New CQC Inspections to Focus on the Care of Children Living With Neglect

A new set of inspections will examine how local partner agencies – including local authorities, health and probation services and the police – are working together to protect children living with, or at risk of, neglect.  In particular, the inspections will focus on the experiences of children aged between 7 and 15 years old, who may be at higher risk of going missing or being exploited, or who exhibit challenging behaviours in adolescence.

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York Care Home Prosecuted by the CQC Ordered to Pay Over £150k

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) brought a prosecution against the owners of Lamel Beeches, a care home in York, following two offences of failing to provide safe care and treatment with one offence resulting in avoidable harm to a resident and a second offence resulting in people using this service being exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm.

This is the fifth prosecution that CQC has brought against providers since inheriting special enforcement powers from the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities in April 2015.

The registered provider, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, based in York, pleaded guilty to both offences.

Kevin Donnelly, prosecuting, told the court that In August 2015, 98-year-old Alfred Colley fractured his hip during a fall at the home but was discharged back to Lamel Beeches after treatment in hospital.

Less than four weeks later he fell out of bed and re-fractured his hip. He died in hospital.

The court was told that this fall was avoidable if Lamel Beeches had followed correct procedures around bed rail safety.

A safety consultant had previously identified that 14 beds needed bed rail extensions to prevent the occupants falling – but the provider had not authorised the work, until after Mr Colley’s accident. There were four other incidents where Mr Colley had become trapped in the bed rail, or attempted to climb over it, prior to breaking his hip.

When CQC inspectors visited the care home in November 2015, they found concerns around the use of bedrails used by all 10 people they checked on, suggesting that insufficient action had been taken to deal with risks or to keep people safe.

The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust was fined £100,000 for failing to provide safe care and treatment to Mr Colley and £50,000 for failing to provide safe care and treatment which exposed people to a significant risk of avoidable harm. They were also ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £13,000.15 and a £170.00 victim surcharge.

In a victim impact statement, Michael Colley, Alfred’s son said:  “Although my father was very old and increasingly frail, I was still able to take him out for brief trips, and he maintained his former interests in golf, rugby and cricket as a spectator. He engaged enthusiastically with family matters, taking particular delight when new great-grandchildren visited.”

“Any bereavement is distressing, but these circumstances have made my father’s death particularly so. At the age of 98, death is not an improbable event. However, my father underwent unnecessary pain and distress. He deserved a better death.”

In a statement, the CQC said: “If we find that a care provider has put people in its care at risk of harm, we will always consider using [our] powers to the full to prosecute those who are responsible.”

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Number of University Students Using Tech to Cheat in Exams is on the Rise

The Guardian has published research into the number of university student’s cheating in exams by using tech such as mobile phones, watches and hidden earpieces.

They found a rise in the number of students caught cheating of over 40% since 2012.

The number of cheats is highest in economics and maths subjects, and many experts have suggested that writing exam questions in a manner that requires students to demonstrate understanding rather than simply regurgitate facts, would be one way to combat the cheats.

The Worst Offenders:

  • 54 students at Queen Mary University of London were caught cheating, two-thirds with the help of technology.
  • 19 students at the University of Surrey were caught in 2016, 12 of them with devices.
  • Newcastle University reported 91 cases of cheating – 43% of which involved technology.

Thomas Lancaster, an associate dean at Staffordshire University and one of the UK’s leading experts on cheating, said: “These figures are only going to show what’s been detected and students who cheat well won’t always get caught, especially now there’s so much mini-tech out there which is hard to spot.”The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education said: “Clearly there’s potential for wearable tech to allow dishonest students to cheat. We are looking into this and will raise this with the group of experts that is helping to steer our contract cheating work.”

To read the whole of the Guardian’s article click here.

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Free University Course For Budding Screen Writers

The University of East Anglia is recruiting students for its free Introduction to Screenwriting course, starting on the 8th May 2017.

Screenplays form the starting point for most dramatic films, the essential work from which all other filmmaking flows. All of the tender romance, terrifying action and memorable lines begin at the screenwriter’s desk.

The course is a must for anyone new to scriptwriting and for more experienced writers who wish to raise their scriptwriting to a professional level.  It will establish a common vocabulary for approaching the screenplay and form the basis for upcoming courses in dramatic adaptation, the crime screenplay, and other genres and skills.

You’ll learn from a mixture of basic theory, script analysis and practical exercises. You will explore key principles as they’re expressed in great films, then immediately apply these concepts. Videos, articles and discussion steps will offer you the opportunity to learn and engage with other learners on key concepts and ideas.  By the end of the course, you will understand the key concepts necessary to write an effective screenplay and be fluent in the language used to discuss the form.

