Health Bill 2011
Exclusive: NHS England could 'ratchet up' financial pressure on private mental health providers, analysts warn
Private mental health providers could see pressure on their profit margins “ratcheted up” by the centralisation of secure and specialised mental healthcare commissioning in the hands of NHS England, according to a new report by market analysts Laing and Buisson.
More than 10,000 NHS staff have been made redundant in the past three financial years as a result of the government’s commissioning reforms, according to official figures published today.
Healthcare sector regulator Monitor has confirmed the Office of Fair Trading will in future have responsibility for assessing any merger involving an NHS foundation trust.
Healthcare sector regulator Monitor has begun the process of putting Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust into administration.
Local branches of the new “consumer champion” for health and social care will be left “bound and gagged” by government regulations restricting their campaigning activity, it has been claimed.
The hit squad sent into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust by regulator Monitor has concluded the troubled trust is unable to achieve long-term financial or clinical sustainability “in its current form”.
The NHS Commissioning Board is likely to delay some management cuts until 2013-14 and take on interim staff under emergency measures sparked by delays in the transition to new NHS structures.
The decentralising of financial control under the NHS reforms poses a risk that agencies could hold too much funding back from frontline care and force organisations “into failure”, Sir David Nicholson has warned.
A newly-promoted health minister has admitted the government “screwed up” its handling of its controversial NHS reforms.
Plans to put sexual health services out to competitive tender could make it “unviable” for some NHS trusts to continue offering HIV treatment and care, the Department of Health has warned.
Andrew Lansley has been sacked as health secretary and replaced by Jeremy Hunt, sparking concern about delays to critical NHS service change plans.
Jeremy Hunt has been appointed as health secretary, replacing Andrew Lansley, in a ministerial reshuffle. Three of the department’s other ministers have also been replaced.
Only a “very small” number of NHS services provided by private firms face the toughest regulatory controls, sector leaders have insisted following the publication of new Monitor guidance.
Foundation trust regulator Monitor has scrapped its plan to build “Chinese walls” within its organisation to separate its existing role from its future responsibility to regulate the entire NHS healthcare sector.
Future healthcare sector regulator Monitor has scrapped many of the controversial restrictions it had proposed placing on providers of essential NHS services, including debt caps, external credit ratings, and curbs on dividend payments.
Commissioners may be given a “financial incentive” not to designate large numbers of NHS services for extra regulatory protection, future sector regulator Monitor has suggested.
The Department of Health has begun consultation on regulations that would significantly check local government’s power to refer controversial NHS reconfigurations to the health secretary.
The outgoing British Medical Association leader has urged the union to be cautious about taking further industrial action over pensions.
Foundation trusts are lobbying Monitor to ensure financially challenged providers will be able to “temporarily” close protected NHS services under their new regulatory regime.
Future “sector regulator” for healthcare Monitor will tomorrow issue a call for evidence for a major review of all barriers to a “level playing field” for competing providers of NHS-funded healthcare, HSJ has learned.
There are set to be 27 local arms of the NHS Commissioning Board, it has been confirmed.
The Department of Health has unveiled its strategy for extending competition from any qualified provider to new areas of NHS care, including mental health and diagnostic tests.
The health service should not expect a “sudden overnight change on 1 April next year” to an autonomous and liberated system, the chair of the NHS Commissioning Board has told HSJ.
An information tribunal has ruled the Department of Health’s transition risk register should have been released because of the “general alarm at what was happening”.
Monitor might refuse to allow local increases to the prices paid to NHS trusts unless commissioners have proven they could not buy the services more cheaply elsewhere, an independent report for the regulator has suggested.
Monitor’s executive chair has admitted it is “very likely” University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay had “deep-seated problems” at the time his organisation granted the trust foundation status.
Liberal Democrat peers are under pressure to make more changes to the Health Bill after a manoeuvre by the party’s leadership in support of the bill backfired at its spring conference on Sunday.
The Department of Health’s case for withholding the Health Bill risk register has been rejected, it has been announced this morning.
Government plans to amend the Health Bill to clarify arrangements for HealthWatch have angered campaigners who claim the change will “water down” patient and public involvement in the NHS.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has become the latest professional organisation to call on the government to withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill.
The prime minister has revealed “four Fs” which he believes sum up the government’s approach to the NHS. They came while he attempted to bat off criticism of the Health Bill at a Downing Street summit today.
