Ben Bradshaw MP tweets that CCG has dropped controversial plans to restrict access to elective care, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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5.24pm A debate on the NEW Devon proposals is currently underway in the Commons, secured by Ben Bradshaw. Follow @whazell on Twitter for the debate.

5.22pm Our story on the NEW Devon announcement is now online.

4.59pm Here’s what Commons health committee chair Sarah Wollaston had to say about the NEW Devon announcement:

4.04pm Some breaking news: Ben Bradshaw MP has tweeted that NEW Devon CCG has dropped controversial plans to introduce restrictions to elective care for the morbidly obese and smokers.

More to follow

3.27pm The CQC’s new inspection regime system is being applied in an energetic fashion, so it is especially important for trusts to know when and how to challenge their hospital ratings, write Neil Grant and Paul Ridout of Ridouts solicitors.

2.53pm Monitor has announced it has opened an investigation into the finances of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The regulator removed Basildon and Thurrock from special measures in June 2014 after the trust improved the quality of its health services.

However, Monitor said is was “concerned that the trust is now predicting a larger financial loss this year than previously thought”.

Monitor’s probe will look into why Basildon and Thurrock’s finances have deteriorated and how they can be improved.

It will also examine how well the trust is working with other local NHS bodies to address its problems.

Laura Mills, deputy regional director at Monitor, said:

“Basildon and Thurrock has made great progress in improving its services for patients, but it appears to be struggling financially. 

“We want to find out why the trust’s finances are deteriorating and ensure its leadership is taking appropriate action to address this challenge.”

Monitor will announce the outcome of its investigation, and whether any regulatory action is needed, in due course.

2.49pm A North West acute trust grappling with cash flow problems explored the possibility of getting a £10m loan from the local council.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust has since abandoned its bid to secure the loan from Blackpool Borough Council which it hoped would ease its cash flow problems.

2.40pm NHS trusts could be required to provide far more formalised education and training for qualified nurses under radical proposals outlined to HSJ ahead of a major review next year.

In an exclusive interview, Lord Willis, the chair of the Shape of Caring Review into nursing education and training, suggested nurses’ university education should become more generalist. More detailed and specialist training should be moved into their first years of their NHS careers.

Lord Willis also hinted that he may recommend changes to long term career paths and how education and training is provided to nurses in order to support this

2.17pm The Daily Telegraph reports that breastfeeding could reduce the chance of breast cancer by a fifth, an international study has found.

Research on more than 750,000 women found it was a “powerful strategy” to reduce the risk of cancer, especially the most aggressive types of disease.

Experts said thousands of cases of cancer could be prevented and lives saved if Britain improved rates of breastfeeding, which are the lowest in the western world.

1.55pm In The Times David Aaronovitch writes that the shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is “slagging off” privatisation “for political gain” after he “championed” it when in power when any qualified provider was introduced.

1.51pm Ten million people worldwide will die every year by 2050 if the rise of drug-resistant infections is not halted, according to a report.

The Times reports that the first analysis from the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, established by David Cameron in July, also found that the superbugs could cost the global economy $100 trillion by the middle of this century.

12.51pm The Times reports that almost half the population in England is taking prescription medication, with more than a fifth on at least three separate drugs at the same time, statistics revealed yesterday.

Women took more medicines than men, even excluding contraceptives, with 590 per cent of women and 43 per cent of men taking at least one prescribed medicine in the past week.

The figures, published in the Health Survey for England found prescription drugs rose with age, with 70 per cent of those aged 75 or over taking at least three prescribed medicines.

12.37pm The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the Department of Health have today announced the third quarter payment from industry of £79m to underwrite the growth of the medicines bill under the 2014 pharmaceutical price regulation scheme. This takes the total payment made by industry in 2014 to £229 million.

The pharmaceutical industry has agreed to help keep NHS expenditure on branded medicines in the scheme flat for two years and within agreed controlled growth levels for a further three years under the new five-year voluntary PPRS. The industry will underwrite any further expenditure by the NHS with agreed exclusions.

