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5.10pm: Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing has responded to the news Mike Farrar is to retire from the NHS Confederation.

He said: “Mike Farrar has been an excellent champion of the NHS, and a committed and tireless public servant throughout his time working in the health service. Nurses will be particularly thankful for his work placing quality care at the heart of what the NHS does, and his recent work to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. We wish him well with his next move in which he will no doubt continue to make a hugely positive contribution for patients. 

“The NHS Confederation has a crucial role at a time when the NHS is subject to intense pressure and significant change, and we wish Dean Royles every success in fulfilling Mike Farrar’s responsibilities while a new Chief Executive is recruited.”

2.50pm: Mike Farrar is to step down from the NHS Confederation and will not apply to become NHS England chief executive, he announced today.

Mr Farrar will leave his role as the confederation’s chief at the end of the month, although he will continue to lead some projects for the organisation, while launching a consultancy career.

Read the full story here.

2.40pm: The Government has today published a five year strategy on antimicrobial resistance calling for National and international action on treatment, education and monitoring of bacteria.

In March, the Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said antimicrobial resistance posed a “catastrophic threat” if action was not taken. The government has accepted all of her recommendations and has added the issue of antimicrobial resistance to the National Security Risk Assessment.

The five-year antimicrobial resistance strategy outlines that steps are being taken to:
• Improve how we prevent and manage infections in people and in animals; including through better hygiene and monitoring of bacteria in medical and community settings, and through better farming practices. 
• Improve education and training around the prescribing of antibiotics to reduce inappropriate usage and make sure patients get the right antibiotics, at the right time and for the right duration.
• Collect better data on the resistance of bugs so we can track them more effectively, find the most resistant bacteria and step in earlier where there is resistance to antibiotics.
• Provide funding of up to £4million to set up a new National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit which will focus on AMR and healthcare associated infections. In recognition of the importance of quick action, the NIHR is also running a themed research call to encourage AMR research across a range of areas.
• Explore ways to encourage the development of new antibiotics, rapid diagnostics and other treatments by working with industry and across Government.

2.30pm: The NHS needs to get its communications and its branding right, and be confident enough to explain what it is doing and why according to NHS England board member and chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support Ciaran Devane.

Read his opinion piece for HSJ here.

2pm: Dr Mike Durkin, director of patient safety at NHS England has written a message for World Suicide Prevenetion Day via the Connecting with People website.

He said: “I wholeheartedly support World Suicide Prevention Day and its important goal to raise awareness and reduce the stigma people with mental illnesses can face. People who are physically ill will seek treatment easily and are encouraged and well supported, but when people find themselves suffering from mental health problems, often they feel embarrassed which prevents them from seeking the treatment they need.

“The Patient Safety team at NHS England understand the barriers and risks created by such stigma and have developed tools to try and address what is an important patient safety issue.”

1.35pm: Sir Bruce Keogh told a press conference earlier today “same day access to primary care” was one of the themes emerging from his work on urgent and emergency care.

The NHS England medical director appeared alongside Jeremy Hunt and NHS England deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin to announce the £500m winter pressures fund.

Sir Bruce Keogh outlined some of the idea from his ongoing work on the future shape of urgent and emergency services.

He said one of the principles would be that patients would engage with the system by phone first of all before going to their GP or A&E.

He added that there was support emerging for same day access to primary care and seven-day working in hospitals.

Mr Hunt confirmed the changes he was talking about to primary care would involve some changes to the GP contract.

As well as the short term distribution of money Jeremy Hunt told the press conference that “one third of A&Es by this time next year will be able to access GP records” and that he was “hoping to be able to announce that a good number of 111 centres will be able to access GP records” over the same time period.

He told the press conference: “The short-term help is going to be extremely important. The longer term changes will actually start this Spring.”

The health secretary said: “I believe it is entirely possible for us to meet our A&E target. This combination of measures means it is possible.”

NHS England’s deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin said the £15m set aside for 111 would pay for an extra 20,000 calls, 200 call handlers and 60 cliniciains to support them.

She confirmed that the trusts receiving the support announced today had been identified by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority as those “thought likely to fail” without it.

Dame Barbara said the money would go to “hospital trusts and their surrounding health economies”.

The announcement of the A&E fund is earlier than in previous years.

1.30pm: Responding to the announcement of £250m for A&E departmentsDean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: “Pressure is rising in emergency departments and resources will be stretched this winter, so this additional funding is always a relief for the NHS and its patients.

“Evidence tells us one thing that’s better for patients is to have more of our senior consultants present in hospitals, responding more effectively to the vast array of emergency activity at weekends and evenings. There are concerns about working unsociable hours but we cannot escape the increasing need to change working patterns and skill mix, so it is crucial that patients are our main focus in this issue. Exploring such changes will be a significant cultural challenge but an essential one.

“As the organisers of the national NHS staff flu vaccination campaign, NHS Employers knows trusts are already doing a great deal to encourage staff to be vaccinated. It’ll be a huge challenge for many to get three quarters vaccinated, especially when their immunisation plans are already in place, but we’ll be there to support them every step of the way.

“Since NHS staff got their first national vaccination campaign in 2011 over 100,000 more have come forward to be vaccinated. If we keep moving in this direction we’ll get where we need to be, but we owe it to our patients to get there even faster.

“It’s important to emphasise that getting vaccinated is a personal choice, but one we think reflects the compassion all frontline staff should show in every aspect of patient care.”

