HSJ’s round-up of Thursday’s must read stories

Strikes back

After Daily Insight was sent to the digital presses on Wednesday evening, the British Medical Association council announced that junior doctors in England will stage five consecutive days of strikes, including emergency services, later this month.

The council met to discuss a proposal by the junior doctors’ committee to escalate industrial action in a last ditch bid to prevent the government from imposing a new contract from October.

Doctors will walk out for five days from 8am to 5pm, from Monday 12 to Friday 16 September – leaving hospitals with less than two weeks to prepare. The action is likely to lead to tens of thousands of cancelled operations and appointments. During the last full walkout, over two days in April, more than 100,000 outpatient appointments were cancelled.

Ellen McCourt, chair of the JDC, said: “We have a simple ask of the government: stop the imposition. If it agrees to do this, junior doctors will call off industrial action.”

The Department of Health didn’t hold back in its response: “The BMA must be the first union in history to call for strike action against a deal they themselves negotiated and said was a good one…

“Cooperation, not confrontation, is the way forward to make sure patients get the best treatment and the NHS is there for people whenever they need it.”

Mental health trusts take the lead

Two of the largest mental health trusts in the country have become the first to receive the highest rating from the Care Quality Commission.

The leaderships of both Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust and East London FT were both praised by inspectors, who judged both organisations to be outstanding overall.

CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals Paul Lelliott said both organisation’s leaders valued the input of frontline staff and hoped they would act as “exemplars” for other mental health providers to aspire to.

While both chief executives stressed there are lots of areas where they can drive forward improvements internally, they are more than happy to share their knowledge and best practice with other providers.

NTW boss John Lawlor said he and East London chief executive Navina Evans had agreed to “twin” their knowledge so they could spread bet practice to the north and south.

However, both chief executives said there have been no discussions on creating chains of mental health hospitals to mirror some of the vanguards projects in the acute sector where poorly performing hospitals form groups or merge with high performing hospital trusts.

More than half of the country’s mental health trusts have been rated as requires improvement (29), with 17 judged as good and Norfolk and Suffolk FT the only one in special measures.