HSJ’s 50 most inspirational women in healthcare revealed, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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4.29pm The Telegraph has also reports on Simon Stevens’ speech to the Local Government Association annual conference yesterday. It focuses on him saying that firemen could help reduce the increasing number of elderly people being treated in hospital for falls by assessing the homes of old people for possible dangers reports.

The Telegraph reports that NHS spending on antidepressants rose by 30% last year and is at a record high, according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre

This has raised concerns that people suffering from depression are being giving drugs because other non-pharmacological help is not available.

4.00pm The Telegraph has also reports on Simon Stevens’ speech to the Local Government Association annual conference yesterday. It focuses on him saying that firemen could help reduce the increasing number of elderly people being treated in hospital for falls by assessing the homes of old people for possible dangers reports.

3.38pm In The Daily Telegraph, a joint publication from the World Health Organisation, Alzheimer Disease International suggests that smokers have a 45 per cent higher risk of developing dementia than non-smokers (paper only).

3.25pm Flicking through the papers this afternoon, The Times reports on the £25.6 billion outstanding liabilities the NHS has for clinical negligence, a 13 per cent increase from the previous year. This comes amid a rise in people making claims and pay-outs.

2.40pm Joe Stringer, lead healthcare partner at Ernst and Young, has also commented on the Nuffield Trust report into NHS funding.

He is it is a “useful and sobering reminder of the challenge the NHS is facing, and the key findings will resonate with almost everyone working in the system.  

“However, increasing funding rarely equates to any guarantee for either improved access or health outcomes. Any additional funding that could be generated through taxation would only be a 1-2 year sticking plaster before we return to the same debate with a system in need of even greater reform.

“Instead, shifting care out of unaffordable settings, treating patients in an integrated way across organisations and taking the efficiency agenda to the next level can really bring long term benefits for the NHS.”

2.32pm In response to the Nuffield Trust report, Amanda Doyle, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said “What the report doesn’t capture though is the hidden costs to CCGs who are often having to find solutions to problems in the wider system. 

“Whether it’s an overspend on specialised commissioning or the need to support a failing trust locally, CCGs are hamstrung as they face financial pressures from all parts of the health system and social care.”

CCGs are also having to find money from within their current budgets to pay for historical healthcare costs (NHS continuing healthcare legacy cases or NHS CHC) that were supposed to have been provided for by their predecessor PCTs.

“Despite a pledge by the then Secretary of State that there would be “no legacy debts” on the new CCG books and that they would start with “a clean slate”, they are now having to find the money from within their current and future budgets to pay for NHS CHC that would otherwise have been used to commission other services for their patients. This means that locally CCGs are fighting for the healthcare of patients past, present and future.

“So if we are to truly transform the NHS to ensure a sustainable and safe future, and develop innovative patient focused care there must be transparency and stability in CCG budgets. The whole system needs to align its priorities and work together to deliver new models of care. And there must be a commitment from politicians and NHS England to trust CCGs to work across the health and care system to commission high quality services that meet the needs of their local patients and populations.

Her co-chair Steve Kell said: “CCGs have recently submitted their 5 year plans which are robust, locally focused and developed with the involvement of patients and the local populations. However, they are at risk of becoming meaningless if the whole NHS doesn’t focus on developing effective out of hospital care and CCGs remain the risk pool for cuts and overspends elsewhere.”

1.59pm Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs has responded to the Nuffield Trust report by saying she is “shocked and dismayed by these figures which show that, yet again, patient care provided in general practice is being sacrificed at the expense of shoring up our hospitals.

“Demand for hospital services is growing – but so is the demand for general practice and less and less is being spent on our service.

“General practice is already teetering on the brink of collapse due to NHS funding falling to an historic low. The  fact that it has dropped – and been allowed to drop -  yet again pushes us even further towards the precipice and it is our patients who are bearing the brunt.   

“While the fall in funding might look small in percentage terms, this represents around £10m which could have been more wisely spent on GP services and cutting waiting times  for patients to see their GP.

She investment in general practice would relieve pressure on hospitals. This will allow GPs and their teams to care for patients in the community, closer to home, where care is more cost-effective and where patients want to be cared for.”

1.47pm The Foundation Trust Network has also responded to the Nuffield Trust report.

