Public health officials extend probe into life expectancy falls among older people plus the rest of the today’s news

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4.45pm: The Care Quality Commission has announced the appointment of three new national advisors to its primary medical services directorate.

The three senior clinicians will provide advice and leadership across the whole organisation as the regulator continues to roll out its new approach to inspection, the regulator says.

They are:

  • Dr Elizabeth Kendrick, the new national advisor for elderly care
  • Dr Amanda Thomas, the new national advisor for integrated children’s services; and
  • Dr Joanna Bayley as national advisor for urgent care


4.10pm: HSJ senior bureau chief Dave West has flagged up the graph below on twitter.

Based on data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, it shows the spread of GP practices’ income per head of their list sizes.

An historic analysis of similar data from 2012, can be found here.

3.48pm: Campaign group Bowel Cancer UK has uncovered what it claims to be a worryingly patchy approach to screening using Freedom of Information requests.

The organisation discovered that half of hospital trusts in England did not screen for “Lynch syndrome” for patients under 50 years of age.

According to BCUK, screening for this inherited condition helps pinpoint family members of cancer sufferers who may be at risk of bowel cancer.

The test is mandated by the Royal College of Pathologists and recommended by the British Society of Gastroenterologists, it claims.

Dr Suzy Lishman, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, said, in a statement: “There is considerable variation in the approach to testing.

“We would urge all trusts to perform the screening test for Lynch syndrome in bowel cancer patients under 50  and to adopt a more consistent approach to the testing.”

2.51pm: Some catching up now with coverage of the Westminster Health Forum, covered by HSJ reporter Judith Welikala this morning.

We’ll have a story up on this tomorrow, but here’s a taster from some of Judith’s tweets. The conference was concluded by Mike Bewick, deputy medical director at NHS England.

He made some interesting points, describing the Quality and Outcome Framework or QOF as “bad for health” and revealed that NHS England had appointed a lead officer to examine ways of improving primary care premises.


2.35pm Comments about Sir Robert Francis’ whistleblowing review continue to trickle in.

Here is one from law firm Weightmans, which warns that proposed legal changes to whistleblowing laws might not be straightforward.

Head of healthcare employment Emlyn Williams describes the proposed changes to whistleblowing legislation itself as tricky.

“It will be interesting to see how the government legislates to enable claims to be made against prospective employers as proving that they knew that a job  applicant was a whistleblower and then showing that this was the reason for non-recruitment is likely to be difficult and will add to the complexity of an already complex legal picture.”

2.10pm: We’ve added some extra lines from Sir Robert Francis to our exclusive interview. In these, he rejects calls from campaigners and former whistleblowers for a public inquir. The QC said he had listened to the evidence of people’s experiences as part of his review adding: “I don’t personally see what a public inquiry could bring apart from prolonging the process over quite a long period of time.”

2.01pm A West Midlands paramedic has been handed an eight month suspended sentence after failing to examine and start resuscitation on a man who collapsed outside a hospital emergency department, we report today.

Matthew Geary, 36, has admitted he failed to provide a “prompt and proper”examination of 47-year-old Carl Cope, who collapsed and died outside Walsall Manor Hospital in June 2012.

Geary was one of the paramedics who had transported Mr Cope to hospital after responding to a 999 call after he collapsed from chest pains near his home.

12.48pm: The Royal Wolverhampton Trust is attempting to claw back more than £10,000 paid to a previous chair because the payment was in breach of financial rules for trusts, HSJ reveals today.

In response to a freedom of information request, the trust said a payment of an “additional £10,786 (taxed at source) per annum” was made to a previous chair “in order to match their previous NHS salary”.

A trust spokesman declined to reveal the name of the previous chair who received the money.

12.05pm: Like the Daily Telegraph (see below at 11.21am), the Times also has a leader on Sir Robert’s whistleblowing report. It says that reporting bad practice in the NHS should be the rule, not the exception.

12.03pm: The Times has also run a report that a mentally ill 16-year-old girl spent 44 hours in a police cell without taking food or water before being taken to hospital.

She was treated by paramedics at the station before being moved, HM inspectorate of Constabulary reported.

Nottinghamshire police said that the girl refused food and water, and that repeated attempts to find suitable accommodation in a mental health unit had failed.

12.01pm: Here’s another story from we’ve posted today: The Department of Health has launched a public consultation on an amendment that would allow budgets for core GP services to be pooled with clinical commissioning group and local authorities’ funds.

The proposed change would widen the existing NHS Bodies and Local Authorities Partnership Arrangements Regulations 2000. These currently provide for CCGs and local authorities to pool budgets for the commissioning of community health and social care services.

The amendment would mean NHS England, which is responsible for primary care including GP services, could also put funds for these services into pooled arrangements. It could potentially be used to commission integrated services incorporating GP, general acute and community, and social care services.

11.33am: The Times reports today that the education secretary Nicky Morgan will pledge £8.5m to be spent on a series of early intervention schemes to help teenagers avoid hospital admissions in the future.

The plans include treatment for substance, family therapy and a “home from home” scheme to allow young people a break to sort out their problems.

