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Report cover showing syringes

Procurement of Vaccines by the Department of Health

“On the basis of investigation into the first procurement of smallpox vaccine by the Department of Health, we found no link between the personal donations to the Labour Party by the Chief Executive of PowderJect and the award to his company of the contract to supply the vaccine.

“However, even where national security dictates that the Department of Health cannot follow normal procurement procedures, the Department must still be as transparent as possible. There must be robust protocols for the special procurement procedures which are to be followed so that the Department can demonstrate that it has acted properly and fairly.

“Regarding shortages in the supply of vaccines, the public health consequences may be very serious indeed. The Department faces a challenge in ensuring vaccine supplies where the number of suppliers is diminishing and some suppliers enjoy a near monopoly, resulting sometimes in increased prices. The Department should define its long-term strategy for ensuring adequate vaccine supplies as a complement to its short-term handling arrangements to deal with vaccine shortages.”

Published:
9 Apr 2003
Report cover image showing leaflets promoting health and safety and an incident report form

A Safer Place to Work: Improving the management of health and safety risks to staff in NHS trusts

More needs to be done to reduce the number of staff accidents in NHS trusts. Good progress has been made through the initiatives such as the Back in Work campaign but too many trusts are still not implementing good practice and there are wide variations in terms of access to counselling and other support to get staff back to work more quickly. At a time when it is crucial to recruit and retain staff, the NHS must show that the health and safety of its staff is a top priority.”

Published:
30 Apr 2003
Report cover showing walking sticks

Hip Replacements: an Update

“Since my last report on hip replacements three years ago, the NHS has improved its procedures thereby providing better quality of care for patients. There is still further progress to be made, however, including the spreading of good practice, to ensure that the service provided by the NHS is as good as possible.

“Hip replacement is one of the most common and effective major surgical procedures. But there are some question marks over how hospitals are managing the process, not least to ensure that the replacement hip used has a satisfactory track record. Strong leadership within hospitals is the key to ensuring that these risks are managed effectively for the benefit of patients.”

Published:
17 Jul 2003
Report cover showing patient care

Achieving Improvements through Clinical Governance: A Progress Report on Implementation by NHS Trusts

“Trusts have made good progress in the early stages of implementing the clinical governance programme. It is important, however, that they maintain the momentum that has been built up and overcome barriers in order to ensure that the National Health Service derives the intended benefits and, crucially, that patients see a clear improvement in their treatment and the quality of their healthcare.”

Published:
17 Sep 2003
Report cover showing a doctor at work

Progress in improving the medical assessment of incapacity and disability benefits

“I am pleased that the measures taken since my last report have resulted in significant improvements, especially as this means a better service for customers, who include some of the most vulnerable members of society. It is crucial that assessments are undertaken fairly and efficiently, while ensuring that benefits are paid only to those genuinely entitled to them. I look to the Department to do more to improve the quality of evidence on which decisions are based and to tackle the problem of people failing to attend examinations.”

Published:
17 Oct 2003
Report cover showing medical team

The Management of Suspensions of Clinical Staff in NHS Hospital and Ambulance Trusts in England

“Where patient safety is considered to be at risk or there are allegations of misconduct, it is vitally important for NHS trusts to be able to exclude clinical staff from work or restrict their activities so that the situation can be thoroughly and promptly investigated. At present, however, there is evidence of many cases of exclusion being allowed to drift on without resolution or proper management. This represents a serious waste of resources for the NHS and can harm the career and even personal well-being of the accused clinicians themselves.

“The Department of Health should now take further steps to achieve a system for managing the exclusion of clinical staff in which both staff and patients can have confidence.”

Published:
6 Nov 2003
Cover of Tackling cancer report

Tackling cancer in England: saving more lives

“The chances of surviving cancer are improving all the time. Under the determined leadership of the National Cancer Director, Professor Mike Richards, the Department and NHS have achieved a great deal in a short time. Saving an even larger number of lives requires more of us to know and act promptly on the possible symptoms of cancer.

“But the Department and NHS need to act to further reduce inequalities, geographical and between the affluent and deprived, and go on improving cancer prevention, screening, referral, diagnosis and treatment services. These are essential steps in meeting the Department’s goal to make England’s cancer services among the very best in Europe by the end of this decade.”

Published:
19 Mar 2004
Cover of Drug Treatment and Testing order

The Drug Treatment and Testing Order: early lessons

“Probation areas made rapid progress in establishing the Drug Treatment and Testing Order, meeting the target for commencements by April 2003. The Order can help some offenders turn their lives around and reduce their use of drugs. However, the high drop out rate and evidence from pilots of the Order of a high rate of reconviction need to be addressed.

“The Home Office should now shift its emphasis from achieving commencements towards improving the effectiveness of the Order in delivering positive outcomes. More needs to be done to build and sustain the motivation of those on the Order to address their problems and to recognise that the chaotic lives of many such users mean support and treatment may be needed beyond the period of the sentence.”

Published:
26 Mar 2004
Report cover image

NHS (England) Summarised Accounts 2002-2003

“Although, overall, the NHS successfully met its financial targets in 2002-2003, I am concerned by the variation in financial performance and the large deficits incurred by some NHS bodies. Such deficits may put at risk the achievement of overall financial balance of the National Health Service if they are not matched by surpluses elsewhere in the NHS.

“The Department of Health has delegated detailed monitoring of NHS Trusts and Primary Care Trusts to Strategic Health Authorities. They must ensure that deficits of the scale of the £44.6 million incurred by North Bristol NHS Trust do not happen again”.

Published:
28 Apr 2004
Cover of report showing prison officer with keys

The Management of Sickness Absence in the Prison Service

“The Prison Service has made good progress in tightening up its procedures for recording sickness absence and now has a better grip on the performance of establishments. The average sickness rate remains high, however. Any reduction in working days lost would free resources which could be used, for instance, to improve regimes for reducing re-offending rates or to deal with the increased number of prisoners being held in custody.

“Further reductions in the average rate of sickness absence among Prison Service staff depend on governors working more closely with staff to improve morale and to overcome a culture of absenteeism prevalent in some prisons.”

Published:
19 May 2004