4.28pm NHS England is to appeal a High Court ruling that controversial plans to axe children’s heart surgery in Leeds should be reconsidered.

A High Court judge said last month a decision to stop children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary should be quashed

The ruling followed after an NHS review concluding surgery should stop at hospitals in Leeds, Leicester and London to focus care at fewer, larger sites.

A NHS England Statement said: “We have been advised that there are good grounds for appeal and these points are set out in an application that has been submitted to the Court of Appeal.”

4.08pm Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will give evidence to the Health Committee on the Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry on Tuesday 23 April, the committee has announced.

The show begins at 2.30pm. Department of Health Permanent Secretary Una O’Brien will also give evidence.

3.11pm Commissioners are about to find out how much they will have to spend to make up funding shortfall for the new NHS property company.

A letter sent out to senior NHS executives and finance chiefs today confirms previous HSJ reports that NHS Property Services Ltd will have a gap between the costs of running its estate and its income from rents and leases.

Clinical commissioning groups and NHS England will make up the difference.

Similar arrangements will be put in place for local improvement finance trust properties, which have been transferred to Community Health Partnerships Ltd.

The letter reads: “In many cases, the current charges for occupancy do not reflect the full costs of providing the accommodation, and in some cases the charges are minimal, or there are no charges… A proportion of the accommodation that is used for the provision of services has not been subject to full-cost recovering rentals and charges to occupiers.

“In these instances, primary care trusts have met the shortfalls from their allocations, rather than funding these service providers so that they can in turn meet the rental and other occupancy costs.”

Occupiers’’ charges will not alter in 2013-14 unless it is part of a pre-existing deal.

Where there is no rent being paid because a building is empty or partly empty, those building costs will also continue to be met from commissioner budgets.

The letter says commissioners, including NHS England, will be notified “shortly” of the property costs that will have to be recovered from commissioner budgets.

The totals could be different to the amounts CCGs were told to set aside in December 2012, as new data on property costs has been gathered since then.

Commissioners will only be expected to make up the shortfall in 2013-14. “It is intended that subsidised occupiers of property will move to full cost recovery rentals as soon as practical during 2013-14 and 2014-15.”

This will effectively mean higher charges to occupants, such as CCGs, NHS England, commissioning support units, GP practices and community service providers.

The letter says: “This will in many instances necessitate a circular flow into the occupiers’ service contracts.

“It will be a priority to ensure this does not have unintended consequences, particularly for more financially vulnerable partner organisations.”

2.58pm The number of cases in the Swansea measles epidemic has increased to 808, officials say.

The BBC reports that Public Health Wales said an extra 43 cases of the disease had been reported since Tuesday. A targeted MMR vaccination campaign has started at five comprehensives in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot involving more than 2,000 pupils.

2.55pm HSJ’s Dave West tweets: “CQC could appoint three chief inspectors - what are the pros and cons of the third, for primary care? https://www.hsj.co.uk/news/policy/cqc-could-appoint-three-chief-inspectors-in-regulation-shake-up/5057502.article …

2.24pm The coalition of charities referred to in this morning’s Financial Times story (see 9.30am, below) has now published its parliamentary briefing on the government’s controversial Section 75 regulations on NHS procurement and competition.

The briefing is signed by Help the Hospices, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Sue Ryder and Together for Short Lives, as well as National Voices, the umbrella group for patient organisations.

It states: “Our concerns, in brief, are:

“1. The Regulations as they are currently worded will mean that competitive tendering could become mandatory in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

“2. Given the burden of having to put each individual service out for tender, CCGs will tend to bundle services together to put out for contract, as currently happens in local government.

“3. If contracts are bundled, then this could put them out of reach of voluntary sector providers who are, by their nature, providers of specialised care.

“4. If voluntary sector providers are forced out of the market then this could have a negative impact on patients and the communities they live in, as voluntary sector providers add value by using charitably raised funds for patient care.”

