Psychologist who claimed she faced detriment at the hands of an NHS trust after whistleblowing about patient care has lost her case, plus the rest of today’s news and comment
4.00pm Clinical Commissioning Groups think health and wellbeing boards are the place to bring together the NHS, local government and other key players, but argue they are “still very much in development”, according to a report by NHS Clinical Commissioners.
“A Shared Agenda – creating an equal partnership with CCGs in health and wellbeing boards” has been published to share the views of CCGs on the development and direction of health and wellbeing boards, as well as their ambitions for future joint working.
The document shows that CCGs believe in the potential of HWBs as the place that can bring together the NHS, local government and other key players in the health and care system to find the right solutions for their patients and local populations. It also highlights that HWBs are still very much in development, and need time to grow and mature, but they are not commissioning bodies.
The clinical expertise that CCGs bring are a critical and central role on HWBs, and one that is vital if integrating health and social care across the NHS and local government is going to become a reality, but what we found is that many HWBs are still trying to understand their role and the role of the CCGs on it.
Dr Amanda Doyle, co-chair of NHSCC and chief clinical officer of Blackpool CCG, said: “Clinical commissioners are part of the fabric of their local communities. To Health and Wellbeing Boards we bring a practical, day-to-day health commissioning perspective. As GPs we have considerable knowledge of the communities we service and can also tap into the breadth of patient knowledge from within our own membership”
Dr Tim Moorhead, chair of Sheffield CCG, is one of a number of co-chairs of his HWB. He said: “It’s about having a common goal – the health and wellbeing of people in this city. On some issues GPs have more credibility and on others councillors have the credibility. If we stand together we have a greater chance of success”
3.45pm In a comment article, The Guardian’s political correspondent Juliette Jowit argues that mental health should be integrated with other health services.
She writes: “Why are depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, alcoholism and personality disorders dealt with by mental health services, separate from the rest of the NHS?
“If this sounds like organisational nit-picking, it is not. There is plenty of evidence that lack of integration of mental and other health services serves patients on both sides badly.
“Meanwhile, institutionalising the idea that “mental” health is somehow different from other illnesses perpetuates the idea that it these problems are “in the mind”, that perhaps patients could buck up a bit, or they are untreatable, to be feared, even avoided.”
Psychologist Hayley Dare claimed she was bullied at West London Mental Health Trust when she made allegations about poor patient care and staff welfare.
But chairman at Watford Employment Tribunal Ian Henry today said Dr Dare was prompted to make the claims by being “particularly distressed”’ when she thought she was to have six of her psychology sessions cut, which would have had a significant impact on her job.
2.35pm With a budget of £95.6bn NHS England’s accountability “should not be in any doubt”, according to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee.
However, the committee finds that the organisation is “still evolving” in a report that looks at public body organisations more widely but uses the NHS as a case study.
It adds: “It is not acceptable that the Department of Health took more than two years to update its ‘accountability system statement’. This left accountability relationships unclear during a period of major organisational change.”
Bernard Jenkin MP, chair of the Committee, said: “Vast amounts of money are involved here, £95.6 billion in the case of NHS England alone, and it is simply not acceptable that there is no clarity or clear accountability for that kind of public expenditure.
“The key to accountability and effectiveness is the quality of relationships between the relevant department and its arms-length bodies. However complicated the arrangements may have to be, there is no excuse for lack of a clear understanding of statuses, roles and relationships. Too often, relationships lack trust and understanding. Blame is used to avoid accountability
“The architecture is not meant to be reminiscent of the film, “The Matrix” where doors open on virtual worlds which are insulated from reality and hidden from the public and from those meant to be accountable for them.
“Whoever wins the election, there is bound to be more change in the structure of Whitehall, involving arms-length bodies. It would be very helpful to any government with a new mandate to establish a clear framework for such decisions before the election.”
2.05pm A poll commissioned by the Royal College of Midwives shows that 82 per cent of people would support the 1 per cent pay award recommended for NHS staff by the Pay Review Body.
The results follow strike action and further industrial action by midwife and maternity support worker members of the RCM. This came after the Government rejected the PRB recommendation.
The poll by ComRes found that four-fifths of those who intend to vote Conservative (80 per cent) and slightly more for Labour (87 per cent) say they would support the recommended pay award.
Nine in every ten (90 per cent) Liberal Democrat supporters were in favour, and 84 per cent of those who intend to vote UKIP backed it.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Our members will be heartened to see these figures and the level of public support for them. The public know what the politicians seem unaware of; that investing in staff is investing in the NHS.
“People also know how dedicated and hard working midwives and other NHS staff are. They also know that all NHS staff are asking for is a very modest 1% pay award. Midwives are not asking for banker-style bonuses. This 1% would still see their pay lagging significantly behind the rising cost of living. This also comes on the back of two years of pay freezes and way below inflation pay wards.
“The public are backing this and a large majority of MPs across all parties are backing this. More industrial action is planned but it can be avoided. I repeat my appeal to the Government to come back to the negotiating table to discuss this with us.”
This has led to them being locked in prison cells for hours at a time.
1.20pm The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is not fit for purpose, according to the Patients Association.