The course takes 2 weeks and includes 3 hours of tuition per week.

Find out more at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/screenwriting.

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Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction Short List Announced

The shortlist for the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction has been announced for 2017 and seven books are fighting for the £25,000 prize!

ABOUT THE SHORTLISTED BOOKS

Jo Baker A Country Road, A Tree – The Judges said: ‘We loved the quiet, lyrical, beauty of this novel and its skillful recreation of Samuel Beckett’s years in France throughout the Second World War. It’s illuminating about Beckett’s individual heroism and humanity. The descriptions of France under occupation are always surprising and moving as he (and Baker) chart the horror, despair, starvation and uncertainty of those years with a writer’s eye. Central to the narrative is Beckett’s love for Suzanne, the young French woman he eventually married. The strain of five years of war, their escape from Paris, their long walk to Roussillon and their repeated separations takes a heavy toll on their relationship. But through all of this their quiet love survives.’ Sebastian Barry Days Without End The Judges said: ‘Intimate, lyrical, courteous, Barry offers the authentic voice of Thomas McNulty, a nineteenth century Irish-American possessed of a

Sebastian Barry Days Without End – The Judges said: ‘Intimate, lyrical, courteous, Barry offers the authentic voice of Thomas McNulty, a nineteenth century Irish-American possessed of a nineteenth century respect for both language and reader. In this tale of Indian War and American Civil War carnage, the voice is also, miraculously, the voice of love. The voice alone secures Days Without End a place on the shortlist for the Walter Scott Prize. And the story of course. Neither comfortable nor pretty, it pulses with courage, loyalty and, amid the horrors, grace. This is a living novel. From its pages, Thomas shakes the reader’s hand and the hand of every ragged soldier on our ragged streets.’

Charlotte Hobson The Vanishing Futurist – The Judges said: ‘Charlotte Hobson’s The Vanishing Futurist fulfils the ultimate requirement of a historical novel: it inhabits a moment in history and in doing so illuminates recurring truths about the past, present and future. The moment in history is the Russian revolution and the avant-garde theories of community, art and science which it spawned. But the charismatic founder of a commune, and the evangelical zeal of its members, are recurring phenomena throughout history, from early Christian times to our own day. The narrator’s voice, disciplined yet passionate, is a perfect vehicle for this fascinating novel, with its fast moving plot and characters who are so real that I found myself leafing through the book in the hope of finding their photographs.’

Hannah Kent The Good People – The Judges said: ‘This is a marvellously physical evocation of rural Ireland, which is deeply personal without ever being mawkish. With a cracking good narrative, Hannah Kent has conjured up an entire world that most of us would never see or know about, and has created three entirely different female characters who resonate long beyond the novel. The hold of the church and of superstition over the people is both totally believable and plausible.’ Francis Spufford Golden Hill The Judges said: ‘Pre-revolutionary New York, and a stranger arrives in town, where he finds a ferment of social jostling, politics and money that invites adventure. A great, unruly city is being born. Francis Spufford creates a world that is hypnotic and believable, brought to life in sparkling prose and pitch-perfect dialogue, and tells a gripping story that’s full of tension and surprise, with characters who live on after the book is closed. His non-fiction writing has been much-admired. This first novel is an astonishing achievement because his novelist’s voice is already enticing, rich and mature. An eighteenth-century treat.’

Graham Swift Mothering Sunday – The Judges said: ‘It is March 30, 1924. Mothering Sunday. The day that servants were allowed to return to their families. Jane Fairchild is a housemaid and orphan with no prospect of a visit home but she has a rendezvous, nevertheless. It is that encounter and its consequences that are described in this short novel by Graham Swift. Jane’s life will never be the same as she begins a journey from servitude to independence. It is a perfect and life-affirming novel.’ Rose Tremain The Gustav Sonata The Judges said: ‘Set at first in Switzerland as the Second World War swirls around its borders, this novel is simply magnificent, by turns cold and bleak, life-affirming and always very beautifully written. The images in The Gustav Sonata filled my eye, its story captured my heart and it made me marvel at Rose Tremain’s remarkable skills.’

