Group tasked by NHS England to examine how cancer drugs can be evaluated and commissioned in future has had its work ‘paused’, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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4.27pm To catch up on today’s key HSJ stories, read the Executive Summary here.

1.28pm A group tasked by NHS England to examine how cancer drugs can be evaluated and commissioned in future has had its work ‘paused’ after just six months in operation.

The Cancer Drugs Fund Short Life Working Group was created in January by NHS England to explore how patients could best access specialised cancer treatments from April next year.

The government has pledged that the cancer drugs fund, which was set up in 2010, will run until that date.

The fund has been allocated £340m in 2015-16 to pay for cancer treatments not considered cost effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

1.24pm Implementation of the four ‘specialist’ sites for emergency surgery in Greater Manchester will begin before improvements to primary care are fully in place.

Leaders of the Healthier Together programme hope to start preparing the first “specialist” and “local” groupings in three months, with the new set up planned to go live early next year. The groupings were confirmed on Wednesday, after a consultation.

The programme also covers primary care services, and work continues to roll out seven day access to GPs across the region by the end of this year.

1.20pm The Department of Health has begun advertising for the chief executive of new combined provider regulation body NHS Improvement.

Jeremy Hunt announced the name of the new combined regulator, which will bring together Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, in a speech yesterday.

1.07pm Care minister Alastair Burt has written to the Local Government Association, informing them of the delay.

Mr Burt writes: “I can therefore confirm that following your letter we have taken the difficult decision to delay the introduction of the cap on care costs system and that this will now be introduced from April 2020.

“I want to assure you that this is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but one that has followed from consideration of the genuine concerns you have outlined.

“We will continue with other efforts to support social care, in particular through the Better Care Fund, which will drive the integration of social care and NHS going forward.”

1.03pm The government has announced that it will delay implementation of the cap on care costs from April 2016 until 2020.

In a statement the Department of Health said: “In response to concerns expressed by the Local Government Association and many other stakeholders about the timetable for implementing the cap on care costs in April 2016, the government has decided to delay its implementation until 2020.

“The delay will allow time to be taken to ensure that everyone is ready to introduce the new system and to look at what more can be done to support people with the costs of care.”

12.42pm A social enterprise has been awarded a community services contract in Essex worth £240m.

The seven year Care Closer to Home contract was given to Anglian Community Enterprise by North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group this week, following a formal procurement process. 

The contract is due to go live in April 2016. It includes services such as audiology, cardiology, community nursing, falls prevention and ophthalmology across Colchester and Tendring.

10.51am To watch Mr Hunt’s speech yesterday at the King’s Fund in central London, click here.

10.50am The see HSJ’s roundup of the key points from Jeremy Hunt’s vision for the NHS for the next 25 years why not read our Executive Summary? It covers all the must know points from the health secretary’s speech yesterday.

10.43am The three foundation trusts in Greater Manchester that have missed out on ‘specialist’ status under a controversial consultation process have accepted the decision.

The region’s 12 clinical commissioning groups yesterday selected Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport as the region’s fourth site for emergency and high risk general surgery.

The decision means Wythenshawe Hospital in south Manchester; Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan; and Royal Bolton Hospital will all now lose this service

10.17am Monitor has opened an investigation into A&E waiting times and the financial sustainability of Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The regulator is concerned because some patients are waiting too long for accident and emergency treatment and the trust is predicting a £8.8m deficit for this financial year.

The trust provides emergency, clinical and specialist services to 350,000 people across Kingston, Richmond, Roehampton, Putney and East Elmbridge. However, it has been increasingly failing to see patients in A&E within the national waiting time target of four hours since October 2014.

In addition, the scale of the deterioration in Kingston’s financial position may force the trust to apply for additional funding.

Monitor’s investigation will examine how and why these situations have happened, and identify possible solutions. It also aims to prompt Kingston into exploring further ways in which the trust can work with other local NHS organisations to provide patients with quality services.

Mark Turner, regional director at Monitor, said: “Some patients of Kingston have been waiting too long to be seen in A&E. This situation needs to improve. Kingston also seems to be experiencing some financial challenges which may risk its long-term sustainability.

“We have launched this investigation to find out more about both situations and to establish what can be done to help the trust improve things.”

Monitor will announce the outcome of its investigation in due course.

9.45am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

We start with the news the chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare Trust has resigned after councillors placed a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the organisation’s leadership.

Darren Grayson has left with immediate effect after five years at the trust.

The trust’s deputy chief executive, Richard Sunley, will be acting chief executive until an interim chief is recruited to lead the trust for 12 months.

You can also catch up on HSJ’s roundup of the key points from Jeremy Hunt’s vision for the NHS for the next 25 years, which he set out in a speech to the King’s Fund yesterday.