12.30pm: Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed hospitals will need to achieve a 75 per cent uptake of the flu vaccine among staff if they wish to receive future A&E bailout cash.

Jeremy Hunt also reveals children aged two and three will be given a nasal spray vaccine for flu to help reduce the transmission of influenza.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said Hunt was coming up with “half-baked ideas that were too little too late.”

12pm: HSJ is hosting a twitter chat tomorrow at 1pm looking at the so-called crisis in A&E.

Join experts from the NHS Confederation and HSJ to debate the issues facing emergency medicine.

Surveys by the NHS Confederationhave revealed the concerns of patients, nurses and health service leaders that patients have been put at risk by the strain on emergency departments. And the incoming chair of the Royal College of GPs has condemned the prime minister’s £500m bailout as “voodoo med-economics”.

Simply log into Twitter from 1pm on 11 September,#urgentcare #HSJchat

11.40am: Today is World Suicide Prevention Day which has a theme this year of tackling stigma.

Professor Louis Appleby, Chair of National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group has written an online article for the Department of Health.

He says: “Suicide is the leading cause of death in young men but we can all play a part in bringing the tragic figures down. So be alert if someone you know is going through a difficult time, remember you can save a life by asking the difficult question about suicide. And don’t be convinced that they are fine even if they say they are.”

Read what he had to say here.

11.30am: The Department of Health via Parliament has revealed which individual trusts will receive a cash bailout as part of efforts to tackle the so-called crisis in accident and emergency departments.

The list has been published online and is available to download here

The Prime Minister announced in August that A&E departments would receive an extra £500m over the two financial years.

11.20am: Reconfiguration of hospital services is “inevitable” if better standards of hospital care are to be achieved, a major Royal College of Physicians report is expected to say.

The RCP will publish the findings of its Future Hospitals Commission on Thursday, making a series of recommendations on how to improve services.

It is likely to back seven day hospital services and increases in the amount of consultant delivered care.

Read the full story here.

11.14am: Nigel Clarke has been appointed as Chair of the General Pharmaceutical Council and will formally start in the role in March next year.

His appointment was made by the Privy Council and replaces Bob Nicholls.

Mr Clarke served on the General Osteopathic Council from its inception in 1996 until 2008, and was chair from 2001 to 2007. He was also a member of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, now the Professional Standards Authority from 2003 to 2008.

Mr Clarke will take part in the recruitment of five appointments to the GPhC’s governing council scheduled over the autumn.

11.10am: Shaow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has tweeted: Just been granted an Urgent Question to Jeremy Hunt on A&E crisis.

HSJ understands this will be at 12.30pm today.

10.22am: A new law creating the first opt-opt organ donation system in the UK is to be rubber-stamped at a special ceremony on 10 September.

The Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill was overwhelmingly passed by Welsh Assembly Members earlier this year - with ministers saying it would drive up transplant rates and save lives.

First minister of Wales Carwyn Jones will perform the official sealing ceremony to mark the final stage in the passing of the bill before it is given royal assent.

It is also expected that details of when the new law will come into effect will be announced.

The Welsh Government has long said there is a desperate need to drive up transplantation rates - with 226 people in Wales waiting for a transplant.

Officials hope the new legislation will increase donors by around a quarter.

Read the full story here.

10.20am: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for GPs to improve their care for the elderly.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hunt said the previous Labour government had created a system which made it “easier to go to A&E and harder to go and see a GP”.

He told Today programme’s Justin Webb: “We need to restore that personal link [between GPs and patients].”

10.10am: The Times reports that trusts will not get any A&E bailout money unless three-quarters of their staff have thf lu jab.

The paper said: “Last winter just eight NHS trusts reached this target, with only a third getting above 50 per cent, leading to criticism that they were putting vulnerable patients at risk.”

10.05am: Plans to scrap discounts on clinical negligence premiums will not lead to “big swings in price”, the chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority has told HSJ.

The authority is in the process of winding up its programme of risk assessments in which each trust’s result determines whether it is eligible for a discount of up to 30 per cent on its premium.

Instead, under the revised clinical negligence scheme for trusts, the price paid by each organisation will be determined by the number and value of successful claims made against it and the type of activity it carries out. The assessment process will be replaced with more support for trusts designed to reduce the number of claims.

Existing discounts will continue to apply until the end of 2014-15 when they will begin to be phased out.

Read the full story here.

9.50am: The proportion of NHS funding spent on hospital care increased in 2012-13, with general practice slightly reducing its share, official figures obtained by HSJ indicate.

Spending on GP services in 2012-13 was £7.8bn, a 1 per cent increase on 2011-12. However, overall spending on healthcare by primary care trusts increased by 2.7 per cent, to £91.7bn.

Therefore the proportion of total healthcare spending going to general practice reduced from 8.7 per cent to 8.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the proportion spent on hospital care – general, acute, accident and emergency and maternity services – increased by 3.7 per cent to £46.8bn. Its proportion of total healthcare spending increased from 50.6 per cent to 51 per cent.

Read the full story here.

8.50am: Good morning, staff at Oxford Health have been using a new e-system to monitor the symptoms of their patients with bipolar disorder remotely. Relying on a patient’s memory of how their mood had been during the weeks or months since their previous appointment was heavily dependent on their current mood state and recall ability, resulting in often inaccurate information on which to base treatment plans. 

The new system allows patients to score their mood via text messaging using questions from validated scales. The information is transferred by software developed in Oxford University into an easy-to-read graph.