2.08pm The British Medical Association has called for controversial competition rules, the so-called Section 75 regulations, to be withdrawn ahead of a House of Lords debate next week.

A BMA briefing paper sent to peers ahead of the debate said the regulations “should be replaced with new regulations that unambiguously reflect previous Government assurances that commissioners will not be forced to use competition when making their commissioning decisions”. 

1.57pm The Department of Health has published a consultation on the government’s suggestions for implementing an EU directive which concerns patients’ rights to cross-border healthcare in other member states of the European Economic Area.

The DH is seeking views on:

  • Centralising cross-border administration at the NHS England from 1 April 2013
  • Setting up a cross-border healthcare National Contact Point for England (within NHS England) by October 2013
  • Improving information on patients’ rights and entitlements provisions for dealing with patients from other countries who want to use NHS Facilities under the terms of the Directive how the processes of prior authorisation and patient reimbursement should work

The directive is EU Directive 2011/24/EU and the consultation closes on 24 May.

11.21am: Former Financial Times public policy editor has an interesting piece in the Guardian today responding to NHS England chair Malcolm Grant’s warning that a future government may want to consider new charges for NHS services.

He concludes: “New charges do not have to happen. The answer could be that the alternatives to raising taxation are so unpleasant that the next government may bite the bullet and do that.”

But he notes: “Nigel Lawson, the Tory chancellor when the Conservatives last seriously contemplated alternative ways of raising NHS finance back in the 1980s, concluded that a big change might be the equivalent of ‘jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire’, and out of ‘not such a bad frying pan after all’. If that view does not hold this time round, new charges might be the least bad of the many unpalatable options.”

11.18am: The CQC has launched its three-year business plan, in which it sets out a little more detail on how it plans to operate.

10.45am: The latest HSJ Podcast features Mark Britnell and Sir Robert Naylor discussing the sustainability of health systems around the world, the emergence of the “activist payer”, the importance of integrated care and how what the NHS can learn about innovation from Asia.

10.38am: In this week’s finance column, Crispin Dowler examines why “any qualified provider” might not play the central role in NHS competition that Andrew Lansley once hoped.

10.32am: In a piece on procurement in the new world, Lawyer Giles Peel looks at how CCGs will handle procurement in their first 100 days. A key task will be undertaking due diligence on contracts, assets and liabilities received from primary care trusts.

10.27am: NHS Employers’ director Dean Royles has said the Francis report, the government’s response and discussion about doctor’s contracts provide an opportunity to reclaim the NHS’s employment relationships and limit the need for lawyers in negotiations. 

He writes in article for HSJ: “The relationship has now effectively been handed over to lawyers and, as a result, will often end in acrimony, lack of trust, resignation or dismissal.”

10.06am: The Daily Mail reports: Early testing for demntia is ‘disastrous for patients’.

The paper quotes Dr Chris Fox, old-age psychiatry specialist at the University of East Anglia saying: “current tests are not particularly robust and there is a relatively high risk of misdiagnosis so all of this turmopil could be even more unnecessary”.

The turmoil he refers to is the push from Jeremy Hunt for GPs to screen more patients for signs of dementia.

9.30am: A coalition of charities and health campaigners have accused health secretary Jeremy Hunt of “launching a fresh attempt to privatise the health service” with the government’s controversial new regulations governing competition in the NHS, the Financial Times reports this morning.

The paper says a briefing note from charities including Marie Curie Cancer Care, Sue Ryder and Help the Hospices warns that the Section 75 regulations could force them out of the NHS. It quotes the note as saying: “If the voluntary sector is forced out of the market then this will have a negative impact on patients and families and also the communities in which they live.”

The Lords will next month debate a motion to annul the regulations.

8.23am: Good morning, NHS patients often fall between the gaps, especially those with complex chronic conditions and mental health issues.

Tim Murphy from the US firm Beacon Health Strategies explains the model that targets the biggest spend and coordinates care for patients that need it most, improving outcomes and driving down costs.