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  • Monitor to review access to GPs
  • NHS England publishes details of technology fund
  • Ministers to review NHS 111
  • Public Accounts Committee report on consultants imminent
  • Burnham loses interest in The Smiths

5.07pm Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham used to really love The Smiths, but now he’s gone off them a bit, he tells The Independent.

Read the whole interview, which explores the wider politics of north west indie rock music from the 1980s, here.

4.45pm The Lewisham Hospital downgrade judicial review starts tomorrow at the High Court, tweets our London reporter Ben Clover.

4.27pm NHS England has published details of its Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund.

Now you can find out how NHS foundation trusts and NHS trusts can access the new £260 million technology fund.

The accompanying guidance describes in greater detail the steps that local care economies can take to effectively flow vital data across organisational boundaries to drive up high quality and effective care.

The fund can be used by trusts and foundation trusts to progress their activities to replace “outdated” paper based systems for patient notes with digital care records.

NHS organisations can also apply for funding to support them improve efficiency, quality and safety by introducing ePrescribing systems.NHS England say this is a “critical stepping-stone in helping the NHS go digital by 2018”.

NHS England says it will welcome applications from all eligible organisations irrespective of their current starting point.

3.34pm HSJ reporter James Illman has been tweeting about last week’s controversial release of outcomes data for surgery.

He tweets:

  • 1/3 So, on Friday Vascular surgeons data revealed there were no underperformers ‘outliers’ . Seems statistically unlikely but hey…
  • 2/3 Today Out of 1,594 orthopaedic surgeons, guess how many have been classed as outliers? Yup: none again
  • 3/3 Genuine question: Is this creditable? What is the statistical likelihood of no underperformers out of 2,000 surgeons? Any thoughts?

3.22pm There are a couple of new entries on our End Game diary blog. Here are some wicked whispers about the close working relationship enjoyed by the DH and the operationally independent NHS England press offices. And here is a meditation on Jeremy Hunt’s claim that he was, in fact, a canary on the shoulder of a Roman emperor.

2.53pm Law firm JMW have produced this infographic about “never events” in the NHS. Want to know which category of never event was the most complained about by the DH in 2011-12? Which region reported the most never events? And what proportion of patients are affected by potentially serious medical errors?

It’s all here, though you do need to zoom in and then scroll down.

2.25pm Click here to hear HSJ’s latest podcast. Our emergency services reporter Sarah Calkin talks about the future of the NHS 111 service, and provider NHS Direct.

1.51pm Here’s an interesting piece from our technology reporter James Illman: NHS England is considering offering cash to trusts to develop “open source” software which it says offers flexibility and speeds up their development of electronic patient record systems.

It also seems NHS England is looking to exercise grip over providers to encourage providers to embrace digital records. In an HSJ interview Beverley Bryant, NHS England director of strategic systems and technology, also said she was overseeing an audit charting every trust’s progress towards paperless records, the first version of which will be published in November.

12.48pm The government is reviewing the entire “concept” of the controversial NHS 111 service, just months after the chaotic official launch of the new system, according to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

12.46pm HSJ has more from our exclusive interview with health secretary Jeremy Hunt this afternoon:

He’s said he is “prepared to look at” the future of the foundation trust model to ensure the purchaser provider split doesn’t get in the way of integrating care.

His comments come less than a month after NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson said something very similar.

One more story from Jeremy Hunt coming up….

12.34pm More on that Monitor investigation into access to GP services: Here’s their podcast calling for evidence.

12.13pm The Guardian has reported that stem cell treatments in the NHS may not be possible because of insufficient regulatory power.

A Lords inquiry highlights that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence “has no effective means to assess to the value of expensive one off interventions that are likely to cure patients”.

The Guardian also has another story, that GPs may lose their jobs are a result of George Osborne’s plan to treble the NHS expenditure on social care.

The Royal College of GPs say that, despite the NHS budget being ring fenced, GPs stand to lose around £200m in the next two years unless general practice is protected, leading to job losses for family doctors.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports that the cancer drugs fund will be discontinued in March 2014. The £200 million a year fund allows patients to receive drug treatment that has not been approved by NICE. It is reported that the cessation of the fund could affect up to 16,000 patients.

12.04pm The Guardian carries a letter today defending the under-fire CQC former chief executive Cynthia Bower.

“We know her to be a woman of integrity who is committed to public service, who has a long and honourable record of challenging poor care and working to improve services,” the letter says.

The signatories are: Patricia McCabe; Jane Slowey; Lynne Howells; Marianne Skelcher; Sue Fallon; Terry Potter; Sue Roberts; Delphine Bower; Ann Shabbaz; Billy Foreman; Victoria Robertson; Lesley Wollaston; Jackie Turner; Elissa Renouf; George Smalling; Jackie M Atkin; Sally Cherry; Diane Coburn; Claire Frodsham; Wendy Bourton; and Christine Rogers.

