4.40pm: HSJ is searching for the most innovative people in healthcare and is inviting your nominations. The Top Innovators list, to be published in November, will recognise those who have found new ways to tackle challenges in healthcare. Make your nominations here.
In a written statement to the House of Commons, the health secretary said: “The investigation will primarily focus on the service provided by the Trust, and the response of the Trust to shortcomings previously identified. It will look at evidence relating to organisations external to the Trust where this will help shed light on the tragic events that occurred, and assist in producing recommendations for preventing such incidences in the future.”
He added: “This is not an investigation into the regulatory and supervisory systems of the NHS, as these issues have only recently been examined by the second Mid-Staffordshire Inquiry, and the Department of Health will publish its full response in due course. Nor is it a Public Inquiry as the requirements for public evidence sessions are not considered suitable for the privacy and tact with which this investigation must be undertaken.”
The investigation, to be chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup, is expected to report in July 2014.
3.51pm: The latest HSJ special report, looking at how to improve the quality of services in care homes, is free for all readers and can be downloaded as a PDF.
3.14pm: The GMB union has announced it will be attending talks tomorrow with NHS employers who have imposed cuts to sick pay by up to 25% for 35,000 ambulance workers in England from 1 September. The union said this is to avert possible official strike ballots in this dispute. There may be further talks on 17 September
GMB national officer for the NHS Rehana Azam said: “NHS employers have claimed that it is only fair to have the same approach to sick pay as all workers covered under a national agreement. Yet NHS Employers fail to accept that ambulance workers have for some years worked under different arrangements as a result of previous reforms carried out by NHS Employers to the national agreement.
“So GMB awaits the opportunity at last to get round the table with NHS Employers and will be having two discussions one on Friday 13th and anticipate a further dialogue on Tuesday 17th September with ambulance employers.”
1.26pm: The government has been urged to look more closely at the impact of austerity measures on the health of the nation before it pursues more cuts.
Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, public health experts warned that austerity policies can affect health in many different ways, each difficult to reverse or avoid in the absence of strong social safety nets that mitigate risks to health.
Lead author Aaron Reeves, from the University of Oxford, wrote: “Recent reports indicate that austerity is likely to widen health inequalities. There can be a direct effect through cutting effective treatment programmes. Then there are the indirect effects of increasing unemployment, poverty, homelessness and other socio-economic risk factors.”
12.56pm: HSJ is working with King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre to explore issues of equality between physical and mental healthcare, and we would like your opinions and ideas.
Our brief questionnaire is quick to complete and all responses are anonymous. Answers will be used to inform an article appearing in HSJ in October, as well as a conference being run by King’s Health Partners.
12.36pm: The HSJ story about Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust’s future (see 11.07am) has been updated. Monitor has confirmed a Hinchingbrooke-style private franchise could take over the trust’s main site.
12.20pm: Jeremy Hughes, chair of the Alzheimer’s Society, has also commented on the RCP’s report (see 10.38am). He said: “A quarter of hospital beds are occupied by someone with dementia. We expect hospitals to be a place of safety and treatment but for people with dementia the reality is that a hospital can be a frightening and stressful place to be, with patients being moved from pillar to post and care too often disjointed.
“We need nothing less than a revolution in hospitals in order to ensure our NHS is fit for the future, and with a million people estimated to have dementia in less than 10 years the health system needs to be designed with dementia at its heart. If the NHS fails to prepare to deal with dementia it is simply preparing to fail.”
12.18pm: Another response to the Future Hospital Commision report; NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said: “Our members welcome the Future Hospital Commission’s vision of care planned, and delivered, according to patient needs, rather than patients being moved around the system, as well as the continued commitment to respecting dignity and increasing the positive experience of service users. The proposed new structure will mean that providers will have to take decisions locally on how best to organise and staff the services in their hospitals.
“We will continue to work with the royal colleges and patient groups, in order to support our members devising local models for patient centred service provision, while maintaining our strong position as a link between senior NHS managers, clinicians and patients in order to strengthen the case for change.
“We urge politicians and national bodies to give its findings consideration, so that they can help build an open and honest conversation with the public about why, and how, the NHS culture needs to change and what benefits the changes will bring.”
In addition, Mark Newbold, chair of the NHS Confederation’s hospitals forum, said: “The Future Hospital Commission’s report provides critical recommendations for dignified, patient-centred medical services, with hospitals becoming hubs for integrated, whole-system care. Within hospitals, the report advocates a greater focus on acute general medical services, with greater participation in this aspect of hospital work by specialist physicians.
