The Royal College of Surgeons has condemned a stand-off between local and national commissioners over surgery for the morbidly obese, plus the rest of the day’s news and comment.

Live logo

5.50pm Victims of Jimmy Savile are calling for a single inquiry into how he evaded justice during his lifetime over allegations he abused children. 

More than 30 individual investigations being carried out by organisations linked to the late BBC presenter and, including several investigations by the NHS.

In November, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced there would be 19 separate hospital inquiries.

Health select committee chairman Stephen Dorrell said the process in the NHS was not quick enough.

5.29pm Our sister title Nursing Times is asking nurses and midwives for their views on the new process under which they must prove they are fit to practise every three years.

5.20pm Following the annocument that 158 nursing staff at NHS Direct are to be made redundant at the end of March, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This is sad news indeed for the individuals affected, and could to lead to patients seeing their NHS 111 service stretched even further.

“After the dismantling of NHS Direct, we’ve been left with a fragmented, localised NHS 111 service that offers uncertainty and inconsistency across many parts of the country.

“Soon we’re going to lose another 158 skilled nursing staff from a system that is already struggling to cope. What we need to see is investment into the service to get it up to standard and retain skilled nursing staff, not let them go.

“The RCN will continue to engage with providers to ensure that NHS 111 improves as a service. NHS Direct was a clinically-led national service copied across the world, and we believe that NHS patients deserve these standards of care from properly-trained nursing staff.”

4.59pm Following George Osborne’s speech earlier today, warning of further cuts to public spending, The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman writes: “Conservative MPs have made repeated calls for their party to reconsider its commitment to ring-fencing the NHS budget, with Liam Fox reiterating that demand last week.

“But though public spending increases in the Labour years did not lead to massive improvements in service provision, there is still an omertà on senior politicians making these kinds of noises about the NHS budget. It is politically unpalatable.”

4.40pm Wales’ minister for health and social services said “people do have to be willing to take greater responsibility for shaping their own health”, according to WalesOnline.

Professor Mark Drakeford said: “Government has a responsibility that we create the conditions in which people are able to do that. There’s no point in saying to people they need to take more exercise if they don’t have the opportunities to do that. That will be part of the discussion.”

However, he said the government “also has to help to create more direct things”.

“The ban on smoking in public places is the single most important public health action that has been taken in the last 25 years and I want our public health bill to be practical, and think of ways which we can help on these big public health agendas.”

4.25pm Speaking to BBC’s Radio 5 Live, Dr Geraint Lewis, NHS England’s chief data officer, said the NHS combining patient data from GPs and hospitals for the first time “will give us a much more complete, more rounded picture of how the NHS is providing joined-up care across the country.”

NHS England has already begun sending leaflets out to every household in England to inform residents that information from their patient records will be used in a national database unless they choose to opt out.

4.03pm In The Guardian, Dominic Read and Dominic Harrison, consultant and director in public health at Blackburn with Darwen borough council, outline five ways councils can help people stop smoking.  

3.49pm In the NHS Voices blog, Angela McNab, chief executive of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, writes:

“Here is our challenge: we are trying to establish a culture of compassion that provides consistent care to patients, and we expect to hold to account anyone who wilfully fails to deliver that. But we recognise that openness, learning and improving will not happen unless we work together and treat each other compassionately too.

If we are going to radically step up in terms of openness – speaking up when we see something that is not right, immediately responding to a complaint and seeing every action that goes wrong as an opportunity to improve – then surely we must change our attitudes to such incidents across the sector and in public.”

3.30pm In an interview with Sky News, Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said it would cost £1bn to recruit enough staff to keep practices to stay open seven days a week.

Dr Baker said: “If we were to move to seven days a week we would need 10,000 more GPs.

“We probably need the same number of practice nurses and a proportionate number of support staff.

“We don’t think seven days a week is realistic.”

2.35pm A memorial for Scottish organ and tissue donors is to be built in the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

The artist appointed to carry out this task is Alec Finlay. Edinburgh-based artist Alec Finlay has been appointed to carry out the task.

