investment tool pulls together evidence on the effectiveness and associated costs for a number of interventions aimed at providing children with the best start in life.

The interactive resource allows results to be tailored to local situations based on the knowledge of the user. The tool is accompanied by a report providing further details on how the tool was constructed.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups can use results from the tool to protect and improve the health of their local populations when making commissioning decisions.

Two thirds of patients with serious mental health problems placed in rehab far from home and local support

Care Quality Commission | People in rehab for serious mental health problems more likely to face lengthy stays far from home and local support | 2018

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) sent information requests to 54 NHS and 87 independent healthcare providers that manage mental health rehabilitation inpatient services.  CQC, working in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement, asked providers for information about the mental health rehabilitation inpatient services that they manage. This included information about the number of locations and wards providing mental rehabilitation services, and the average daily cost of a bed on those wards, the length of each patient’s stay, funding authority and the mental healthcare provider responsible for aftercare. university-2540603_1920They found nearly two thirds (63%) of placements in residential-based mental health rehabilitation services are ‘out of area’, which means they are in different areas to the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that arranged them.

CQC estimates that £535 million is spent on residential mental health rehabilitation annually, with ‘out of area’ placements accounting for around two thirds of this expenditure.  The review shows that people in residential mental health rehabilitation services provided by the independent sector are, on average:

  • More likely to be further from their homes than those staying in NHS services – 49km compared to 14km.
  • More likely to stay there for longer – 14.5 months on their current ward compared to 7.5 months on their current ward in a NHS service.
  • At a greater risk of having their aftercare compromised because the managers there are less likely to know which NHS trust would care for them following discharge – 99% of managers of NHS rehabilitation services were able to name the NHS trust that would provide their patients’ aftercare, in comparison to 53% for independent services.

CQC recommend that the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement agree a plan to engage local health and care systems in a programme of work to reduce the number of patients placed in mental health rehabilitation wards that are out of area. (CQC)

Press release available here 

Briefing can be read on the CQC website 

New report from the King’s Fund published: Commissioner perspectives on working with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

The King’s Fund was commissioned by the Department of Health (DoH) to research how and why clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities chose to engage with the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector. (The King’s Fund)

cooperate-2924261_1920.pngThey have published their findings  in a report Commissioner perspectives on working with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectorThe report outlines the methodolgy used in their research, presents their findings and their discussion based on how commissioners’ perceptions of their own strategic role, as well as their views on what role the VCSE sector plays in the local area, appear to exert a strong influence on commissioning decisions.  It also covers themes that emerge from the interviews and considers commissioner views on the role of the VCSE sector: are they a partner or provider? Alongside this it questions:  what factors help or hinder co-commissioning with the VCSE sector?  Commissioner views on funding mechanisms are also included and the report concludes with a summary of the findings.

State of NHS Providers Communications 2017/18

The purpose of this research was to gather information on the state of communications practice within the 232 NHS trusts.  This report provides benchmarking data on the state of communications practice within NHS trusts, as well as analysis and thought leadership on the future of NHS communications. Collectively, these trusts account for around £74bn of annual expenditure and employ more than one million NHS staff. This report provides benchmarking data on the state of communications practice within NHS trusts.
The survey received responses from 130 trusts, which is more than half (56%) of the NHS provider sector. All types of trust, from across England, were represented.

While the report will be most relevant to communications leaders working in trusts, the authors hope the findings and messages will be of value to communicators in other parts of the health and care system.

Its findings include:

  • The majority of senior NHS communicators working in trusts are female, white, hold an honours degree and three quarters have been working in NHS/healthcare communications for seven years or more. There is a marked lack of ethnic diversity among those in the most senior communications roles.
  • There is significant variation between trusts on the size of their communications team and where they sit within the internal hierarchy and structure. On average, trusts employ seven full-time equivalent communications staff.
  • Less than half (44%) of communications leaders report into their chief executive, while only 24% sit on their trust’s board. Despite this, most communications leaders feel they have a good working relationship with their chief executive and two thirds feel they have parity with other senior staff.

The full report can be read here 

Social care: the Conservative Party’s 2017 General Election pledges on how individuals pay for care (England)


A new House of Commons briefing paper considers the Conservative Party’s 2017 General Election pledges to reform how individual pay for social care.  This paper sets out the proposals, comparing them to the current position and exploring their possible implications.   While the forms have yet to be implemented the government outlines plans to publish a Green Paper before the summer 2018 parliamentary recess.

Full reference: Jarrett, T. (2018) |Social care: the Conservative Party’s 2017 General Election pledges on how individuals pay for care (England) | Number 8001 | Retrieved from parliament.uk |
The full briefing paper can be downloaded here 

Falls prevention: cost-effective commissioning

Guidance from Public Health England (PHE) for commissioners and communities to provide cost effective falls prevention activities.  Local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) can use results from the tool to protect and improve the health of their local populations when making commissioning decisions.


The flexible Excel sheet allows for results to be tailored to the local situation based on the knowledge of the user. All interventions are aimed at those aged 65 and over. It can be accessed here 

The accompanying report, A Return on Investment Tool for the Assessment of Falls Prevention Programmes for Older People Living in the Community,  which explains how the tool was constructed and outlines the main findings, can be read here 

PHE have also produced a structured literature review which identifies which interventions are cost-effective in preventing falls in older people living in the community can be downloaded from their website.