Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lack of political leadership on child protection

Ed Balls continues to say he knows better than the Court of Appeal in the case of Sharon Shoesmith (see BBC report). I'm not sure if the bad taste in my mouth about this is worse than his about her payout. Thank goodness Tim Loughton got sacked as Children's minister before his outburst on the Today programme this morning about the same payout (again, see BBC report).

Loughton seems to be just point scoring against Balls, saying that Balls made a botched job of sacking Shoesmith. However, it's fairly clear that the Court was saying more than that Balls merely made a procedural mistake (see previous post).

What we need is for politicians to give a clear lead about the way forward for child protection. At least the chief inspector for Ofsted has said that good child care directors shouldn't be made scapegoats (see Times article). Michael Gove has been reported to be "furious" about the agreement with Haringay council, but this may just be about the confidentiality agreement.

We do need an open discussion about this issue, and the resignation or sacking of Ed Balls should be pursued by Ed Miliband (see another previous post). This would also allow Labour to rebuild its economic credibility and clear out the past poisonous role Balls had in Gordon Brown's inner circle.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Better value for health care

In July this year, NHS England issued a call to action to debate the issues about the future of the NHS. Monitor's paper about closing the NHS funding gap is in part a response to this debate.

Monitor correctly highlights that staff will have to work "differently and smarter". However, in general its response seems to me to be much of the same eg. reducing waste and a belief that community care is cheaper than hospital care.

There is some emphasis on self-management of long term conditions, but not enough in general about the potential financial savings of more patient-centred care. There is no mention of reducing over diagnosis and over treatment (see previous post). Monitor is going to have to get a bit more imaginative if it is going to sustain flat funding for the NHS.