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HSJ live: rolling news 24.1.2013

The reaction to Labour’s health policy proposals and the rest of today’s news

HSJ today reveals shadow health secretary Andy Burnham’s new proposed health policy (IN FRONT OF PAYWALL). He is planning to transfer the majority of NHS funding to local government.

17.24 The NHS Confederation has said the health service is facing in information overload. Information overload: tackling bureaucracy in the NHS Says an increased number of organisations will add to the administrative burden. Despite the number of NHS administrative staff falling by 10 per cent and managers by 18 per cent, requests to organisations to provide information may have not decreased in line with this.

17.19 Five NHS trusts in England have been categorised as having a ‘higher than expected’ mortality ratio over two years, new Health and Social Care Information Centre analysis shows. During the same period – between July 2010 to June 2012 - 11 trusts were categorised as having a ‘lower than expected’ ratio, based on Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) data.

15.33 Two tweets from @NickGolding:

“Interesting news order on BBC health page: Labour fears over horsemeat ranks higher than ‘Merge NHS and soc care - Labour’.”

“They’ve gazumped their own big health policy launch.”

15.30 Organisers expect over 15,000 people to take to the streets on Saturday in protests against government proposals to close emergency and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital due to a restructuring resulting from problems at the neighbouring South London Healthcare Trust.

15.24pm Unite head of health Rachael Maskell has responded to Labour’s proposal: “The key principle is that there should be universal access to these combined services and not based on the amount of savings you have. An enhanced national insurance scheme may be the best way to finance this in the decades to come.

“Local councils will be the vehicle to implement these reforms. An important element will be that these large sums, worth £119bn this year, should be ring-fenced, so that local authorities can’t spend the money on other services, as they may be tempted to do.

13.27pm The Royal College of Nursing council decided yesterday to accept plans put forward by NHS Employers to reduce terms and conditions for NHS staff across the country. Under the proposals, the national Agenda for Change pay framework would be altered to end automatic incremental pay rises, scrap enhanced out-of-hours sick pay, and bring an end to band 5 nurses receiving two increment rises during their first year after qualification.

12.57pm @leicesterliz - Liz Kendall, the shadow minister who is leading the review, tweets: “Sense genuine excitement about @andyburnhammp #wholepersoncare speech. Thanks to all who contributed: the start of building future together.”

12.55pm King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham responds to Andy Burnham’s health review:

“His prescription for change is ambitious and his vision of delivering integrated care, co-ordinated around the needs of the individual, will be widely welcomed. But it leaves a number of unanswered questions, not least how plans as radical as these could be implemented while keeping his promise not to embark on further structural change.

“We have argued that it is time to think differently about how to respond to the future challenges facing the NHS and social care. Andy Burnham has responded to the challenge to think differently, but the ideas he has articulated today leave many questions unanswered.”

12.35pm Some more tweets from @dwilliamsHSJ on what Andy Burnham was saying:

“NHS left out the preventative part. Keeping ppl healthy. But deep in DNA of NHS is the idea that that’s not nhs responsibility.”

“Burnham: separate incentives for nhs and soc care is financial madness. If we don’t do better, DGHs will become warehouses for older ppl.”

“Burnham: Can only do better if we turn the system on its head. (But without a top down reorg).”

“Whoo hoo! Burnham mentions the tariff. Year of care model advocated.”

“Kind of surprised Burnham isn’t advocating the end of the purchaser provider split. What’s his argument for it?”

“Burnham: there must always be a role for the private and vol sector. Choice isn’t the same as competition.”

“Burnham: 2 choices on soc care funding: voluntary or an all-in approach.”

“Sarah Pickup of ADASS - will you undo 2 decades of soc care outsourcing or have acute services commissning soc care? Burnham: more the latter.”

10.47am @dwilliamsHSJ tweets: Burnham: there’s no capacity for top down reorg. #wherehaveiheardthatbefore

10.28am Health minister Dan Poulter has announced that £25m will be split across more than 100 hospitals to improve maternity units. The money will be used in a variety of ways to improve and upgrade maternity services depending on the individual needs of hospitals across the country. Older maternity units, such as the 1970s-built Airedale Foundation Trust and a 1940s unit at Taunton and Somerset, will be completely refurbished.

10.25am Hospitals’ accident and emergency departments are at their busiest on Monday morning, dealing with double their average hourly attendance, research shows. Health and Social Care Information Centre figures for 2011-12 show departments across England collectively deal with about 4,000 arrivals per hour between 10am and 12 noon on a Monday compared to the typical hourly average of 2,000.

Health and Social Care Information Centre figures for 2011-12 show departments across England collectively deal with about 4,000 arrivals per hour between 10am and 12 noon on a Monday compared to the typical hourly average of 2,000, .

10.14am @HSJEditor tweets: “Waiting for the Daily Mail headline on Burnham’s plans: “Labour gives councillors the power of life or death”

10.09am Bill Morgan, Andrew Lansley’s former special advisor has responded to Labour’s proposals in a series of tweets. @Billmorgan82 said:

“LAs bound by procurement law, so NHS can’t be preferred provider under today’s plans from Labour.

“2nd point: do we think (LA) social care commissioning so uniformly good that LAs can take on additional responsibilities for NHS?

“3rd point (I’m a veteran of this debate in gov’t): how do we feel about commissioning of abortion services becoming a local election issue?

“4th point: if, say, Wandsworth [a council traditionally on the right of the Conservative Party] wanted full competition in NHS, would Lab gov’t stop them? If so, how much power would LAs truly have?”

9.57am Some reaction has already come in to Labour’s proposal on our story:

“This is of course the only way we will be able to afford health and social care a few decades on from now so this makes perfect sense to me.”

“Is this the start of Andy Burnham’s exculpation campaign to wriggle out of his personal involvement in the disaster at Mid Staffs?”

“I believe that there is a clear case for integration of health & social care budgets, BUT as always the devil is in the detail. Do we really believe that councils (many of whom cannot manage their current responsibilities to acceptable standards) are equipped to take on this role?”

“Perfectly sensible high-level reasoning dealing with the main health issue of our times. But managing the complexity of health service contracts will be utterly beyond local authorites.”

Follow the reaction here, at the bottom of the story.

9.55am Labour’s policy proposal is being formally launched this morning by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham. Follow @dwilliamsHSJ for live coverage.

9.54am You can get further analysis of what Labour’s proposed policy mean for politics, integration, funding, commissioning and local government here.

7.30am Despite £160m of public funding from 2006-11, remote care revolution is yet to take off. Professor James Barlow of Imperial College Business School says that political commitment and passionately backed large pilots are not enough if remote care is to develop in Britain. He writes: “New forms of supplier-purchaser alliance are required, providing an environment in which both the demand and supply sides grow to their potential.”  

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