Mental health crisis care is to be put under the spotlight by the Care Quality Commission with a series of targeted inspections later this year, and the rest of today’s news and comment
6.00pm Writing for The Times, Paul Goodman, editor of the political website ConservativeHome, says an NHS showdown is approaching.
Without tough measures, he argues the system will end up in critical condition.
He writes: “Mr Hunt’s juggling has helped to avoid a winter crisis. But his dexterity cannot postpone a healthcare reckoning for long.”
5.30pm West London Clinical Commissioning Group has announced it is appointing a new managing director.
Louise Proctor will take up her position in May, when the current managing director, Carolyn Regan, will leave the organisation.
She is currently director of strategy and transformation Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Foundation Trust, which is currently under special measures and awaiting a contingency planning team. Ms Proctor was previously director of integration at the trust.
CCG chair Fiona Butler said: “I am delighted that Louise is joining our organisation and I’m looking forward to working closely with her.
“Louise brings with her a wealth of NHS experience which will be invaluable at this important time as we improve the way we provide services to our patients.
“We are building extra capacity in primary care, looking to provide more services in a community setting, and working with our acute hospitals to make them specialist centres of care.
“I am confident that Louise has the determination and tenacity to make these changes.
“I would like to thank Carolyn for all her hard work and dedication in driving the organisation during its establishment and first year as a statutory body. She will be greatly missed and I wish her all the best for the future.”
Mr Proctor said: “I am really looking forward to the new and exciting challenge of leading West London CCG, and supporting the ambitious agenda that West London CCG and its partners are developing to improve care for our local population.
“I hope to bring energy and commitment to the organisation that will help us all to embrace the challenges that lay ahead for the NHS as a whole and West London CCG in particular.
“I have worked across many different areas within the NHS, from primary care to acute hospitals and I believe that my experience and understanding of where the separate parts of the NHS and social care can work well together, will help to support us on our journey to deliver the best, seamless services for the people of Kensington and Chelsea and Queen’s Park and Paddington.”
5.00pm Our sister title Nursing Times interviews the chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who insists the regulator is not failing and says the planned fee rise could be worse.
4.30pm The Guardian speaks to staff at Jubilee Street Practice, East London, one of 98 GP surgeries in England at risk of closure from the withdrawal of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee.
“We are now eating into practice savings to continue providing a quality service. But we are planning for a ‘red button day’ when we will have to dissolve the practice,” said practice manager Virginia Patania told the paper.
“I have been raising our concerns with NHS England since Christmas and I get no satisfactory answer. I want to know sooner rather than later because I’d rather dissolve at six months than wait 12 and face even higher losses.”
4.00pm The chief executive of the NHS Partners Network has said he welcomes the Care Quality Commission’s new approach to regulating the independent sector.
David Hare said: “As the Care Quality Commission moves towards a new inspection regime for all health and social care services, it is vital that all providers of NHS funded clinical services are regulated.
“NHS Partners Network welcomes the broad approach being adopted by the CQC and looks forward to engaging with the independent sector to understand how it operates.
“We are confident that at the end of the engagement exercise, the CQC will be in a position to implement a rigorous inspection regime of independent sector hospitals that reflect their particular approach to delivering high-quality NHS services, free at the point of use.”
3.25pm In the latest from our End Game blog, Jeremy Hunt continues to have a lovely time criss-crossing the nation visiting hospitals and seeing all the wonderful things that are going on.
The Patients’ Forum for the London Ambulance Service has called for better access to community care for dementia sufferers and improved training for frontline staff. Such a move would ensure staff could better assess patients for signs of dementia.
2.05pm The Daily Telegraph reports on warnings of patient deaths due to “unacceptable variation” in the take-up of bowel cancer screening in across the country by the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.
The paper reports on data that has found that just 42 per cent of people eligible for bowel cancer screening come forward in some parts of London, compared to 66 per cent in Dorset.
Bowel cancer screening tests, called faecal occult blood tests, are posted to everyone aged between 60 and 74 every two years.