Graham Swift Mothering Sunday – The Judges said: ‘It is March 30, 1924. Mothering Sunday. The day that servants were allowed to return to their families. Jane Fairchild is a housemaid and orphan with no prospect of a visit home but she has a rendezvous, nevertheless. It is that encounter and its consequences that are described in this short novel by Graham Swift. Jane’s life will never be the same as she begins a journey from servitude to independence. It is a perfect and life-affirming novel.’ Rose Tremain The Gustav Sonata The Judges said: ‘Set at first in Switzerland as the Second World War swirls around its borders, this novel is simply magnificent, by turns cold and bleak, life-affirming and always very beautifully written. The images in The Gustav Sonata filled my eye, its story captured my heart and it made me marvel at Rose Tremain’s remarkable skills.’

Rose Tremain The Gustav Sonata – The Judges said: ‘Set at first in Switzerland as the Second World War swirls around its borders, this novel is simply magnificent, by turns cold and bleak, life-affirming and always very beautifully written. The images in The Gustav Sonata filled my eye, its story captured my heart and it made me marvel at Rose Tremain’s remarkable skills.’

The Judges commented: “We have a longer shortlist than usual due to the variety of the longlist, and the fresh perspectives and lively debate generated by the introduction of three new judges to the panel. Our shortlist was achieved by the judges’ instinctive reaction to each book. The seven shortlisted novels, a mix of old hands and new voices, offer readers joy in the discovery of unusual subjects and times; appreciation of historical research and insight worn lightly and applied skilfully; and, perhaps most important of all, that visceral connection to the characters which is the prerequisite of every novel, whether historical or not. These seven wonderful books encapsulate moments in history in truly unforgettable ways, making the 2017 Walter Scott prize shortlist one to savour.”

The winner will be announced at the Borders Book Festival on Saturday 17th June.

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SMEs Encourage to Apply for Healthcare Sector Business Funding

SMEs in the healthcare sector are invited to apply for a share of up to £12 million to develop innovative ideas that will help to detect, manage and treat disease.

The Biomedical Catalyst project, managed by Innovate UK, has up to £12 million to support innovative healthcare technologies and processes that could help to prevent disease or better manage and treat chronic health conditions.

Funding for the project comes from Innovate UK, the Medical Research Council and Scottish Enterprise.

Innovate UK is looking for projects across a range of fields including:

  • stratified healthcare (both therapy and diagnostic components)
  • advanced therapies (cell and gene therapy)
  • diagnostics
  • digital health
  • enabling medical technologies and devices

Funding is available for late-stage awards and could be for projects including:

  • initial human proof-of-concept studies
  • demonstration of clinical utility and effectiveness
  • demonstration of safety and efficacy (including phase I and II clinical trials)
  • developing production mechanisms
  • prototyping
  • market testing
  • intellectual property protection

Competition information

  • The competition opens on 30 March 2017, and the deadline for registration is midday on 31 May 2017.
  • Projects must be led by an SME either working alone or with others.
  • Projects should between £250,000 and £4 million in size and last between 12 and 36 months.
  • Businesses could attract up to 70% of their project costs.
  • A briefing event for potential applicants takes place on 4 April 2017

Find out more at Innovate UK – click here.

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Ebooks Are Proving a Turn Off for Younger Generations

Nielsen’s latest research into the UK’s book buying habits reveals a healthy and growing publishing sector in the UK, with overall sales growing by two percent year on year.

When you break the market down the picture is less positive for Ebooks, which have seen their second consecutive year on year fall in sales – down four percent in 2016.  On the flip side physical book sales grew fast enough to cover the decline in Ebooks and boost overall book sales by two percent.

The data also reveals good news for bricks-and-mortar bookshops, with a 4% rise in purchases across the UK.

While Nielsen found that 50% of all fiction sales were in ebook format, only 4% of children’s fiction was digital.  Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book Research UK, said “We are seeing that books are a respite, particularly for young people who are so busy digitally”.

While adult colouring books were popular in 2015, last year saw books about healthy cooking and the latest Harry Potter sell well – which Bohme noted are “books that tend to translate better in the print form”.

These findings seem to echo those of the Publishers Association, who reported that in 2015 digital content sales fell from £563m to £554m, whilst paper books increased from £2.74bn to £2.76bn.

Whilst Ebook sales have fallen year on year, the market remains solid, representing 25% of overall book sales, and average prices have risen to £7, signs that the market is settling in and maturing.

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Listening and Responding to Patient Feedback Key to Achieving Outstanding CQC Rating

The Care Quality Commission has found the quality of care provided by Shinwell Medical Centre, Peterlee to be Outstanding following an inspection carried out in January 2017.

Inspectors rated the practice as Outstanding for responsiveness and well-led, and Good for safe, effective and caring, giving them their overall Outstanding rating.

