How CSUs can secure their future success and the rest of today’s news and comment

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3.30pm: Despite the three main parties all making changes to their frontbenches this week, it’s the man who stayed put, Andy Burnham, who could have the biggest impact on the NHS says Mike Birtwhistle, founding partner of Incisive Health.

2.20pm: Department of Health policy director Ian Dodge has posted a web comment on our story about his proposal for the NHS to contract combined general practice and community services. He adds detail to how it could be contracted for, and how GPs could be persuaded to move from their current contracts.

2pm: Shadow minister for older people Liz Kendall gave a speech last night at an event held by Scope and the Fabian Society on Whole Person Care and Disabled People.

She spoke about how government policy is affecting disabled people and Labour’s proposals.

In relation to health policy, she contrasted the government’s “integration transformation fund” proposal with the Labour party’s policy, which is for budgets to be completely integrated, although it is not clear how this will be achieved.

Ms Kendall said: “The government claims it wants to join up health and care but its integrated care fund is depressingly un-ambitious – bringing together only £3.8 billion out of a total NHS and care budget of £120 billion.”

She also called for increased personalisation of services and said: “These examples show the changes we need in future won’t be achieved by the old ways of doing things.

“Neither state driven nor purely market based approaches will work, because both can end up disempowering people.

“Instead of treating people either as passive recipients of services or consumers alone, the new state understands people are genuine.”

1.50pm: Some trusts are struggling to comply with new regulations that require them to directly employ senior interim managers and to seek assurance about the tax arrangements of “off-payroll” workers.

An HSJ investigation has found that some interim board members are still off-payroll for long periods despite NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson saying this should not happen.  

It has also emerged this summer that the Department of Health asked Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority for information on any cases where this was happening.

10.43am: Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has pleaded guilty in relation to health and safety breaches which led to the death of diabetic patient Gillian Astbury who died after nurses failed to ensure she received vital insulin medication in April 2007.

It pleaded guilty at Stafford Magistrates’ Court for failing to properly manage and organise hospital services including its systems for record-keeping and patient information between staff members.

The Health and Safety Executive, which had delayed taken any action against the trust, announced it was investigating Ms Astbury’s death following the final report of Robert Francis QC after the public inquiry into failings at the hospital.

Nurse Ann King was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in September while her colleague Jeannette Coulson was cautioned. The NMC found both guilty of misconduct in relation to Ms Astbury’s death.

10.25am: Monitor and NHS England are considering moving away from the tariff payment system for emergency and urgent care, it emerged last week.

The bodies’ joint review of the marginal rate of payment for accident and emergency admissions said “alternatives to activity based payment, such as capacity based payment, may be more suited to the cost structure of emergency care”.

Details here.

10am: Monitor is in with talks with the Office of Fair Trading to try to prevent trusts which want to merge from facing drawn out inquiries under competition law, HSJ has been told.

Chief executive David Bennett said that the proposed solution could see Monitor playing a greater role in looking at mergers at an early stage – and the OFT, and the planned Competition and Markets Authority, taking greater note of its views.

Read the story here.

9.45am: The Department of Health has announced it will give all recipients of continuing healthcare the right to have a personal budget, enabling them to commission their own packages of care.

Care and support minister Norman Lamb laid a written ministerial statement before Parliament yesterday setting out how the government would amend secondary legislation to introduce a right for continuing healthcare patients to have a personal budget by October 2014.

The move extends the current policy, announced in 2011, for all continuing healthcare patients − those with complex and ongoing NHS care needs − to have a “right to request” a personal budget by April 2014.

Read the story here.

9.30am: An NHS trust has been fined £30,000 after a hospital radiologist was exposed to illegal levels of ionising radiation while using a CT scanner.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust was also ordered to pay £15,128 in costs after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches at Boston Magistrates’ Court.

In a statement issued after the case, the Health and Safety Executive said the radiologist received more than double the annual dose limit for skin exposure in just over three months.

Read the story here.

8:51am: Good morning, some of the key tests facing commissioning support units in autumn are their ability to demonstrate improvement and they should be able to meet the expectations of customers for the price they charge.

Today on HSJ’s commissioning channel, Derek Felton looks at how should we assess the current performance of commissioning support units and how can they ensure future success. He writes: “Customers will tolerate an improving CSU but they are likely to call time on a relationship that is stagnant and showing little sign of advancement.”