The chief executive of The Christie Foundation Trust has resigned following a prolonged suspension, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

5.10pm The chief executive of a prestigious specialist cancer trust in Manchester has announced her resignation following a lengthy suspension.

Caroline Shaw was suspended by The Christie Foundation Trust in December to make way for a disciplinary investigation.

The trust today confirmed it had accepted her resignation, which would take immediate effect.

While it would not reveal the reasons for her suspension at the time, its press statement revealed it had conducted a probe into the payment of her expenses for a trip to Ibiza organised by members of the Young President’s Organization.

5.00pm HSJ hosted a roundtable, sponsored by HCL Workforce Solutions, to explore whether the NHS workforce is able to deal with the present and future demands placed upon it. Jennifer Trueland reports.

3.49pm Also in our comment section, the constraints put on hospitals mean they are not going to become considerably more efficient anytime soon. Trusts will need more money to operate a balanced budget and keep up with standards expected of them, writes Robert Royce, director of strategy at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust and a visiting fellow at the King’s Fund.

3.24pm The NHS has to endure a toxic mix of deep rooted fears and a high level of work demands, which leads to disengagement. To ensure they deliver compassionate care they themselves must feel attended to, explain Clare Gerada and Rex Haigh, in a comment piece for HSJ.

2.22pm The chief executive of The Christie Foundation Trust has resigned following a prolonged suspension.

Caroline Shaw was suspended in December last year in relation to a disciplinary investigation, the trust said that the time.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the trust confirmed that it has accepted Ms Shaw’s resignation.

More to follow.

2.16pm NHS Employers has today urged staff to reconsider their planned strike action for Monday 13 October.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, of which NHS Employers is a part, said: “We are working through some of the toughest times in the history of the NHS.

“Throughout this long period of pay restraint and pressure on services, employers have always sought constructive discussions with unions and the Government to find a way out of this situation together. We hope progress is still possible.

“We are seeing the NHS finding it difficult to manage its finances this year and staff under pressure. A pay award for all staff on top of increments would have cost £450 million more - the equivalent of 14,000 newly qualified nurses.

“Hard-pressed staff would have been put under greater pressure or may have had to be reduced. Restraining pay was a tough decision for politicians to make and I believe they did it on the basis of improving the quality of care and maintaining continuity of services.

“Ahead of Monday, employers are pulling out all the stops to minimise disruption to patients and unions are co-operating with this planning ahead of the strike to ensure patients remain safe.

“I know that thousands of patients will already be anxious because important NHS services, such as ambulance cover, will be under additional pressure on the day and during the week of action short of a strike that will follow it. If appointments have to be rescheduled this would cause unnecessary distress and we urge staff to reconsider taking part in the strike.

“Only around four percent of more than one million NHS staff voted to take strike action on Monday. We hope many will make the right choice for patients and not participate in any industrial action, which risks more inconvenience to patients and difficulty planning emergency and acute care.”

1.53pm The College of Emergency Medicine, the Foundation Trust Network and the Royal College of Physicians have expressed concern that the pledges of all politicial parties made during their party conferences are falling significantly short of what would be needed to close the financial gap facing the NHS.

Clifford Mann, president of The College of Emergency Medicine, said: “As the organisation representing A&E doctors and consultants we welcome the interest shown by the political parties in the challenges facing A&E departments. A&E services provide a litmus test for the health of the NHS. 

“Pressure across the system is reflected in pressure at the A&E and although some progress is being made, real pressure remains, with winter drawing near this is likely to become more challenging.

“The solutions we have outlined in our 10 Priorities for resolving the crisis in A&E identifies 5 key priorities which the political parties should focus on in the run up to the general election.”

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, added: “Urgent and emergency care services are the ‘canary in the mine’ for pressures across the health and care system – the pressures NHS providers face across the NHS in the acute, mental health, community and ambulance sectors are relentless and rising, and compounded by a need to build capacity in primary and social care.