The prime minister has called a summit to discuss the “implementation of the NHS reforms” on Monday afternoon with senior healthcare leaders.
Monitor has proposed to set a cap on the level of debt carried by any organisation providing essential healthcare services to the NHS.
The Department of Health has announced £617m has been put into a contingency fund for NHS reform redundancy payments and restructuring costs during 2011-12.
David Cameron has defended his government’s health reforms at prime minister’s question time from the criticisms set out in HSJ’s joint leader with Nursing Times and the BMJ.
Private mental health firms are lobbying for deep changes to Monitor’s proposed failure regime, claiming rules putting “patients ahead of creditors” will prevent them from borrowing.
There is a deepening split in the position taken by the medical royal colleges towards the Health Bill.
The use of fixed prices to prevent competition driving down care quality could become “increasingly problematic”, a “seminal report” warned this week.
The Department of Health has given NHS managers a choice of two letters to send staff this month on the future of their roles – one of which is to be used in cases where there is still “no clarity” on what will happen to their jobs.
The government is offering a series of Health Bill concessions in an attempt to diffuse the row over the health secretary’s responsibility for the NHS.
The NHS reforms would have “blown up in people’s faces” without last week’s decision to refer the private healthcare market to the Competition Commission, the boss of Circle has told HSJ.
There is a “very high likelihood” of continued government bailouts for struggling providers, according to ratings agency Standard and Poor’s.
The government is resisting attempts to scrap the Health Bill’s so called “autonomy clause”, but close to offering a compromise amendment on the duties of the health secretary, HSJ understands.
Proposed amendments to the Health Bill would effectively subject private and third sector bodies to the Freedom of Information Act by giving commissioners more power to require information from them.
The House of Lords has voted through the government’s Health and Social Care Bill at its second reading, defeating motions to place sections under greater scrutiny or stop it in its tracks altogether.
Ministers wrote to all peers this morning appealing for their support on the Health Bill after talks between Conservative and crossbench peers broke down.
The government should change and clarify the Health Bill to help the NHS deal with its enormous financial pressures, the NHS Confederation has said.
Key areas of policy will come under scrutiny as the Health Bill faces its critics in the House of Lords. HSJ analyses likely changes.
The government is prepared to compromise over how the Health Bill sets out the health secretary’s duties to ensure the NHS provides services, HSJ has been told.
The Lords committee which reviews the constitutional implications of new legislation has said the Health Bill poses a risk that “individual ministerial responsibility to parliament will be diluted or that legal accountability to the courts will be fragmented”.
The regulator faces a challenge following changes in its role
The freedom promised sounds good but how much is really on offer?
The £22m black hole is less mysterious given prevailing cultures
Should Jim Easton be censured for taking a job at Care UK?
The raft of new NHS organisations must work towards the same goals, says Mike Farrar
An exclusive insight into the NHS reforms.
Increased power means Monitor will have a fight on its hands.
Charles Alessi on implementing the reforms.
We will know by 2015 whether the public’s NHS experiences mean Andrew Lansley has pulled off this massive gamble, says Ipsos MORI’s chief executive Ben Page.
Does the Health Act leave Lansley powerless?
Who stands to gain most from Monitor’s new power to dictate “local modifications” to the price of NHS services?
It’s time for real leadership to step up.
Looking on the bright side of the bill can bring about positive change.
An open letter to David Cameron, unmet need and understanding mental health.
There remains a worry that the government’s efficiency drive is still focused on short term savings that may not ultimately deliver the benefits to patients it claims, writes King’s Fund chief economist John Appleby.
Cameron’s reform summit dominates the media this week.
Alastair McLellan’s editorial.
What price Lansley’s eventual victory?
As the Health Bill staggers through the House of Lords and opposition grows to it in a daily basis, the question is reasonably asked whether the government has a Plan B.
Rather than distracting from the NHS efficiency challenge, the Health Bill could help achieve it, writes David Kerr.
The Health Bill enters the crucial report stage in the House of Lords next week amid huge controversy. To mark this, the BMJ, HSJ and Nursing Times have, for the first time, cooperated to publish the same editorial.
‘Blue Monday’ might have been last week but the downbeat mood has continued for many in the media coverage of the health service.
The US integrated healthcare system Kaiser Permanente is an example of ‘innovative disruption’ in all its joined-up glory. The King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham highlights some of the benefits a similar system could give the NHS.