To coincide with a hearing of the Public Administration Select Committee into the PHSO the Patients Association has said that the PHSO should “demonstrate that it is competent, effective, accountable and cost effective to the public purse”.
It also questions the “quality and integrity of the PHSO investigations, their reports and findings”.
The Patients Association is finalising a detailed report looking at the failings of the PHSO and setting out how it should be reformed, which it will submit as written evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association said: “We receive cases every week where people are distressed and even traumatised by the way their case has been mishandled by the PHSO.”
“The Health Ombudsman should be a court of last resort where uncorrected mistakes by the NHS can finally be put right, but the process is not fit for purpose and often ends up compounding the grief of families. The quality, accuracy, objectivity, effectives, openness and honesty of its reports is shameful.”
The Shropshire trust’s shortfall stood at £8.7m in September, against a deficit target of 8.9m for the entire year.
According to papers presented at its October board meeting, the trust is now expecting a £12.4m deficit unless it receives extra financial support.
12.20pm Emergency and acute services in some areas could increasingly be supported by up-skilled GPs, working across hospital and community settings, NHS England’s deputy medical director has said.
In an interview with HSJ, Mike Bewick set out the dramatic service and workforce shifts which would come to some areas as they move to new sustainable care models, as envisaged in last month’s NHS Five Year Forward View.
Dr Bewick, a former GP partner who also worked in acute services for several years, said some hospitals were finding it “very, very difficult” to staff accident and emergency and acute services to the minimum requirements set by royal colleges, combined with maximum working time rules.
In total, £1.3m in extra funding is being invested to try to ensure A&E departments are not clogged up with patients who do not need to be admitted.
The idea behind the schemes at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust is to triage patients presenting at A&E and redirect some to the in house GP.
11.45am Primary care has only reached the “foothills” of transformation, the national deputy medical director has said during an interview in which he predicts a “steeper fall” in the number of individual GP practices.
Mike Bewick, a former GP, said also that primary care must be “shored up” against workforce shortages in the short term and the service was “singularly failing” to attract enough recruits into general practice.
In a wide ranging interview with HSJ, Dr Bewick also set out how primary care could lead a shift to new care models.
10.45am Professor Dame Sue Bailey, has been elected as the next chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to succeed Professor Terence Stephenson who steps down at the end of the year to become chair of the General Medical Council.
Professor Bailey is immediate past-president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was elected by the members of the Academy Council which comprises the Presidents of the medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in the UK. The candidates in the election were Professor Bailey and Dr JP Van Besouw, the current President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists.
Professor Bailey will take up her role on 1 January 2015.
Professor Bailey said: “I am delighted to have been elected chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and thank the members of the Council.
“I am very clear that the role of the Academy and of medical Royal Colleges is crucial and will continue to be so over the coming years. As professional bodies it is the role of Colleges and Faculties, on behalf of their members and fellows, to help shape policy through articulating and advocating the highest standards of care for patients and providing ethical leadership for health.
It is also essential for that voice to be heard through the Academy on cross-specialty issues that relate to all patients and all doctors. Through Colleges, I want the Academy to be the informed voice of doctors across issues of quality, education, training, workforce and service delivery.
“There are some huge challenges for healthcare in the UK in the coming years. The Academy is a UK-wide body and, whilst health service structures may differ across the four nations and differing approaches to problems may be preferred, the fundamental challenges of providing high quality equitable healthcare at the current time remain the same.”
Professor Terence Stephenson, the current chair of the Academy, said: “I am confident that under Sue’s leadership the Academy and Colleges will engage constructively with these challenges and in all the debates to seek to ensure that, from the perspective of medical staff, quality and standards of care are maintained and indeed improved for patients
“I have been privileged to be the chair of the Academy for the last two and a half years and I thank all my current and former colleagues on the Council and those throughout the health system for their advice and support without which it would not be possible to do the job.
“l wish Sue and the Academy every success for the future”
10.35am Police are routinely being called to restrain dementia patients in care homes because poorly trained staff cannot cope, The Daily Mail reports.
The “deeply concerning” trend is the knock-on effect of a lack of investment in care staff training and the increasing use of agency staff, charities say.
Chief constables claim they are becoming an “extension of the NHS” and are spending increasing amounts of time responding to problems that were once dealt with by social services and the health service.
10.30am The Daily Mail reports that there is a “worryingly vast variation” in access to advanced MRI scanning and radiotherapy techniques for men with prostate cancer.
Half of all men with the disease do not receive all the support services they should in hospitals, the National Prostate Cancer Audit found.
10.10am The Telegraph reports that hundreds of people under the age of 25 underwent weight loss surgery in the past three years, a major study has found.
The National Bariatric Surgery Registry said 108 men and 462 women aged 24 or under had obesity operations between 2011 and 2013, including 62 people under the age of 18.
Nominations will close at midday today.
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.
The NHS has paid damages to 700 patients in the past eight years who brought compensation claims after hospitals missed a vital cancer diagnosis.
This comes after Cancer Research UK estimated that 52,000 patients a year are having their odds of survival cut because the disease is not caught quickly enough.