Midwives face disciplinary action in infant death inquiry, plus the rest of today’s news and comment
4.18pm Dr Viveca Kirthisingha explains how the Acute Geriatric Intervention Service – a collaboration between ambulance services, therapists and geriatricians in Cambridgeshire – is lowering the number of older patients who need to go to hospital by providing personalised home care.
4.16pm The chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust has announced his resignation.
David Whiting left the trust with immediate effect.
Unite said his departure “could herald ‘a new era’ for patient safety and industrial relations”.
He had derecognised the union in January 2013, and its members have held a series of strikes against the trust since April last year.
He will be replaced Rod Barnes, currently the trust’s executive director of finance and performance, on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is recruited.
3.00pm Health minister Dr Dan Poulter and childcare and education Minister Sam Gyimah will today announce that integrated health and early years reviews for two year olds will be rolled out next year.
Currently, health and early years reviews of young children are carried out separately. By integrating them, parents will get a more complete picture of their child, drawing on the expertise of health visitors and early years practitioners.
Age two is a key development point where problems such as speech delay and behavioural issues emerge. Integrating these assessments will help avoid duplication and work towards giving parents the support they need.
Integrated reviews will mean bringing together the healthy child programme review at 2 to 2-and-a-half and the early years progress check at age 2 years.
The announcement comes as the Department for Education publishes a report, led by the National Children’s Bureau on a 2-year pilot of integrated reviews from 2012 to 2013.
The report found that parents preferred this joined-up approach, and take-up of the reviews increased as a result. Integrated reviews will mean health and early years professionals will share information and may carry out the reviews together, giving parents a better picture of their child’s progress and reducing duplication.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “This report shows that integrating health and early years reviews is better for children and their parents - giving a more complete picture of their child’s development and supporting children to the best start in life.”
Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah said: “The early years count and this new approach will reassure parents they have the information they need to support their children when they are growing up to give them the best possible start in life.
“This is a fantastic example of government departments working together to improve the services on offer to parents.”
2.42pm The union Unite has just released the following statement:
The decision of MPs today to vote in favour of the private member’s bill to roll-back the privatisation of the NHS was hailed as “a great victory” by unions and health campaigners.
MPs voted by 241 to 18 in favour of the National Health Services (Amended Duties and Powers) bill, promoted by Labour MP for Eltham, Clive Efford.
The bill is aimed at ridding the NHS of the worse parts of the government’s pro-privatisation Health and Social Care Act 2012, by rewriting the rules that force competitive tendering of NHS services.
The bill will also restore the responsibility to the secretary of state for health to provide a comprehensive health service, free at the point of delivery and prevents foundation trusts from prioritising private income at the expense of NHS patients.
Clive Efford said: “I am delighted that my bill has been passed with the overwhelming support of Labour MPs. The Labour Party created the NHS and today we were out in force to protect it from competition from private companies, to exempt it from any Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement and to ensure that we prioritise patients not profit.
“But our fight isn’t over. Now we need to pressure the government to make sure that they take the bill straight to committee and do not use delay tactics to try to stall its passage through parliament.
“We have seen the impact that the Tories’ privatisation agenda has had on our NHS – longer waiting times, fewer frontline staff and £3 bn wasted on a pointless top-down reorganisation – and the Liberal Democrats have gone along with it.
Activists from the health unions, Unite, Unison and the GMB staged a candle-lit vigil in support of the bill last night at Old Palace Yard, Westminster until the vote by MPs on the bill.
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “This is a great victory for public opinion and is the first step on the road to restore the NHS to a service free at the point of delivery for all those in need. We must redouble our efforts to achieve this goal as the bill goes through the committee stage.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Even senior Tories admit that the Health and Social Care Act is their biggest mistake. The vote today is the first step in undoing this travesty. Our NHS must be protected from privatisation, so the government must now give Clive Efford’s NHS Bill the committee time it deserves and allow the will of the public to prevail.”
