A foundation trust has pledged to shake up the management of its breast screening unit after a probe found an “extremely poor” working environment that must be having “impact on patient care”, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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4.13pm The resignation of Yorkshire ambulance chief executive could herald “a new era” for patient safety and industrial relations, Unite has said, following the union’s two year dispute with trust management over concerns about patient and staff safety.

The trust today announced that David Whiting today has stepped down from his position with immediate resignation.

Mr Whiting had derecognised Unite at the beginning of 2013 after the union said it raised safety concerns.

Unite’s Yorkshire ambulance members have held a series of strikes since April 2013.

Regional officer Terry Cunliffe said he would be seeking an early meeting the trust’s new chief executive once they are appointed “to open a new chapter” with ambulance staff. 

He said: “This is not a time for recriminations, but a time to rebuild the service for the benefit of patients and staff. We see this as a new chapter opening up and Unite is determined to play a constructive role in this renewal process

“Unite will be seeking an early meeting  with the new chief executive when he or she is appointed  for talks to rebuild the service.

“I would also like to pay great tribute to our members who have shown enormous solidarity and resolve during very difficult times over the last two years.”

3.58pm One in 10 GP practices have been assigned the highest category of risk in an ‘intelligent monitoring’ system devised by the Care Quality Commission.

This is one of the findings of the first CQC monitoring report on GP practices, which uses 38 different indicators to determine the perceived risk of each practice in England.

3.36pm The chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust has announced his resignation.

David Whiting has been in his role February 2011, and was previously chief executive of Great Western Ambulance Service.

He will be replaced Rod Barnes, currently the trust’s executive director of finance and performance, on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is recruited.

Mr Whiting said he has “been proud to lead the organisation and, with new challenges and exciting opportunities ahead, I believe [Yorkshire Ambulance Service] will benefit from a change of leadership bringing fresh ideas and insights to keep [the trust] moving in the right direction.

“From a personal point of view, I feel it is also right for me to pursue new challenges and opportunities.”

Trust chair Della Cannings said: “Over the last four years David has worked hard to ensure that Yorkshire Ambulance Service is an asset to Yorkshire and its communities providing quality emergency and urgent care services, NHS 111, patient transport and other services.

“No other ambulance service has such a comprehensive suite of offers to the public.

“On behalf of the trust board I want to thank David for his leadership and the significant contribution he has made to us on our journey to become a foundation trust.”

3.16pm A sudden rise in GP referrals led to overcrowding at a hospital that has asked patients to stay away from A&E unless their condition is “serious or life-threatening”, The Times reports.

Colchester Hospital, in Essex, declared a “major incident” on Thursday in an attempt to discharge patients and free sufficient bed space. It is likely to last a week. Some elective operations have also been cancelled.

3.09pm The Times reports that surgeons will face penalties if they refuse to publish figures on the death rates of their patients, the medical director of NHS England said yesterday.

Sir Bruce Keogh said that the move was necessary to help with quality of care, but doctors’ representatives said they did not “need to be forced to be open”.

Data relating to the work of about 5,000 surgeons will be published on the My NHS website this week, but a further 2,500 do not publish their rates.

Sir Bruce said: “We are looking now at a series of inducements, penalties to force that”.

1.27pm The Royal College of Psychiatrists has renewed its call for the government to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol as urgent priority.

To mark alcohol awareness week, the body has also called for improved identification of alcohol problems in all parts of the NHS and better provision of evidence based treatment.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence estimates that about 1.6m adults in England are alcohol dependent.

There were 297,000 hospital admissions in England due to alcohol in 2012-13. Two thirds of these - 198,000 in total - were a result of to the mental health consequences of alcohol.

Work by Professor Colin Drummond, who chairs the body’s addictions faculty, found that that this figure underestimates the true impact of alcohol on mental health.

A study of people admitted to psychiatry beds for a range of problems such as depression and psychosis showed that almost half drank at risky levels, and half of those showed features of alcohol dependence, even though this was not the stated reason for their admission.

Professor Drummond said: “The damaging impact of cheap alcohol on mental health is clear, and the types of drinks which are causing these problems are well known to frontline doctors.

“This is why the Royal College of Psychiatrists, along with the rest of the medical profession, strongly supports minimum unit price, which targets the cheapest drinks.

“Moderate drinkers will not be substantially affected by minimum unit price, and the health gains among the heaviest drinkers would be substantial,” he said.

Professor Drummond led a review by NICE on behalf of the Royal College of Psychistrists and British Psychological Society, which found that treatment for alcohol dependence is effective and highly cost effective, however only a small proportion of people who could benefit from treatment access this because of a lack of identification and inadequate provision of services.

1.35pm In our sister title Nursing Times, a bank nurse who was referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for misconduct and later cleared says her life and 30-year career have been left in tatters.

Linda Ellingham has not worked since being suspended three years ago and contacted Nursing Times because she said she wanted to highlight the “traumatic” consequences for nurses found not guilty in NMC cases.

1.01pm A foundation trust has pledged to shake up the management of its breast screening unit after a probe found an “extremely poor” working environment that must be having “impact on patient care”.

