Over a third of CCGs approved to jointly commission GP services with NHS England, plus the rest of today’s news and comment.

4.55pm Have you had your say on change within the health service in 2015? Our Change Challenge platform closes today. We need your help to progress the solutions submitted to create bottom-up change into examples which could be easily adopted and implemented across the health system.

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3.11pm Medway Foundation Trust has appointed a new chief executive.

Lesley Dwyer will lead the trust, which has been heavily criticised by the Care Quality Commission for its poor accident and emergency performance.

Ms Dwyer’s start date is yet to be confirmed but is expected to be towards the end of May.

Ms Dwyer was previously chief executive of West Moreton Hospital and Health Service in Queensland, Australia.

2.44pm A ward sister who paid a cheque for a hospital charity into her own bank account and falsified her timesheets has been jailed for the £17,000 fraud following an investigation by NHS counter fraud investigators.

Melanie Shurn, a ward sister at Royal Gwent Hospital pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.

In July 2013, the hospital received an anonymous tip off that Ms Shurn had paid a cheque intended for the hospital’s charitable fund department into her private bank account. An investigation revealed that she had also manipulated her timesheets on 76 occasions to fraudulently claim payment for shifts she had not worked.

2.06pm Monitor has launched an investigation into King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust because of ‘long standing problems’ at Princess Royal University Hospital.

King’s took over PRUH in 2013 after the dissolution of South London Healthcare Trust. It was agreed that King’s would receive £192m of transitional support over the five years following the takeover; however the trust has already seen its costs increase through making improvements at the hospital.

It recently received £10m from the NHS Trust Development Authority, according to its January board papers.

1.30pm The role of the market is ‘hugely limited’ in health and social care partly because its users often ‘have no power’, the Care Quality Commission chair has said.

David Prior made the argument at the Homelessness, Social Exclusion and Health Inequalities 2015 conference in London yesterday.

He said: “In the NHS in particular the normal drivers of improvement that you’d see in the business world [such as] globalisation, consumer choice and competition… those things that drive change in many business areas, are simply not there.

“I’m a Conservative, there’s no secret about that, but the role of the market is hugely limited in health and social care, in part because many of the people who need care the most – as many homeless people are – are often unheard; they have no power.”

1.03pm Over a third of CCGs around the country have been approved to jointly commission GP services with NHS England, it has been announced.

This follows the news last week of the first CCGs approved to take on greater delegated responsibility for GP services and means that from 1 April, over 70 percent of CCGs (150 to date) will take on greater commissioning responsibility for GP services.

Amanda Doyle, primary care co-commissioning programme oversight group co-chair and chief clinical officer for Blackpool CCG, said:

“Co-commissioning is a key enabler in developing seamless, integrated out-of-hospital services based around the needs of local populations. It gives greater commissioning power to local areas and will help drive the development of new integrated models of care such as multispecialty community providers and primary and acute care systems.”

Ian Dodge, national director for commissioning strategy at NHS England, said:

“We’ve now backed a total of 150 CCGs to take on delegated and joint commissioning powers to improve local primary care. This sends a strong message about the confidence we have in CCGs, and is another demonstration of our commitment to a new deal for primary care.  Joining up the commissioning system is critical to help unlock new models of integrated care described in the NHS Five Year Forward View.”

12.25pm A number of trusts were told to reduce the number of medically fit patients who were delayed in being discharged from hospital by 50 per cent in a month, HSJ has learned.

Trusts that struggled to meet the four hour accident and emergency target and also had a high number of medically fit for discharge patients - known as “green to go” patients - were told to cut the number of these patients by half throughout February.

This comes as the latest data, for January, shows that delayed transfers of care were at their highest recorded level.

11.52am The Times writes that one in five workers will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives, according to a report from the OECD, which found the cost of dealing with the problem was higher in Britain than overseas.

Mental ill health costs the UK about 4.5 per cent of GDP, as a result of NHS treatment, benefits for long-term sick leave and low productivity. That compares with 3.7 per cent in Germany and 3.4 per cent in France.

11.38am The Times reports that men taking statins could increase their risk of getting diabetes by 46 per cent, according to a study.

Researchers in Finland looked at 8,749 non-diabetic men aged 45-73, 2,142 of whom were on the cholesterol-lowering drugs. During six years of follow-up, 625 men contracted diabetes.

After considering other factors including age, height and weight, waist size and how much the men smoked and drank alcohol, they found that those who had been on statins were 46 per cent likelier to develop the disease.

10.59am The Times reports on guidance issued today by NICE ordering an end to what the newspaper calls ‘whirlwind’ care visits to the sick and elderly.

Visits of less than 15 minutes have become routine in parts of the country, with carers rushing in and out of private homes to help older people and dementia sufferers to carry out daily activities such as bathing, eating and getting in and out of bed.

In some cases elderly people have little or no other contact with the outside world.

10.17am Lord Owen has written to the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, accusing the government of a “serious abuse” of conventions in its plans to implement in shadow form its Manchester health devolution plans by April 2015.

Lord Owen said he objected “in the strongest possible terms” to the “apparent readiness to accept that such a far reachin initiative… should be implemented in shadow form from 1 April 2015 when Parliament is likely to be prorogued either immediately before that date or very soon afterwards”.

He writes that there “should be no policy pre-emption or political advantage taken during the run up to a general election”.

“I write to urge you to immediately rule that [the Manchester devolution memorandum of understanding] is unacceptable in its starting date and that the decision as to whether it should proceed in its shadow form with the involvement of central government should be made by whoever is secretary of state for health in the new government post 7 May”.

9.50am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. We begin the day with the news that a decision by NHS England to hand more than half of the country’s PET-CT imaging services to one company could be the subject of a formal complaint to market regulator Monitor, HSJ has learned.

News of the potential complaint comes after the government was asked in the House of Commons to reassure MPs that no “undue influence” was brought to bear over the £350m contract.