HSJ’s essential daily catch-up

Looking after the NHS pound

It has long been a priority for commissioners to look after the “NHS pound”. HSJ can sympathise with CCGs, considering how bad the system has been at keeping track of its money.

A story on hsj.co.uk shows just how difficult commissioners can find protecting the NHS pound from pharmaceutical companies – particularly when they are aided by local GPs.

Commissioners in the West Midlands have raised concerns that they may be paying more on flu vaccines then they ought to, as GPs could be ordering them at a discount direct from pharmaceutical companies and then claiming the full price back without their CCG’s knowledge.

Dudley CCG has sent a briefing to its primary care committee asking that GPs order flu vaccines priced at a NHS list price of £6 or lower.

What has provoked this request? Well, according to the CCG, pharmaceutical firm Sanofi has been offering GPs a 50 per cent discount on the flu vaccine Quadrivalent, against an NHS list price of £8.

When GPs order the discounted vaccine for £4, they will automatically get reimbursed for the full list price by NHS Business Services Authority.

The authority will then recharge CCGs for the full list price, so Dudley has asked its GPs to order Trivalent, a flu vaccine which has a lower list price.

The commissioners have been adamant in their warnings to GP about the discounts offered by Sanofi, saying it has “a negative impact for the NHS and taxpayers”.

HSJ would like to point readers to the gap in the system this story reveals. Why is it that discounts offered to GPs cannot be tracked and translated to CCGs?

NHS director arrested

An NHS England director is being investigated by police on suspicion of voyeurism, it has been confirmed.

HSJ reported yesterday that Jonathan Fielden, the deputy medical director and director of specialised commissioning, was away from his NHS England role and had been restricted from contact with patients by the General Medical Council.

Bedfordshire Police has confirmed today that a 53 year old man, from Biddenham, has been arrested on suspicion of voyeurism. A police spokeswoman added that he has been bailed until 23 March while enquiries continue.

It has also emerged that Dr Fielden has resigned as a trustee of the Nuffield Trust. He joined in October 2014, while working as medical director of University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Dr Fielden has been approached for comment.

Chief executive loses dismissal appeal

A long serving NHS trust chief executive has lost an appeal against his sacking for “gross misconduct”.

Jonathan Parry was dismissed by Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust in October after whistleblowing allegations were made by staff. He became chief executive in 1999.

The trust has never explained the nature of the allegations against him or Sharon Partington, the trust’s former HR director, who left her post before she could be dismissed.

A trust spokesman said: “The disciplinary appeal hearings in respect of allegations against the former chief executive, Jonathan Parry, and the former director of human resources, Sharon Partington, have now concluded.

“The independent panels that heard the appeals determined the original decisions to dismiss should be upheld.”