15.35pm: The DH has published its amended secondary legislation covering procurement, the section 75 rules that ran into considerable controversy earlier this year.
Health minister Norman Lamb last week promised to amend the wording of the legislation after fears it would see commissioners forced to tender contracts unless they could meet a stringent set of exemptions.
A key amendment is the removal of these exemption definitions.
The original section five of the secondary legislation said the CCG could award the contract without tender only “for technical reasons” or for “reasons of extreme urgency”.
The amended regulations remove these definitions so a contract can be awarded with out tender “where the relevant body is satisfied that the services to which the contract relates are capable of being provided only by that provider.”
Another amended regulation now specifies that Monitor cannot order a CCG to hold a competitive tender for a contract.
The regulations still say commisioners “must not engage in anti-competitive behaviour”, but the exemption has changed from anti-competitive behviour which is “not necessary for the attainment of intended outcomes which are beneficial for people who use such services”, to “must not engage in anti-competitive behaviour unless to do so is in the interests of people who use health care services for the purposes of the NHS”.
It says these interests could be servied by “services being provided in an integrated way (including with other health care services, health-related services, or social care services); or by co-operation between the persons who provide the services in order to improve the quality of the services.”
The amended regulations can be seen in full here.
2.30pm: HSJ has broken the news that the NHS Commissioning Board has announced that Dame Barbara Hakin will step up to be its interim chief operating officer and deputy chief executive.
The announcement follows the news last week that the commissioning board had approached individuals including former NHS director general Mark Britnell in relation to the role. Current postholder Ian Dalton is leaving, and the board plans to make a permanent appointment later in the year.
Allegations in relation Dame Barbara’s handling of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, and its former chief executive Gary Walker, resurfaced last month, while there is also an open General Medical Council complaint against her, in relation to Mr Walker’s case.
1.40pm: Councils will need to provide “more convincing” evidence when they oppose NHS reconfigurations such as hospital closures, according to the health chief in charge of a review on the subject.
NHS South of England chief executive Sir Ian Carruthers told councillors at a Local Government Association meeting last week that it was “inadequate” for local authority scrutiny committees to oppose NHS shake-ups in their area on the grounds that they “don’t like it”.
1.34pm: Yorkshire and Derbyshire trusts are developing plans for joint working on issues including viability, service quality and staff terms and conditions.
The trusts involved include Chesterfield Royal, Mid Yorkshire, Rotherham, Sheffield Teaching, Sheffield Children’s, Barnsley, and Doncaster and Bassetlaw. Chairs and chief executives of the trusts met to discuss potential areas of collaboration, HSJ has learned.
12.25pm: NHS Choices has launched a website with details about the review of trusts with high mortality rates, and where its findings and reports will be published.
12.23pm: 20% of all medical member contacts were in relation to patient complaints, Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) figures from last year reveal. Complaints could have been avoided with better communication between doctor and patient says the legal defence organisation.
“Doctors have a duty to discuss their patient’s condition and treatment options in a way that’s easily understandable so both parties can make decisions together,” says MDDUS Joint Head of Medical Division Dr John Holden.
12.03pm: UNISON has responded to comments by former defence secretary Liam Fox, business secretary Vince Cable and other senior Tories to cut health spending and stop the ring-fencing of the NHS.
“The ring-fence is an illusion when in reality jobs are going, Trusts are being told they must make £20bn in so-called efficiency savings, when the costs of treatment and drugs keeps on rising and when we have a growing elderly population that needs more medical treatment,” said Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health.
She writes: “Instead of doggedly pursuing policies that are failing the country, the Government should be investing in jobs and infrastructure to get this country out of the financial mire.”
11.21am: We’ve also got some great intreractive graphics on our patient safety roundtable. How does a healthcare leaderavoid spending an inappropriate amount of time responding to/investigating concerns that do not warrant attention – while also demonstrating their commitment to care quality? We asked our panel of experts including Kim Holt, and Steve Shrubb.
11.14am: A Labour MP has written to the Daily Telegraph calling for the House of Commons to be given a vote on the future of NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson.
Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, writes in the newspaper today that “every back-bench MP I have spoken to from across the political spectrum agrees” that Sir David should be “held responsible and sacked” for the care scandal at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
He adds: “Health ministers and their shadows, for reasons that are opaque to me, disagree. They should not be allowed to stop a vote in the House of Commons that would show the electorate that they and their representatives are at one on this issue.”
11.05am: In this weeks’ HSJ Local Briefing we examine the potential plans for Wye Valley Trust to secure the future of its services after the trust admitted it will not be able to achieve foundation trust status.
The full briefing can also be viewed and downloaded as a PDF now.
10.55am: Financial restraints and the huge changes facing the NHS are affecting staff’s confidence to raise concerns on patient safety its emerged from HSJ’s roundtable debate. HSJ gathered 15 experts, from foundation trust chief executives to those who have spoken out themselves.
“We are all on a heroic quest to find the £20bn but I’m no longer sure which £20bn that is,” said Claire Murdoch, chief executive of Central and North West London Foundation Trust.
10.25am: Providers involved in the first merger between two foundation Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Poole Hospital foundation trusts trusts have signed up to undertakings restricting how they can communicate with each other while the Competition Commission reviews the proposals. Lead clinicians must sign up to the terms and could face a fine or imprisonment if they break them.
10.10am: Business secretary Vince Cable and former defence secretary Liam Fox unite on need for NHS cuts reports the New Statesman. Both have today called for the government to cut spending on the NHS in order to free up funds for use elsewhere. In a speech this morning at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Fox will call for George Osborne to end the ring-fencing of the NHS.
Asked on the Today programme whether he agreed with Fox’s stance, Cable said while there was “an argument for protecting key priorities” such as the overseas aid and science budgets, ring-fencing was not “a very sensible” long-term approach.
9.54am: Cabinet office minister Francis Maude is calling for Nicholson to resign following an expenses probe, the Daily Mail has also reported. It emerged that until 2011, David Nicholson was given a taxpayer-funded sum of £60,000 to pay for a rented flat in London. Ministers fear a critical focus on Sir David’s pay and perks could prove the final straw.
9.41am: NHS chief is not out of danger yet says the Daily Mail. According to the newspaper “the Prime Minister himself has privately told colleagues that he doesn’t intend to tie himself too closely to Nicholson following warnings that there are further damaging revelations to come”.
9.30am: Good morning, on HSJ today Steve Kell, chair of Bassetlaw CCG writes that patients and quality are the key focus for emerging CCGs post Francis. “The reforms have not, in my opinion, “given all the power to the GPs”. This is a system where responsibility is shared, but where clarity is essential,” he writes today on HSJ’s Commissioning channel.