Read the whole thing here.

11.56am There are three health stories in today’s Daily Telegraph:

  • Prime minister David Cameron has ruled out NHS top-up fees.Last week, Doctors at the British Medical Association called to introduce top-up fees for treatment other than core services. Mr Cameron has rejected this proposal, and said he is “committed to the NHS free at the point of use available on the basis of the need, not the ability to pay”.
  • Britain may have its first “opt out” organ donation system tomorrow, when the Welsh Assembly will vote on a bill to allow organs to be donated from the deceased by anyone over 18 if did not opt out when alive, in an attempt to increase organ donation.
  • Patient groups have criticised surgeons’ mortality statistics. Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said the way the data has been released is “meaningless” and can’t be used by patients in its current format.

11.09am The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee tweet that they have a report coming out tomorrow about managing hospital consultants. Should be interesting - in evidence sessions the committee has questioned witnesses fairly aggressively about clinical excellence awards and issues such as productivity and value for money.

Employers are currently in preliminary talks with the British Medical Association to draw up heads of terms for a possible full renegotiation of the hospital consultants’ contract.

If the PAC report is negative - and from watching evidence sessions it’s fair to say its members are doubtful that current contract represents value for money - then it will strengthen NHS Employers’ hand in any future renegotiations.

10.59am The Times has reported the Royal College of GPs and the Patients’ Association have demanded an “emergency summit” with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and have called for investment in services to avoid a “catastrophic” impact on patients.

The organisations have said they want the meeting to tackle the “very real crisis in general practice” and argue many GOs are at breaking point, according to the newspaper.

The Times says GPs complain they do 90 per cent of referral work in the NHS but receive just nine per cent of the budget.

10.58am The Sunday Telegraph yesterday carried a front-page story on the number of patients waiting more than two hours in an ambulance to be transferred to A&E.

The report said: “Official figures from eight of England’s ten ambulance trusts show that in 3,424 patients waited more than two hours before “handover” to hospital staff during 2012/13 – compared with 2,061 such patients the year before.”

10.43am The government is to announce a crackdown in NHS tourism. Loopholes that allow migrants to wrongly access free UK health care will be closed, health secretary Jeremy Hunt will say on Wednesday.

The NHS bill for treating tourists is estimated to be up to £200m.

Expats, who currently face paying for care if they live permanently overseas, are set to be given guaranteed access to free NHS healthcare, but only once they have paid 10 years of national insurance contributions.

10.36am There’s a significant story about the future of NHS regulation now live: Monitor has launched a review into how easy it is for patients to access GP services.

Readers might remember that Monitor said they were going to look at general practice when they published their fair playing field review earlier this year.

However today’s announcement gives us a bit more detail.

The regulator will investigate whether GP services “operate in the best interests of patients”.

Monitor is particularly keen to receive evidence on:

  • Patients’ ability to access GP services, including their ability to switch practices
  • The ability for new or existing providers of GP services to develop  the scope of the NHS services they offer, including new locations
  • New models of primary care that local health communities are planning or considering and the potential barriers to these being implemented

Click here for reaction from the Royal College of GPs.

10.21am Also new on HSJ - we’ve launched a new innovation hub today. Project editor Shreshtha Trivedi says the network aims to foster discussions and debates around innovation happening at a global scale − in healthcare sector and others areas − and what the NHS can learn from them. 

Click here to read more, including how the idea came to us via NHS Improving Quality luminary Helen Bevan.

Or, go here to see our innovation network LinkedIn group.

10.15am Now for some stories that are actually new today. Sarah Calkin reports: Changes to the role of foundation trust governors spark “confusion”.

The CQC and the Foundation Trust Governors Association have published a joint leaflet on how governors can work with the Care Quality Commission. It encourages governors to make unannounced visits and suggests they could share the minutes of meetings with their “CQC manager”.

However, chairs and chief executives are concerned the leaflet is advocating an overly antagonistic relationship between councils of governors and their boards.

10.03am Before we get started on what’s new on HSJ, here’s a story you might have missed from late on Friday: part of the £3.8bn integration fund will be linked to performance, David Williams reports.

The fund was announced as part of last week’s spending round for 2015-16. It will be held by health and wellbeing boards, and its use must be signed off by clinical commissioning groups, local councils, and a central “panel of peers”.

Some of the cash will be given upfront, with the rest dependent on whether the local integration plans deliver improved outcomes for patients.

8.45am: The Department for Work and Pensions reports there are around 300,000 people a year falling out of work and entering the welfare system because of health related issues. It says employers face an annual bill of around £9bn for sick pay and associated costs, with the state spending £13bn a year on health related benefits. For the healthcare sector, leaders must build workforces that are resilient, fully engaged and adaptive write Ann Griffiths and Jenny Plaister.