“There needs to be a much more stable financial footing to meet today’s demand, and it is essential this is paired with investment in out of hospital providers to offer responsive and comprehensive services to deliver care closer to patients’ homes.

“Our members are working hard to ensure they can release every possible efficiency saving, but we know that even if our members did everything they could – making every efficiency gain and building the new models of care that patients need – there would be a £7 billion funding gap.  

“The current system is unsustainable. We need to do things differently. There must be an honest and national debate on the choice between more money for the NHS or a lower level of care.”

Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “There is now broad consensus that we need to stop reorganising, and increase funding. The needs of patients are changing and the current system is not equipped to meet those needs.

“Many patients have multiple conditions which require specialist care and can be better provided for through an integrated care system. We must deploy specialist services where they are needed, providing care beyond the hospital setting, and caring for patients in their local communities.

“The RCP is calling on the next government to recognise the immense challenges and commit to a long term vision that brings joined up care to patients wherever they are, removing the archaic structural barriers between primary, secondary, mental health, community and social care.

“Patients, clinicians and trusts must be enabled to lead these changes through transition funding.”

1.27pm This week’s issue of HSJ magazine is now available to read on our tablet app.

In this week’s issue NHS England unveils plans to press down on specialised services payments amid spiralling demand. Plus:

  • The Liberal Democrats call for funding settlement for the NHS to be “in effect reopened” amid fears of an imminent cash crisis
  • The Care Quality Commission warns Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust that it could face enforcement action over its privately run hospital
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Foundation Trust’s interim chief executive Manjit Obhrai warns special measures can have “detrimental effect”
  • The management of South West Hospital calls in lawyers after “losing confidence” in its private finance initiative
  • Sarah Winestone explains why Nick Clegg must make the NHS a personal campaigning priority

To find the latest issue, simply navigate to “This week’s issue” on the app, or tap on the cover image on the homepage.

HSJ’s tablet app is free to download for both iPad and Android devices. iPad users can download it directly here, Android users will need to download it from the Google Play store.

1.08pm Staff at a trust in Yorkshire claim they were subjected to bullying behaviour including being shouted and sworn at in front of patients and having pens thrown at them, according to an independent report.

Employees at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust told researchers the bullying “came from the top” with a “target driven approach” contributing to the culture.

The report by conciliation service Acas was commissioned by the trust after the Care Quality Commission said in May that it had seen a culture of bullying at the trust.

In its report, published this week, Acas said employees it had interviewed reported “aggressive behaviour”.

12.02pm Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust looks set to lose four in 10 of its workforce after a rival NHS led consortium secured preferred bidder status for an £800m older people’s service contract.

The trust had previously been in the running to provide some of the service as members of two other consortia withdrew their bids.

11.46am Management consultancy McKinsey is set to help Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group review its clinical services after being named the preferred bidder for a £2.75m consultancy contract.

The six month review will examine the challenges of Dorset’s ageing population, clinical standards and financial pressures.

It will scrutinise current service arrangements before drawing up a plan which will be put out for public consultation.

11.28am Clinical commissioning groups may be encouraged to take on responsibility for the quality and outcomes framework for GP practices within their area, under NHS England plans.

New guidance from the national organisation says arrangements for the GP practice pay-for-performance regime are likely to be part of a “standardised model” it will use to delegate co-commissioning powers to CCGs.

11.19am An Oxford trust heading up a consortium with five other providers looks set to win an innovative contract to deliver integrated adult mental health services across Oxfordshire.

Oxford Health Foundation Trust will be joined in the consortium by the charity Mind and four other organisations if it wins the outcomes based contract, which could be worth £135m over three years.

11.02am North Bristol Trust will refuse new referrals for spinal surgery after identifying scores of patients were waiting more than year for procedures.

The restriction will be introduced through changes to the trust’s GP referral criteria.