Scotland’s minister for public health Michael Matheson said: “We are delighted to have an artist of Alec’s calibre and reputation involved in the creation of this memorial. We are also very grateful to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for their support and for giving us a home for this project

“Through the selfless generosity of organ donors and their families, who at a time of great tragedy honour their loved-ones wishes, many lives are saved and transplant recipients go on to lead full and active lives. It is right and fitting that we should acknowledge the gift that is given through organ donation with a public memorial.”

Sandra Warden donated the organs of her daughter Rachel, 11, saving three lives, said: “Having a national memorial to recognise and remember all those who, in death were able to give the greatest gift of all - that of life - is very important.

“I hope it will make people think about organ donation and discuss with their loved ones what they would like them do if anything ever happened to them. From when she was very young Rachel understood organ donation and made me promise we would donate her organs if anything ever happened to her and we fulfilled her wishes.”

Gill Hollis, who received a lung transplant  and is on the working group for the memorial, said: “The national organ donation memorial is very important to me. My transplant anniversary is now more important than my real birthday and I try to make the most of every day, not just for me and my family, but also for the person whose life saved mine.

“It’s impossible to thank my donor enough for the gift they gave me, but I’m really looking forward to having a place that recognises and remembers them.”

2.05pm Monitor is to regulate independent providers of NHS-funded services for the first time.

From 1 April this year, independent providers of NHS-funded services, including charities and hospicies, will be required to hold a licence.

Providers to would need to be deemed fit and proper persons and registered with the Care Quality Commission to acquire a licence. They would also be required to submit financial information.

Independent providers requiring a licence and registration with the Care Quality Commission will be able to get both through a joint process from April onwards.

Monitor’s director Jason Dorsett, said: “The Southern Cross scandal brought home to people how much uncertainty about the financial future of the organisation had a negative impact on patients and their families.

“Our overriding duty is to protect patients, so we are not going to sit back and wait for financial failures at providers to disrupt essential services, we will actively monitor providers of these services, looking for financial problems and acting quickly to ensure those services continue.”

Independent providers deliver an estimated £8.5bn of NHS-funded services according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Nuffield Trust.  

1.20pm The Royal College of Surgeons has condemned a stand-off between local and national commissioners over surgery for the morbidly obese, HSJ’s Ben Clover reports.

1.15pm Mental health nurses are to be based at some of England’s police stations and courts as part of a new pilot scheme.

12.58pm Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, discusses what 2014 has in store for the NHS in The Guardian.

He writes: “The NHS has once again shown its extraordinary resilience in 2013, in many respects its annus horribilis.

“This year certainly won’t be an annus mirabilis, but it does offer us a great opportunity to plot the new course to the rapid radical reform that is so desperately needed.”

12.50pm Are you an acute clinical leader, chief operating officer or transformation manager? Sign up for our free Hospital Transformation email.

12.30pm Also in The Daily Telegraph, people who are bereaved, suffering sexual problems or are unable to sleep, are being wrong diagnosed with depression and prescribed antidepressants, according to a study by Chris Dowrick, a GP and professor of primary medical care at Liverpool University.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, he said: “Over-diagnosis is now more common than under-diagnosis”.

12.00pm More from today’s papers this lunchtime – The Daily Telegraph reports that a number of NHS trusts have reduced food bills by more than two thirds.

According to official data, some trusts spend as little as some hospitals now spending as little as 69p per meal.

Alex Jackson, of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “There is anecdotal evidence that where food is better and more nutritious, morale is higher and recovery times are quicker,”

He added: “Relatives are shocked at what patients are being served.”

11.52am Commenting on the launch of the first part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s consultation on revalidation, Sue Covill, director of employment services at NHS Employers, said:

“There’s been a huge focus on recruiting nursing staff who have the right skills and values, however most are already established in their roles and we need great systems to assess and support them too.

“Getting this right means building on existing processes and ensuring new systems are as streamlined as possible, always with a clear focus on how they benefit patients.

“With more than 350,000 nurses and midwives working in the NHS in England, this huge task requires careful consideration as well as engagement with registrants and employers to ensure it is a success. Based on our engagement with employers so far, we know they are keen to contribute to the consultation. 