Mental health problems come up “heartbreakingly frequently” on visits to schools, Mrs Morgan is to say.

11.21am: The Daily Telegraph also dedicates its leader today to the Sir Robert Francis’ whistleblowing review.

The paper argues that a “complacency… predominates at the top of the NHS” when it comes to the treatment of whistleblowers, which it claims was exemplified by Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, who gave a BBC radio interview “armed with reams of data purporting to show that the NHS did most things well”.

“No done disputes this; in any case, providing a good, safe and caring service should be the normal state of affairs in our hospitals,” it adds.

The paper has a recommendation to change culture at the top: “If a few trust managers who have been involved in this behaviour could be identified and removed from their posts, then the message might finally come home”.

11.21am: The Daily Telegraph reports today that the government’s key adviser on obesity is among public scientists who have received millions of points in funding from Coca-Cola, Mars and Nestle.

Susan Jebb, who leads a Department of Health programme to reduce sugar in food, worked on research that attracted £1.37m of funding, including a £194,000 donation from Coca-Cola for one three year study.

11.15am: This exclusive story from HSJ reporter Shaun Lintern reveals that medical examiners could make a significant contribution to patient safety in the NHS.

Those working in pilot areas in England have exposed clinical incidents, poor staffing and fatal infections that have led to deaths on hospital wards, according to research shared with HSJ.

The Royal College of Pathologists said the results prove that medical examiners could make a significant contribution to patient safety in the NHS.

The pilots, which involved medical examiners looking at more than 27,000 deaths since 2008, found one in four hospital death certificates were inaccurate and one in five causes of death were wrong.

11.09am: Financial constraints and politics is hampering the efforts of public health professionals as they settle into their new local authority homes, a poll by the Royal Society for Public Health indicates.

The RSPH report found that the number of its members who thingk the shift of public health teams into local authorities was leading to improvements in health outcomes had more than doubled from 15 per cent in 2014 to almost nearly 40 this year.

The poll also found that:

  • Most respondents said that public health budgets were being controlled by their director of public health (67 per cent).
  • Two thirds of respondents stated that public health teams were investing in health improvement initiatives.
  • The vast majority (91 per cent) felt they have the professional skills relevant to their situation within local authorities.

10.53am: National public health officials are to further investigate falls in life expectancy among older people, after finding it was ‘too early’ to conclude they had stopped living for longer, we report today.

Public Health England’s report follows concerns being raised about falling life expectancy for 85-year-olds in recent years in some areas, as revealed by HSJ last month.

The report, due to be published imminently and seen by HSJ, confirms “a small fall in female life expectancy at age 65, 75, 85 and 95 in 2012 compared with 2011, and a small fall in male life expectancy at ages 85 and 95”.

10.30am: Care Quality Commission deputy chief inspector Janet Williamson is revealing some interesting figures about the performance of GP practices at the Westminster Health Forum.

Here’s some of HSJ reporter Judith Welikala’s tweets from the events.


10.20am: Some slight less happy news now for GPs. A survey of 600 of their number by the Medical Protection Society found that 88 per cent think they are more likely to be sued today compared with five years ago.

Their perception tallies with the MPS’ own analysis of claims, which found they were twice as likely to receive a legal claim against them compared with seven years ago.

Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director at the Medical Protection Society said:

““Worryingly, over a typical career, the average full-time GP could now expect to receive two claims against them if our recent experience is indicative of the continuing future environment for claims against GPs.”

10.10am: NHS waiting list expert Dr Rob Findlay is tweeting about the latest referral to treatment figures.

He points out that two more trusts have stopped reporting waiting lists:

You can follow Dr Findlay at @Gooroo for more nuggets from the waiting list data.

9.59am: After yesterday’s whistleblowing report, here is some more positive news about the performance of NHS staff.

A survey by consultancy Equiniti has found that the “vast majority” of patients are happy with the care they receive from their doctors.

The claim is based on an analysis of feedback from 50,000 patients across the UK.

It found that 98.8 per cent were satisfied with the overall experience their doctor provided and 99.4 per cent said they have confidence in their doctor.

9.36am: Mr Geddes is outlining his thoughts about co-comissioning of primary care services.

Here are a few of Judith’s tweets from the event:

9.32am: HSJ reporter Judith Welikala is at the Westminster Health Forum, where NHS England’s head of primary care commissioning David Geddes is speaking. Follow Judith on @JudithWelikala for updates.

7am: Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. We start with a comment piece by Jennifer Trueland to mark the second phase of our campaign to achieve better transformational change within the NHS.

Poor project management, undervaluing staff and adopting a low-risk approach to change management are some of the key blocks to achieving transformational change in the NHS.

These barriers were identified by hundreds of people responding to our on-going Change Challenge campaign.
The Challenge Top-Down Change initiative uses a crowdsourcing methodology, created by our partner Clever Together, to enable users to exchange and rate ideas.

Launched last month by HSJ, together with its sister title Nursing Times and NHS Improving Quality, the aim is to identify the best ways to help the NHS drive real and sustainable change.

Ms Trueland ‘s piece argues that a “programme of change” that puts the workforce at its heart can lead to sustainable improvements in care and cost savings.