A number of non-urgent patients on North Bristol’s waiting list are already being referred to the privately run BMI Ridgeway Hospital in Swindon, a spokesman for South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group confirmed.

10.43am Meanwhile, the Telegraph carries the findings of a report published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which it says reveals the true scale of the gulf in pay that separates private and public sector workers.

The IFS said teachers, doctors, nurses and other state employees received an average of £28,000 a year, while private workers received £27,000. However, generous pensions added £6,000 to public workers’ pay, boosting the total to £34,000 a year.

By contrast, the paper reports, the pensions offered to private workers added just £2,000 a year, giving £29,000 overall, the study found.

10.37am Elsewhere, the paper reports that tens of thousands of French people have quit the country’s “debt-ridden” national health service and taken out private insurance with British companies, after losing faith in their “sick” welfare state.

Growing numbers of French professionals, business owners and self-employed workers are refusing to pay expensive health service contributions, which the government says are compulsory.

They are embroiled in a prolonged legal battle with the authorities, arguing that European agreements bar the French state from enforcing a “monopoly” on health insurance.

10.26am The Daily Telegraph reports that hospitals and out-of-hours services including urgent care centres and dentists are accelerating antibiotic prescribing, a report has established for the first time.

Out-of-hours GPs or urgent care centres may be more likely to hand over antibiotics than a patient’s regular doctor, it argued.

The report, from Public Health England, is the first time that hospital antibiotic prescribing data have been analysed for the whole country.

10.21am Hospitals are to carry out ebola drills this weekend to ensure they are prepared to deal with infected patients, the Daily Mail reports.

Simulation exercises are taking place in at least two major trusts – one in the North and one in the South – although others may be instructed to follow suit. At each, an actor will pretend to be struck down with the virus.

Yesterday A&E units across the country were given guidelines telling them to have specialist protective clothing on standby, including masks, goggles and gowns. Yet staff at some hospitals say they haven’t received the clothing.

10.10am Looking at this morning’s newspapers, the Daily Mail reports that government ministers have been accused of a chaotic response to the ebola crisis last night after it emerged new screening measures amounted to little more than a questionnaire.

Last night the government said the main new measure against the disease reaching Britain would be a basic passenger questionnaire - and not US-style temperature screening which has been proven effective in other outbreaks.

Critics said passengers could simply lie in their answers to the questions.

9.57am An national audit of schizophrenia has shows there is still a significant shortfall in the quality of some aspects of care affecting the lives of people living with
schizophrenia and also their carers.

The audit found that:

  • Although most service users were fairly satisfied with their quality of care, carers had some significant areas of dissatisfaction with aspects of the information and support they received.
  • Monitoring and intervention for serious physical health problems continues to be below acceptable standards.
  • The availability of talking therapies remains inadequate for those who want them.
  • Some people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are also being prescribed medication in excess of recommended doses and over half of those whose illness has not responded well to standard medications have had to wait too long to receive clozapine, a medication with greater effect for many such individuals.

The second national audit of schizophrenia was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and carried out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement.

Mike Crawford, director of the CCQI and lead of the national audit of schizophrenia project team said: “The results of the second round of this audit show that many people with schizophrenia are still not getting the high quality psychological and medical treatment they deserve, and highlights the areas where the biggest improvements are needed.”

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

To start the day, help us find healthcare’s latest rising stars.

Following a successful launch last year, HSJ in partnership with Celesio is again celebrating the up and comers who are making a real difference to healthcare.

We will name our latest collection of Rising Stars as the new year starts, and we are looking for your nominations.

Our aim is to celebrate the people whose work and decisions are already improving healthcare, and who are considered likely to be the NHS leaders of the future. A panel of expert judges will decide on the final 25.

You can make nominations now. Please be sure to give the individual’s name, job title, organisation and a short description of why you think the person should be considered as an HSJ Rising Star.

The closing date for nominations is Monday 3 November.