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Policy update, October 2016

This is your monthly round-up of recent national health policy developments for 9 September to 14 October.

Due to an error, last month’s edition was missed but can now be found here.

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

  • NHS England has announced plans to invest in three new Mother and Baby Units in East Anglia, the North West and the South West, as part of its plan of transformation for perinatal mental health services. Provider organisations have been invited to express an interest in delivering these services.
  • The Department of Health (DH) is setting up a Burden Reduction Challenge Panel in partnership with NHS Providers, NHS confederation and Care England. The panel will look at evidence of both burdens and benefits of current NHS and social care regulatory activity and will then challenge their use and necessity. Panel members will include senior figures from the Department of Health, its arm’s length bodies, and membership organisations.
  • DH has announced plans to fund up to 1,500 additional student places through medical school each year from 2018. The Government will be consulting on how the proposals could be implemented, which could include ways of ensuring graduates provide a return on taxpayer investment through a minimum period of NHS service.


  • The Health Select Committee is inviting submissions on their inquiry into Brexit and Health and Social Care. The Committee is looking for views on the most important issues in the withdrawal negotiations and what outcomes should be sought from them.
  • The Welsh Health, Social Care and Sport Committee are looking for views on their inquiry into medical recruitment, including the capacity of the medical workforce to meet future population needs and factors that influence the recruitment and retention of doctors.


  • NICE has published a new quality standard setting out they key areas where advice to women on contraception needs to improve. The new standard includes guidance that women requesting emergency contraception should be told that an IUD is more effective than the pill, and that they should be informed about long-acting reversible methods such as the coil when asking for contraception.
  • Public Health England (PHE) has updated their National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Disease Registration Service (NCARDRS) antenatal, deliveryand postnatal data collection forms. These have replaced regional data collection forms and also include new forms on Zika.


  • NHS Digital has published the latest Maternity Services Monthly Statistics for May 2016. The statistics are a patient-level data set that captures key information at each stage of the maternity services care pathway.
  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the annual data set of births by mothers’ usual area of residents in the UK for 2015.

Detailed guides

  • The Miscarriage Association has produced new online resources on the ‘soft skills’ of care for health professionals caring for women and couples with pregnancy loss. They have been directly informed by women and their partners. The resources include six videos, accompanying good practice guides and links for further learning.
  • PHE has developed resources to support the training of health care professionals involved in vaccination against pertussis (whooping cough) in pregnancy.  These resources are designed to support the training of health care professionals involved in the programme to vaccinate pregnant women against pertussis and to help them provide pregnant women with evidence based information about vaccination against pertussis.
  • Health Education England (HEE) have produced an e-learning programme on FGM, which aims to improve the knowledge and awareness amongst healthcare professionals of some of the issues that FGM has on women and children. The programme is made up of five 20 – 30 minute sessions and is free to all healthcare professionals. View DH’s full collection of FGM resources and guidance.