HSJ’s roundup of Monday’s key stories

An influx of A&E nurses?

Surely this is the story NHS England wishes would just go away. NICE has already said it plans to publish safe staffing guidance for accident and emergency departments, despite the central authority halting the work last month.

Now, regulators and the Department of Health have indicated that providers should take note of the NICE guidance when making staffing decisions in their emergency departments. This could mean trusts have to employ more nurses for their accident and emergency departments.

Both Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority said they expected trusts to use all available evidence when deciding on staffing levels.  

The NICE guidance will not be official, but it will be the most detailed evidence available on A&E staffing.

Litigation runs wild

At least 17 NHS trusts are considering opting out of the clinical negligence scheme run by the NHS Litigation Authority because they have become frustrated at the time it takes to settle claims within the programme.

The providers, mainly in the North West, are in talks with global insurance firm Lockton about buying cover on the commercial market, the broker’s senior vice president Mark Riley-Pitt has said.

One trust finance director said some organisations had seen their payments go up by 50 per cent.

Put a price tag on it

Meanwhile, the new government minister Lord Prior has denied that Lord Carter was pressured into putting a £5bn savings tag on his efficiency review.

The DH’s John Warrington had claimed Lord Carter was “reluctant” to put a precise figure in the report but that he was “encouraged” to do so by ministers.

However, Lord Prior said no such pressure had been applied. He added that Lord Carter is not the kind of person “to bow to pressure”.