16.21pm Nick Seddon, deputy director of right-leaning think tank Reform, has been appointed 10 Downing Street’s new health and social care policy adviser.
16.09pm The Royal College of Nursing has issued a statement in response to the Queen’s speech. RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter, said: “The speech shows the Government is committed to a legislative response to some of the failings at Mid Staffordshire hospital which we welcome. However, we continue to have some concerns. Any proposals around inspections, a meaningful rating system for hospitals and tackling poor care, must address unsafe staffing levels, and the regulation of health care support workers.
“The RCN has stated time and again that mandatory staffing levels should be enshrined in law. This is no less than patients deserve.”
He added: “We will be looking closely at the details of these proposals and will continue to represent the interests of members and patients during this challenging time for the health service.”
15.09pm Some interesting tweets coming through from King’s Fund’s Integrated Care Summit, particularly on the contribution from Monitor’s Toby Lambert.
Toby Lambert: We shouldn’t need waivers against competition rules as they have in the US; some leeway already exists #kfintegratedcare
— Lara Sonola (@larasonola) May 8, 2013
14.39pm Healthcare IT company McKesson, which provides NHS trusts with electronic patient record systems, has announced it selling all its UK businesses as part of broader sale of parts of its business.
A statement by the US-based company said: “ McKesson Corporation is planning to divest its International Operations Group (IOG) business.
“IOG currently has three divisions: McKesson UK, which includes the UK subsidiaries System C and Liquidlogic, McKesson France, and McKesson Netherlands.
“The planned sale will be subject to compliance with all employee information and consultation obligations.”
See full statement attached.
14.35pm Some interesting comment pieces live on the site today:
In his leader, HSJ editor Alastair McLellan has said the decision about whether South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group has to re-tender some services will be “an important test case for the new system” (see 9.33am). He adds that Monitor should indicate its position if the CCG avoids tendering services.
Meanwhile, following UKIP’s success in the local elections last week, Michael White looks at the party’s ideas for the NHS. He says Nigel Farage’s party have “trousered policies from all the ‘tired’, ‘old’, ‘elitist’ parties and added a dash of nostalgia.”
And chair of the Socialist Health Association, Richard Bourne, says the organisation wants a health service that prioritises care and collaboration over market forces and competition, but he adds:
“Ideological hostility to large private companies or to GPs as small businesses, and paranoia about plots to privatise the whole NHS, are equally misguided. There are and always will be parts of our care system that are provided by non-public providers, and our great public care providers should be free to subcontract parts of what they do.”
14.30pm You can read HSJ’s report on the NHS-relevant aspects of the Queen’s speech here.
12.52pm On the government’s proposals for social care reform, Dr Gerada added: “We support many of the measures the new Care and Support Bill will introduce, such as enhanced legal rights for carers, [but] we urge the Government to clarify that it does not intend to use funding from the ring-fenced NHS budget to plug gaps in social care provision.
“Whilst pooling budgets at a local level may enhance patient care where robust joint agreements are in place, simply taking money from the NHS and throwing it at social care won’t deliver the improved care we all want to achieve.”
12.47pm The Royal College of General Practitioners has issued a statement warning of the “danger of turning GPs into a form of immigration control”, in response to the Immigration Bill proposals set out in the Queen’s speech (see 12.36pm, below).
RCGP chair Clare Gerada said: “GPs must not be a new ‘border agency’ in policing access to the NHS. Whilst the health system must not be abused and we must bring an end to health tourism, it is important that we do not overestimate the problem and that GPs are not placed in the invidious position of being the new border agency.
“General Practice must remain the main access to health care within the NHS. GPs have a duty of care to all people seeking healthcare, and should not be expected to police access to healthcare and turn people away when they are at their most vulnerable. It is important to protect individuals and public health.”
12.36pm Elsewhere, the briefing states that another significant piece of proposed legislation set out in the Queen’s speech - the Immigration Bill - would “regulate migrant access to the NHS, ensuring that temporary
migrants make a contribution”.
12.31pm On the reform of social care, the briefing states that the main elements of the bill will be:
- “Modernising more than sixty years of care and support law into a single, clear statute, which is built around the person not the service.
- “Enshrining a right for the millions of carers in England to receive support from their local council. For the first time introduce a duty to meet carers eligible needs for support, and introduce a new adult safeguarding framework.
- “Reforming how care and support is funded, including the creation of a cap on care costs which people would pay, and gives everyone peace of mind in protecting them from catastrophic costs.
- “Simplifying the care and support system and creating a legislative framework that helps, not hinders, integrated care so that we achieve better results for people.
- “Ensuring people needing care can move between local authority areas without the fear that their care will be interrupted.
- “Providing a new legal entitlement for everyone to a personal budget, which they can receive as a direct payment if they wish to, giving people more control.