Inspectors were particularly impressed by levels of staff motivation and patient engagement:

  • The practice is at the heart of the community it serves, supporting the community as a whole, rather than simply dispensing medical advice and support.
  • Feedback from patients demonstrated a culture of listening to feedback, learning from feedback and adapting services as a result of feedback.
  • Staff are supported to go the extra mile for patients and look for opportunities to improve services.
  • Public health prevention and promotion as part of the NHS agenda is a priority for the practice.
  • The practice visits local primary schools to familiarise the children with medical equipment and talk about health promotion.
  • The practice works closely with other organisations and with the local community in planning how services are provided to ensure that they met patients’ needs.

CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice in the North, Alison Holbourn says:

“Shinwell Medical Centre is an impressive service that consistently responded to local difficulties faced by patients with real commitment to their wellbeing.”

“In response to local authority plans to close a community centre in the area, they set up a charitable trust to save it. They also successfully took on the contract for another local GP practice that was closing, providing care for an additional 800 patients.”

“The feedback we received from people using their services was extremely positive. The practice also listened to the feedback people gave and used it to improve their services.”

“The practice is extremely well-led, with management always pushing for continuous improvement. We saw staff that were highly motivated, going above and beyond what their jobs required to provide outstanding care.”

 

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Significant Increase in the Number of Degree Apprenticeships Forecast

A report from Universities UK is predicting a significant increase in the number of people opting for degree apprenticeships in England.

Degree apprenticeships – first introduced in 2015 – enable apprentices to split their time between university study and the workplace and, as with other apprenticeships, the cost of course fees are shared between government and employers.

A range of employers – of varying sizes – are already working with universities to offer degree apprenticeships, including Mercedes-Benz, Nestlé, IBM, Airbus and Transport for London.

The report is based on a survey of 66 universities on degree apprenticeship provision in England. It also includes feedback from employers about why they find degree apprenticeships beneficial.

Key findings from the report include:

  • There will be a 658% increase in degree apprentice entrants – from 640 in 2015-16 to 4,850 in 2017-18
  • 91% of universities surveyed are actively involved with degree apprenticeships
  • Chartered management, digital and technology solutions, and engineering represent the top three areas of study
  • Degree apprenticeships provide opportunities for people who might not have considered university – including part-time and mature students whose numbers have dropped drastically in recent years.

The survey also asked universities to list the benefits and challenges of delivering degree apprenticeships. Benefits included the fact that students’ fees are paid for and employers’ skills needs are more closely met. There were concerns about the continuing lack of awareness among some employers and the public about degree apprenticeships.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said: “Universities are constantly striving to be flexible in the kind of qualifications they offer to meet the needs of students and employers. Degree apprenticeships go a long way to addressing this.

Many people feel they have been left behind in the drive to increase higher level skills in recent years. Degree apprenticeships are an excellent way to get to these harder-to-reach groups while, at the same time, ensuring that what we deliver on campus meets the needs of students, the local area and its employers.

The report shows that there is a still long way to go in communicating to students and employers how degree apprenticeships work and the mutual benefits. We would urge the government to work with us to do more here as part of its industrial strategy.

The artificial dividing line between academic and vocational education is gradually disappearing. Degree apprenticeships build on the work that universities already do to deliver skills that employers need.”

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CQC’s 2017 Regulatory Fees Confirmed

The Care Quality Commission has published its fees for 2017/18.

The amounts that providers will pay for their regulation will depend on the type of health or social care they offer. Examples of the changes providers can expect to see in 2017/18 include:

  • £163 increase for a care home with 26-30 residents to £4,375 a year.
  • £823 increase for a single-location community social care provider (such as a home-care agency) to £2,192 a year.
  • £65,375 increase for a NHS trust with an income of £125 million to £225 million to £202,239 a year.
  • £1,952 increase for a single-location GP practice with 5,001-10,000 patients to £4,526 a year.
  • £113 decrease for a single-location dental practice with four chairs to £837 a year.

These sizeable increases reflect the fact that the CQC has been told it must move away from a subsidised model of funding, where the Department of Health covered a sizeable part of the cost, to a ‘Full Chargeable Cost Recovery’ (FCCR) model for all health and adult social care providers that it regulates.

The CQC is keen to point out that it continues to make savings within its own organisation in order to minimise the rate of increase in fees.  In 2015/16, their budget was £249 million. The budget for 2019/20 will be £217 million, a reduction of £32 million. During 2016/17, CQC has made over £10 million in efficiency savings.

In total CQC fees for 2017/18 represent 0.16% of overall indicative turnover of the health and social care market.

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