Sir Stephen O’Brien resigns as chairman of Barts Health, plus the rest of the day’s news and comment
16.20pm The chair of Barts Health Trust has announced his resignation, becoming the third member of the leadership team to leave the trust in the past month. Sir Stephen O’Brien will leave the trust at the end of the month. He has been in the role for three years and previously chaired the Barts and the London Trust.
15.52pm NHS Employers has appointed Paul Wallace as director of employment relations and rewards. Mr Wallace, who is currently group head of reward at the Ministry of Justice, will take over from Gill Bellford who retires in April.
“Pay, rewards and employment contracts sit right at the centre of discussions about sustainability so I am extremely pleased to have someone as talented as Paul taking this area forward,” said NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer.
15.38pm A hospital in Essex has been criticised for a scheme that forces A&E patients to publicly display their conditions on laminated signs in an attempt to speed up waiting times, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, run by Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust, is trialling the initiative, which sees patients given different coloured cards according to their level of urgency.
14.55pm Cases of scarlet fever have continued to rise this season, according to Public Health England.
A total of 5,746 new cases were reported between September and March, roughly double the 2,833 cases reported in the same period last season.
Public Health England said it was the second period in a row “with exceptionally high numbers”.
14.48pm Teenagers will soon be vaccinated against meningitis W after a steep rise in infections, Public Health England has announced. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised immunisation for 14 to 18-year-olds.
14.40pm Last chance to enter HSJ’s patient safety awards. Nominations close today. More details here.
14.25pm A decision to recommend that renal dialysis services should be devolved to clinical commissioning groups is to be reconsidered because incorrect patient population data was used by NHS England, it has emerged.
The Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group, which advises ministers on what services should be commissioned nationally by NHS England, last year recommended that renal dialysis should be transferred to CCGs.
However, ministers have asked the group to look at their recommendation again after it emerged that NHS England provided the group with an incorrect figure for the number of patients using the service.
13.59pm A quarter of foreign nurses recruited by one NHS Trust have left because they mistakenly thought the north west would be “like London”, a health chief has revealed - as reported by The Daily Telegraph.
Christine Pearson, chief nurse for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, told a recent board meeting that the nurses recruited from abroad mistakenly believed they were moving to the capital.
The difficulties that arose from culture differences and language barriers prompted the trust to provide extra training for foreign nurses last year. The training programme taught nurses about local culture and dialect as well common phrases such as “make us a brew”.
13.55pm Millions of elderly people will be able to decide where they die under government plans to rewrite the NHS Constitution, reports The Daily Telegraph.
In the wake of the scandal at Stafford hospital, ministers have decided to re-write the NHS constitution, the charter setting out the principles of the healthcare system.
A consultation document released by the Government has set out plans to give patients more powers to plan and make decisions about their “end of life care”.
12.48pm Hernia operations should be performed by highly experienced hernia specialists to ensure the best outcomes for patients, according to a group of leaders in the field. A report launched as part of the new Hernia Outcomes Campaign found many inguinal hernia operations are done by surgeons who do just a few each year rather than those who regularly perform the procedure.
12.44pm Attendances at A&E departments rose to their highest level since December, according to the latest data from NHS England which covers last week.
Despite this increase emergency departments slightly improved their performance against the four hour target with 89 per cent of patients seen within four hours at major A&Es, compared to 87 per cent the previous week.
There were 77,754 emergency admissions via A&E, a 1.3 per cent drop on last week when 78,799 patients were admitted.
The number of patients waiting more than four hours to be admitted also decreased with 6,928 waiting compared to 9,059 the previous week.
The Independent’s health reporter, Charlie Cooper, tweeted: “DH confirm that the target of treating 95 per cent of patients at English NHS A&Es will not be met for 2014-15.”
It has long been expected that trusts would fail to meet the 95 per cent target during 2014-15. The target for all A&Es has been missed 23 weeks in a row. This target is easier to meet because it includes urgent care centres and minor injury units. Major A&Es have missed the target for 86 weeks in a row.
12.27pm New data shared with HSJ warns of a looming shortage of orthopaedic surgeons amid rising demand for hip and knee surgery. The warning comes fom the Royal College of Surgeons, which analysed official figures on operations.
12.10pm The NHS Confederation has welcomed a new analysis that suggests systemic pressures are to blame for increased hospital waiting times.The study by the Nuffield Trust concluded dips in performance could no longer be blamed on a handful of poor performing trusts.
