The foundation trust model could come under question as the NHS faces up to the “absolutely huge” financial challenge, David Bennett has said, plus the rest of today’s news and comment.


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4.45pm Trade union GMB will ballot for strike action for members employed by Aramark at the Maudsley Hospital in Denmark Hill in South London.

The dispute is over the failure to pay back annual leave lost as a result of the “mismanagement of the leave booking system, imposition of an inflexible annual leave booking system and failure to pay weekend workers the correct annual leave entitlement”, the union said.

These members are employed as cleaners, hostesses and catering staff by Aramark on an outsourced contract at the Maudsley Hospital.

3.50pm It’s a busy week for HSJ as we announced our top clinical leaders this evening and the winners of the Patient Safety Awards.

We will also reveal the best places to work in the NHS on Tuesday afternoon.

3.10pm The government owned company set up to manage thousands of primary care premises and other NHS buildings spent only around half of its planned capital budget last year.

In its working estimates for 2014-15, NHS Property Services set an overall forecast for capital spending of £150m. Actual spending for the year was £81m.

The company, formed in 2013 and owned by the health secretary, delivers strategic estates management for about 4,000 buildings, such as GP surgeries, health centres and community hospitals.

3.05pm Ex-chair of the health select committee, Stephen Dorrell, is also airing some forthright views

3.00pm At the Patient Safety Congress Sir Robert Naylor, chief executive of University College London Hospitals FT, has been airing his views about the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens.

1.10pm Councils should exercise “extreme” caution before agreeing to ambitious health and social care integration deals, the chief executive of the Local Government Association has warned.

Carolyn Downs told HSJ sister title Local Government Chronicle that authorities should carefully weigh up the risks of merging services and budgets with sectors such as health, which are better protected by politicians.

Ms Downs, who announced last month she was resigning from the LGA to become Brent Council chief executive, said the “whole issue of shared risk is something which could get in the way of integration”.

1.00pm Burnout is seen as one of the most important issues facing the ambulance sector, according to a survey by the Larrey Society.

A survey by the ambulance service think tank found that 40 per cent of the 35 respondents thought that burnout needed to be tackled among ambulance staff as demand increases and workforce shortages exacerbate stress.

The Larrey Society has put together a seven point action plan that ambulance services should adopt to address burnout.

All ambulance organisations should:

  • Form a work life balance taskforce
  • Conduct a consultation to find out the extent to which ambulance staff and their families are affected by the consequences of burnout
  • Draw up an action plan which includes key performance indicators so that management and employees can recognise signs of burnout
  • Publicise the plan internally and externally
  • Submit the plan to the Care Quality Commission so inspectors can review progress
  • Ensure all leaders have a professional qualification and receive specialised training in recognising and handling burnout

10.30am A survey from the Alzheimer’s Society has attracted headlines from most of the national newspapers with The Daily Telegraph reporting that dementia patients are being failed by social services, which do not check whether they are suffering from loneliness or malnourishment, GPs claim.

In a survey of 1,000 doctors by the Alzheimer’s Society, fewer than one in 10 thought people with dementia gets enough statutory support to maintain a good diet or have adequate company.

Three in five GPs said lack of cooperation between the NHS and social care acts as a barrier to patients getting support, while 93 per cent said patients, families and carers are left confused by the health and social care system.

10.25am HSJ reporter Shaun Lintern is tweeting from the Patient Safety Congress.

10.20am The Daily Mail reports that GPs are reluctant to diagnose patients with dementia because they feel there is nothing the NHS can do, a report by the Alzheimer’s Society reveals.

A quarter of doctors would consider avoiding sending someone for tests if they were unlikely to be offered any treatment or support afterwards.

A similar number say they would be unwilling to give patients a diagnosis if the condition was already very advanced and could not be slowed by drugs.

10.15am Three quarters of doctors say their dementia patients are forced to rely on family, friends, neighbours or other unpaid carers because they get insufficient help from health and social care services, The Guardian reports.

A survey of 1,013 GPs by the Alzheimer’s Society paints a picture of a health and social care system in which patients are often let down or left confused.

10.10am The Guardian reports that scores of GP surgeries are under threat of closure across London, potentially displacing thousands of “refugee patients”, because of the worsening shortage of family doctors, new research shows.

As many as 140 of the capital’s 1,400 GP practices could shut over the next three years, leaving fewer and fewer surgeries looking after ever larger numbers of patients, according to a survey by London-wide local medical committees.

The pending wave of closures is stark fresh evidence of the escalating shrinkage of GP practices across England as a whole. Official NHS figures show that 656 surgeries have been merged, taken over or closed completely since 2010.

10.05am Lewisham and Greenwich Trust received a very welcome “complaint” letter recently that “brought a smile to many of the staffs’ faces”.

Have a read here.

9.55am Today we will announce the HSJ clinical leaders for 2015. Look out for an announcement after 6pm.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

We start the week with news that the foundation trust model could come under question as the NHS faces up to the “absolutely huge” financial challenge, David Bennett has said.

The chief executive of Monitor said although the “process” of gaining FT status had often brought improvements for trusts, progress had then stalled in many cases.

You can also catch up on Friday’s big three stories in our Executive Summary: