This week, two pieces of national news with local interest. You may have read in the press yesterday about the Care Quality Commission’s new system of Intelligent Monitoring of GP practices throughout England.
This is not a simple ranking of practices, nor a judgement of GPs; it just brings together information which helps the CQC make decisions about prioritising inspections.
A total of 38 indicators are taken into account in the new system, and these have been arrived at after widespread engagement and robust challenge in the sector.
The aim is to identify any elevated potential risks which might mean a practice offering less than the best patient care, and the system will be continuously refined as the new style inspections are rolled out.
Then the link between what the indicators show and the inspection findings can be evaluated.
Practices have now been placed in an inspection priority band, with band 1 representing the highest risk and band 6 the lowest.
You can find your local information by area or by individual practice on the NHS England website.
I am delighted to say that all of the Horsham practices have been assigned the lowest or second lowest risk category, and I welcome this transparency in sharing data which enables patients to make informed decisions.
As you know, transparency in government is one of my big crusades.
You may not know that this week is National Road Safety Week, and all MPs have been sent a Safer Streets report card which tells us how our own constituencies measure up in terms of four key indicators.
The grades run from A* (best) to F, and are compared with the national average. Mine tells me that here in Horsham we have no room for complacency: our total of 19 pedestrians and cyclists killed last year gains us an E grade; our percentage of obese adults and children C and A grades respectively, and our air pollution levels a C. The public health challenge confronting us all is obesity and inactivity, and a very simple first step is to make it easier for people to choose walking or cycling for their everyday journeys, hence the Safer Streets campaign.
The introduction of our lower, 20mph, speed limits in towns and villages have been a welcome step in the right direction, as are walk-to-school initiatives and pedestrianised streets.
Clearly we now need to tackle air pollution from cars and planes too.