Medical

The Berwick Review was published on 6 August 2013.  Professor Don Berwick, an international expert in patient safety, was tasked by the Prime Minister with carrying out a review on patient safety following the publication of the Francis Report into the breakdown of care at Mid Staffordshire Hospitals.  The report highlights the main problems affecting patient safety in the NHS and makes a number of recommendations to address them, including the following:

  • wide systemic change should be encouraged;
  • a ‘blame culture’ should be discouraged and staff’s goodwill and good intentions should be trusted;
  • patients and carers should be worked with to achieve healthcare goals;
  • quantitative targets should only be used with caution – they should never displace the primary goal of better care;
  • transparency is essential and should be insisted upon;
  • instructions and responsibility for safety and improvement should be clear and simple;
  • NHS staff should be helped to apply modern methods for quality control, quality improvement and quality planning throughout their careers;
  • pride and joy in work, not fear, should infuse the NHS.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council (GMC) has endorsed the review’s conclusions and has indicated: “We particularly welcome the call for a transparent culture that puts patients’ needs and views first – this is at the heart of our culture for doctors”. He indicated that the GMC is already seeking that organisations improve monitoring and support for doctors, which should allow them to receive better data and information to assess their results and performance.

You can find our blog about the Berwick Review here (Chris – please include link to Sophie Kemps blog here)

On a similar theme, the General Dental Council (GDC) has set out its action plan in response to recommendations contained in the Francis Report.    The plan sets out 21 actions which are grouped under the following themes identified from the Francis Report as being central to the GDC’s work:

  • delivering high standards of care and always putting patients first;
  • promoting openness, transparency and candour;
  • ensuring that the regulation and oversight of education and training protects patients;
  • developing a proactive approach to detecting and preventing harm to patients;
  • improving the use of data and information sharing between regulators to protect patients and the public and;
  • hearing the patient voice in the work of the GDC.

The plan also sets out the GDC’s intention to create an online engagement panel and its aim to influence the Law Commission’s review of professional regulation.  A timeline for delivering the action plan is to be developed.  More details can be found on the GDC’s website: www.gdc-org.uk

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has published new standards of prescribing, following recent amendments to the medicines legislation which extend independent prescribing to appropriately trained chiropodists/ podiatrists and physiotherapists.  Chiropodists/ podiatrists and physiotherapists are now eligible to train to become both independent and supplementary prescribers, whilst radiographers remain eligible to train to become supplementary prescribers only.  Professionals with either qualification must have their entry annotated on the HCPC Register in order to prescribe.

The standards for prescribing can be found online at: www.hcpc-uk.org/aboutregistration/standards/standardsforprescribing

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is launching its first major survey about the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

All 22,000 pharmacy technicians and a large sample of 30,000 pharmacists are being invited to take part; the results of the survey will allow the GPhC to inform the development of its policies and predict and respond to likely changes in the practice of pharmacists.

Financial

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of the United States (PCAOB) have agreed to continue their cooperation agreement, following recent European Commission Decisions that allow such agreements until 31 July 2016.

The Statement of Protocol between the FRC and the PCAOB facilitates effective cooperation between the two organisations in respect of work on inspections and exchanges of information which would otherwise be confidential. This reflects the fact that the audit market is become increasingly global; the purpose of the joint enterprise is to seek improvements to audit quality, protect investors and promote efficient capital markets.The FRC has also issued for consultation: Guidance on the Strategic Report; applying the requirements for the strategic report in the recently issued Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013.This consultation is aimed at providing a catalyst for companies to publish more readable and relevant company reports. 

The FRC encourages companies to experiment and be innovative in the drafting of their annual reports, presenting narrative information in a way that allows them to ‘tell their story’ to investors concisely; linking related information; and in a fair, balanced and understandable way. Feedback on the draft guidance is to be provided by 15 November 2013.