12.06pm The Review Body on Doctors and Dentists Remuneration’s report into clinical excellence awards for consultants has been published and makes some radical proposals. The report proposes making the awards non-non-pensionable and says local awards should be a one-off annual lump sum while national awards should be time limited to a maximum of five years. After this point consultants would have to reapply for an award. It also proposes introducing a “principal consultant” role for the top 10 per cent. Only these would earn up to £120,000 as a basic salary. The Department of Health said it has accepted the observations as a “basis for discussion” but was of the view the pensionable awards could be affordable following recent pensions reform.
11.30am: The Department of Health has stated its intention to remove the exemption of mental health services from rules giving patients a “free choice” of any provider in England for first outpatient appointments. In its response to a consultation on moves to extend patient choice, the department said, “we intend to remove this exception to free choice in due course”. It added: “This will give us time to bring about the changes that are necessary for removing the exemption, including in relation to payment systems and integration between mental health, social care and other services.”
10.58am: The NHS Cooperation and Competition Panel has published its advice to the special administrator of South London Healthcare Trust. It advises that two aspects of the proposed reconfiguration - the merger of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with Lewisham Healthcare Trust, and the interim management takeover of some of the Queen Mary’s site’s services by Dartford and Gravesham Trust - could give rise to “adverse effects” for patients and taxpayers. But it states that this “will not be the case if there are sufficient countervailing benefits to offset the likely reduction in patient choice and competition”.
10.46am: Our interactive map of the new NHS commissioning system, published last week, will remain free to access until the end of today. From tomorrow, access will be for subscribers only.
10.44am: As HSJ reported on Friday, the government is also expected to shortly announce a move to change hospital doctors’ contracts. It is likely to hope changes can be made which aid weekend working.
10.40am: The BBC and newspapers have covered the NHS Commissioning Board’s plans to further increase seven-day access and working in the NHS. HSJ has covered the story: National group to examine barriers to seven-day NHS. The board is expected to publish details of a review group on seven-day working tomorrow, as part of its planning guidance for 2012-13.
8.05am Good morning, today on HSJ Hannah Forbes looks at how an innovative approach called Listening into Action helped Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust take home this year’s HSJ Award for staff engagement.
LiA is based on evidence that engaged staff deliver better care for patients. It’s a part of trust’s quality, innovation, productivity and prevention agenda − and to save £125m over five years.