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Government response to Francis Inquiry – PRimage comment

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

The government’s response to the Mid-Staffordshire NHS scandal has been dribbled out gradually but today we heard the extent of what will follow. It appears that we will see peer-reviewed regulation Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals, a “duty of candour” for NHS providers to their patients and a new training regime for nurses to ensure they practise the basics of caring for patients for at least a year before they nurse anyone.

As a specialist healthcare communications consultancy, PRimage has been reviewing the Government’s initial response to the Francis inquiry.  The response to the inquiry starts by setting out a five-point plan to “revolutionise” the care people receive from NHS and putting an end to failure.  Judy Viitanen believes that the Government has made a positive start to ensure that from now on compassion, dignity and respect will now be at the forefront of patient care.

Of course there is the growing groundswell of public opinion that says that the only thing that will prevent more such horrors as Mid Staffs is stripping power from producers and giving it to patients …. What’s your view?

The response focuses on these key issues: Preventing problems; Detecting problems quickly; Taking action promptly; Ensuring robust accountability, and Ensuring staff are trained and motivated.

Here are the key recommendations from the executive summary:

Preventing problems

At local level, commissioners will work with hospitals to identify and tackle poor care.

  • A chief inspector of hospitals will look into the culture of hospitals, driving change through fundamental standards and national ratings.
  • To ensure that paperwork, box ticking and duplicatory regulation and information burdens are reduced by at least one third.
  • A single national hub − the Health and Social Care Information Centre − will be collecting information; with a duty to seek to reduce information burden on the service year on year.
  • Professor Don Berwick is to work with NHS Commissioning Board (to be known in future as NHS England) to ensure a robust safety culture and zero tolerance of avoidable harm is embedded in the DNA of the NHS.

Detecting problems quickly

  • Chief inspector of hospitals to make assessments based on judgements as well as data.
  • They will become the nation’s whistle-blower.
  • The chief inspector will make an assessment of every NHS hospital’s performance, drawing on the views of inspectors, commissioners, local patients and the public.
  • The inspectors will be specialists not generalists.
  • They will oversee “comply or explain” approach. Good or best established practices that benefit the patients are expected to be used across the hospitals; otherwise a valid explanation needs to be given.
  • The Care Quality Commission will have the power to conduct ratings. It will work with Nuffield Trust to develop these proposals further.
  • Chief inspector to ensure there is “single version of the truth” − single assessment that fully reflects how hospitals are performing, not just targets but also things that matter to patients.
  • “Friends and family” test will be vital component of the ratings.
  • There will be new chief inspector of social care. They will be charged with rating care homes and local care services.
  • Information about hospitals will not be limited to aggregated ratings but it will be possible to drill down to information at a department, specialty care group and condition-specific level.
  • As a starting point, NHS England will extend transparency on surgical outcomes from heart surgery to cardiology, vascular surgery, upper-gastro intestinal surgery, colorectal surgery, orthopaedic surgery, bariatric surgery, urological surgery, head and neck surgery and thyroid and endocrine surgery.
  • Tough penalties and perhaps additional legal action for organisations that are found to be massaging truths or concealing truths about their performance.
  • A statutory duty of candour on providers.
  • A ban on clauses intended to prevent public interest disclosures.
  • A review of best practice on complaints.

Taking action promptly

  • The CQC (with NICE commissioners, professionals, patients and the public) will draw up a new set of simpler fundamental standards which make explicit the basic standards beneath which care should never fall.
  • A new time-limited three-stage failure regime. At the first stage, commissioners will work with the hospital board.
  • In the second stage, if commissioners fail, the CQC will call Monitor or the NHS Trust Development Authority to take action.
  • In the final stage, the chief inspector will initiate a failure regime, if problems still not resolved.

Ensuring robust accountability

  • The CQC will refer criminally negligent practices, identified by the chief inspector, to the Health and Safety Executive for them to consider criminal prosecution.
  • Barring failed NHS managers, with a system based on the barring scheme for teachers.

Ensuring staff are trained and motivated

  • Healthcare assistant training before nursing and other degrees.
  • Every student who seeks funding for nursing degrees should first serve up to a year as a healthcare assistant (this scheme will be piloted first).
  • Camilla Cavendish is reviewing how to best ensure healthcare assistants can provide safe and compassionate care.
  • Chief inspector will ensure that employers meet their registration requirements that all health and care support workers are properly trained and inducted before they start caring for people.
  • A programme will be initiated by NHS Leadership Academy to encourage new talent form clinical professionals and from outside of the NHS into top leadership.
  • An elite fast-track programme and an MBA-style programme to ensure clinicians with a talent for leadership are supported.
  • Frontline experience for Department of Health staff

Welcome to PRimage

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Bill Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”

That’s quite an endorsement for the value of PR.

