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4.44pm: NHS Confederation chief operating officer Matt Tee said of the next phase of CQC inspections: “Inspection by external teams, including individuals with expertise gained as both professionals and patients, is a valuable contributor to managing and improving NHS performance. But it will never topple the ultimate responsibility for providing the best care possible from resting first and foremost with NHS staff and leaders.”

4.37pm: The Royal College of Nursing comments on new data from the Care Quality Commission indicating new measures of risk being identified as part of their inspections. Chief executive Peter Carter said: “The CQC is looking at the issues which our members have long been saying are crucial to the quality of care received by patients. By looking at data such as death rates and errors, alongside the opinions of staff and patients, the regulator should be able to identify those trusts which are not performing as they should.”

4.20pm: Responding to the CQC’s review of hospital trust data in England, Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council said: “Having this array of information in the public domain is an important step towards improving transparency across the NHS, informing and empowering patients and shining a light on hospitals which are not performing to the standard we expect. Hospitals are large, complex organisations so we need to avoid oversimplifying or reducing vast amounts of data to a simple band or rating.”

2.44pm: Read Sarah Calkin’s analysis of the blocked Bournemouth and Poole merger: “Monitor has moved to address concerns that competition rules are thwarting much needed service reconfiguration. It follows warnings that clashing regulations are leaving trusts trying to merge in a “catch-22” situation.” We’ve also got a related timeline and an opinion piece by Ben Collins.

2.05pm: Join HSJ on19 November for a free webinar, sponsored by Partnerships in Care, exploring how to make parity of esteem for mental and physical healthcare a reality. Make sure you register today to watch. Can’t make it this time? Don’t worry, you can catch up on demand at

1.50pm: The proportion of women aged 25 to 49 years who have had cervical screening has fallen by two percentage points, a new report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows. At 31 March 2013, 71.5 per cent of women aged between 25 and 49 had been screened in the last three and a half years, compared to 73.5 per cent at the same point in 2012.

1.41pm: The NHS 111 service is stable and improving, NHS England said today. It issued an update on the organisations that are to replace NHS Direct, currently one of the providers of NHS 111 services. “NHS Direct has had some difficulties in providing these services and decided in agreement with NHS England that it would withdraw from the market. The NHS 111 service in England is divided into 44 areas, nine of which are currently provided by NHS Direct.”

12.20pm: NHS Direct is to be completely wound up by the end of the financial year and its remaining business dispersed to other providers, it has been announced. The closure of the telephone and online health advice provider after 15 years follows the NHS trust’s announcement it was pulling out of all 11 of its NHS 111 contracts because they were financially unsustainable, just three months after a disastrous launch in April.

12.10pm: HSJ’s story on the news that the Commons health committee has voted not to endorse Dominic Dodd as chair of health regulator Monitor. The committee said it did not think Mr Dodd was the “right person” to see through what it described as a “difficult transition” from existing chief executive and chair David Bennett.

11.37am: The Commons health committee has said it does not endorse the appointment of Dominic Dodd as Monitor chair. “This has been a period of great uncertainty for Monitor, with the nature of its role in the new system being unclear for most of the 18 months between the introduction of the Bill in January 2011 and its passing in 2012.

“(Former interim chair) David Bennett has both shaped and interpreted the role that Monitor now plays in the system which makes the transition to another individual taking on the chair an especially difficult one. We do not think Mr Dodd is the right person to undertake that difficult transition.”

11.04am: David Worskett, chief executive of the NHS Partners Network, said: “The NHS Partners Network is very pleased that the question of the future leadership of NHS England has now been so satisfactorily resolved and wishes Mr Stevens every success when he takes up his challenging new role next April.

“What is most important, and most encouraging in our view, is that the board of NHS England has appointed a world-class commissioning expert, who will now be able to bring his expertise and professionalism to bear on NHS England’s primary role.”

11am: Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: “We look forward to working with Simon Stevens when he takes up his new role. The NHS in England faces huge challenges as it deals with unprecedented demand and rapid change. It will be more important than ever that patients have confidence in the NHS’s ability to meet that challenge.”

10.56am: The Times is reporting the appointment of Simon Stevens as NHS England’s new chief executive and says ministers were impressed with his “reforming instincts” as an adviser to Tony Blair and Alan Milburn. It points out he drove the development of Independent Treatment Centres and is not a member of the Labour Party.

The newspaper also points to his praise of Andrew Lansley’s reforms, describing them as the “fulfillment of Blairite plans for the NHS”, and his belief that competition can drive up standards.

