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Policy update, November 2016

This is your monthly round-up of recent national health policy developments for 14 October to 11 November.

If you have any comments or if there is anything else you would like to see in the round-up please contact us at

News and announcements

  • The Department of Health (DH) has launched the Safer Maternity Care action planas part of the national ambition to halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or shortly after birth by 2030. The launch was supported by a national package of measures and funding including:
    • A Maternity Safety Training Fund, which distributed through Health Education England (HEE) will support every NHS Trust in England to use multi-disciplinary training to improve their maternity safety.
    • A Maternity Safety Innovation Fund, for innovative projects that offer creative and cost effective solutions to make improvements in maternity safety that have the potential to be rolled out more widely to benefit other maternity units.
    • New maternity ratings for clinical commissioning groups across England, highlighting where areas are performing well but also helping to identify where improvements can be made. The data will help CCGs self-assess more effectively and target areas which need improvement. NHS England will be offering a comprehensive support package to enable that improvement to happen.
    • A new public health campaign, Our Chance, in partnership with Sands and Best Beginnings. The campaign aims to raise awareness of key issues that can lead to stillbirth, such as reduced foetal movement, itching and smoking, and highlight lifestyle changes women can take to improve their likelihood of having better pregnancy outcomes.
  • NHS England has announced details of proposed new action to cut obesity and reduce the sales of and consumption of sugary drinks sold in hospitals, with suggestions for a new fee to be paid by vendors or an outright ban. They have launched a consultation to seek views from the public.
  • As part of the Maternity Transformation Programme, NHS England has revealed the seven sites that will act as Early Adopters to bring forward the recommendations from the National Maternity Review, Better Births. The early adopter sites are, Birmingham and Solihull STP, Cheshire and Merseyside STP, Dorset STP, North Central London STP, North West London STP, Somerset STP and Surrey Heartlands STP.

Consultations and opportunities

  • As part of DH’s Safer Maternity Care action plan, they have launched an open consultation on proving a ‘safe space’ in healthcare safety investigations. The proposal the Government is consulting on will legally ensure that information that staff provide as part of a health service investigation will be kept confidential except where there is an immediate risk to patient safety, or where the High Court makes an order permitting disclosure. The consultation closes on 16 December.
  • The BMA’s Doctors as volunteers poster competition has opened for applications. The competition is a chance to showcase the altruistic work that doctors are doing across the country and around the globe – volunteering their time to contribute to improving the wellbeing and health of populations.


  • The National Audit Office (NAO) has produced a report into recovering the cost of NHS treatment for overseas patients. The NAO found that the amount recovered has increased but NHS hospital trusts remain some way from complying in full with the requirement to recover the cost of treating overseas visitors.
  • DH has published the Accelerated Access Review report. Commissioned by the Government and led by an independent chair, the review aims to make the UK a world leader in healthcare innovation. The review recommends the creation of a new accelerated access partnership to speed up and simplify the process for getting the most promising new treatments and diagnostics safely from pre-clinical development to patients.