If you want to make 2013 the year that your company or product maximises the value of strategic and results-led PR, we can help.

PRimage offers you fresh ideas and a wealth of experience. Our experience spans most industries – and we offer specialist insights in health, well-being, property and social media.

Our social media marketing services cover daily management of your business Facebook page(s), Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and company blog postings – all strategically structured to work in synergy to increase brand awareness. We maximise our three decades of public relations and marketing experience and our 360-degree deep immersion in social media to help connect ideas, trends, products and people!

New for 2013 is our PR & Marketing Package for Start-ups – aimed at new companies who need to get their budding business and products off to a healthy start.

Download our credentials presentation to learn more about our services and how PRimage create the buzz to help you stand out and get noticed!

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team are sure your business will benefit from our cost-effective services and client-orientated approach.

When you’ve reviewed our presentation and you’re ready to find out more, please contact us for a free consultation.

PRimage PP Credentials

PRimage offers PR & Marketing Package for Startups.

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Our Startup PR Package is flexible, affordable, and can scale with your company’s growth

This added value offering is aimed at new companies who need to get their budding business and products off to a healthy start.  We can help you get your name out there, create buzz, and help you stand out and get noticed.

We understand the challenges you face.  And we know that marketing and PR play a vital role in the life of a startup. We offer tangible, powerful, meaningful, and effective PR, marketing and social media solutions that fit your budget and your objectives.

Marketing Accelerator

And when you are ready to develop your business further, we can work with you on a strategic marketing and social media plan. Your personalised road map to success!

Social Media Strategies

Maximising the power of social media is a ‘must’ for any business – and especially startups. PRimage can help you develop your social media networks and messaging to achieve impact.

Interested in learning more?

Call 07717691845 or email judy@primage.org for more information.

PRimage: Prescription to positive PR …

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team adopt this process of the ’5 P’s to achieve successful PR and social media messaging for our clients and for our tech start-up business, Happy Habitat:

  1. Plan
  2. Predict
  3. Position
  4. Prevent
  5. Persevere

Foundations and Pillars for Influence …. PRimage follows these!

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Reach

Resonance

Relevance ….

The ’3 R’s’ for the foundations to successful influencing ….. Judy Viitanen and PRimage  endorse this approach

HAPPY 2012! Love and best wishes from Judy Viitanen and PRimage

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ ★ ☆¸.•☆☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆

In 2012….I hope the kindness you’ve given to others returns many times to you.
May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
The foresight to know where you’re going,
And the insight to know when you’re going too far.
May hope, love, and warmth be in your heart’s possessing,
And may the New Year bring you and yours many blessings.
Happy New Year!

Judy Viitanen

INTERNET USAGE & SOCIAL NETWORKING ON THE UP! – PRIMAGE COMMENT

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

There have been significant changes in the way people connect to the Internet in recent years – and PRimage always keeps apace with these trends, for our communications insights and for our client projects.  So, Judy Viitanen has been reviewing the new statistic released today in the National Statistics Opinions Survey on how British consumers/individuals access the Internet and why.  

It’s great news to know that19 million households in Great Britain now have an Internet connection! This represented 77 per cent of households, up from 73 per cent in 2010.  The data is fascinating – and very encouraging for everyone like PRimage who do work in the social media arena.  Judy and the PRimage team are especially interested in the insights that the data reveals as to extent to which young people communicate via social networking.

These stats are really valuable in that they give the most up-to-date picture yet of the growing role mobile is playing in the digital divide: 45 percent of the Internet-using population has taken to mobile devices to go online in the past year. And PRimage believe that the rise in usage among 16-24 year-olds is most impressive: 71 percent today are using mobile devices to go online, compared to 44 percent only a year ago. In the last 12 months, six million people accessed the Internet for the very first time on their mobile phones.

The figures also highlight how much smartphones and advanced feature phones, combined with low-cost data plans and WiFi, are transforming how the internet is consumed. It looks like the UK is standing out as one of the leaders in this sense.

PRimage also follows trends in the US in this area, and we have noted that although it’s not a 100%, like-for-like comparison, but as a point of reference, comScore has recently released data that showed that in the U.S. some 41 percent of consumers used the mobile web browsers on their handsets in the last three months.

Our PRimage comms work covers a lot of messaging and marketing on social media sites, so we were not surprised to see that social networking proved to be the most popular activity among 16 to 24 year old Internet users in 2011, with 91 per cent saying they took part in social networking on websites such as Facebook or Twitter.  

However, we were encouraged that this was not an activity limited to the younger age groups, with almost one fifth (18 per cent) of Internet users aged 65 and over – indicating that they participated in social networking. In our view there’s a lot of opportunity to max this! Overall, social networking was more popular among women, at 60 per cent, than men, at 54 per cent.