“These findings come at a crucial time,” said NHS Confed chief executive Rob Webster. “We know the pressures across the system make it harder for NHS organisations to meet their national targets.
“We need to ensure the debate around health and care focuses on how we can address the fundamental challenges - this means changing models of care.”
11.55am Monitor has appointed Ruth May to the new position of nursing director - a key post within the regulator’s patient and clinical enagement team. The appointment has been welcomed by bodies including the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
“This is an important and very welcome appointment,” said RCN general secretary Peter Carter. “Nursing staff are the backbone of the NHS and it is only right that they are representented on its financial regulator.”
11.30am A hospital trust at the centre of well-publicised tensions between senior clinicians and management today announced the appointment of a new consultant.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust said it was delighted to welcome Dr Jule Watson to the emergency department at the Royal Worcestershire Hospital.
The move follows the mass resignation of a group of consultants employed in the emergency department at the trust’s Alexandra Hospital who criticised management and local re-configuration plans.
11.05am Plans to rebuild Papworth Hospital in Cambridge will go ahead after the project secured £46 million in European funding, it was announced today.
The European Investment bank has agreed to loan the sum to build the new 310-bed facility on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus next to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Construction on the site will start immediately with the new hospital expected to be open to patients early in 2018.
10.50am A trio of cancer drugs which NHS England had earlier this year said would be axed from the cancer drugs fund will remain available and funded, following a series of appeals by drug companies.
Eribulin, a breast cancer treatment, and Regorafenib, used to treat gastro-intestinal stromal tumours had been slated for removal from the fund following a review by NHS England in a bid to bring down its spiralling cost.
Pemetrexed, which helps to combat non-small cell Lung cancer, has also been spared for the moment. Back in January the drug’s two indications – specific conditions for which the drug can be prescribed – were removed.
The makers each of the medicines all made formal appeals to NHS England following the initial announcement of the changes to the fund, which saw eight drugs cut and a further eight had indications removed.
NHS England disclosed that each of the four drug indications had been subject to formal appeals, which had all been upheld “in part” and referred back to the cancer drugs fund panel for reconsideration.
The treatments will remain accessible to clincians wanting to prescribe them to patients though the fund until the latest evaluations are completed and subject to a final outcome.
More to follow.
10.28am Fundamental problems affecting the NHS will make it harder for all hospitals in England to meet key waiting times targets in the future, according to a new analysis by the Nuffield Trust.
The study, which looks at how all 156 hospital trusts in England have performed against six national targets, found a marked deterioriation in performance in some areas has affected both the best and worst performing organisations.
This casts doubt on the idea that dips in performance are caused by local or managerial failings and suggests systemic problems may well be to blame, say the report’s authors.
10.22am In a comment piece in The Times Philip Collins argues Labour does not have the instinct to back good ideas when it will suit them politically. He uses the example of the £6bn that will be given to Manchester to control its health spending, maintaining Labour’s position was uncertain, which uncovers “deep intellectual confusion” in the party’s thinking on health.
10.19am The Times reports that NHS watchdog, the National Institute for Care Excellence, has declared that fad regimes such as the Atkins and caveman diets are useless for staying slim, and blamed “coffee culture” for undermining healthy lifestyles. Children should not be given sweets as a treat and water should replace fizzy drinks, according to the guidance.
10.17am Also in The Guardian, the paper reports that the NHS has agreed “the biggest ever privatisation of its services”, in a deal worth up to £780m intended to help hospitals tackle the growing backlog of patients waiting for surgery and tests.
The deal will see 11 private firms paid by the NHS to carry out heart, joint and other types of operations and perform scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests on patients
10.14am The Guardian reports that a British healthcare worker who has been tested positive for Ebola arrived back in the UK from Sierra Leone yesterday and was transferred to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.
Officials said four UK military healthcare workers had come into contact with the infected worker and two accompanied her to the Royal Free.
10.02am Scans to produce souvenir snaps of unborn babies should not be carried out in the first ten weeks of pregnancy, warns The Daily Mail, reporting on new advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The college’s latest scientific review concludes ultrasound could expose a foetus to unknown risks. However, early scans ordered for medical reasons are fine as the benefits outweigh the risks.
10.00am Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust has appointed Steve Evans as its new medical director. Dr Evans joins the Merseyside trust from the NHS National Clinical Assessment Service, where he has worked for four years.
7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. For the winning party, manifesto commitments echo throughout their time in government, while Parliament has greater freedom to block policies not included in the document, writes Bill Morgan, a founding partner of Incisive Health.