Good governance cannot be guaranteed, but it is high time that the foundation trust comes into its own in the legal form, argues NHS Providers governance advisor John Coutts, plus the rest of today’s news and comment
5.37pm Catching up on the events of the day? Here’s HSJ’s new Executive Summary - the perfect way to catch up on what you may have missed.
2.00pm We’ve just published some interactive maps of local NHS waits around England in March, showing the pressures and one year waits, with links to all the detail by organisation and specialty
Click here to see the local picture on 18 week waits where you are, fully updated with the latest referral to treatment waiting times data released by NHS England.
1.13pm The national diagnostic waiting list has grown by more than half in five years, in a further sign of growing demand on hospital services.
In March 2011 there were 557,449 patients waiting for diagnostic tests. This has jumped to 842,269 in March, according to the latest data published this week by NHS England.
Despite this increased activity, hospitals and private treatment centres have managed to almost keep pace with demand.
1.11pm The Care Quality Commission has taken ‘urgent action’ against Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust following an unannounced inspection of its accident and emergency services.
The watchdog has imposed a condition on the trust’s registration and issued it with three warning notices following an inspection of the A&E units at Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra hospitals on 24 March.
The trust’s urgent and emergency services have been beset by troubles in recent months.
1.10pm Part of NHS England’s £200m transformation fund will be spent on ‘dowries’ for councils taking over responsibility for the care of some people with learning disabilities and autism, HSJ has learned.
HSJ revealed last week that the fund would be split between sites implementing NHS England’s new care models “vanguard”, a diabetes prevention programme and NHS England’s “transforming care” scheme, which began in late 2012.
1.08pm Here’s a run down of our latest stories this lunch time: NHS England has told clinical commissioning groups in the north to jointly go to market to procure vital support services.
It has said CCGs will have to pay for “stranded costs” if they bring support services in house.
The move has angered some groups that are understood to be seeking advice on whether NHS England has the power to compel them either to act collectively, or to go to market for services they could provide themselves.
11.51am The Times reports this morning that Britain is the ninth laziest country in Europe, with experts warning that we are storing up huge health problems.
Almost half of Britons do no exercise at all, three times the rate in the Netherlands, while one in seven spends more than eight hours a day sitting, twice the rate in Italy.
The British Heart Foundation, which compiled the figures, called them “a worrying indication of the overall picture f or nation’s heart health” and urged the government to find new ways of getting people moving.
11.50am Earlier this week HSJ published a comment piece by Jan Quallington arguing that statistics charting a dangerous shortfall in nurse numbers, are a “ticking time bomb”.
Ms Quallington, the head of the Institute of Health and Society at Worcester University, wrote: “Few commentators seem to be aware that we are already teetering on the brink of disaster on an unprecedented scale, unless something is done now about training more nurses.”
Health Education England has written a response to Ms Quallington’s article, vigorously rejecting Ms Quallington’s criticisms of it. To read both sides of the exchange, click here.
The ongoing failure to act means many health services will grind to a halt unless the incoming government takes immediate action.
10.45am A professional services firm set up as a subsidiary of Medway’s community healthcare social enterprise lost more than £500,000 in its first two years, accounts show.
Medway Community Healthcare – which was part of Medway Primary Care Trust before being ‘spun out’ of the NHS – says its subsidiary Gateway Assure is now making a profit.
However, the first two years’ accounts show Gateway Assure made a cumulative loss of £518,273 and Medway Community Healthcare has made a provision of £527,335 against its loan to the organisation and outstanding debtor balances.
10.33am Leafing through this morning’s newspapers, we see that The Independent reports on calls to abolish a tax loophole in which private companies can recover the 20 per cent VAT they incur on purchasing treatments such as chemotherapy to treat patients at home, while it says the NHS cannot.
Campaigners say this means that private firms can appear to provide services cheaper than NHS providers when bidding for contracts.
Also in The Independent, single mothers in England are to be more likely to suffer poor health later on in life, according to a major in an international study of women over 50 led by the Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies.
10.10am We kick off the day with the news that a major hospital trust ignored its own legal advice by handing extra payments to its chair and non-executive directors, according to the findings of an independent review.
Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust made three sets of additional payments to non-executives between April 2009 and August last year, none of which were approved by the health secretary.
There are restrictions on NHS trusts regarding non-executive pay, which mean they need the health secretary’s permission to exceed agreed levels.
7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.
To start the day - good governance cannot be guaranteed, but it is high time that the foundation trust comes into its own in the legal form, argues NHS Providers governance advisor John Coutts.