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  1. [​IMG]

    Source: Chiconcuac Hospital

    Ongoing cuts by the Department of Health has put many aspects of our healthcare system at risk in the UK. The DoH’s relationship with the wider community of medical professionals has become increasingly frayed over the past few years, with a continued standoff regarding junior doctors still raging and drawing attention from many of the department’s less popular policies.

    Funding to the NHS is one of the biggest points of contention, as many argue that ongoing cuts to these services severely undermine the ability of the NHS to perform effectively. There’s been no precedent for the ongoing changes to the NHS, and many aspects of health provider are being altered without and justifiable cause. You’d think cuts to our nationwide healthcare would be the last place you’d want to start, but the DoH is standing firmly behind its cuts.

    Another area that will be severely affected is pharmaceutical enterprise. Pharmacies around the country, the majority of which serve at a local level, are at risk of losing the majority of their funding which averages at around £250,000 a year, mainly collated through the NHS. With the government now planning to remove this powers of funding, most national pharmacies have a giant hole in their operating costs and currently no way to fill it. This is expected to have a big impact on many aspects of our pharmacy services, including effective distribution and storage, as well as put a dent into the operations of pharmacy wholesalers.

    This would also put a severe strain on GP’s, who are most likely to pick up the bear of the brunt when patients are unable to go to a local pharmacist for a medical opinion. Nonetheless, the overall costs of the cuts are approaching the £170 million mark, making it one of the largest potential savings across the entirety of the NHS. The closure of these community pharmacies will obviously have the biggest impact at a community level, driving more people to visit their GP ultimately.

    The problem here is that GP’s are already hard pressed with an ongoing and increasing number of patients each year. Taking funding from pharmacies is only going to exasperate this problem. To make matters worse, the majority of the proposed cuts will have the biggest impact in more depraved areas, as these are seen as providing little value, yet commonly have the highest density of pharmacies. More vulnerable people should obviously have better access to these services, and cutting them drastically will also have an untold effect on patients.

    According to the BBC, around 80 – 90% of high street pharmacy funding comes from the NHS. The plans to cut this would put the overall amount of funding at around £2.6 billion in 2017, with plans to slowly approach this number over the course of 2016 via incremental cuts to local services.

    The number of pharmacies has grown by a fifth over the last decade and a half for a reason. We need these services in order to keep the balance of the NHS. Without it, and with regular cuts being made to local pharmacy provisions, we can expect a large shift in the landscape of our national health service.
  2. [​IMG]

    Source: Theophilos Papadopoulos

    If Remain is the campaign of complacency, Leave is most certainly the campaign of uncertainty. The biggest risks we’ve faced over this campaign usually stem from the economic hit we’ve been assured is coming; the form and impact of this is yet unknown, but many experts have agreed that it could take years to recover. The Remain camp argues that very rarely do so many economic experts agree on a single issue such as this, and many also agree that British businesses face years of uncertainty without the European Union.

    So what happens to businesses after a potential leave vote? Well, the immediate impact is a drop in value of the pound. This is expected to be a certainty as we’ve observed the pound’s valuation fluctuate wildly in conjunction to referendum itself. For example, the value of the pound dropped in response to multiple reputable polls showing the Leave vote with a lead, whilst it increased once Remain seemed more likely.

    Businesses will eventually find it harder to trade, with the loss of the single market resulting in higher tariffs for all forms or exchange between an independent UK and the rest of the EU. This has a wide reaching impact on both large and small businesses, thus the consensus that has formed between such a broad range of companies.

    There has also been much discussion between both sides on what could possibly replace the single market. Although we do the majority of trade with these nations, there’s still very little understanding on whether or not we will effectively be able to negotiate new deals, as well as whether we will get the same benefits.

    For workers themselves, it’s been argued that we will lose access to many of the rights that employees have in the workplace. However, Leave campaigners argue back that these are obviously rules and regulations we want to maintain within the workplace and, as such, leaving the EU would not have such a huge influence on maintaining them. A collective of solicitors in Surrey, London, and Kent have explored the claim of our workers’ rights, stating that whilst companies can still follow the rules set out by the EU, they are no longer legally bound and can disregard any rules as they see fit.

    Ultimately, when people go to the polls tomorrow, they’ll base their vote on personal affliction. I believe businesses have been so vocal about this issue because, as we well know, they want to protect their interests. In many cases, their interests align with ours as professionals, and when a consensus forms between bigger and smaller businesses, we should be listening.
  3. If there’s one thing in business you shouldn’t skimp on, it’s your website development.

    Nobody could have anticipated how much the online landscape has changed from twenty years ago. Mobile start-ups, live streaming platforms, social media, SaaS (software as a service). They simply weren’t around during the 1980’s. They’ve each had a profound influence on the business industry and continue to chance the way in which we conduct our operations.

