Major review of health and social care and the rest of today’s news

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  • Dame Ruth Carnall takes Boris job
  • King’s Fund launches major new inquiry into the future of health and social care
  • HSJ wants to hear your views on a sustainable 24/7 NHS.
  • Christina Robinson appointed SpAd to Jeremy Hunt
  • Bizarre Amarillo video goes viral

5.32pm Oh dear - now the Daily Mail has seen the fast-becoming-notorious Amarillo video (see 5.06pm below). Their piece runs under the headline: “Is this Britain’s most cringeworthy boss? £175,000-a-year NHS chief executive filmed dancing to ‘Is This The Way to Amarillo’ while dressed as Superman”. Having told the whole story in one line, the Mail’s article then goes on for another 900 words.

5.13pm Simon Lawton-Smith, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation, has responded to Health and Social Care Information Centre statistics on hospital services (see also 10.10am).

“This analysis highlights with real clarity the pressure that mental health service users put on hard-pressed A&E and hospital services, and the need to do much more to support people in primary care and in the community, so that individual patients require A&E and inpatient care much less often. Given the NHS spends more on secondary mental health care than either heart disease or cancer, this has to be top of Clinical Commissioning Groups’ priorities, both from an economic and clinical point of view. 

“There’s also a strong message in this data about all A&E staff being trained to identify and respond quickly to mental health issues, including rapid referral to expert assessment and treatment through A&E liaison psychiatry teams. These teams have been shown to reduce response times to patients in distress as well as reducing the number of serious incidents and the number of times people attend A&E.”

5.06pm The Daily Telegraph has picked up the story about Phil Morley, chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, dressing up as Superman in a video raising awareness of workplace fitness.

HSJ Live had a piece on this yesterday - but here’s the Telegraph’s take.

3.29pm Christina Robinson has begun work as a special adviser to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, HSJ has learned. Ms Robinson - who was previously known as Christina Lineen - started work yesterday.

She was previously a special adviser to Mr Hunt’s predecessor Andrew Lansley, before a stint as communications director for healthcare provider Circle.

3.18pm The chief executive of one of the largest NHS trusts in England, Mark Newbold, has said emergency care will be a key area of focus in the aftermath of the Francis report.

Interviewed following the latest HSJ Chief Executive Barometer, which revealed many chief executives were concerned about the rise of emergency activity in hospitals, he said the main message he had taken away from the Francis report was “the need for a step change in the way we deliver emergency services.”

3.07pm: The London Mayor’s office has issued a statement about the appointment of Ruth Carnall as an advisor.

Dame Ruth will offer “high-level, specialist advice to the mayor to support his aim of ensuring the NHS provides effective services to deal with major health challenges and cope with the demands of a population boom over the next decade”, the release says.

“In particular, the Mayor will be utilising Ruth Carnall’s extensive knowledge in matters relating to: the London Health Board and health service reconfigurations; safeguarding the pre-eminence of London’s world-leading teaching hospitals; exploring the use of redundant NHS land holdings to reinvest into community health programmes; and developing London’s life sciences sector.”

The statement goes on: “The mayor is committed to ensuring that London is equipped to manage a range of vital health issues that are key to improving Londoners’ quality of life, from health inequalities and childhood obesity to mental health.”

Mayor Boris Johnson, said: ‘Ruth Carnall has unrivalled experience and an unique insight into health issues facing London. Having worked at the heart of London’s health services, she will bring to City Hall a track record of delivering results whilst ensuring value for taxpayers’ money. Ruth’s expertise will strengthen my aim to ensure London’s health services respond to the challenges facing our city and cope with a rising population.”

Dame Ruth will also provide advice to the Deputy Mayor of London, Victoria Borwick, who has a specific health remit.

2.42pm Click here to read HSJ editor Alastair McLellan’s latest leader, on the subject of the great CCG budget “swindle”. Channelling Johnny Rotten, Alastair wonders whether by the end of the year CCGs might get the feeling they’ve been if not cheated, then certainly short-changed.

2.30pm: HSJ’s End Game blog has a piece about Phil Morley, the NHS chief executive who has come under fire for dressing up as Superman and bounding about to the tune of Show Me The Way to Amarillo.

2.24pm: Campaign group 38 Degrees have launched a petition against social care cuts.

An email sent out to members today says: “Right now, the chancellor George Osborne is deciding whether to carry on cutting care for older and disabled people, or whether to give it the funding it deserves.

“Shocking figures show that government spending in this area has gone down 20% in the past three years, even though many more people need care…

“We need to let him know he won’t get away with making cuts that affect the people who are the most vulnerable.”

The petition is here.

1.51pm Dame Ruth Carnall tweets that in her new role as advisor to the Mayor of London she will be doing only around two days per month to begin with.

1.49pm More news on HSJ: Monitor has launched a study of small trusts’ viability. Sources told HSJ the project would examine whether there was a minimum size for a hospital to be viable. Ben Clover’s full story is here.

1.14pm New on HSJ: Analysis by reporter Shaun Lintern has identified the trusts with the poorest satisfaction ratings among medical trainees.

Click here and scroll to the bottom to find which trusts had the overall lowest satisfaction ratings.

12.56pm: Former NHS London chief executive Dame Ruth Carnall has taken a job advising London mayor Boris Johnson on health, reports Ben Clover.

