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A month in primary care...News Roundup

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RCM strike support 'disappointing'

Dan Poulter MP has described RCM members signalling their support for industrial action as 'disappointing'.

Poulter, the parliamentary undersecretary of state for health services, said: 'It is clearly disappointing. I work with midwives and I know what a tough job it is but the government is in a position where we have a choice to make: do we give everybody an increase in their take home pay, which everyone will receive in the pay deal on offer, either through incremental pay worth on average 3.4 per cent a year or do we offer people both their increment and one per cent on top of that and perhaps not be able to employ as many frontline staff. The government thinks that the priority in the wake of the Mid Staffs crisis is having enough frontline staff on the ground to deliver good care.'

The findings of a consultation on industrial action by the RCM showed that over 94 per cent of the midwives who responded were prepared to strike. Nearly half of the RCM's members responded to the consultation. The results will be taken to the RCM board in the near future, and there will be a discussion over whether to conduct a formal ballot on industrial action.

Cathy Warwick, RCM chief executive, said: 'Any action we might take will not affect the safety of women and their babies. There is a solution to this and that is for the Government to return to the negotiating table with the RCM. This is the first time in the history of the RCM that midwives and maternity support workers have come to the conclusion that industrial action is their last resort.'


RCGP holds inquiry into patient care

A new inquiry into patient care is open to contributions from nurses.

Mike Farrar, the former NHS Confederation chief executive and former head of primary care at the DH, will chair the inquiry, titled Inquiry into patient-centred care in the twenty-first century.

It will examine ways the NHS can provide effective care for patients with multiple long-term conditions during a period of austerity, and how to meet the needs of the growing number of patients with multiple long-term conditions. Nurses, GPs and allied health professionals will be consulted at three seminars throughout July and August, with the results of the inquiry expected to be published in September.

Hilary Garrett, director of nursing at NHS England, will be a panel member.


Travel scholarships deadlines approach

Applications for 2014-15 Florence Nightingale travel scholarships will close on 30 July.

The scholarships provide up to £5000 to study an aspect of practice in another area of the UK or overseas. Any nurse or midwife registered with the NMC and is a resident in the UK is eligible to apply.

While places are open to nurses in any area of practice, the 2014-15 scholarships are particularly interested in nurses and midwives looking to study long-term conditions, end-of-life care, improvements to patient/user care and ways to enhance clinical leadership.

The scholarships are awarded for projects connected with the applicant's field of work that will benefit patients and healthcare professionals. Travel scholarships are also available from the RCN Foundation, Bupa and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

For more information, visit:


Welsh nurses will not receive pay rise

Nurses in Wales will not receive the one per cent pay rise, the Welsh health minister announced.

However, they will all be paid the living wage of £7.65 an hour from September. This means that about 2400 of the lowest paid employees in Wales will receive an increase in their basic salary of up to £470 in some cases.

All nursing staff on Agenda for Change will receive a one-off payment of £160 while those not yet at the at the top of their pay bands will get an incremental pay rise when it is due.

Echoing Westminster, Mark Drakeford, the Welsh health minister, said: 'I have been clear that my priority is to maintain jobs in NHS Wales but with pay accounting for more than 60 per cent of the NHS budget, in an age of austerity we have no choice but to consider some form of pay restraint to maintain those jobs and services.'

These changes will come into force from September this year.

The Scottish government is the only administration so far to have accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to award all staff a one per cent increase.


Nurses need educating about FGM

A case for a national action plan to encourage health professionals to be more vigilant against FGM has been published by the Home Affairs Committee.

The report outlined that the number of referrals made by a healthcare professional was extremely low and that lack of training was one of the reasons for this.

Midwives, health visitors, practice nurses and school nurses were among the professionals identified as requiring education and CPD in recognising girls who may be at risk of FGM and how to deal with it. The report recommended that the DH should improve the accessibility of guidelines rather than publishing them online. The DH should also provide funding for the development of e-learning materials for practitioners, the report said.

Unite has said that there are not enough health visitors and school nurses with the right training to identify the young girls at risk of FGM. It has been estimated that there are 65,000 girls under the age of 13 at risk.

For the full report visit:

Mothers' health

Perinatal mental health neglected

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) has launched a campaign to address the lack of perinatal mental health provision in the UK.

The MMHA would like training in perinatal mental health for all professionals involved in the care of women during pregnancy and during the first year of birth.

Dame Sue Bailey, chair of the Children and Young People's mental health coalition, said: 'The mental health of mothers is vital to their and their children's and family's lives. Perinatal mental health constitutes a major public mental health issue and investment in the prevention of mental health problems will be of huge benefit to us all.'

It has been estimated that more than one in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within their child's first year of life.

NICE released updated guidance on perinatal mental health on July 16, which can be found at

Public health

PHE week of action success on social media

PHE's week of action had a strong engagement on social media. The aim of the week was to showcase the role of nurses and their role in combating public health challenges.

Members of PHE published over 20 blogs and organised eight web chats between June 23 and 27. PHE director of nursing Viv Bennett produced a podcast that outlined plans for the future of public health nursing and midwifery.

The event had a large following on Twitter, with the hashtag #PHPWeek mentioned in 3459 tweets sent by 1083 participants. These tweets were seen by nearly 1.5 million individuals.

In addition, the @WeNurses Twitter chat on 26 June generated 1107 tweets and had 129 participants. This used the #WeNurses hashtag. PHE representatives also made 14 visits to frontline services during the week and posted their experiences on Twitter and the blogs.

For more information, visit:


RCGP follows QNI in championing carers

The QNI has welcomed an initiative by the RCGP in which 11 GPs have been appointed as 'carer champions'.

The GPs, who will serve as the ambassadors of carers, will cooperate with local CCGs and allied health professionals to raise awareness about the challenges faced by carers. The aim of the programme is to support carers and ensure that they are well served by local services.

The QNI already has a similar programme to develop a network of community nurses to support carers.

Jennie Whitford, the QNI's carers project manager, said: 'The QNI has been an active participant in the carers 'Workstream Overview' that has looked at the support for carers offered by the RCGP and independent sector organisations, to highlight any gaps and to avoid any duplication of work. The QNI welcomes the RCGP initiative, as it reinforces the work it is doing as part of its own Carers Project, which is now into its second phase.'

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