Social care providers encouraged to unite to tackle health inequalities in learning disability


The health of people with learning disabilities is worse than that of the general population with common health problems including respiratory disease, heart disease and obesity.

People with learning disabilities die earlier than the general population. Many of the health inequalities experienced by people with a learning disability are preventable. Social care providers have a major role to play in helping people to access good healthcare and to support people to make decisions about their lifestyle.

VODG is committed to tackling health inequalities experienced by disabled people. With the support of NHS England and NHS Improvement VODG is organising a series of three national conferences for social care leaders who want to improve the health of people with learning disabilities. Social care providers are being encouraged to actively work alongside VODG and system partners to collectively make a difference to people’s lives.

Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group said:

“Reducing health inequalities is an urgent matter. These events offer social care providers the opportunity to work together to collectively improve practice and to support system wide efforts to tackle health inequalities.”

VODG recently published in partnership with the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Lancaster a good practice guide on food and drink provision when supporting people using care services. The report recognises that sustained change involves addressing organisational cultures and personal attitudes as well as embedding a focus on supporting people to eat high quality food.

The social media hashtag is #TakeAStandTackleHealthInequalities

Leading for better health is a conference for leaders who want to explore how to foster organisational cultures, systems

and practices that reduce health inequalities.

Date: Thursday 3 October 2019

Location: London

Click here to register for London.

NAO report – Exiting the EU: supplying the health and social care sectors

Exiting the EU supplying the health and social care sectors FINAL PN 25.09.19

UPDATED Free Flu Jab Information for Social Care Staff


The brand new flu vaccination campaign for health and social care workers launches for the coming 2019/20 flu season. “Time to get your flu jab” takes a new approach – created for use by all social care organisations by Public Health England and NHS England & NHS Improvement – the staff facing campaign focusses on the protective benefit of the flu vaccination using a “Shield” motif.

Campaign materials show social care, social worker and other community based care staff going about their work protected by the shield of flu vaccination and the message “Help protect yourself, your family and the people you support. Get your free flu jab”.

The campaign is available to all organisations to use and adapt to encourage the uptake of flu vaccinations by frontline health and social care staff – the resources available include:

All materials, including adaptable artwork and social media tools, are available on PHE’s Campaign Resource Centre for colleagues to download or print locally. We would encourage organisations to localise these resources to suit their own local requirements – however please do use the brand guidelines which can be found here.

We are also keen to extend our photo-library to include a wider range of health and social care roles so do let us know if you have images you own that you are willing and able to share with colleagues across the health and social care system.

*To Note: There are a range of digital resources available – those targeting social care staff use the phrase “” and not “patients”.



Below along with guidance is the important new PIR from CQC

CQC PIR 3.ASC Residential PIR Qs.01.08.19


CQC PIR 3.Guidance.Annual PIR.Aug19


CQC PIR 3.Qs.NEW Annual PIR.Aug19


FLU Vaccination Update

NEW materials promoting the flu vaccination for social care workers available to download FREE from end of August

A brand new flu vaccination campaign for health and social care workers is launching this year, delivered by Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

“Time to get your flu jab” will take a new approach to encouraging the uptake of flu vaccinations by social care staff – emphasising the protective benefit of the flu vaccination with a “Shield” motif and the message “Take care of others by taking care of yourself. If you work in the community, it’s time to get your annual flu jab”.

Campaign materials have been designed to show social care staff going about their work protected by the shield of flu vaccination – all materials, including adaptable artwork and social media tools, will be live on PHE’s Campaign Resource Centre for colleagues to download or print locally by the end of August. Further communication will be sent to you as and when these are made available.

The resources available include:

  • A4 posters featuring different social care professionals (alongside posters featuring healthcare workers in clinical settings for NHS Trusts, which are already available to download)
  • Leaflet
  • “I’ve had my flu jab” Sticker artwork
  • Social media tools including gifs and digital banners
  • Brand artwork
  • Communications toolkit (including long and short copy)
  • FAQ

We encourage all social care settings to adopt this campaign and brand when encouraging staff to get their flu vaccinations.

For any queries relating to this campaign, please contact

Accessing NHS Mail

Welcome to your Entry Level ‘Data Security and Protection Toolkit’ workbook!

This workbook outlines the 14 steps you must complete for the ‘Entry Level Assessment’ This has been created for
social care providers and it allows you to sign up to and benefit from NHSmail

Entry Level DSPT workbook

CQC PIR Changes

CQC are making improvements to the Provider Information Return (PIR) which includes some amendments to questions and a change to an annual collection. This month they will start to ask all providers to complete an updated PIR and then on an annual basis.

CQC have revised the PIR questions and process based on feedback and to allow them to expand how they use the information collected.  Requests for PIRs will be sent during the anniversary month of a provider’s first site visit and CQC have already started to write to providers to highlight this date.

The annual PIR will help CQC to identify areas to explore in more detail as part of our continuous monitoring of a service and ahead of a site visit.  They will continue to gather and review feedback to ensure continual development of the PIR and CQC keep you updated on this.

The amended questions can be seen here:

Residential Services

Community Services

Shared Lives Services

Specialist Colleges

The Advocacy Project Healing Words

poetry competition

We’d like to tell you about this year’s Healing Words poetry competition which celebrates creativity as a means of supporting mental health. This competition was a huge success last time it ran and we hope you will support the 2019 competition.

