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  • NHS constitution recommendations are made
  • Cambridge’s resuscitation policy faces legal case

4.50pm The revised draft NHS Constitution includes a passage inserted by the Department of Health in response to a recent controversy over the “Liverpool Care Pathway”. The DH accepted the Future Forum’s recommendations in full, but, a spokesman said, “also made changes where we felt there were important issues to deal with… we make no apologies for that.” However one source close to the process cautioned that inserting a passage to address a recent controversy risked compromising the purpose of the document, which was to outline the enduring values unpinning the NHS rather than responding to recent events. Another told HSJ he was “pissed off” with how the debate around end of life care has “swamped” wider discussion of the constitution.

11.36am There are no firm plans in place to give the constitution more teeth. The Future Forum’s letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said more needed to be done in this area, but stopped short of making firm recommendations. The Department of Health’s consultation papers say more should be done to provide support and advice when rights are not upheld, and commit to further work on whether patient advisory liaison services should be put on a statutory footing. A second public consultation on giving the constitution greater traction will follow in the spring.

11.33am Click here to read HSJ’s story on the planned revisions to the NHS Constitution. The changes include new requirements to treat staff with dignity and respect, and to create a more “open culture” among NHS staff. These come ahead of the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, which is widely expected to identify an environment in which staff felt unable to raise concerns.

11.29am If accepted, the planned changes to the NHS Constitution would impose a “duty of candour” on providers of NHS care, requiring them to admit when they have made mistakes and make amends with patients. HSJ’s interview with Future Forum chair Steve Field revealed that, although the forum’s legal advice was that this could be imposed through provider contracts, Professor Field wanted to go further and write the duty into law.

11.15am The Department of Health has published its proposed changes to the NHS Constitution.

10.44am New commitments on end-of-life care and single-sex wards are set to be included in the NHS constitution, under proposals unveiled today.

10.40am A hearing into the circumstances surrounding Cambridge University Hospitals Trust resuscitation policy is due to start at the High Court.