5.05pm: The Royal College of Nursing has responded to the care minister’s announcement on proposals to deal with rushed care visits. Chief executive Peter Carter said: “It’s right that the government is looking into this issue - delivering quality care for people with complex needs takes time, and patients need reassurance that they have been properly assessed at each visit.
“In order for staff to produce the right quality of care, they need to be given adequate time so that they don’t feel like they are being rushed or overloaded with work. We also need to ensure more generally that staff are given time and support to develop their skills.”
4.55pm: Quarterly statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme show that over 80,000 people in England are waiting over 28 days to access talking therapies. Amy Whitelock, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said: “The government has committed to ‘parity of esteem’ between physical and mental health and yet people with mental health problems are still not receiving the timely treatment they need. We are calling on the government to urgently establish access standards in IAPT so that people will be referred to these important services within 28 days.”
4.03pm: In an HSJ exclusive, Mark Britnell, who has been considered one of the leading contenders to become the next NHS England chief executive, has said he has not applied for the role. It had been widely speculated that Mr Britnell, formerly NHS director general of commissioning and currently global chairman of health at the consultancy KPMG, would apply for the post.
3.30pm: Commenting in response to the decision by the Competition Commission to reject the proposed merger between Bournemouth and Poole hospitals, Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund, said: ‘While it is important not to exaggerate the impact of a single case, the risk is that today’s decision is interpreted by the NHS as a signal that competition law will be used to block improvements to services, creating paralysis at a time when service change has never been more urgent.”
2.49pm: The second wave of trusts to be inspected by the Care Quality Commission’s new quality teams will be announced shortly. The commission’s director of strategy and intelligence Paul Bate told a session at the Foundation Trust Network’s annual conference yesterday that the next 16 trusts being inspected would soon be announced. Read Ben Clover’s story here.
2.04pm: The Foundation Trust Network has reacted to the decision to block the merger plans of Bournemouth and Poole Foundation Trusts. It says it raises significant fears on how competition law is being applied within NHS settings and on trusts’ ability to make much needed changes to how services are delivered.
“NHS providers are having to spend huge amounts of money and time, on lawyers, accountants and economists, trying to satisfy the regulators - the Competition Commission, the Office of Fair Trading and Monitor. Monitor needs to take a much greater role in providing guidance and advice to the competition authorities which is specific to the NHS and will protect the interests of patients. Decisions about NHS services are meant to be taken as close to patients as possible, and yet we now see them happening even further away.”
1.50pm: Tracking patients’ health related quality of life alongside other aspects of their experience can help the NHS to improve services, says Tim Benson, in the latest article to complement the Battle of Ideas, of which HSJ is media partner. Find out more about this exciting event and how to win tickets here.
1.44pm: Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has pledged to force a vote in Parliament over plans to redistribute clinical commissioning group funding on the basis of age. Mr Burnham insisted that the proposals were “immoral” and “pernicious” because they would see affluent areas with good health outcomes gaining extra funding at the expense of deprived communities with much lower healthy life expectancy.
1.10pm: Tweet from the shadow health secretary, @andyburnhammp
“Sad day for #NHS when competition lawyers are deciding what’s best for patients. This is why Labour will repeal the Health & Social Care Act”
1pm: The pressure on the new commissioning system has featured heavily in the news in recent weeks, with support services in particular in the spotlight. Last week HSJ looked at where CSUs would need to improve to guarantee their survival. To mark the six-month anniversary of the new system, HSJ will be hosting a Twitter chat to discuss where it is and isn’t working. To take part, simply join in on Twitter from 1pm on Friday 18 October, using the hashtag #HSJChat. More information here.
11.56am: Our top news story is that the proposed merger of two Dorset foundation trusts has been blocked by the Competition Commission after it concluded there was insufficient evidence patients would benefit from the plans. It’s therefore highly serendipitous that today we publish our latest roundtable - this time on how the NHS can reconfigure services without falling foul of competition law. Read Alison Moore’s article here.
11.45am: Family doctors are “running around a hamster wheel just trying to stand still” due to their huge workload, a leading doctor has said. Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, told the Best Practice primary care conference in Birmingham that the “worst is yet to come”.
11.06am: The health secretary has predicted this winter will be as “difficult” for the health service as last, when many patients waited for long periods in accident and emergency units. Speaking at the Foundation Trust Network conference in Liverpool yesterday, Jeremy Hunt said: “I think this winter will be as difficult [as last]. We’ve tried to do everything we can at the centre to help prepare the system.” Read Dave West’s report.
11.01am: Commissioning support units are engaged in a “ritual dance” to find appropriate partners after NHS England signalled another round of consolidation in the sector, writes David Williams. New details have emerged of how preparations are beginning to assess each CSU on its long term viability.
10.59am: The Mail reports that NHS guidance says doctors should not blame patients for being fat. It urges GPs to be more sensitive when dealing with obese patients, using a ‘respectful’ and non-judgmental tone. The approach is designed to minimise harm, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
10.44am: A Basildon Hospital nurse faces misconduct charges for allegedly using a colleague to run personal errands while on duty, reports the BBC. Abiola Olukemi Apara is accused of asking a clinical support worker to mow her lawn, take her car to get an MOT and drive her to Ikea at Lakeside. The Nursing and Midwifery Council is due to hear the case in January.
10.30am: The proposed merger of two Dorset foundation trusts has been blocked by the Competition Commission after it concluded there was insufficient evidence patients would benefit from the plans. The commission’s final decision on the merger of Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Poole Hospital foundation trusts was published this morning, 10 months after the proposals were first referred to it. Read our story here.
10.25am. NHS reforms - in particular the shift in power from Whitehall to local commissioners - present a difficult challenge for health campaigners, says Juliet Bouverie in the Guardian’s local leadership hub. In short, she says, politicians can be influenced by bad press or popular pressure, whereas commissioners are looking for hard evidence of the costs and benefits of new service models.
10.15am: And the Telegraph reports that a study of 861 patients, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that when combined with the current standard treatment for pancreatic cancer, a new drug known as Abraxane could extend patients’ average survival time from seven to nine months.
7.19am: Good morning and welcome to HSJ’s live feed of all the big stories and views that will inform, entertain and occasionally infuriate healthcare leaders.
Today we start with a couple of questions. Namely, are we delivering our services safely? And do we have sufficient highly motivated and skilled staff? These are just two of the six questions that Paula Higson says non-executives should ask their boards in the interests of good governance. Read the other four in her piece in our Leadership channel here.
Also on the site today, HSJ writer Dave West makes a comparison between ideas currently dominating NHS England and Monitor with those of accountable care organisations in the US. Read his finance opinion piece here.
And HSJ’s David Williams says that commissioning support units are engaged in a “ritual dance” to find appropriate partners after NHS England signalled another round of consolidation in the sector.