Men were more likely to participate in professional networking over sites such as LinkedIn in 2011, with 16 per cent of male Internet users having used this online facility compared to just 9 per cent of women. It was most popular among those aged 25 to 34, with 18 per cent using these sites.

Other key stats of interest include:

  • Using the Internet to sell goods or services, for example via auction sites such as eBay, saw large growth in 2011. Over 12 million people, at 31 per cent of Internet users, sold goods or services online, compared to 7.9 million (21 per cent) in 2010. Just under half of those aged 25 to 34 (45 per cent) used the Internet for this activity.

In 2011 almost half of Internet users connected to the Internet, using a mobile phone, while away from the home or office. There were 17.6 million mobile phone Internet users in 2011, representing 45 per cent of Internet users, compared to 8.5 million users (23 per cent) in 2009.

  • Just over one in five (21 per cent) Internet users made telephone or video calls online in 2011. This activity is one which is not dominated by a specific age group, with older age groups showing similar patterns of use to the younger age groups. Of those aged 65 and over, 17 per cent used this technology, compared to 22 per cent of those under 24.

Overall, the UK has some 37.7 million Internet users at the moment. That means that nearly 17 million of us have used our mobile phones to access the mobile internet.

  • Other “mobile” devices such as laptops and tablets are also making a big impact: 38 percent of people say they have used these kinds of devices to access the internet. That’s on top of mobile phone usage, by the way.
  • WiFi is big: usage of hotspots has doubled in the last year to 4.9 million users (13 percent of internet users).
  • People over the age of 65 are the least likely to use a mobile to access the internet—only eight percent of internet users in that age group have used mobile devices to do this. (A market opportunity?)
  • In terms of what it is that people are doing when they go online, it looks like social networking is a key driver of usage. Among adults, 57 percent say they have used social networks online, compared to 43 percent a year ago. Among that much-coveted demographic of 16-24 year-olds, the number is amazingly high: 91 percent. To compare to the comScore, in the U.S., around 30 of mobile phone users in the country used their devices to access social networks.

GB Household Internet Usage

Year Per cent  
2007 61  
2008 65  
2009 70  
2010 73  
2011 77  
Base: All GB households    
     
     
 Household Internet  
type, GB, 2007 and 2011  
Year Broadband Dial up
2007 84 16
2011 93 2
Base: All GB households    
     

The use of wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots also increased markedly with 4.9 million people using hotspots at hotels, restaurants, airports etc., compared to 0.7 million people in 2007.

Housing crisis in UK – ‘generation-rent’? PRimage comment

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

PRimage had just been reading a new report released today on the crisis in the UK housing market – which forecasts that home ownership in England will slump to just 63.8% over the next decade.  The National Housing Federation report also forecasts steep rises in the private rental sector and a house price boom. It blames the bleak outlook on an under-supply of homes in the UK.

So, for the UK it looks like we are heading for a ‘generation-rent’ scenario! And market trends will follow those in the US. Certainly many young people now face decades of renting!

PRimage believes the NHF are right to highlight stark statistics which show that last year, the number of new homes built reached the lowest in peacetime since 1923 – and correct in blaming declining home ownership on banks setting too lenient lending criteria and too small deposits.  The Government needs to take immediate action to tackle this crisis and the chronically low supply of homes. From what Judy Viitanen understands, reading the report and comments from industry experts, the difficulties of raising deposits and obtaining mortgages are one side of the problem. The other is housing supply. It is, though, a bit of a catch-22.  The major developers say they are willing and ready to build more homes. But they worry that they won’t be able to sell them, because potential buyers will not be able to raise the finance.  The dilemma for policy makers is how to escape this damaging cycle, of restricted supply leading to high prices, which leads to curtailed demand, resulting in unwillingness to build

  • In England, the proportion of people living in owner-occupied homes will fall from a peak of 72.5% in 2001 to 63.8% in 2021.
  • In London, the majority of people will rent by 2021, with the number of owner-occupiers falling from 51.6% in 2010 to 44% by 2021
  • Average rents for apartments and single family homes in the private sector are forecast to increase by 19.8% over the next five years, fuelled by high demand and a shortage of properties.

 

Health Bill – PRimage comment

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

PRimage has heard that on the day that the British Medical Association votes to launch a public campaign which calls for the withdrawal of the Government’s controversial Health Bill, a survey of 500 GPs shows 85% said they had not been reassured by the government’s response to the listening exercise, with a further 62% saying their support for the reforms has not been altered by the changes to the Health Bill.

We were interested to see that many of the GPs concerns centered on the areas that as a healthcare lobbyist, Judy Viitanen believes are the very real and inherent issues around the Bill – such as increased bureaucracy in the NHS, the impact on patient care and the cost of the re-organisation.  What are your views?  We’d love to hear them.

Taking politics to the people …. PRimage loves this!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

 

The ‘joys’ of political canvessing! …..