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collating data the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have also made guarantees that

at data submitted to the HSCIC by GPs will be anonymised automatically, with each item assigned a code. These datasets will only include a patients NHS number, date of birth, gender and postcode, and only made more

Courtyard boost arts for older people

Data the right direction for UK healthcare?


widely available in exceptional circumstances, such as public health emergencies. This is then made completely anonymous before being made available to third parties such as NHS health commissioners. It will only be accessible by researchers, universities and private health providers following formal requests and intense scrutiny. So is there really anything to fear? The American presidential elections saw both of Barack Obamas rom March, the way that campaigns rely heavily on the information is gathered and collection of data left by individuals utilised in healthcare in the UK will across the internet, which informed change. A new strategy on how data tailored phrases and the high lighting across the NHS will be collected, used of particular policies to potential voters and shared was announced in May on the doorstep. People are more than 2012, and leaflets explaining it are happy to pepper their online worlds currently dropping through the with information which is freely letterboxes of millions of homes across available to the public, and already the country. But what might appear to used for commercial gain, so it could be an innocuous piece of unassuming be argued that collating healthcare post is hugely important. This is a data is a natural progression, different policy that could revolutionise the way simply because this works towards an that healthcare is practiced in the UK. improvement of our healthcare. The collection of healthcare data in There are several existing examples the UK is nothing new. Information on of healthcare data being used hospital admissions for example, has effectively. For example, Parkland been gathered since the 1980s, and Hospital in Dallas, Texas in the United utilising patient data more widely has States collects patient data together been planned for since the early Labour and uses complex algorithms to governments NHS National identify high-risk patients. This Programme for IT, which never became innovation has seen readmissions a reality. Seen this way, care.data the reduced by 31 per cent, and estimated new systems name is simply a savings of $500,000. continuation of what has gone before. The possibilities of this could be With additional patient data from GP endless, with supporters insisting it will practices and other care settings such lead to improved targeting of as community health services, a healthcare spending, earlier detection complete picture of the effectiveness of diseases, mapping the spread of and efficiency of healthcare in the UK new illnesses, answering as a whole will be available, and could epidemiological questions from generate considerable savings at a time academia, or if permitted the when the NHS is under financial and development more effective drugs. capacity pressures. Most importantly, The concerns surrounding the it could ultimately lead to improved protection of data and privacy cannot quality of healthcare for patients. be ignored, and may need to be But these changes are not without addressed further. But perhaps this is a their detractors. Civil liberty development as a benefit of the campaigners are uneasy, as patients are advanced world in which we live that being automatically opted-into the should be embraced. Members of the system, and argue that opting-out is public will have to carefully consider difficult. Others are also concerned what that blue leaflet through their that identifiable patient data could be door is asking. Enthusiasts will claim it used for commercial purposes. could save their life. However, supporters have countered these, noting that were the Antonio Dorileo system to be opt-in, it would be Account Executive, PLMR doomed at inception. The government, 020 7622 9529 and the agency leading the project and www.plmr.co.uk

ereford's Courtyard has received a boost to continue its development of arts for older people. Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation have given 250,000 to the Edgar Street centre as part of the pairing's Arts and Older People project. In partnership with Shaw Healthcare, the Courtyard will set up projects in 32 of Shaw's care homes across the country. These projects will be led by four arts practitioners who specialise in visual art, theatre, dance and poetry over a three-year period. Alice Saunders, project coordinator at The Courtyard, said: This is a unique and valuable opportunity for The Courtyard to share and develop our work on a national level working alongside experts within the field. "Acclaimed dementia poet John Killick, theatre director Liz Postlethwaite, dance artist Diane Amans and visual arts curator Rachel Mortimer will train and mentor 16 practitioners who will work on creative residencies that will capture the imaginations and provide a voice for the older people

they will be working alongside. Relationships and social interaction will be at the heart of the project, allowing older people to express their ideas, likes, dislikes and opinions throughout the project. In February this year, The Courtyard became the first arts venue to join the Dementia Action Alliance, establishing the centre as a leader in the development of dementia friendly arts venues and programme a range of activities. Peter Knott, Midlands area director of Arts Council England, said: The Courtyards approach to providing arts activities for older people and people living with dementia has been inspiring. "In Herefordshire, the project has reached more than 6,500 people and I am really pleased that with the support of this funding they will be able to continue this good work in other regions. "The Courtyard has a proven plan to make their work in care homes across the country sustainable and the projects they have planned will help make the quality of life for those individuals and their families much better.

New lease of life for Alfie

strong bond forged with a care home maintenance man has given an Armagh care home resident a new lease of life. Alfie Hill, who is in his 70s and has learning difficulties and is physically disabled, moved into Amore Cares Apple Mews almost a year ago after a life spent predominately in long-term, institutional care. A firm friendship with Apple Mews maintenance man Johnny McKenna has enabled Alfie to involve himself in everyday tasks and activities that have led to a quality of life and level of independence he never dreamed of attaining. Johnny, who has worked at Apple Mews since October 2012 after spending most of his working life on building sites, attended Amore Cares Creative Minds training, designed to motivate all care home staff and encourage creative ideas to improve the quality of life for residents. Despite not having a care background, Johnny embraced the ethos of the programme and engaged with Alfie in a way that changed his life. Alfie now helps around the home, goes fishing with Johnny and even mows the lawns from his wheelchair, with a little innovative assistance from

Johnny. He is so motivated in his life that he has started regular physiotherapy with the ultimate aim of walking again. Rosemary Dilworth, Apple Mews home manager, said: The Creative Minds programme is designed to help everyone working within our homes to engage with residents in innovative ways that improve the quality of life. Johnny is a fantastic example of someone who has never worked in a care environment before but has welcomed the opportunity to develop his skills and is now engaging with residents in a way that is changing their lives. His friendship with Alfie is inspirational and perfectly demonstrates the value of the Creative Minds programme.

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Healthcare Business April 2010