The 120 top employers in the NHS have been announced today, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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5.32pm To catch up on today’s key HSJ stories, read our Executive Summary.

3.52pm The 120 top employers in the NHS have been announced today.

HSJ and our sister title Nursing Times, in partnership with NHS Employers, has revealed a list of the Best Places to Work in the NHS for 2015.

The list is a celebration of NHS organisations that have worked hard to promote great staff engagement and create an environment where people can enjoy their work.

Using data compiled from the most recent NHS Staff Survey, independent research firm Best Companies Group identified 120 top performing NHS organisations. Data was categorised in to seven core areas: leadership and planning, corporate culture and communication, role satisfaction, work environment, relationship with supervisor, training, development and resources, employee engagement and satisfaction.

Read the full list here


2.58pm HSJ’s Dave West tweets:

2.27pm NHS England is to fund a £15m scheme to recruit and employ clinical pharmacists in GP surgeries, the organisation has announced.

Under the scheme, pharmacists will be directly employed by the GP practices, with the aim to ease GP workload. It will be targeted on areas where GPs are under greatest pressure.

The pilot will go live this year, and it is expected to last three years.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “This has the potential to be a win-win-win for patients, their GPs and for pharmacists.

“Tapping into the skills of clinical pharmacists should help expand care and relieve some of the pressure that GPs are clearly under. This isn’t a silver bullet but it is a practical and constructive contribution to the wider challenge.”

Royal College of General Practitioners chair Maureen Baker said: “GPs are struggling to cope with unprecedented workloads and patients in some parts of the country are having to wait weeks for a GP appointment yet we have a ‘hidden army’ of highly trained pharmacists who could provide a solution.

“They will not be substitutes for GPs, but will work closely with us as part of the practice team to resolve day to day medicine issues, particularly for patients with long term conditions who are taking a number of different medications. This has the potential to have a major impact on patient care and safety, as well as reducing waiting times for GP appointments.

She said she hoped the scheme will act as a “catalyst for more GPs and their teams to participate”.

Health Education England chief executive Ian Cumming said: “HEE are delighted to be supporting clinical pharmacy pilot with a comprehensive training programme through one of our national delivery partners, the Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education.

“The training programme will support the development of the clinical pharmacists in delivery of their face to face patient care and the wider role across the community.

“This programme will strengthen multi-professional teams in practices which should help give support to GPs in their day to day work.”

2.10pm HSJ and our sister title Nursing Times, in partnership with NHS Employers, will soon be revealing a list of the Best Places to Work in the NHS for 2015. Keep an eye out for the announcement at 3.30pm.

2.00pm Life sciences minister George Freeman tweets:

1.52pm A senior figure at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has suggested NHS England scrapped its work on safe staffing guidance because it ‘didn’t like the answer to the question’.

The comments by Mark Baker, director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE, at the Patient Safety Congress in Birmingham yesterday, have come after a decision by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens last month to suspend NICE’s work on safe nurse staffing levels. The work had been a recommendation of the Francis report into failures at Stafford Hospital.

The decision has provoked widespread criticism from nursing unions and nursing workforce experts. NICE guidance on accident and emergency nurse staffing has been completed but is now not expected to be published.

1.47pm Many of the functions of Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority are expected to be brought together in a single ‘new body’, which would also take on new patient safety and improvement work, HSJ has been told.

The Department of Health announced last month that from later this year the two regulators would share a single chief executive. At the time it said that the organisations would be “working closely together”.

However, HSJ understands the DH and other national officials are now working on plans to create what several senior sources said is a “new body”. It would bring together most of the TDA’s functions, and Monitor’s foundation trust regulation and development work. It would oversee all trusts and FTs.

12.37pm Letters seen by HSJ reveal how NHS England ordered clinical commissioning groups to change their contracts with acute providers to reflect an assumption that hospital activity would grow this year.

Correspondence, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows how the national organisation told CCGs in the South first to revise upwards their planned 2015-16 activity, and to reopen contracts to bring them into line with the new plans.