The post will initially be part-time. HSJ understands Mr Johnson is interested in working with London’s three academic health science centres and on primary care.

12.37pm: HSJ Local briefing this week examines accident and emergency services at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, specifically the A&E at Queen’s Hospital.

12.29pm: A new Campaign to End Loneliness has reported that 67 local areas are not prioritising lonliness as an issue.However 61 of the 128 published Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies had at least acknowledged loneliness and/or isolation as serious issues.

Its review is being launched tomorrow on 19 June 2013 at Connect + Act: a conference to tackle loneliness in older age urging all areas to tackle loneliness and isolation.

12.19pm: HSJ is starting a conversation that will draw on the expertise of our readers. We are inviting you to join the conversation by answering this question: What are the behaviour and process changes you believe are needed for the NHS to deliver consistent, financially sustainable 24/7 working?

The conversation will run for three weeks, starting on 19 June. On the day, registered users of will receive an email invitation with details of how to take part. More details here.

12.09pm: A number of hospices reported that they are using alternative commissioning arrangements with the local NHS. In some locations, the hospices concerned had worked with the NHS to agree a ‘co-commissioning agreement’ which better reflected the partnership between the hospice. The full report is attached.

12.05pm: Hospices have reported several examples of poor commissioning practice. A number of hospices have reported that their commissioners were only proposing six month agreements, and others reported that they were given inappropriately short timescales to respond to proposed arrangements for 2013/14.

It comes from a report undertook by Help the Hospices surveying its member hospices in England between March and May 2013, to establish what arrangements were being put in place with Clinical Commissioning Groups for the 2013/14 financial year. More on the findings to follow.

11.23am: A tweet from Richard Humphries, assistant director of Policy at the King’s Fund.

11.20am: David Williams tweets:

11.13am: David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission commented “I dont think there was a settlement in 1948. There was a bloody big row and a politician said, this is how its gonna be”.

11.11am: David Williams tweets:

11.10am: Conservative MP Stephen Dorrell also commented that “when history is written, Health and Wellbeing Boards will be seen as more significant than CCGs”.

11.05am: David Williams tweets:

11.03am: HSJ reporter David Williams was at the King’s Fund launch. Tweets to follow from him.

11.02am: “The NHS and social care system have remained separate since their inception in 1948. 65 years on, the needs of patients and service-users have changed and the world is a very different place. The time has come to return to first principles and ask whether the current arrangements are fit for purpose.” says Chris Ham chief executive of The King’s Fund.

10.59am: More tweets from the King’s Fund

10.55am: More on the King’s Fund Commission, it will be chaired by Kate Barker, former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee . Although established by The King’s Fund, the reports and recommendations will be produced independently.

10.50am: The Times also carries a page 15 headline “A&E ‘phone before you go’ plan”. It’s health correspondent writes that patients would be encouraged to use the NHS 111 phoneline before going to A&E under plans to tackle crisis in emergency departments.

Its coverage also comes from the review by Sir Bruce Keogh published yesterday. Sir Bruce said “There is now no A&E department in the country that can treat everything that comes through the door”.

10.44am: Thirteen thousand people registered as organ donors in the US in a single day after the option to their list their status as “organ donor” was included on the Facebook timeline reports The Times. This compares with 600 on average a day according to researchers writing in the American Journal of Transplantation.

10.32am: The Daily Telegraph carries a page 12 headline “A&E ‘a victim of NHS confusion’. Patients are overloading accident and emergency departments because they do not know where else to go for urgent nmedical help, it says a review of the NHS has found. The review led by Sir Bruce Keogh reveals the confusing and fragmented organisation of different services was adding to pressure throughout the service.

“Better integration and communication between these services could reduce unnecessary attendances at A&E and enable people in hospital to return home sooner” Sir Bruce said in a forward to the report.

10.20am: More on elderly care - the Daily Mail reports that nurses at Stafford Hospital who left an elderly woman to die and then recorded that she was just sleeping have been allowed to keep their jobs. Evelyn Agbeko and Theresia Van Der Knaap escaped being struck off at a hearing yesterday despite being found guilty of serious blunders at the hospital, the paper writes.

10.15am: British Geriatrics Society responds to last night’s Panorama - Elderly Care: Condition Critical?, which aimed to investigate the level of harm in elderlycare homes. “It is most concerning to see such poor quality care as exposed by Panorama,” said Professor Paul Knight, president of British Geriatrics Society.

“If community services are to relieve pressures on hospitals, indeed to the extent that they may offer a viable alternative to hospital admission, they must be carefully monitored and supported so they are able to provide the high quality care we would all wish for,” he added.

10.10am: Mental health service users have around double the attendance rate of general population for hospital services according to new stats. Four in 10 service users visited A&E at least once in 2011/12 compared to two in 10 of the general population, according to new analysis by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).


9.00am: The King’s Fund have been hosting the launch of a commission on the future of health and social care in England this morning. More tweets on the event to follow.

The commission will consider whether the post-war settlement, which established separate systems for health and social care, remains fit for purpose.

8:40am: There has been much heated debate recently about the quality of out of hours services, the position and responsibilities of GPs, the pressures on accident and emergency departments and the problems for commissioners. Clinicians, managers and politicians all acknowledge that patients do not always receive an adequate service. 

Today on HSJ’s commissioning channel, Patricia Wilkie shares her experience as a recipient of OOH care and highlights how it could be improved.