At The Advocacy Project, we believe a healthy society supports people’s mental wellbeing. In times where 1 in 4 of us experience mental health problems, it’s something that affects us deeply on both an individual and collective level. There’s now increasing evidence to show creativity is beneficial to our mental health – and we want to actively promote this.

“Engaging in creative activities such as doodling, music or writing
just once a day can lead to a more positive state of mind.”

Can you help us get people involved?
We want to reach as many people as possible, to help inspire those affected by mental health problems to use their creativity to improve their wellbeing. Please take a minute to share the details on social media: retweet on Twitter or LinkedIn (please use #HealingWords2019 in all posts).

More about the competition
I’ve included below an overview of the competition for you to share with colleagues, contacts and communities. You can also watch actress Joanna Scanlan’s video introducing the competition.

If you’ve got any questions, call Jo Kay on 020 8969 3000

Best wishes

Judith Davey
CEO, The Advocacy Project

Healing words… the journey to wellness and recovery
“Writing is a very cathartic experience. It’s a chance to express feelings I had always thought were indescribable” Sarah

We’re inviting you to enter a poetry competition, run by The Advocacy Project. If you’ve experienced a mental health problem, or you’re a family member or friend of someone who has, we welcome you to send us your poem.

Creativity can help people express themselves during the darkest days of mental illness and throughout recovery. We want to share this with as many people as possible to improve understanding of mental health.

Closing date: 8 Sep 2019, 5pm

Entry categories
-Darkest days: poems from before the dawn of hope
-Good days and bad days: poems from the road to recovery
-Being well: poems about more peaceful times
-Illustrated poems: poems with illustrations
-Spoken word: poems spoken by the writer

The poems will be judged by six people including Joanna Scanlan – actress and writer. All entrants will remain anonymous from the judges until the award ceremony.

More information and how to enter
Visit or call Jo Kay on 020 8969 3000


Involved & informed: good community medicines support

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE);

in collaboration with several other partner organisations, has launched a new initiative to encourage better medicines support for people who are receiving social care services in their homes.

The aim is to ensure the safe and effective use of medicines in the community, so people get the best possible outcomes with a reduced risk of medicine related harm.

To enable better multi-disciplinary working, the campaign encourages health commissioners and local authorities to have a written agreement that sets out clear responsibilities for home-based medicines support.

Understanding primary care networks

A report from the Health Foundation can be downloaded from

Key points
  • From 1 July 2019, all patients in England will be covered by a primary care network (PCN) – the most significant reform to general practice in England in a generation.
  • PCNs should help to integrate primary care with secondary and community services, and bridge a gap between general practice and emerging Integrated Care Systems.
  • Since January 2019, practices have been organising themselves into local networks to provide care at greater scale by sharing staff and some of their funding.
  • While PCNs offer huge potential to integrate care and improve services, there is a risk that the speed of implementation will undermine the best intentions of the policy.

This briefing places PCNs in the context of previous changes to general practice funding and contracting. It examines the rationale for networks, explores relevant evidence and draws out intended benefits and possible risks for the future of PCNs.


Additional prompts added to some

Statutory Notifications forms

Dear Provider

Re: Additional prompts added to some Statutory Notifications forms

I am writing to let you know that we are making some changes to the way we ask you to report some incidents to us with the aim of reducing the amount of follow up work we need to do with you. These are interim changes, which form part of a larger piece of work.

Registered providers must notify us of certain changes events and incidents that affect their service or the people who use it, notifications are submitted through our portal or via completing a downloadable form and sending it to us by email.

To make it easier for you to understand what we need to know when you notify us and to help us capture additional, more detailed information we are adding additional prompts to the word versions of the following notification forms in the additional information field:

We ask you to continue to notify us, but to also consider the issues identified by these prompts.  This change is intended to reduce the need for us to contact you to obtain more information by ensuring we have all relevant facts at the earliest opportunity.

We are currently working on a major project which is intended to improve statutory notifications forms and guidance in relation to:

  • Deaths;
  • Serious incidents;
  • Abuse; and
  • Police involvement.

We are making these interim changes to some of the existing notification changes whilst this larger project is underway.  This project aims to reduce the impact on you telling us about incidents that do not meet the threshold for a statutory notification,  and removes the need for us to ask for further information relating to an already submitted form.  Improved intelligence at an earlier stage will ensure we are assessing risks within provider services appropriately.

Ian Trenholm

Chief Executive

Care Quality Commission


This brief template has been developed to support care providers in preparing Contingency Plans for care services as the UK prepares to exit the EU. It is a working document and not intended to be exhaustive. Its key purpose is to help providers ensure continuity in delivering care and support through a record of actions that may be necessary to deal with any possible disruption. Quite simply a Contingency Plan involves preparing for a situation that may not happen but could have major impact if it did. Contingency planning is a crucial part of the routine Business Continuity Planning process.

It is not possible to produce a single guide to cover the full range of different care and support services in adult social care and so this template is intended to be used simply as a framework to developing individual service Contingency Plans. Government advice has been clear that the UK should prepare for all scenarios relating to EU exit – including the option of ‘no-deal’. Communications and information have been issued to businesses and the public, by various Government departments, in support of preparations for the UK exiting the EU. This information can be accessed at:

EU Exit Contingency Plan for Care Providers FINAL-2

Don’t forget changes to the NMW in April, details at the ACAS website

View April changes     

Solutions Social Care are running the event below on March 29th and those of you working in Learning Disability may be interested. Please contact the organisers directly with bookings and any queries.

Phone: 020 3603 0166