How to deal with confidential information included in social media, and the rest of today’s news

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2.10pm: A statement from Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has revealed the trust’s accident and emergency department has now re-opened after a fire earlier today.

The fire was said to have been caused by a faulty extractor fan which caught fire, causing “minimal smoke and fire damage.”

Chris Holt, chief operating officer said: “We are pleased to be able to say that Stafford Hospital A&E is now open again.

“We are sorry for the disruption to our A&E service over the past few hours and we are very grateful to our own staff and the staff of  West Midlands Ambulance Service and Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service who have worked hard to make this possible so quickly.

“Thanks also to our neighbouring hospitals who have helped care for our patients during this time.”

12.45pm: Dr Kim Holt has written an opinion piece in which she says the death of four-year-old Daniel Pelka is tragically reminiscent of Peter Connelly’s.

She asks: “Did we really learn about the cultural issues that were pervasive in Haringey? I do not recollect anymention of the importance of an open supportive culture in any of the official statements made since the tragedy… no longer can we allow the victimisation of whistleblowers to leave children unsafe.”

Read her thoughts here.

12.30pm: Two senior nurses at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust have been found guilty of failing to ensure a patient with diabetes and dementia received vital insulin medication.

A fitness to practise panel concluded last week that both nurses were to blame for errors that led to the death of 66-year-old Gillan Astbury in April 2007.

Ms Astbury was admitted after a fall where she fractured her pelvis. Despite her need for insulin being documented and told to staff, senior staff nurse Ann King and ward manager Jeannette Coulson did not check her notes and ensure both that observations were taken or medication was given.

Ms Astbury went for 48 hours without insulin and ultimately slipped into a coma and died.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council panel found the fitness to practise of both was impaired and their behaviour amounted to misconduct.

Full story here.

12.20pm: Staff reported problems raising patient safety concerns at half of the 14 acute trusts investigated in the Keogh review, analysis by HSJ’s sister title Nursing Times has revealed.

The findings of a review into the trusts, which all had higher than expected mortality rates, was published last month by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

A failure to act on information that showed cause for concern and the absence of a culture of openness were two of the problems identified across many of the hospitals, the Department of Health said.

Full story here.

11.55am: The accident and emergency department at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been closed after a fire earlier this morning.

A statement from the trust said: “At present all ambulances are being diverted to other hospitals.

“We would ask that the public do not come to A&E at Stafford Hospital until the unit re-opens, which we hope will be early this afternoon. We will issue an update when we have a confirmed time.

“Until A&E re-opens, the public are asked to use A&E departments at other hospitals or the Minor Injuries Unit at Cannock Chase Hospital if appropriate.

“All other services including all outpatients continue as usual.”

11.40am: The business capabilities of some commissioning support units are being compromised due to ongoing payroll problems related to the transition to the new NHS organisational structure, HSJ has learned.

The difficulties are affecting CSUs’ human resources functions, which are being burdened with extra work due to staff not being paid expenses, being put on the wrong tax codes and, in extreme cases, not getting their salaries paid.

CSU representatives are understood to have met NHS payroll provider McKesson in late July to attempt to understand and resolve the issue.

No-one on either the CSU side or at McKesson knows how many staff are affected or how much money is involved in total.

Read the full HSJ story here.

11.20am: A top consultant has quit a hospital trust’s governing board as an inquiry linked to a surgeon accused of botching dozens of operations is due to start.

Paul Upton, Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust medical director, has left the board and becomes chief of “transformation” at the under-fire trust with immediate effect.

His decision means the most senior consultant at the Royal Cornwall Hospital is no longer the trust’s medical director or sits on the trust board.

Duncan Browne has been appointed interim medical director and an advert is to be placed for a permanent successor.

Read the full HSJ story here.

10.20am: The Don Berwick review into patient safety in the NHS is expected to be released tomorrow and is likely to form a crucial part of the government’s overall response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry.

International patient safety expert Professor Don Berwick was commissioned by the Prime Minister to look at the report by Robert Francis QC and suggest a way forward to make patient safety a key success for the NHS.

Professor Berwick has said he would take a “critical eye” to the Francis report and his conclusions on whether new criminal sanctions should be applied to NHS staff in cases of abuse and neglect could be significant in the lead up the the government’s final response to the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry in October.

10.10am: Writing in the Daily Telegraph Health Minister Dan Poulter comments on the new NHS Procurement Strategy: “I will personally be involved in these plans, and working with a new NHS procurement champion, I will head an expert group who will advise our NHS on how to be more efficient to free up more resources for frontline patient care.

“The most successful bargain hunters are those that know the trade well, who know where to get not only the best price, but the best quality for their money. By giving the health service more information on how to spend our money wisely, we will invigorate these money saving experts across our NHS to buy smarter for their patients and for taxpayers.

“I’m not expecting a David Dickinson in every hospital, but if we want to cut waste in our NHS and divert more money into frontline patient care, the health service needs to know a good bargain when it sees one.”

10.05am: A “procurement champion with private sector expertise” is to be appointed to lead the NHS’s push to get a better deal on its supplies.

Health minister Dan Poulter this morning announced recruitment would start immediately for the role.

He also said a “price index” for hospitals would allow trusts to compare their spending on different products and that he would cut the national temporary staffing bill of £2.4bn by a quarter.

The announcement was made alongside the release of the Department of Health’s procurement strategy.

See the full HSJ story here.

9.50am: A report in today’s Times claims pregnan women who eat too much sweet and fatty food may increase the risk of their child becoming an alcoholic as an adult.

A study on rats has suggested a vulnerability to alcohol addiction may begin in the womb and be affected by the mother’s diet.

The researchers from the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida claim the rise in obesity and young people drinking could be linked.

8:14am: Good morning, reputation and confidentiality are important considerations for most companies but are particularly essential for healthcare organisations, especially patient confidentiality.

Today on HSJ’s innovation and efficiency channel, Martin Cheyne and Laura Newcombe explain why the sensitive nature of healthcare makes it all the more important to be aware of inappropriate social network conduct and the damage it can do to an organisation’s reputation.