10.50am: This tweet earns its own little entry.
Mike Birtwistle @mbirty “Rumour has it that Jeremy Hunt remembers Simon Stevens from Oxford days but not the other way round. First show of independence?!”

10.44am: Reactions to Stevens’ appointment from the twittersphere:
Labour backroom @labourpaul: “Ex-Lambeth Labour councillor gets top NHS job”. Not as dramatic as “US health boss” #simonstevens
Lansley’s special adviser @billmorgan82 “Q: Would NHS England have been able to attract the best person for the job if its independence wasn’t nailed down in legislation?”
Ex-Times health correspondent @Martinbarrow. “Astonished by low-key media coverage of appointment of Simon Stevens… is a defining moment for the NHS”
HSJ’s @davewwest: “Government undoubtedly pleased to welcome a strong NHS England chief exec and “reformer and an innovator” rather than no or weak appointment.”

10.40am: The FT describes Simon Stevens’ new role as chief executive of NHS England as ‘one of the most politically charged roles in public life.’ They reported that health insiders described Stevens as ‘a non-partisan choice who offered clear continuity with the reforming New Labour years.’

10.37am: Telegraph lead story: almost a quarter of NHS trusts have been identified as high risk and may not be offering safe, good-quality care to patients, a new report shows. Analysis by the CQC found 44 trusts with the most serious level of concern, including higher than expected death rates across their hospitals.

And on Simon Stevens: “Tony Blair’s former advisor has been appointed as NHS chief executive, and been praised by the Health Secretary for “leading from the front” by taking a 10 per cent pay cut.”

10.27am: The second wave of acute trusts to be inspected by the Care Quality Commission has been announced this morning. Nine of the 19 trusts to be inspected in January have been identified as posing the highest risk under the CQC’s new “intelligent monitoring system”.

10.18am: Matt Tee, chief operating officer of the NHS Confederation said: “I have known Simon sincewe worked together at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. His appointment is really welcome at what is one of the most challenging times in the history of the NHS. Simon is a highly respected global health leader who has retained close links with the NHS and has NHS values at his core.”

9.52am: Speaking on behalf of NHS Clinical Commissioners, Dr Charles Alessi, interim chair, and Dr Michael Dixon, interim president said: “It is hugely welcome that Simon Stevens brings with him experience of commissioning and working with clinical commissioners. 

“The NHS faces significant challenges and we look forward to working with him to ensure the commissioning system is aligned around a common goal that means the NHS delivers the highest possible quality care as efficiently as possible.”

9.45am: Commenting on the appointment of Simon Stevens, King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said: “He will arrive in post with the NHS facing unprecedented financial and service pressures and its most significant challenges in a generation - meeting these challenges will require leadership skills of the highest order.

“Simon brings exceptional knowledge of working at the highest level of government, a strong commitment to the NHS and significant international experience. He will bring a keen appetite for addressing the challenges facing the NHS - as such I cannot think of anyone better qualified for the role.”

7.48am The NHS England chief executive added: “One of the values we wanted to explore was about that commitment [to healthcare free at the point of delivery].

But he continued: “We can’t close the NHS to ideas from abroad. His vision and values were what convinced us he was the best man for the job.”

7.44am Sir Malcolm was also asked whether the appointment of someone who held a senior role in a US healthcare company, UnitedHealth, signalled a move towards more privatisation of health services. He responded that decisions would be made in the interests of patients so if a monopoly system provided the best service then it would be retained or if a mixed economy was best then it would be pursued.

Sir Malcolm continued: “That’s not the objective of bringing in Simon. The point of bringing in Simon is that he has global experience of different models of healthcare.”

7.38am Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, has been speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme about the appointment of Simon Stevens as the body’s chief executive.

“We are wanted someone who could bring fresh ideas to the NHS.

“We are facing one of the gravest crises the NHS has seen.

In Simon Stevens we are confident that we’ve found someone who is a globally respected leader in healthcare. He not only understands the NHS - he did his initial training here in the NHS - since then he has spent nine years in the US.”

Responding to the suggestion that few British-based figures applied for the role, he responded: “No, absolutely not.” Sir Malcolm insisted: “We have reviewed the credentials of over 100 candidates.”

7.30am: Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live, the only web page you’ll need open if you want to keep an eye on what’s breaking and what’s just broken on and the wider healthcare world.

New on the site today is a blog by Ben Collins, who says the Competition Commission’s stance on foundation trust mergers may seem unyielding, but there is still promise for NHS organisations wanting to merge.

And in Resource Centre today, Shaun O’Hanlon argues that introducing the technology to make Caldicott’s “duty to share” a reality is an imperative for the NHS.