Live coverage of the government’s Budget today in relation to health and care, the health adviser leaving Number 10 for the Care Quality Commission, and the rest of today’s news

HSJ live logo

HSJ live logo

5.10pm Reader responses starting to come in to HSJ’s report on the DH’s projected £2.2bn underspend. One reader writes:

“Doesn’t it border on the criminal to have saved more than the 1.5% [underspend that the department says is ‘prudent’] rather than spending it on front line services? We expect our staff to keep the patient at the centre of everything we do - not sure DH have the same values… “

4.30pm Read HSJ’s report on today’s Budget here: DH on course for biggest underspend this parliament

3.49pm: Helen Bevan has posted another blog in her series on what social movement leaders can teach us about transformational change. Today she uses the example of the Montgomery bus boycott to show how leaders made the most of levers such as building a common purpose to get the results they were fighting for.

Read her previous post here

3.48pm: HSJ editor Alastair McLellan tweets: “Alastair McLellan @HSJEditorV significant appt 4 Care Quality Commission. New dir of strategy Paul Bate was 10th in HSJ100 most influential ppl.”

3.41pm: Paul Bate, until now Number 10’s chief health advisor, is joining the Care Quality Commission as director of strategy, it has just announced. This will leave a key vacancy at Number 10 - which since the departure of Andrew Lansley has had a major role in health policy development. He was appointed as a non-political advisor in Number 10 in March 2011, amid the controversy over the Lansley NHS reforms.

3.36pm Responding to today’s Budget, Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said:

“The Government has made it clear that the innovative pharmaceutical industry has a vital part to play in leading the UK’s economic growth. The Budget today reminds us how tough the challenge will be to grow the economy out of stagnation.

“The UK is in a tough global race to attract investment and compete with other economies across the world… We were pleased therefore to hear that the rate of corporation tax is to be reduced further and that the ‘above the line’ R & D tax credit will be increased to 10 per cent.

“But we need to recognise that the business environment in the UK is very challenging.  The UK continues to lag behind in the adoption of new medicines compared to many other European countries and the UK’s global share of clinical trials has fallen in recent years. The pharmaceutical industry in the UK is now at a crucial moment and we must reverse these trends if we are serious about maintaining the UK’s position.” 

3.28pm: Jon Skewes, head of employment relations at the Royal College of Midwives, tweets: @jonskewes: Budget 1% pay limit for further year and threats to pay progression are an insult to midwives and NHS workers. Will only impede UK growth.”

14.20pm The Health Committee has published the compromise agreement signed by former United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive Gary Walker. Read it here

2.00pm Budget 2013: Budget book shows Department of Health is on course for a £2.2bn underspend in 2012-13

1.00pm Chancellor says will seek big savings from pay progression. What, if anything, will that mean for NHS?

12.53pm Osborne reiterates that existing protections (for depts including Health) will apply in 2015-16.

12.52pm Osborne makes grab for departmental underspends, but says Health will be protected.

12.41pm Chancellor claims: “For every job lost in the public sector in the past year, six jobs have been created in the private sector”

12.40pm Osborne: OBR forecast growth of 0.6 per cent for 2013

12.20pm HoC packed for #Budget2013. Chancellor due to stand up in about 10 mins.

12.09pm For those confused by the current NHS competition regulations furore, HSJ reporter Crispin Dowler has written a short ‘idiot’s guide’ to the main issues.

10.52am: HSJ reporter Ben Clover has broken the news that Colin Douglas, NHS director of communications and NHS Commissioning Board director of communications, has resigned.

A story will follow. Mr Douglas reported to Tim Kelsey, national director of patients and information.

10.45am HSJ reporter Sarah Calkin is live tweeting this morning from the Foundation Trust Network’s conference on governance after Francis under the hashtag #ftngov2013.

10.41am Another interesting HSJ exclusive this morning: The weakest commissioning support units are to be told they have just three months to improve their business practices or face intervention by the NHS Commissioning Board.

10.34am Meanwhile, amid ongoing controversy about the competition regulations, the NHS Commissioning Board and healthcare sector regulator Monitor have issued a joint statement of intent about how they will police competition in the reformed NHS. Commissioning board policy director told HSJ: No one is going to take any steps to persuade or push or force commissioners to use competition where there’s no evidence that it’s of benefit to patients.” The two organisations also emphasised that the evidence base on if and when competition was beneficial to patients was “not comprehensive”.

It is an interesting set of commitments from what will be the two most powerful bodies in the reformed system, but seems unlikely to be enough to quell concerns about the legal framework for competition set out in the government’s secondary legislation.

10.27am Campaign group 38 Degrees reports that it has a meeting on Thursday with health minister Norman Lamb to discuss the latest version of the government’s 2012 Health Act choice and competition regulations. The government redrafted the legislation after criticism from a wide number of groups, including 38 Degrees, but the activists say the new draft is still “nowhere near perfect”.

10.24am “NHS blamed for disabled people dying 16 years early”, the Guardian reports this morning.

A Department of Health funded inquiry into deaths in the south west found that the NHS does not properly investigate and treat physical complaints of people with learning disabilities, the story says.

The study, carried out by Bristol University academics, revealed “stark inequalities” and recommended the creation of a review body to investigate and monitor learning disability deaths across the UK

10.23am The Daily Telegraph finds space on its front page to report on Sir David Nicholson’s admission that he  mislead MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, as revealed by HSJ yesterday

The paper also reports on a government-backed report which the paper says suggests NHS doctors are more likely to allow patients to die if they suffer from a mental disability.

And it covers research which warns high-dose statins taken by millions of people are putting them at increased risk of potentially fatal kidney problems.

10.09am One of the key things HSJ will be looking for in the Budget today is an indication of how the Department of Health is doing on spending its budget for this financial year. Those interested can see how we’ve covered the issue of health budget overspending over the past year, from the 2012 Budget, to the revelation of the full scale of underspending, to the Health Committee’s call yesterday for restrictive financial rules to be abolished.

9.58am: The Daily Mail today covers Sir David Nicholson’s admission yesterday, revealed by HSJ, that he had made an incorrect statement to the public accounts committee. It revives its “Man With No Shame” headline. The Mail also covers the Sir David’s letter on reemployment of managers made redundant.

9.50am: HSJ Live will today cover the government’s Budget and any news from it relating to health and care. The Chancellor is due to speak at 12.30am.

8.12am Good morning, commissioning support units are set to take on important functions in the new NHS structure. They will support clinical commissioning groups by providing business intelligence, health and clinical procurement services, as well as back-office administrative functions, including contract management, but there is still much we don’t know about them, writes Veronika Thiel on HSJ today.