HSJ launches Women Leaders Network in association with NHS Employers, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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4.46pm As will public health and general practice…

4.45pm The health secretary set out some of his priorities over the next parliament. As HSJ has been saying for some time, efficiency will be a huge challenge:

4.44pm A lot of people in the room would have been relieved to here this:

4.43pm He struck a more bi-partisan tone here though:

4.40pm The health secretary said there had been “scaremongering” about the NHS during the election campaign, but he said the Liberal Democrats focus on mental health was “commendable”.

4.38pm Jeremy Hunt has been speaking at the King’s Fund leadership summit this afternoon, My colleague Sophie Barnes is there and has been tweeting throughout his speech. He’s said some interesting things about the future direction of the NHS under the new Conservative government.

12.51pm Here’s an interesting quote on how the vanguards will link up with the Dalton Review.

12.49pm And the candidates for the “success regime” will also be outlined soon.

12.48pm This is intriguing…

12.46pm Simon Stevens on agency staff:

12.45pm My colleague Sophie Barnes was covering Simon Stevens speech at the King’s Fund this morning. Here’s a few of her tweets.

11.59am Two mental health trusts in the North West are in discussions over a potential merger.

Calderstones Partnership Foundation Trust, based in East Lancashire, revealed its “long term strategy of formal merger” with Mersey Care Trust in recent board papers.

Calderstones, which expects to turn over £42m in 2015-16, provides specialist and secure services for people with learning disabilities. It was heavily criticised by the Care Quality Commission in December.

11.19am A nurse who murdered and poisoned vulnerable patients in his care, forcing a hospital to the brink of closure, has been jailed for life, The Guardian reports.

Victorino Chua, 49, described by detectives as a narcissistic psychopath, injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules while working on two acute wards at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport, in June and July 2011. These were then unwittingly used by other nurses on the ward, leading to a series of insulin overdoses.

10.50am The Guardian also reports this morning that the home secretary, Thersea May, is to pledge up to £15m of new funding to provide health-based alternatives for the 4,000 people a year who spend time in detention in police cells under the Mental Health Act.

In her first speech since being reappointed home secretary, Ms May will tell the Police Federation conference on Wednesday that a new policing and sentencing bill, to be included in next week’s Queen’s speech, will include legislation to ban the use of police cells to detain any children with mental health problems.

10.48am The Guardian and a lot of other papers this morning report on what it describes as the “shocking” state of end of life care in the NHS exposed in a report from the parliamentary and health services ombudsman.

Julie Mellor, who investigates complaints that the health service has failed to resolve, says too many people spend their last days and hours in pain and distress because they do not get the care they need and NHS staff do not communicate well with them or their friends and relatives.

End-of-life care could be improved for up to 350,000 people a year – the number whose imminent death can be predicted each year by medical staff with the right skills.

10.06am HSJ’s Sophie Barnes is at the King’s Fund’s leadership and management summit today, where Simon Stevens and Jeremy Hunt will be speaking. You can follow her on Twitter on @sophieevebarnes and we’ll also keep you abreast of what is being said here on HSJ Live.

10.01am Two construction firms and a consultancy have made the final shortlist of an £120m deal to help a struggling foundation trust improve the efficiency of its estate.

The successful bidder for Burton Hospitals FT’s “strategic infrastructure and efficiency partnership” will be part of a joint venture, with the trust to manage several hospital sites, according to an Official Journal of the European Union tender posted in December.

Burton is expected to unveil its preferred bidder next month with a view to setting up the venture later this year.

9.55am HSJ is launching a network to promote the talents of women in healthcare leadership roles.

Sponsored by NHS Employers, the network will exist to help women secure board level positions within the NHS and other healthcare organisations.

Membership will be invite only, but drawn from across professions and age groups. Anyone who has built a reputation for mentoring emerging female leaders or is currently supporting one or more female mentees to do the same will qualify to join.

Anyone interested in helping to establish the network before it formally launches this summer - either by contributing ideas on how it could operate most usefully or by joining our programme board - please get in touch.

Email your name, current job title and career aspiration to hsjwomen@emap.com.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

We start with a roundup of Tuesday’s key stories, which includes an unusual move by the acute trust and mental health trust in Cornwall. The organisations are considering merger to prepare the region for new models of care.

Yesterday HSJ also revealed high level fears in NHS England and the Care Quality Commission about patient consent rules leaving room for abuse.