New appointments to the NHS England board, Salford admits surgery problems and the rest of today’s news and comment.

Live logo

3.48pm Salford Royal Foundation Trust has admitted it unknowingly left hundreds of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for orthopaedic surgery, including at least 10 who had waited more than a year, HSJ’s Ben Clover reports. The high profile trust, whose approach to safety has been championed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, has made changes to the leadership of its surgery division following the discovery.

1.13pm: HSJ will host a live webchat with Sir David Dalton at 12pm on Tuesday 8 July, where he will answer your questions on hsi review into new provider models for the acute sector.

The scope for the discussion will be wide ranging, and Sir David is keen to hear the thoughts of leaders and staff at provider organisations, patients and commissioners. Topics will include:

  • If providers do form chains, how can we ensure they remain accountable to their local populations?
  • How can the best providers of NHS care be incentivised to work across different locations?
  • How can patients be involved in improving the quality of services provided.
  • What new organisational options can improve the quality of care?
  • How might staff be affected by the changes to the organisation they work for?
  • Why would the organisational form of a provider would matter to staff?

You can leave your questions and views for Sir David below the article now.

12.46pm One more piece of controversy from the nationals this morning:

Jane Merrick argues in the The Independent that the antibiotic crisis is not entirely the fault of patients, and questions who should be blamed for the crisis.

Ms Merrick recognises that patients who do not finish the prescribed course of antibiotics fuel the problem but argues against the notion that the blame should lie entirely on patients. She suggests that the majority of the blame should be placed on GPs who overprescribe antibiotics, handing them out “like sweets” to reduce the length of consultations. 

The article has sparked a Twitter conversation with a GP from Derby, who tweeted in response that he does not “recognise the dynamics in this antibiotic-crisis-GP basher”. Other replies included “oh look, another non-medic writing about medicine”.

In reply to this - and a stream of related comments - Jane tweeted this morning: “so as a ‘non-medic’, I am not allowed to write pieces saying it’s outrageous I can’t get an appointment for three weeks? Get a grip.”

12.02pm More on senior appointments to NHS England.

NHS England says Mr Dodge has been appointed director of commissioning strategy and that he fills the space created by the departure of policy director Bill McCarthy.

“His responsibilities will include leading the organisation’s work on national strategy, commissioning policy and analysis. He will take up post on 7th July,” their statement says.

NHS England has made three further senior appointments:

  • Andrew Ridley, managing director of North and East London Commissioning Support Unit will take up a secondment as programme director for the better care fund. He will lead a small team drawn from NHS England, the Department of Health, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association.
  • Dr Mahiben Maruthappu has been appointed to the chief executive’s office. NHS England says he will become the first member of a “new programme providing opportunities for early and mid-career clinicians and managers to work on national strategy and operations”. Dr Maruthappu is an academic foundation doctor at Imperial College London and chief innovation officer for TEDMED London.
  • Jo Lenaghan, director of strategy and workforce planning at Health Education England will take up a part-time four month secondment as project director for the “NHS 5 year Forward View”, programme. NHS England says “a key element of Jo’s work will be to ensure wider NHS system engagement in the Forward View project.”

11.42 Apart from the Guardian’s splash about commissioning in Staffordshire, there are a number of other health stories in the national press this morning.

In the wake of David Cameron’s warning about antibiotic resistance, the Daily Telegraph reports that Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, has stated that patients should not argue with their doctors if they are refused antibiotics.

Elsewhere, the Telegraph also reports an argument put forward by the British Medical Journal that a assisted suicide should be legalised because “choice” is more important than preserving life.

The Independent is carrying a story that Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka genetically manipulated the H1N1 flu virus in a lab with a relatively low level of biosecurity. The report claims that this places humanity at risk of death and illness.

The Independent also reports a call from Unite general secretary Len McCluskey to negotiate an exclusion of the NHS from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement which they claim could make it impossible for privatisations to ever be renationalised.

In the Financial Times has a piece based on a health select committee report which states that patients with multiple co-morbidities present a £4 billion issue for the NHS, which the report argues is “overwhelmingly set up to address single diseases”.

And finally the Times reports advice from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence that parents should not sleep in the same bed as babies under the age of one to reduce the risk of cot death. The same paper also reports that the NHS is to form the centrepiece of Labour’s political campaigning this summer.

11.02am: Ian Dodge has been appointed as NHS England’s new director of strategy. The appointment was announced this morning at the organisation’s board meeting in Birmingham.

Mr Dodge is currently the Department of Health’s policy director. Stay tuned for more updates from the NHS England board meeting, or follow our reporter Judith Welikala on Twitter, who’s in the room.

10.43am: There are just two days left to nominate your organisation for the HSJ Awards 2014.

Now in their 33rd year, the HSJ Awards’ 22 categories recognise and reward best practice in healthcare organisations throughout the country.

The deadline for entries is Friday 4 July.

10.26am: The Guardian have picked up on the ambitious project in Staffordshire to put end of life care and cancer care services out to tender.

NHS cancer care faces privatisation, runs the headline on their front page splash this morning.

The ambitious project was first reported by HSJ in September 2013, would see two ten-year contracts worth a combined £1.2bn, covering four clinical commissioning group areas.

Last autumn the Staffordshire CCGs were named one of the Department of Health’s integrated care pioneer sites on the strength of the plan. The proposals are considered innovative because of the length and structure of the contracts.

Macmillan Cancer Support has been working with the CCGs to design the contract specifications, which will involve an element of risk and gain share based on outcomes. Commissioners intend to bring in a “prime provider” to lead the integration of cancer and end of life services across acute, community and hospice care. This contractor could then sub contract elements of the work to other NHS, private or charity organisations. The tender process began last March.

As we reported last September, commissioners have no fixed view about who the principle providers could be. However, it is thought likely a credible bid could be made by a consortium of organisations.

The Guardian’s “privatisation” line is based on the revelation that Virgin, Care UK, Ramsay Health and other private firms, have attended briefings run by Macmillan about the contracts.

10.20am: Voters fear the principle of free healthcare is in danger and that the NHS is threatened by the private sector, an exclusive HSJ/FTI Consulting poll has found.

The survey, conducted jointly with FTI Consulting, also reveals that the NHS retains extremely high levels of support among the general population.

A huge majority would approve of a cash injection into the service as the economy improves.

7.00am Good morning. The NHS England board will be meeting at 10.30 this morning to discuss finance, primary care co-commissioning and the performance of the health service. HSJ reported yesterday that the commissioning board is struggling to balance its £97bn budget.