We are looking to explore readers’ views about the NHS’s progress on its digital journey, plus the rest of today’s news and comment.
The Care Quality Commission previously identified issues including gaps in basic nursing care, unsafe use of escalation beds, staff shortages and a lack of effective leadership, following an inspection of the trust’s Royal Bournemouth hospital site in October 2013.
A follow-up inspection has since found that the trust has now addressed many of the issues of concern.
3.25pm The better care fund will only be a success if policymakers take a more realistic view of what can be achieved with it, says Nigel Keohane in our Comment section.
He wrties that this week’s report from the National Audit Office into the better care fund makes “sobering reading – not just because it shows the extent to which policy initiatives are prone to delivery failure, but because it shows just how far we have to go in reforming the health service”.
“The danger is that what started off as a pretty marginal attempt to chip away at the peripheries of the health and social care divide ends up undermining the case for, and the pace of, change.”
The potential savings include cutting use of management consultants, releasing money from surplus NHS land and improving the use of technology.
“If we are to be truly financially sustainable we need to rethink how we spend money in a much more fundamental way,” Mr Hunt said.
2.30pm The chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Stephen Whitehead, has written an open letter to Jeremy Hunt where he writes that NHS England’s proposals over the Cancer Drugs Fund “threaten to take the UK back to a time of clear rationing of cancer medicines”.
He writes that the CDF was a “political stop gap” until Value Based Pricing was introduced, which failed to materialise.
He adds: “The problem has now been handed to NHS England to sort and recent proposals fall well short of addressing the historical problem. Indeed, they threaten to take the UK back to a time of clear rationing of cancer medicines. This is another short term solution to a long term challenge, which threatens patients’ access to much needed medicines.”
“The solution is simple - NICE needs to look at cancer medicines with greater flexibility. This requires adapting end of life criteria to allow life extending medicines to be available to those patients confronting the most difficult battle of all - the battle for life. Immediate NICE reform coupled with the medicines bill being underwritten by industry under the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme until 2018 with payments of billions to the NHS, will meet the need of patients, an austerity challenged NHS and the furthering of research in this vital area of human health in the UK.”
2.00pm Smaller GP practices have fared worse under the Care Quality Commission’s inspections so far because of the “splendid isolation” in which some are operating, the chief inspector of general practice has said.
Professor Steve Field said inspectors had found “some extraordinarily brilliant small practices”, which shared data and services with others but that others struggled “because they’re isolated not because they’re small.”
“We have a statistically significant correlation between the size of practice and the likelihood they will fail [in inspections].”
The county’s better care fund plan was one of just five across England which was not approved last month after NHS England’s assurance process for the programme.
A joint statement by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the county council cited a range of reasons why their proposal, which was submitted in September, had been neither realistic nor comprehensive.
Yeovil District Hospital Foundation Trust last week signed a contract with construction companies Interserve and Prime to form Yeovil Estates Partnership in a 15 year deal worth up to £70m.
The deal makes Yeovil one of a small band of hospitals to set up an SEP, a more flexible form of joint venture arrangement than the private finance initiative.
Andrew Ridley will join NHS England next month, according to an internal announcement circulated this week.
Mr Ridley established and ran North East London CSU, but has recently spent several months on secondment to NHS England, where he acted as programme director for the better care fund, leading a cross-departmental task force.
The departure of Sir Jonathan Michael as chief executive of Oxford University Hospitals Trust was announced by trust chair Dame Fiona Caldicott at a public board meeting yesterday.
Sir Jonathan, a former doctor and medical director, intends to retire from the NHS “by the middle of next year”, according to a trust statement. The trust is widely expected to have achieved foundation trust by then, and was told in September that NHS Trust Development Authority bosses would be recommending it for approval.
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10.30am The Daily Telegraph reports that the number of people diagnosed with cancer has risen by almost 40 per cent in two decades, experts have said, amid warnings that the NHS is struggling to cope with soaring numbers of cases.
Analysis from Macmillan Cancer Support suggests that in 2016, more than 360,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed.
The figure - a 37 per cent rise from 1996 - means more than 1,000 diagnoses are being made each day.
10.25am Only about a tenth of clinically obese people in Britain actually accept that they have a serious weight problem, according to a new study funded by Cancer Research UK.
The Times reports that researchers found that 11 per cent of obese women and 7 per cent of obese men acknowledged they were obese.
A further 23 per cent of women and 16 per cent of men admitted that they were “very overweight”, with the remainder believing they were simply “overweight” or “just right”.
A report published by Big Brother Watch also found that NHS staff posted private information on social media at least 50 times between 2011 and 2014.
There were 7,255 breaches of data protection laws by NHS organisations over the three-year period, a ninefold increase from the last repotr, which covered 2008 to 2011.
The funding release announced by the Department of Health today confirms HSJ’s previous report that additional cash would be released to A&Es on top of the £400m fund revealed in June.
The £700m total is a significant increase on the past two years of £300m in 2012-13 and £400m last year and comes as emergency admissions continue to rise. According to official figures, they have increased by 6.6 per cent over the last two years.
7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. We begin the day with a comment piece from Jenny Ousbey, who argues that the five year forward view made no mention of the pressing challenge facing those working in and around the NHS on how to communicate change with the public in a meaningful way.