1.40pm A Crohn’s disease sufferer who is facing chemotherapy that is likely to make her infertile has lost a High Court challenge to receive urgent funding for her eggs to be frozen, The Times reports.
Mr Justice Jay dismissed a judicial review action brought by Elizabeth Rose, 25, from Margate, who needs a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy within six weeks.
Most of the patients displaying sings of activity on a positron emission tomography 3D scan had recovered some consciousness a year later, suggesting that scans could become standard if larger trials confirm the finding.
The organisations subject to inspections will be pinpointed with new CQC data which reveals organisations lacking sufficient health-based places of safety for people in crisis, particularly for children.
12.00pm In Resource Centre today, after years of disjointed end of life care services in England, an initiative in Bedfordshire shows how to coordinate services 24 hours a day, write Sally Picken and Deborah Cakmak.
11.40am In his weekly HSJ column, Michael White says the government is stepping up it’s attacks on Labour’s record on the NHS in Wales, in a prime example of pre-election point scoring.
“The opportunism of the coalition becomes obvious if we ask whether parallel pre-election attacks are taking place against Edinburgh or Belfast,” he notes.
11.20am The Daily Mail also tells the story of a woman who woke up on an operating table after staff failed to check she had enough anaesthetic.
Alexandra Bythell, 36, has won an undisclosed settlement from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
11.00am In today’s papers, both The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph lead on the UK having the second lowest ratio of beds for every 1,000 people in Europe.
Only Sweden has a lower ratio in Europe, which The Mail explains is down to the country’s strong investment in community care.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK had three hospital beds per 1,000 people in 2011, the same ratio as Ireland.
These ratios were far behind the majority of countries on the continent, with Germany having 8.3 per 1,000 people; Austria 7.7, Hungary 7.2, Czech Republic 6.8, and Poland 6.6.
The claim comes in a report compiled by the NHS Confederation, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.
This finds that the balance between rising demand for services and static levels of funding “cannot be maintained”.
10.00am Pathology staff at Royal Berkshire Hospital will not be processing tests from GPs from 25 April following a dispute over reduced staffing levels, the health union Unite has said.
Laboratory specialist staff who are members of Unite voted for industrial action short of a strike by of 83 per cent and for strike action with 58 per cent.
The dispute began in March, after staff in haematology and transfusion, microbiology, bio chemistry and specimen reception were moved onto a 24/7 shift pattern.
Unite regional officer Debbie Watson said: “Unless the trust introduces measures to address our members’ concerns over reduced staffing levels and patient safety, they will be taking industrial action from 25 April.
“The action will involve them not processing any samples outside the hospital itself. This will mean that tests from Berkshire GPs and other providers, such as private hospitals, will not be performed by our members.
“Our members want to make their strong feelings known, but, at the same time, they want critically ill patients to receive treatment.
“They believe that by restricting the amount of tests that they perform to those patients within the hospital, this will still ensure that patients in the hospital will get the appropriate care.
“This is a very much a shot across the trust management’s bows and we would urge them to negotiate a constructive agreement that addresses members concerns before 25 April.
“This dispute is about patient safety and work life balance; coupled with a feeling that staff have been ignored when they have aired legitimate concerns.
“We have already warned that there are not enough staff to run the shifts safely – but the trust has ploughed on regardless.”
The CCG named Circle as its preferred bidder to consolidate 20 separate contracts into a single service in August.
Circle has said it is the first such integrated service in the country led by a prime contractor.
Alan Bloom, one of a group of special administrators appointed to the trust, said his team and the two trusts due to take over the West Midlands hospital trust’s services did not expect it wound up for six months.
His comments contrast with last month’s statement by foundation trust regulator Monitor which indicated dissolution should happen “as soon as possible”.
7.00am London councils are making their mark in their new role following the transfer of public health to local government last year, says Jeanelle de Gruchy, director of public health at Haringey Council and co-chair of the London Association of Directors of Public Health.