4.20pm: On the decision by Jeremy Hunt to call for a review into the impact of the European Working Time Directive on the NHS, the Daily Telegraph writes that its own investigation found some hospitals paying up to £20,000 a week for an agency doctor because they could not plug gaps in rotas.
Charlotte Leslie, a Tory member of the Commons health select committee is also quoted in the story. “We cannot let Brussels bureaucrats erode the training of our future medical consultants, compromise patient safety, and undermine the professionalism of our superb NHS staff by imposing a “clock-on, clock-off” NHS ethos”, she says.
3.20pm: Austerity cuts in the NHS “will damage people’s health. There will be deaths” writes Dr Brian Fisher, in an opinion piece for HSJ.
The retired GP and chair at the Socialist Health Association says “in Greece, where 35,000 clinicians lost their jobs, Athens cut its health service by 34 per cent and disability rules were made harsher, suicide rates rose by 20 per cent between 2007 and 2009. HIV and other infectious diseases rose. There was a 40 per cent increase in infant mortality between 2008 and 2010, and a 47 per cent rise in unmet healthcare needs”. Expanding funding for the NHS in economic times is the right thing to do he says. You can read the detailed international comparisons here.
3.01pm: A dementia patient was taken to the wrong house by hospital staff and left in the owner’s bed, The Times reports. Lillian Taylor was driven to her old address, after being discharged from Homerton Hospital in Hackney. The current occupier described as a “somewhat confused elderly gentlemen” let staff in and allowed Mrs Taylor to be put in bed. Police were called by the hospital after the mistake was realised.
2.45pm: The Royal College of Physicians will be part of the taskforce reviewing the implementation of the EU Working Time Directive. In a statement the body added there is “much to examine on the impact of reduced working hours”, and “more importantly, the continuity of care for patients”.
1.56pm: A High Court judge has refused Ealing Council permission to take a hospital reconfiguration plan to judicial review.
The Shaping a Healthier Future process put together by the former north west London cluster of primary care trusts proposes closing three of the eight accident and emergency units in the area - Ealing, Central Middlesex and Charing Cross - among other measures.
If passed, the amendment will compel ministers to introduce secondary legislation to make the “provision of information” when an incident “affecting a person’s safety” occurs a condition of registration with the Care Quality Commission. Read the full story here.
11.40am: Hospital funding is set to be cut by £2bn as the NHS faces a potential “financial cliff edge” says NHS England’s chief executive.
Commenting on the impact of pooling large sums with local authority Sir David Nicholson says: “The [pooled budget] is a ‘game changer’. It creates a substantial ring-fenced budget for investment in out-of-hospital care. However, it will also require us to make savings of over £2bn in existing spending on acute care”. You can read the full story here.
11.30am: NHS England has published August data for NHS 111 today. It says 94.1 per cent of calls were answered within 60 seconds and 0.5 per cent of calls were abandoned after waiting longer than 30 seconds. The full data can be found on NHS England site http://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/
11.12am: The Guardian also reports on Hunt’s taskforce review on European Working Time Directive (WTD), adding it has helped greatly reduce, but not end, the traditional long hours culture faced by some doctors. The newspaper writes that Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons who is charing the review, is an arch-critic of the WTD.
Professor Williams previously criticised it as a “48-hour straitjacket [that] has led to too many unnecessary handovers and resulted in fragmentation of patient care”.
10.41am: The Department of Health has announced Dominic Dodd, chair of Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust since July 2009, as its preferred candidate for the role of Chair of Monitor.
The Health Select Committee is to hold a public pre-appointment scrutiny hearing on Tuesday 15 October and report on the candidate’s suitability for the post. Mr Dodd is also a director of UCL Partners and non-executive director for Permanent TSB Group Holdings.
10.30am: Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked the Royal College of Surgeons to chair an independent review of the implementation of the Working Time Directive on doctors and the NHS. The European law stops doctors working more than 48 hours a week.
The review will examine the evidence and give advice on the impact of the regulations on the delivery of patient care and the training of the next generation of doctors. It is also expected to make recommendations for improving doctors’ contracts. The taskforce will report back in January 2014.
“No-one wants to go back to the bad old days of tired doctors working excessive hours, but when senior clinicians tell us this directive’s implementation is harming patient safety and doctors’ training, it’s right that we take another look at it,” Mr Hunt said in a statement.
Professor Norman Williams, president, of the Royal College of Surgeons added: “There is a need for a deeper examination of the evidence on the impact and implementation of the reduced working hours on the delivery of care and training of doctors; the formation of this group will allow this”.
10.15am: Imperial College Healthcare Trust in London will continue with the unusual arrangement of having a three-man “office of the chief executive” body until a replacement for its existing chief executive Mark Davies can be found. The trust announced on 1 October that Mr Davies would be leaving at the end of the year.
Medical director professor Nick Cheshire and chief financial officer Bill Shields will work alongside chair Sir Richard Sykes. The arrangement took effect from yesterday 10 October.
10:02am: The Daily Mail reports that a police chief’s family ‘smugled’ him out of hospital he was being treated after claiming that the NHS was making him worse.
Supt Wakeley’s wife Joanne claims her husband was left in soiled sheets and not given a shower or shave for 17 days whilst being treated at the National Hospital for Neurology in Central London. The hospital responded that “it treats patients with complicated conditions who often require feeding through tubes. It is also not possible for some patients to take showers but nurses ‘ensure they recieve a bed bath every day’”.
8:57am: Good morning, the diversity in the size and structure of clinical commissioning groups has given rise to wide variations in governance arrangements and how CCG leaders engage with GP members and external stakeholders.
Today on HSJ’s commissioning channel, Holly Holder and Shilpa Ross say the key challenge for new CCGs, regardless of their shape or size, is building and maintaining strong relationships with general practioners. They write: “It is clearly important for GPs to feel a sense of ownership over CCGs if their engagement is to be sustained in the long term.”