Head of analysis Siva Anandaciva said it is “a comprehensive and timely reminder of the financial pressures that have been building each year on the NHS.

“Providers have made significant progress in improving efficiency in the face of an unprecedented slowdown in NHS funding since 2010 but, as this report highlights again, the increasing financial strain on providers means that more individual organisations are falling into deficit and the provider sector as a whole was over £100million in deficit at the end of the last financial year.

“Our members have indicated that the NHS provider sector deficit could triple by the end of 2014-15, ahead of a widely anticipated crisis of health finances in 2015-16. Demand for services continues to grow but resources are not expanding at the same rate. At the same time, the additional funding needed to deliver clinically led transformation of services comes at considerable cost which is not being met by the current funding model.

“We can’t go on expecting all providers can deliver 4 per cent efficiency savings indefinitely without affecting patient care. Providers have generated billions of savings over the preceding financial years but there is significant doubt that providers can continue to meet the lion’s share of the productivity challenge without fundamental reform to the way services are paid for.

“Monitor and NHS England will soon publish their early thoughts on the 2015-16 National Tariff. Rapid and radical reform of the payment system is essential to prevent providers from falling deeper into deficit, and to ensure that NHS providers have the resources they need to remain clinically, financially and operationally sustainable.”

1.33pm There has been a lot of reponse to the Nuffield Trust’s report, Into the red? The State of the NHS’ finances.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Conferation, saif the report “confirms what we know about finances in the NHS today. It shows how far the financial picture has deteriorated within such a short space of time.

“Staff in organisations across the NHS have worked incredibly hard over the last four years to deliver unprecedented savings while public finances have been constrained, but the challenge is getting much more difficult.

“To better meet people’s needs, we must find new ways to deliver high quality care within budget. We cannot afford to deliver care in the same way and doing so will not meet the needs of the millions of people with long term conditions and ongoing needs.

He added: “We need to respond to the pressures on NHS finances with a ‘longer term settlement. Fixed term Parliaments mean we could have a five year, or even a ‘decade deal’, on funding. This would give us certainty and allow change to be better planned.  

“We also need a commitment to invest in transformation and a genuine commitment from politicians to support the changes which are essential for the NHS’s future. Our members will bring  a commitment to be ready for the change that is needed to deliver a sustainable health and care system.” 

12.43pm The waiting list for planned care has now breached the 3 million mark, the highest it has been in just over six years.

Despite this growth in demand the health service is managing to cope with the referral to treatment targets met in May, the latest data available.

The figures show that 96.5 per cent of non-admitted patients were treated within 18 weeks, while 90.1 per cent of admitted patients were treated.

Click here to see the figures in full.

12.08pm The NHS commitment to carry out routine operations within 18 weeks of referral by a GP should be reviewed, the new president of the Royal College of Surgeons said.

11.55am Unfortunately we inadvertently missed Karen Castille, associate director of the NHS Confederation, from the shortlist for HSJ Inspirational Women 2014.

Karen joined the NHS Confederation last year from Cambridge University Hospitals, where she impressed in her roles as chief nurse, director of organisational development and later as interim chief executive. In her new role, she is supporting the NHS in its response to the Francis report. But she is also looking at board leadership, culture and values, and supporting women in senior roles - all areas in which she has significant experience.

The judges said: “Karen’s deep understanding of what it takes to change organisations and culture is always in evidence. She understands the importance of gender issues and her work to improve the profile and development of senior women leaders is notable.”

11.49am The NHS in England could be in a funding crisis before the next general election, an influential think tank has said.

Accounts from 2013-14 show that the system is under “severe financial pressure”, the Nuffield Trust has warned.

The independent health charity’s new report Into the Red states the financial strength of NHS trusts is “weak and declining”. Provisional data for 2013-14 suggested that trusts were in a net overall deficit of more than £100m compared with an overall surplus of £383m the previous year.

And 66 trusts across the country were now in deficit compared to 45 in 2012-13.

You can read the full report here.

11.20am Congratulations to HSJ reporter Shaun Lintern for winning staff journalist of the year at the Medical Journalists’ Association awards last night.