- “Clarifying how people will be protected from their care being disrupted if their care provider goes out of business; and introducing new oversight of the providers that would be the most difficult to replace if they were to fail.”
12.26pm The briefing states that the Care Bill will give people “complete confidence that wherever they go for treatment or care, they get the best care by taking immediate action to address a number of Robert Francis’s findings”.
12.23pm Queen’s speech: The government briefing on the Care Bill states that there will be three strands to the “legislative response to failings at Stafford Hospital”:
- Introducing Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals and care homes that would allow patients and the public to compare organisations or services in a fair and balanced way.
- Giving the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the CQC power to identify problems with the quality of care and ensure action is taken more effectively than before.
- Making it a criminal offence for providers to provide false and misleading information about their performance.
12.15pm The Goverment’s briefing on the Queen’s speech states that the Care Bill - which would set a cap on individual’s contributions to their social care - would also “introduce a number of measures in response to the Francis Inquiry and establish Health Education England and the Health Research Authority as [non-departmental public bodies], giving them the independence and stability they need to carry out their vital roles”.
12.01pm An interesting twitter conversation is developing between former Lansley advisor @Billmorgan82 and Health Policy Insight editor @HPIAndyCowper on HSJ’s exclusive about the retendering threat to Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust.
10.46am The King’s Fund is holding an Integrated Care Summit today, with a speech this afternoon from health minister Norman Lamb. You can follow the debate on twitter using the hashtag #kfintegratedcare (link http://twitter.com/search?q=%23kfintegratedcare)
10.41am Experts have called for an end to secrecy over the regulation of medical devices like hip implants and said safety data should be published online so that patients can make up their own minds, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, a research team led by Edmund Neugebauer at Herdecke University in Germany has concluded that the current system puts patients at risk and was biased towards the interests of manufacturers.
10.40am Shadow care minister Liz Kendall made a speech yesterday on public service reform - specifically about older people - as part of Labour’s policy review (attached).
She said: “Our starting point must be that care is based on what people want and need, not on what’s convenient for the state.
“Labour’s vision of ‘whole person care’ is essential to achieving this goal.
“Whole person care means meeting all of a person’s needs together, in a single care service, rather than continuing with our three essentially separate systems.
“A single budget, funding services through a ‘year of care’ rather than simply paying hospitals for admitting patients, would create a strong incentive to shift the focus towards prevention and early intervention, with more care and support provided in the community and at home…
“But integrating budgets, teams, services and commissioning won’t – on its own – be sufficient. People must also be given more power and control to shape their care and support.
“Labour’s Personal Budgets have already made a big difference… Between half and three quarters of people using Personal Budgets and Direct Payments for social care say they’ve had a positive impact on most aspects of their daily lives.”
10.15am The Guardian also has a report on warnings from “social care chiefs” that more “older people and citizens with disabilities will be denied state-funded care support over the next two years as local authority finances continue to take a battering from funding cuts”.
It writes that a survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services shows that by April “councils in England will have stripped out £2.7bn from adult social care services since 2010 - equivalent to 20 per cent of their care budgets - even as demand for services continues to rise”.
In its preview piece on the Queen’s speech, the paper writes that the legislation introducing a cap on the amount individuals contribute towards their social care costs will “also have to define the boundary between free NHS care and means-tested adult social care”.
10.07am The Guardian has a story this morning on the work of a Danish research team that has reportedly found that between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of “chronic lower back pain cases were caused by bacterial infections”.
The paper states: “The shock finding means that cores of patients with unrelenting lower back pain will no longer face major operations but can instead be cured with courses of antibiotics costing around £114.
“One of the UK’s most eminent spinal surgeons said the discovery was the greatest he had witnessed in his professional life, and that its impact on medicine was worthy of a Nobel prize.”
It quotes Peter Hamlyn, consultant neurological and spinal surgeon at University College London hospital, as saying: “This is vast. We are talking about probably half of all spinal surgery for back pain being replaced by taking antibiotics.”
9.54am: The Health and Social Care Information Centre has released its first publication based on the NHS Safety Thermometer tool, which reports an increase in the percentage of assessed patients who received harm-free care.
9.42am: The Queen is due to announce the list of bills the government wants to put forward at 11.30am. At 2.30pm, the prime minister will announce more details of the legislation, including the Care and Support Bill.
9.40am: We also late yesterday revealed details of the framework by which clinical commissioning groups will be rated and performance managed.
9.33am: We have published our own major exclusive which will feed into the latest in the competition and integration debate. Crispin Dowler reveals potential problems for the pioneering Torbay Care Trust, caused by the possibility of having to tender services.
9.29am: HSJ Live will today cover the Queen’s speech - which will include a bill introducing a cap on costs for personal long term care - and care minister Norman Lamb, who is due to speak about NHS integration at the King’s Fund this afternoon.