    It should come as no surprise then, that the industries that ebb and flow with the changing customer behaviour succeed. The music industry for instance, is reporting growth of 3.5% on top of its current $7.1 billion worth, no doubt down to the incredible success of apps like Spotify. Even the hospitality and leisure industries in the UK alone are set to add a further £3.2 billion to the UK economy through the changing way the work on customer feedback. Business owners really ought to consider bespoke web development for their niche. For example, you have a far better of converting users through bespoke hospitality web design than you would through a basic web design package.

    Think of your website as your shop window, nowadays it’s likely the first point of contact between you and potential customers. Any visitor should have a thorough understanding of what you, and your business provide within seconds of entering. You might be under the impression that the repeat business you’ve been cultivating over the last ten years will carry you through for years to come, they don’t care if your website is still firmly rooted in the 90’s do they?

    Wrong!

    I don’t doubt that a huge number of businesses with aged websites provide excellent service. But how is any respective customer meant to know that? It may seem logical that the faithful customers you currently cater to will refer their friends. In reality, ask yourself, would you show your friend a slow, aged website for a hotel with no images and no customer reviews?

    Web development platforms like WordPress, Wix and BlogSpot mean that anyone can have a website. But surely I don’t have to explain to you the difference between a WordPress site you’ve set up after work one evening and a bespoke project that a design agency with over fifteen years coding experience has been billed to create.

    There’s more that goes into a finished website than basic aesthetics. Developers are juggling dozens of behind the scenes variables that most customers will never even notice. Each one is essential to the final product. Think of them as brake pads on a car. When they’re gone, it’s not going to end well.

    For example - mobile responsiveness is perhaps the most pressing issue facing website owners in 2016. Understandably, the percentage of mobile users in your audience differs from industry to industry but as a general statement, regardless of the numbers – you’re instantly limiting your consumer base when your site doesn’t display correctly.

    Site load speed is another key factor to consider. How often do you close a browser window when the site doesn’t load? If it’s listed in Google, chances are that site is fully operational – it really is just loading that slowly. A slow site could be the result of anything from poorly optimised on site code, to where the website itself is hosted and cached. Even a 1 second delay in page load time could lead to a conversion decrease of 7%.

    When was the last time you bought anything online? Chances are, you didn’t even notice it, but in the address bar there was, or wasn’t a green padlock. The green padlock indicates that the details transferred between you and the website are securely encrypted. It’s known as an SSL certificate and setting one up isn’t a punishment you’d wish on anyone!

    These are a just examples of the hundreds of factors that go into web development that we as customers barely consider. I know I wouldn’t sleep easy at night knowing that I’m the driving force behind my business website, I’d far rather leave it to someone with experience who knows what they’re doing. If your business takes off and you end up employing additional staff members, you don’t want of your mistakes to take down the site and their means of salary.

    Hire a web developer.
  4. Back in 1987, Apple spun off a little known software subsidiary named Claris. It quietly plugged away in Cupertino until Steve Jobs returned as CEO in 1997, with an eye to reinvigorate the nearly bankrupted company with a new product line and strategy. Part of this process also involved renaming Claris to FileMaker, which would go onto become one of Apple's most profitable and successful subsidiaries.

    Fast forward to 2016, and many developers are finally laying hands on the latest incarnation of their flagship FileMaker Pro software. Over the many years FileMaker has existed, its Pro software has grown significantly too. What started as a product solely for building custom databases has expanded into a set of effective tools for custom app development, covering a wide range of platforms across web, mobile, and desktop.

    Version 15 comes with many fundamental improvements for businesses in key areas for developing custom applications. Most notably (and obvious) is support for Apple's most recent iOS features, including Touch ID and 3D Touch, as well as iBeacons integration for building location-based apps, and support for iOS app extensions.

    Security is also vastly improved across version 15, with new vendor support for verifying SSL certifications and notifications when users with invalid certification try to connect, PostgresSQL and DB2 database integration, and support for both SAN and Wildcard certificates. 15 also allows developers to browse, purchase and directly install security certificates in the FileMaker server.

    With a focus on business mobility this time around, it makes sense that FileMaker would also work to improve its existing WebDirect technology. This now allows users to access their custom web apps using a mobile browser, with a responsive design that optimises automatically based on screen resolution and size, making commercial applications far more accessible. Several other features which could be imperative to businesses competing in the mobile field include bar code scanning, signature capture, and the ability add images and videos directly from a camera roll.

    This focus should come as no surprise as Apple has been seeking growth in the business technologies market for a long time, in order to further supplement the massive gains it has had in consumer markets. In particular, Apple has been pushing iOS much harder for workplace integration, even forming partnerships with business technology giants such as IBM and Cisco.

    FileMaker 15 could very well be a driving force for businesses embracing iOS and Apple technologies. Existing solutions, like Microsoft's Xamarin, requires a base-level understanding of coding to use effectively. For users without this knowledge, it may be necessary to hire a professional which can be very costly. This could ultimately give FileMaker 15 a leg-up in the business market, as it's considered easier to use.