Shaun won for his coverage of mental health. In October last year, he exclusively reported that mental health patients requiring urgent hospital admission faced long journeys - in some cases hundreds of miles - amid growing evidence of a shortage of beds.

In January he wrote that healthcare leaders from across the community and mental health sectors had united against plans to cut the tariff price for their services by a fifth more than the reduction proposed for acute providers.

Shaun later revealed that an NHS England moratorium on commissioning new specialist mental health services had exacerbated the sector’s bed shortage and led to a newly constructed hospital unit standing empty for six months.

10.58am In announcing the inquiry into the death rates of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, care services minister Norman Lamb said: “Following the publication of the Baker Report in August 2013 into higher than expected death rates of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1988 and 2000, families have continued to raise concerns about the initial care of their relatives and the subsequent investigations into their deaths. 

“In order to try and address their concerns, and having given consideration to a number of alternative options, I am setting up an independent panel to review the documentary evidence held across a range of organisations.  

“I have asked Bishop James Jones to chair the panel.  Having successfully steered the Hillsborough panel, he brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this work.  He has begun to work with affected families, and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months to ensure that the views of those most affected by these deaths are taken into account. 

“I have also asked Christine Gifford, a recognised expert in the field of access to information,to work alongside him and the various organisations to ensure maximum possible disclosure of the documentary evidence to the panel.

“I will further announce the details of the other panel members and agreed terms of reference in the autumn.”

Bishop James Jones said: “I am aware of the heavy responsibility of accepting the invitation to chair the Gosport Independent Panel.

“My first priority will be to consult with the families so that their views are taken into account when framing the terms of reference. My next task will be to assemble a Panel and Secretariat with the appropriate skills.

“I have already met with some of the families and will ensure that the Panel has regular contact throughout its duration. I believe the experience of chairing the Hillsborough Independent Panel will help to equip me in chairing the Gosport Independent Panel. Independence and integrity will be the hallmarks of the Panel’s work.”

10.52am An inquiry has been announced into the deaths of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, run by Southern Health Foundation Trust, the BBC reports.

The inquiry was announced this morning by care services minister Norman Lamb.

It will be led It will be led by, the Rt Rev James Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool who previously chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

10.27am Our sister title Nursing Times reports that nurses in Wales will not get the blanket 1% pay rise recommended by the pay review body.

The Scottish government is the only UK government so far to accept the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to award all staff a 1% consolidated increase.

The Northern Ireland government has yet to announce its arrangements.

Meanwhile, the decision taken by ministers in England to award the 1% increase only to those at the top of pay bands has sparked widespread fury among nurses and prompted healthcare unions Unite and Unison to consult their members about strike action.

10.14am Simon Stevens has called on local councils to support service reconfiguration in the health service.

Speaking at the Local Government Association annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday, the NHS England chief executive said: “I am not one of these people who believes that the answer is mass centralisation of NHS hospital services… but I am one of those people that believes that when the evidence tells us that quality and efficiency [can be] improved from service changes, then that needs to happen.”

Addressing local government officials and councillors, Mr Stevens said the NHS was “going to need your support in making the public argument for some of the kind of changes that are going to be required”.

10.03am The BBC reports that a member of staff at the mental health trust 2gether Foundation Trust has died after being stabbed at work.

The attack took place at the inpatient unit of Wotton Lawn Hospitalin Gloucestershire.

Police have said that a man in his 60s has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

9.51am Three struggling acute trusts placed in regulatory special measures a year ago have failed to make significant progress and should remain in special measures, the chief inspector of hospitals has recommended.

Concerns over safe staffing levels, poor leadership and patient flow are highlighted as issues at all three of the organisations in Care Quality Commission inspection reports published this week.

9.30am Clinical commissioning groups could be handed a role in commissioning a significant chunk of the £14bn specialised services budget, HSJ has learned.

The move is being considered by a working group established by NHS England’s specialised commissioning task force. NHS England currently commissions the services.

While discussions are at an early stage, HSJ understands that NHS England could ditch sole responsibility for up to half of the 143 services it commissions either through co-commissioning or the wholesale transfer of responsibilities.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. At a ceremony last night HSJ revealed the 50 most inspirational women in healthcare, including chief executives, clinicians and managers both junior and senior; and a number of patient leaders.