“We are looking forward to working with the NMC throughout 2014 and building on the work that has commenced so far.”

11.45am Responding to the chancellor’s speech today on the need for a further £25bn in public spending cuts, Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Despite all the talk of hard truths, politicians and bureaucrats continue to spend nearly half of our national income.

“Far too much taxpayers’ money is wasted and our public services are not delivering value. If the chancellor wants to cut taxes to give families and businesses a badly needed break, then he has to get a grip on wasteful spending.”

11.35am Back to today’s papers, The Times reports the patients are at risk of being denied treatments for cancer and heart disease, as NHS England’s specialised services budget is forecast for a £336m deficit by April.

Mike Hobday, director of policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Macmillan’s concern is that there is a wider threat to the sustainability of cancer services more generally. If we’re overspending now where there are two million people living with cancer, what will it be like in 2030 when there are four million?”

11.10am Camaraderie, connectivity and non-traditionalism - the generation born after 1980 have a distinctly different set of values from the people who manage them, argue Helen Bevan and colleagues from the NHS Horizons group.

11.03am HSJ reporter Shaun Lintern analyses the national workforce plan unveiled by Health Education England, aimed at ensuring the NHS has the right mix and numbers of staff.

10.58am NHS England has begun sending leaflets out to every household in England to inform residentsthat information from their patient records will be used in a national database unless they actively opt out, HSJ’s Nick Renauld-Komiya reports.

10.55am Throughout the week, Sky News will be investigating all aspects of the NHS and is inviting viewers to tweettheir experience.

This morning, Kay Burley interviews clinical nurse Fiona Loverdos while she has a consultation with a young patient.

10.50am In The Financial Times, George Osborne has warned there would need to a further £25bn worth of cut to public spending to close Britain’s deficit. The NHS, would be one of the key services protected. The others include education and science.

10.50am In The Financial Times, George Osborne has warned there would need to a further £25bn worth of cut to public spending to close Britain’s deficit. The NHS, would be one of the key services protected. The others include education and science.

10.35amThe Daily Mail reports that doctors have hit out against plans to gather personal information on millions of patients from their medical files.

One doctor told The Mail he thinks it is a breach of data protection laws.

Dr Geraint Lewis, chief data officer at NHS England, said: “The NHS has been collecting information like this from hospitals for decades but until now we’ve been missing information about the quality of care provided outside hospital.”

“This is about upgrading our information systems to get a more complete picture of the quality of care being delivered across all parts of the NHS and social care.”

10.12am Ben Goldacre writes The Guardian: “Nobody can give you a fully informed view on the benefits of any treatment, let alone Tamiflu, because the results of clinical trials are being routinely and legally withheld from doctors, researchers and patients.”

He argues: “Anyone undermining the case for transparency will find themselves on the wrong side of patients and the wrong side of history. Medicine relies on evidence: future generations will look back on us tolerating withheld results in the same way we look back on medieval blood-letting.”

10.07am Also in The Guardian, figures from the International Agency for Research on Cancer suggest UK women have the 10th highest rate in the world for cancers related to a lack of physical activity.

9.56am The Guardian reports that older and overweight mothers are placing a strain on midwives, according to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

“Older women require more assistance from midwives”, said Louise Silverton, the RCM’s director for midwifery. “They have a perfect right to all that additional care, of course, but it has an undeniable knock-on effect on workload, and that needs to be reflected in the number of midwives in the  overall.”

9.49am In this morning’s papers, The Independent interviews Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, who said compassion is “alive and well” in the NHS.

“We have continued to look at high-risk trusts, but have deliberately in our pilot programme looked across the spectrum. What we can now say is that there are some very good hospitals in this country and it is possible, within the NHS, to receive good, excellent, even outstanding care,” he added.

9.35am In resource centre today, as part of HSJ’s Rising Stars, Helen Bevan and colleagues from the NHS Horizons group argue that by developing young talent and embracing their ideas, established leaders can ensure a better future for the NHS.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. We kick things off with a comment piece by Christine Tomkins, chief executive at the MDU, on the clinical negligence claims bill.

Christine argues that there are “five common myths about reducing the claims bill” which urgently need to be debunked.