The Public Health England investigation of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust was carried out earlier this year after concerns were flagged up by two whistleblowers.

Its final report on the service, seen by HSJ, found it met national minimum standards but pointed to serious concerns about its culture and management.

12.59pm Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has identified a £7m funding gap caused by a large backlog of patients requiring elective treatment.

The backlog of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment was discovered in September.

But despite coming up with an estimate of the cost of clearing the backlog - some £11.1m - the trust remains unable to say how many patients are involved.

Commissioners have already provided £4m, leaving a remaining funding gap of £7m.

12.21pm The first two GP practices to be rated under the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime have been assessed as ‘outstanding’.

Salford Health Matters and Irlam Medical Practice, both in Greater Manchester, received the top rating after inspections were carried out last month. The former was rated as outstanding across every service area

12.02pm The Health and Social Care Information Centre’s director of information and analytics has left the organisation, HSJ has learned.

The organisation declined to comment on why Max Jones, who appeared in front of the health select committee in May to face questions about the Care.data programme, was leaving or where he was going.

12.01pm Two private firms have been shortlisted for a £280m ‘prime provider’ contract in East Staffordshire in a competition bid that has seen all NHS bidders squeezed out of the race.

Virgin Care and Optum - part of United Health - will now work with the East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to design the outcomes for the Improving Lives Programme.

This will provide services for people with long term conditions, the frail elderly and those requiring intermediate care.

The winning bidder is due to be picked in 2015 with a view to begin the revamped service in 2016.

11.18am In Resource Centre today, Schwartz Centre Rounds were first trialled by two trusts in 2007 and have since spread to more than 70 organisations. But what are they and why are they taking off?

Jocelyn Cornwell, who is credited with bringing them to the UK, explains.

11.14am A failure to understand why ‘handicraft’ industries such as healthcare become more expensive over time means we repeatedly make misguided moves to curb increases in health spending, writes Paul McCrone, professor of health economics at King’s College London, in a comment piece for HSJ.

10.33am Danny Mortimer today began work as chief executive of NHS Employers.

He faces considerable challenges, including ongoing industrial action, the doctors’ contract being referred to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration and continued appetite for renegotiation over Agenda for Change pay reform.

He replaces Dean Royles, who stepped down from the post in September to become executive director of human resources at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

Mr Mortimer was previously been executive director of workforce and strategy at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, a position he held since 2007.

He said said he was “delighted to join NHS Employers”.

“I have worked in the NHS for 25 years and I’ve seen how NHS Employers and the wider NHS Confederation supports leaders and the workforce in the NHS.

“My ambition was not just to get this job but to do the job well. This means working in partnership with employers and trades unions on challenges such as a fair and affordable pay settlement, consistency of 24/7 services, and the need to support staff in reporting concerns. I also look forward to showcasing the exciting and leading edge HR work colleagues in the NHS are carrying out and sharing this with others.

“The NHS will continue improving the way it works, from important day-to-day behaviours in the workplace through to long-term reconfiguring of services. These changes will only be sustainable and safe if there is strong engagement between staff, managers and the public – so this will be a major focus for me and for NHS Employers.

“It is essential that employers have a strong voice in the health service. Every part of the country is different, every patient is different, and every local health organisation and system has experience and knowledge that must be heard. My pledge is to do all I can to help those organisations and their staff to deliver safe, high quality care to the communities they serve.

“I started life in the NHS as a porter and then a care assistant. My wife is a nurse, as was my mother. I understand the rewards and challenges of working in the NHS. Pressure on the health service will continue, of course, but it’s clear to me that the relationship between NHS organisations and their workforces can keep improving. Honesty and teamwork will be key in achieving that.”

Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Danny is an outstanding leader who exemplifies the values we need in the modern NHS. He comes to us at a time when we need our workforce to develop and change.

“Workforce issues are at the top of every CEO agenda in the country and his leadership of NHS Employers will be a significant asset to every one of our members.”

10.15am Heart of England Foundation Trust has announced that Andrew Catto will take over as interim chief executive, following the resignation of Mark Newbold last week.

A statement issued by the trust this morning said: “On Monday 10th November 2014 the Heart of England Foundation Trust confirmed the resignation of its chief executive, Dr Mark Newbold.

“Today the Trust is pleased to announce that it has appointed Dr Andrew Catto as Chief Executive on an interim basis with immediate effect.  Dr Catto has more than 25 years’ experience in healthcare, covering a range of clinical, managerial and academic roles and joined the Trust earlier this year as Medical Director.

“The Trust has also appointed Dr Clive Ryder, one of its Deputy Medical Directors, into the role of Medical Director on an interim basis with immediate effect.

“More permanent arrangements will be announced in due course.”

7.00am Good morning. A partnership between Marie Curie, independent hospices and a local NHS foundation trust was the first of its kind in the North East.

The initiative demonstrates how pooled expertise and resources can deliver a seamless model of care that responds to local need, achieves better patient outcomes and reduces unnecessary hospital admissions.