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Policy update, September 2016

This is your monthly round-up of recent national health policy developments for 12 August to 9 September.

If you have any comments or suggestions for the round-up, please contact us at policy@rcog.org.uk.

News and announcements

  • The Department of Health (DH) has announced new plans to fast track digital excellence and improve the digital skills of the NHS workforce. The plans include twelve trusts being chosen as global exemplars to pioneer best practice, a new academy dedicated to training NHS staff in digital skills, as well as digital services for patients to enable them to access healthcare records and get medical advice via their tablets or smartphones. 
  • The NHS has launched a new programme and published guidance to help local areas better provide specialist maternal mental health services to the level recommended in national guidelines.

Consultations

  • DH is looking for views on proposed changes to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) performance assessment regulations, which would mean developing ratings for other sectors including cosmetic surgery providers and termination of pregnancy services. The consultation closes on 14 October.

Publications

Statistics

  • NHS Digital has released the latest FGM Enhanced dataset from April 2016 to June 2016. The data set shows that between April and June 2016 there were 2029 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken.
  • NHS Digital has published the latest Maternity Services Monthly Statistics for April 2016. The statistics are a patient-level data set that captures key information at each stage of the maternity services care pathway.
  • NHS Digital has published Statistics on Women’s Smoking Status at time of delivery: England Quarter 1. April 2016 to June 2016 which shows results and trends from the women's smoking status at time of delivery (SATOD) data collection in England. The results provide a measure of the prevalence of smoking among pregnant women at Commissioning Region, Region and Clinical Commissioning Group level.

Detailed guides

  • Following public consultation and market research DH have updated the recently revised guidelines on alcohol consumption, to make them clearer and more useable. They include guidance on pregnancy and drinking. 
  • DH have published a series of videos to help healthcare professionals understand, safeguard and care for women and girls affected by FGM. The videos cover: personal experiences of FGM, women talking about what healthcare professionals can do to provide women and girls with the best possible care, NHS professionals discussing the mandatory reporting duty, and the mental health impacts of FGM and how to support patients who have been affected. 
  • PHE has produced an updated version of the Data submission template: antenatal and newborn screening.  This form provides a ready to use template as well as instructions for submission and key performance indicator definitions for NHS antenatal and newborn screening programmes.