CCGs were also required to explain what they were doing to ensure hospitals could deal with the increased demand, including paying for extra NHS or independent sector capacity.

12.03pm The Guardian reports on warnings by George Osborne that British people with a medical condition should take enough of their own supplies of prescription drugs if they visit Greece, in case of shortages.

“As the economic crisis in Greece persists, there are greater risks of shortages,” the Chancellor said.

“In recent days, the media have reported a shortage of medical supplies in Greece. Therefore, I want to reiterate the Foreign Office’s advice that UK travellers take sufficient supplies, including prescription medicines, for the duration of their trip.”

Elsewhere, a scientific breakthrough that links protein in blood to memory loss may help to slow down or prevent memory loss, providing hope for dementia treatment, the paper reports.

11.45am The Times reports on staff at London Ambulance Service being “subjected to a regime of physical and verbal abuse, sexual harassment, bullying and misuse of power”, according to a report.

The mistreatment led staff resulted in a mass exodus of staff and the trust having to recruit 250 paramedics from Australia and New Zealand.

Also in The Times, a third of women have admitted in binge drinking while pregnant, a study has found.

Psychiatrists have warned that a rise in eating disorders among high-achieving girls is being fuelled by “perfect girl syndrome”, The Times reports.

In the past ten years, Hospital admissions in England of 14-year-old girls with eating disorders more than quadrupled in the last decade in England.

11.40am Meanwhile, our finance reporter Lawrence Dunhill tweets from the King’s Fund’s Better Value Healthcare event this morning:

11.37am Reporting from the Patient Safety Congress, HSJ’s Will Hazell tweets:

10.44am The Daily Mail reports that the family of a retired lecturer who killed his dementia-stricken wife and then himself said yesterday that the care system had failed the couple.

John Michael Parry, 81, smothered Meryl, his wife of 58 years, after residential home bosses decided they could not cope with her.

They ferried the 80-year-old back to her farmhouse and bundled her ‘like a farm animal’ through his front door only hours after Mr Parry had reluctantly sent her into care

Elsewhere the paper reports that patients taken to hospital for emergency treatment at weekends are 8 per cent more likely to die than those admitted on a weekday, research has found.

Records from 1,300,000 patients in 11 English hospitals revealed a significant ‘weekend effect’.

The research, from Imperial College London, follows several studies that also suggested English patients admitted at the weekend were worse off than during the week.

The study suggests lower numbers of staff in hospitals on Saturdays and Sundays reduce patients’ chances of walking out alive.

10.32am Looking to this morning’s newspapers, The Daily Telegraph reports this morning that a woman with severe learning disabilities has been awarded £65,000 in compensation from the NHS after hospital staff cut up a doll that she treated as her own child.

Susan Hearsey may never recover from the cruelty she suffered when her ‘beloved’ doll was damaged and disfigured in front of her after she was admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital, her lawyer said.

9.55am The awards, run by HSJ and its sister title Nursing Times, celebrate individuals, whose innovative and creative initiatives have improved quality and made care safer for patients. 

After receiving 750 submissions from 370 different organisations, expert judges have whittled the list down to just 17 winners and 10 organisations whose work they highly commend.

Announcing the winners, HSJ’s editor Alastair McLellan said: “HSJ is proud to recognise those individuals, teams and organisations who have improved the NHS’s record on patient safety agenda.”

For the full list of winners, click here.

7.00am A sustained effort to deliver “better value” in the NHS will be required to get anywhere close to the efficiency target of £22bn by 2020, a report by the King’s Fund argues today.

The think tank’s Better Value in the NHS report, published ahead of its annual conference, looks at past trends in productivity gains, and identifies key areas in which efficiency savings can be made.

Chief executive Chris Ham says in the foreword: “While we have no doubt that there is huge scope to use the £116bn spent on the NHS in England more effectively, we are much less certain that productivity improvements to the value of £22bn can be delivered by 2020-21. Only a sustained focus on delivering better value in the ways we outline will enable the NHS to get close to this figure.”