Public Accounts Committee sets out criticism of hospital consultants’ contract, and the rest of the day’s news.

Live logo





16.29pm: Jeremy Hunt has just confirmed that Kay Sheldon has been re-appointed for a third term as a non-executive director on the board of the Care Quality Commission.

16.19pm: Dave West tweets: “The GMC has confirmed there is no date for a hearing in relation to Barbara Hakin today. However. for the record re-earlier tweets, Nicholson highlighted that issues in relation to Barbara Hakin & United Lincs are hotly disputed.

15.53pm: Charlotte Leslie MP is now pressing Nicholson on Barbara Hakin and United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.

Dave West tweets: “Leslie @CLeslieMP has letter from DH official to solicitors about judicial mediation. Pressing him on earlier comment he hasn’t heard of it

“Charlotte Leslie raises the 2009 Barbara Hakin note to United Lincs saying targets must be met ‘whatever the demand’

“Nicholson says he’ll consider any evidence Charlotte Leslie sends him on Barbara Hakin, but says she has worked hard for patients every day.”

He is also asked whether he provided a reference for Cynthia Bower’s CQC job. Says he’s not sure.

HSJ understands Bower took a lot of persuading to take the CQC chief executive post.

15.12pm: HSJ’s Dave West tweets from the Parliamentary health committee: “Jeremy Hunt says his elderly services review will report in early autumn so can inform next Mandate to NHS England. Will include follow-up from Bruce Keogh emergency care review; integration/social care work; primary care work. So expect requirements from those three to come up in imminent Mandate discussions.”

On other fronts Hunt says the NHS ‘integration’ money transfer to councils for social care will help with delayed discharge and says the Safe and Sustainable [paediatric cardiac surgery] work included mistakes and the delay caused is “incredibly bad news” for the NHS.”

Hunt adds: “If I’m lucky enough to be in this job in two years, invite me back” to ask about complaints - MP Rosie Cooper pressing hard on complaints.

15.04pm: Following the confusion and obstructions to making meaningful use of the surgical performance data this week, Sir Bruce Keogh said he plans to issue further “guidelines” on how the information should be presented in the future.

14.02pm: HSJ’s commissioning sector reporter David Williams tweets: “Two new stories from me. First: NHS England is considering two-year allocations for CCGs

 “Also new from me: the great NHS legal debacle re the use of data is still going on. DH considers new law to fix.”

Click here for the latest on information governance and here for  the story about CCG allocations.

12.48pm: GP Johnny Marshal on what the NHS can learn from coffee shops, encouraging people to complain.

12.12pm: Interesting blog on GP federations over at the King’s Fund.

11.01am: The Department of Health is considering changing the law to give trusts power to use patient identifiable data for uses notdirectly relating to patient care, HSJ has discovered.

David Williams reports that commissioners have privately complained they are still uncertain how they can carry out tasks such as checking invoices from providers with whom they have no contract.

10.59am: Wales is mulling an organ donation opt-out law, Press Association reports.

10.46am: HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle is covering the chair of the Local Government Association’s speech calling for greater devolution to the local level.

10.40am: The Daily Telegraph runs a page two story headlined “patients promised better surgeon data” and reports: “Many of the professional organisations that have released the data have done so in a way that means the public cannot compare one doctor’s death rates with those of another or seek out surgeons with the lowest death rates.”

It quotes NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh saying: “We will spend the next few months working on a way to [present the data better] in the most useful way for patients and others, and we want it presented in a common format. I think we have made a major step in getting the data out. This is the start of the journey.”

10.20am: Monitor chief executive David Bennett is appearing on Radio Four this evening to explain pricing policy. Nottingham University Hospitals boss Peter Homa joins him. There are seven days left to respond to Monitor’s consultation on pricing policy.

10.13am: The Department of Health has set out its new rules on social care entitlements.

The new threshold for getting social care entitlements will be “equivalent” to the standard currently used by 130 of the 152 authorities that have adult social care responsibilities, according to guidance from the department.

However, it will be less generous than the standard used by 19 councils, meaning those authorities could rein in their provision.

10.07am: The public accounts committee’s damning judgment of the 2003 hospital consultants’ contract makes the front-page of The Daily Telegraph.

The paper quotes health minister Dan Poulter saying: “This is yet another example of the Labour government being absrudly naive when negotiating contracts with the emdical profession.”

10.03am: Today is the first day of a three-day judicial review into the downgrading of Lewisham Hospital in the High Court. This is the case brought by a local campaign group and Lewisham Council against the Trust Special Administrator appointed to South London Healthcare Trust, and the secretary of state. Lewisham Hospital was slated for downgrade by the special administrator’s report, as part of a wider solution for south east London.

Campaigners say special administartor Matthew Kershaw acted outside of his powers by recommending the Lewisham downgrade. They also argue that the move fails the “four tests” a reconfiguration must pass because Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group oppose the move.

HSJ understands the special administrator’s argument is that other CCGs across south east London agree with the move.

Mr Kershaw recommended South London Healthcare trust be dissolved and its three sites divided between three other trusts. Lewisham is slated for merger with Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, which has a large PFI, meaning Lewisham would have to lose its A&E.

9.52am: Various media today cover the Public Accounts Committee’s report on the consultants’ contract. The Parliamentary committee found that NHS hospital consultants are being poorly managed, and the contract introduced in 2003 was a “missed opportunity” which delivered poor value for money. HSJ’s story is here. The full report is available from the PAC website.

8:31am: A recent study has identified that there could be considerable merit in applying public value management theory, as originally proposed by business professor Mark Moore in 1995, to the procurement of healthcare.

Today on HSJ Alan Turrell, of Walsall CCG, looks at the merits of adopting this approach over public management theory in the current context.