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The ICES team have urged services to put in place a mechanism for dealing with an equipment request via a direct payment, as the recent trawl has shown that requests are increasing quickly.

Guidance, including on legal issues, is available on the ICES website at:


Contacts can be made via the website to share good practice and experience.


Audit Commission Report on Implementing Telecare

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The Audit Commission has published "Older people - implementing telecare", which complements the recently published ICES document "Telecare: Getting Started" Resource Pack (ICES, 2004) and the Audit Commission's publications on assistive technology and telecare (Audit Commission, 2000, 2002, 2004a).

Publication is timely because the 2005-08 Spending Review introduced a new preventative technology grant (£80 million over two years) to fund local councils to provide alarm technology to 160,000 vulnerable older people.

The report:

describes what telecare is and what it can do;

discusses the evidence for its benefits at both the individual and health system levels;

describes the generic components of a telecare service;

provides guidelines on developing and implementing a telecare service, drawing on the lessons from pilot and trial projects;

provides conclusions on the part that can be played by government in helping to unblock the current implementation barriers.

The report is available on the Audit Commission website at



MHRA Device Evaluation Service Annual Report

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Device Evaluation Service (DES) is the only independent provider of medical device evaluations for the NHS.  

The first DES annual report (on the MHRA website http://www.mhra.gov.uk/ summarises work during 2003/4 covering pathology, imaging, acute care and assistive technology.

2003/04 combined success with some difficulties and some evaluation centres had to be closed due to budgetary constraints. The DES is currently subject to a strategic review, due to report later this year.    

Evaluation reports are now available electronically on the NHSNet website and an e-mail alert service is available at des@mhra.gsi.gov.uk


Policy Framework for "Choose & Book"  

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The Department of Health has published "Choose & Book" - Patient's Choice of Hospital and Booked Appointment: Policy framework for Choice & Booking at the point of referral.

The Choose and Book policy framework sets out the policy for offering choice at referral and deals with many questions raised over how choice should be offered. The document provides guidance to local NHS organisations in their transition to a fully booked NHS, which offers patients a choice of hospital and of date and time of their appointment through a new electronic booking system. Choice of provider already applies to patients waiting more than six months for an elective operation.

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