Fresh from his appearance on BBC1 two weeks ago, Dr Phil Hammond argues that the benefit of NHS reform is still no clearer to being understood, and that a change in direction is needed. It might just win over Andrew Lansley’s critics, too.
Ruth Hussey, the woman at the heart of smoothing the public health shake-up, says there will be great gains after the strains. She talks to HSJ deputy news editor Steve Ford.
The government needs to find a way to make the ingredients of reform seem like opportunities for positive change rather than threats, writes Asthma UK chief executive Neil Churchill.
On Monday the national press speculated on the fate of the Health Bill before its appearance in the Lords later in the week.
Despite increased competition raising fears, in some quarters, for the future of the NHS, now is not the time to play it safe - but to harness its power to do great things, says Sir Stephen Bubb.
Andrew Lansley’s new vision for public health must overcome tough tests if it is to grow into a healthy being, says Alan Maryon-Davis.
Now that the dust has settled somewhat on the furore surrounding the Health Bill, I find myself thinking about the domestic and truly international health agenda.
With transparency and accountability increasingly on the agenda for trusts, Foundation Trust Network chief executive Sue Slipman argues that holding board meetings in public as a means to that end is not simply an open and shut case.
We’ve all gone local these days. The health secretary is handing power to GPs. NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson is giving a bigger say to patients.
A change in what “choice” represents in policy has great potential for patients. Now that change needs to be backed with a firm will to implement it, writes Health Foundation chief executive Stephen Thornton.
Readers of HSJ will need no reminding that the NHS Future Forum recently published its recommendations on the Health and Social Care Bill. Nor that parliamentary scrutiny has begun on its amendments.
With management levels cut dangerously low in the health service, the NHS Confederation’s chief executive Mike Farrar tells HSJ’s Charlotte Santry the days of biting tongues when dealing with those in power are definitely over.
The papers have been jostling to say the previously unsayable this week and break the political taboo that some hospitals must close if the NHS is to remain clinically safe and financially viable.
The government is in a tough spot at the moment, but it can be eased if it heeds the lessons of the NHS Plan era, argues House of Lords independent member Nigel Crisp.
The Daily Telegraph started the weekend with a rare morsel of good news for Andrew Lansley.
Huge strides have been taken to offer NHS patients a choice of different providers, but there is now a real chance of a backwards step under the coalition government, says management consultant Paul Corrigan.
As the coalition’s “pause” rumbles on so do the stories surrounding the fate of the Health and Social Care Bill.
Competition on everything including price is not only the most practical solution to the growing pressures facing the NHS, it is also virtually inevitable, according to the chief executive of the UK’s largest private healthcare provider.
A sophisticated discussion on how – and how much – the health service should be funded is badly needed to avoid undoing two decades worth of progress.
A year after the general election, Andrew Lansley and his controversial reforms are under fire. HSJ asks four leading figures - Stephen Dorrell, David Kerr, Alan Milburn and Bill Moyes - to hand down their verdict on Lansley’s vision.
As real funding is eroded amid grand health policy rhetoric, there is a desperate need for hard evidence and data to inform the fundamental policy challenges facing this government. Without it, the reforms are all but irrelevant, argues York University professor of health economics Alan Maynard.
To commission effectively, consortia will need governance arrangements that create confidence and trust, and build legitimacy and partnerships, writes The Health Foundation chief executive Stephen Thornton.
Since the government came to power and the health secretary announced sweeping reforms to the NHS, there seems to have been little focus on the NHS constitution. Gerard Hanratty, partner at healthcare law firm Capsticks, weighs up what may happen to it under the coalition government.
Trusts with serious financial problems are in danger of being overlooked as a surplus on “aggregate performance” comforts some in the NHS. Nick Bosanquet looks at five ways to avert the hidden crisis.
There was little room for domestic issues amid wall to wall coverage of events in Libya and Japan in the papers this week, but nevertheless the Sunday Telegraph managed to maintain the pressure on health secretary Andrew Lansley.
As the BMA gears up for a crisis meeting to debate the Health Bill, the chair of its consultant and specialists committee voices his fears of a huge split between members - and a ‘seething cauldron’ of competing providers in the future.
The grand old health secretary risks getting the new consortia stuck on the hill, unless a change in strategy to push them higher up the slope of success is attempted.