The growth rate of the branded medicines in the scheme in the first three quarters of 2014 is 5.93 per cent - higher than the 3.87 per cent original joint forecast. Based on this growth rate the DH has today confirmed that the 2015 payment percentage will be 10.36 per cent. It has also provided an estimate of future PPRS growth rates. Based on these estimates the payments for 2016-2018 would be 15% each year.

Commenting on these announcements, Stephen Whitehead, ABPI chief executive, said: “We believe that the PPRS is a platform to drive improved change across the NHS and provide patients with greater access to innovative medicines. It presents the NHS with a unique opportunity to increase the availability of the best branded medicines and most innovative treatments, at minimal cost. Although the increased spend demonstrates a trend towards growth in the use of medicines, we know that this growth is not in new, innovative medicines but in older medicines and specialised commissioning.

“The Department of Health’s growth estimates for 2016-18 are one possible scenario for the future; however the PPRS scheme is designed to calculate payments based on actual growth.”

11.57am The chair of West London Mental Health Trust has announced he is stepping down, midway through his second term.

Nigel McCorkell this week announced he was retiring and would no longer chair the trust, which runs community mental health services in three London boroughs as well as the Broadmoor high security hospital.

The former accountant said he was retiring because the trust’s application date for foundation trust status had slipped to 2016.

11.55am Here’s our story on how the number of patients waiting over 18 weeks for treatment has increased despite the government pouring £250m into the NHS to clear the backlogs of longest waiters over the summer.

10.56am The Royal College of Psychiatrists has come out in opposition to the Medical Innovation Bill championed by Lord Saatchi.

Simon Wessely, president of the college said:

“RCPsych understands and sympathises with the sentiment behind the Medical Innovation Bill, but regrettably cannot support it in its present form.
“We have significant concerns that the Bill in its current form is unnecessary, leaves the door open for irresponsible practice in the name of innovation (which could be detrimental to patients), and also fails to provide any mechanisms to promote good innovation for the benefit of patients.
“We note and respect the clear legal opinions of Sir Robert Francis QC as to why this Bill is unnecessary. The current law of negligence does not prevent responsible innovation and never has. The Medical Protection Society, which has extensive experience of issues of clinical negligence and advising doctors on ethical and medico-legal matters, has clearly stated it is not aware that a fear of clinical negligence claims is preventing doctors from being innovative.
“The Bill’s current provisions about the need for doctors to obtain the views of potentially just one ‘appropriately qualified’ doctor and ‘taking account’ of their views before undertaking innovation treatment are worryingly vague, and provide an insufficient safeguard for protecting patients against an unjustifiable risk of harm.

“The Bill would also significantly inhibit genuine medical innovation. If innovation is to be of any real benefit it has to be a collective and not an individual activity. The lack of reference in the Bill to the need to record and disseminate knowledge about a new treatment or procedure practised by an individual clinician will result in a missed opportunity to bring about any potential wider public benefit from its provisions. 

“Moreover, if individual clinicians feel that the Bill offers them the opportunity of by-passing the need for clinical trials on a regular basis, this could significantly undermine recruitment to and participation in proper clinical trials which are key to finding innovative new treatments. This would be detrimental to patients in the long term.”

10.22am The waiting list for planned care has grown to over 3.2m, as the number of patients waiting over 18 weeks increased despite government pressure to treat the longest waiters.

This growth in the waiting list comes despite government pressure on providers to treat the longest waiting patients, the latest data covering October shows.

There were 204,390 patients waiting over 18 weeks, a steep increase on the same point last year where 169,907 patients were waiting.

Fewer patients were admitted in October compared to the same month last year, with 330,247 patients admitted for treatment, compared to 336,193 last year.

More to follow

10.15am The ‘postcode lottery’ of surgery after massive weight loss is a significant public health problem. The first national guide around the procedure has challenged misconceptions that the NHS provides ‘free cosmetic surgery’, writes Mark Soldin

10.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. We start the day with a piece from Sally Eason and Elizabeth Green on how three Midlands clinical commissioning groups saved £10.5m and improved outcomes by treating their mental health patients locally.