HSJ’s roundup of Thursday’s key stories
Ministerial role for CQC chair
There was a moment of confusion in the HSJ office this afternoon when a note popped up on the Department of Health website to say Care Quality Commission chair David Prior had been made a minister in the new government. Don’t you have to be a member of Parliament to do that? It was soon confirmed that Mr Prior was also being made a peer. He will replace Lord Howe as parliamentary under-secretary of state for health, ending a time at the CQC in which Mr Prior stood out as a chair whose views were often controversial and always frankly expressed.
HSJ editor Alastair McLellan tweeted:
Good move 4 David Prior 2 become a health minister. Much better fit than role as a CQC chair where he sometimes let his political slip show
— Alastair McLellan (@HSJEditor) May 14, 2015
While Independent health correspondent Charlie Cooper tweeted:
Ironic that Prior fills a berth in DH previously occupied by @normanlamb who beat him to be MP in 2001. In an ELECTION.
— Charlie Cooper (@CharlieCooper8) May 14, 2015
For the next CQC board meeting Michael Mire, a non-executive director at the CQC who has previously worked for consultancy McKinsey, will take on the role of chair.
Ambulance staff leave the service in growing numbers
Ambulance staff are leaving trusts in ever greater numbers, with the numbers nearly doubled since 2010.
In what may be a damning indictment of a paramedic’s working life, increasing numbers are moving to accident and emergency departments - not the most stress-free of environments.
A significant number said they had left to seek out a better work-life balance or because of a lack of opportunities.
BMA pushed on contract negotiations
NHS Employers just turned up the heat on the junior doctor contract talks, warning the British Medical Association that there is “no alternative” to negotiating a new contract.
The BMA pulled out of talks last year claiming employers were trying to remove safeguards on working hours that would endanger patient safety. A spokeswoman said a negotiated deal would be the “best outcome” as long as safeguards for doctors and patients were “properly addressed”.
‘Record-breaking’ effort by hospitals
Hospitals have been working hard for months trying to break the back of an ever-growing backlog of patients waiting over 18 weeks for treatment.
All credit then to the sector, which managed to admit a “record-breaking” number of long-waiting patients in March, according to the latest data.
After a tough winter for A&Es and a government initiative to treat long waiting patients which has been extended several times, this latest effort will hopefully make things a little easier for acutes that have been struggling with the increased demand for services.