“The Hospitals Forum welcomes this report, which provides authoritative guidance on the future development of these vital services. We look forward to continuing to work with the Royal College of Physicians, and other partners, to support local implementation.”
12.15pm: The Foundation Trust network has responded to the RCP’s Future Hospital Commission report (sse 10.38am). FTN chief executive Chris Hopson said:
“We fully recognise the issues the review seeks to address, including a looming workforce crisis that puts staff under increasing pressure, and a health system that needs new ways of working to cope with the increasing complex needs of an ageing population.
“The commission proposes a new approach to medical training and ways of working. We agree that although the benefits of increasing subspecialisation should not be lost, there is a real need to train and recruit a greater number of doctors with expertise in general acute medicine.”
12.06pm: Councils and the NHS must help reduce “dependence on the state” for health and care services in order to avoid a “grave crisis” sparked by rising demand and falling resources, a commission set up by Essex County Council has concluded.
The Who Will Care? commission, led by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chair of Imperial College’s institute of global health innovation, called for a “new understanding between the public sector and the people of Essex”. It said members of the public should be more willing to take responsibility for their own health and care and that of the people around them.
Sir Thomas has also written an article for hsj.co.uk highlighting the commission’s main findings. He says: “The people of Essex were frequently more radical in their thinking than those providing services on their behalf.”
Speaking at a press briefing to unveil the government’s response to the Caldicott review into information governance across health and social care, health secretary Jeremy Hunt acknowledged restrictions was a problem but that negotiations around a permanent solution were ongoing.
11.20am: “Integrated care is an idea whose time has come”, writes King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham on hsj.co.uk. He says it’s one thing to advocate the idea of integrated care but quite another to make it work in practice, but Canterbury health board in New Zealand is just one international example of making integration work.
11.07am: Monitor has announced that Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust must run a procurement exercise to allow another provider to use some of its surplus estate.
The regulator’s chief executive David Bennett announced the conclusions of a contingency planning team that had been sent into the trust.
The trust has been in significant breach of the terms of its authorisation since 2010 as it struggled to make unitary payments on its private finance initiative arrangement, recording a deficit of £40m in 2012-13.
11.04am: The frontpage story in The Times today says: “Patients in hospitals in England are 45 per cent more likely to die than those in the US.” Sir Brian Jarman compared death rates in England to those in other Western countries and said “structural and cultural problems” contribute to poor care across the country.
10.49am: Monitor is this morning making a major announcement on the future of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust. It sent in a team of experts in June, when it was expected the trust faced a cash shortfall of at least £40m a year over the next five years. Follow HSJ ‘s Ben Clover on Twitter for updates.
10.45am: HSJ reporter James Illman tweets: “Jeremy Hunt has announced he accepts all of Dame Fiona Caldicott’s recommendations on sharing patient data…
“However the mess around commissioners getting access to confidential identifiable data is far from resolved.”
10.38am: The Royal College of Physicians has said hospitals must be reorganised so patients do not have to move beds or wards unless medically necessary.
The report by the Future Hopsital Commission, set up by the RCP last year, makes 50 recommendations on the future of NHS hospital care, including that care is provided seven days a week, with full access to scans and lab testing at weekends. The study was led by Sir Michael Rawlins.
10.19am: Clinical commissioning groups are dipping into funds intended to be set aside for making one-off investments in order to stay in the black, an HSJ investigation has found.
Returns from 143 non-integrated single financial environment reports produced by CCGs for NHS England give details of how groups plan to use the 2 per cent of their budget that NHS England requires them to set aside for non-recurrent spending.
Seventeen of the CCGs HSJ gathered data from have set aside some or all of their 2 per cent fund to support their organisation’s bottom line.
10.03am HSJ exclusive: There is a 23-fold variation in the scale of clinical commissioning groups’ efficiency targets, with at least 11 groups planning to make savings of under 1 per cent, HSJ can reveal.
The findings come from 143 CCGs’ non-integrated single financial environment reports, which also show a significant minority of groups are already falling behind on their savings plans.
The reports, for the first quarter of 2013-14, also show NHS England is now focusing strongly on the level of savings, rather than monitoring how they are made
8.45am: Good morning, a sense of balance was restored to the debate engulfing the NHS following the Berwick review says Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group Mark Hayes.
He writes on HSJ’s commissioning channel that the Berwick report should be viewed through the theory of appreciative inquiry. “[It] is a strength-based approach to human beings and communities that focuses on developing capacity, at its simplest level it is the difference between viewing an organisation or situation as, on the one hand, a “problem to be solved” and on the other as a ‘possibility to be realised’”.