GMB national officer for the NHS Rehana Azam said: “Today is a good step for all those campaigning to expose the devastating attacks unleashed by the Tory/Lib Dem Health and Social Care Act 2012. The government can’t ignore this ‘yes’ vote and now needs to give the Efford bill the attention needed at committee stage.
“The GMB has seen first-hand the effects of the act on patients and staff and it’s time to start rebuilding the NHS based on its core founding principles.”
2.12pm The Guardian reports that nine out of 10 younger women diagnosed with breast cancer are not referred to a fertility clinic to discuss the possibility of freezing eggs or embryos ahead of treatment, according to research.
Chemotherapy can stop women’s ovaries from working, potentially preventing them from having children in the future, but not enough are getting the advice they need, says Breast Cancer Care, which conducted the survey.
1.38pm Eight midwives who worked for a foundation trust at the centre of an inquiry into infant and maternal deaths could face disciplinary action, HSJ can reveal.
HSJ has learned that the Nursing and Midwifery Council has decided that four midwives linked to cases involving the deaths of babies at University Hospitals of Morecame Bay Foundation Trust should face fitness to practise hearings.
Four other midwives’ cases are subject to further investigation by the nursing watchdog after concerns about poor care at the trust’s Furness General Hospital maternity unit.
It is not known how many of the eight midwives are currently employed by the trust.
1.34pm Two Yorkshire clinical commissioning groups have issued a tender for a “prime provider” community services contract worth nearly £285m.
Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs yesterday issued the tender for the seven year contract.
The contract is expected to be awarded in May 2015 and go live in October.
The CCGs are seeking bids for three lots: for Greater Huddersfield, North Kirklees, and the “combined requirements” of both CCG areas.
1.32pm Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust has revised its forecast up to a £21m deficit for 2014-15.
The revision, up from its June forecast of £15.9m, was announced at its board meeting this month at which it also emerged that the Essex trust had declared a “major incident” following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
The trust’s performance report warned that its financial position needed “to improve significantly and rapidly”.
Interim chief executive Lucy Moore revealed the state of the finances at a trust’s council of governors meeting yesterday.
12.08pm The Care Quality Commission has been strongly criticised by its own board after admitting to making thousands of errors in its handling of safeguarding worries.
A report to the watchdog’s committee this week revealed it had 11,000 safeguarding “alerts” and “concerns” registered on its system for which there was no record of any action by its officers.
Safeguarding worries flagged up to the CQC are registered as “alerts” when it is the first agency receiving the warning and “concerns” when information has already been supplied to another organisation.
This widespread failure could mean in some instances that no action had been taken in response to safeguarding warnings at all, raising fears that vulnerable people are at risk.
11.54am Government plans for closer working between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry will make the new generation of precision medicines more affordable for the NHS, the minister for life sciences has said.
Speaking to HSJ to mark the launch of a new review into how to speed up patient access to innovative medicines, George Freeman said the NHS was perfectly placed to work with the pharmaceutical industry on the development of new stratified medicines.
These tend to have the most benefit in particular subsets of patients.
He said the NHS could save the pharmaceutical industry “years” on the development process by using NHS data to identify which patients would be most likely to benefit from a new drug.
11.15am Accident and emergency departments had their worst performance since April 2013, with only 89.4 per cent of patients seen, treated, admitted or discharged within four hours according to the latest figures.
10.47am A private member’s bill brought by Labour MP Clive Efford to amend sections of the government’s controversial Health and Social Care Act passed two years ago is being debated in the Commons this morning.
The bill aims to re-establish the health secretary’s legal duty to provide national health services in England and says the health secretary must “continue the promotion in England of a comprehensive health service”.
The debate can be viewed live here.
10.37am The Times reports that a hospital is threatening so-called “bed blockers” with eviction from their wards, saying overstaying patients could face legal action if they do not leave within a week.
Staff at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital say that families are parking elderly relatives in NHS beds while they redecorate or go on holiday, and senior doctors believe it is now common for relatives to “hold the ward to ransom” for selfish reasons.
Campaigners attacked the policy as “completely unacceptable”, saying the NHS should focus on arranging support for elderly patient in the community rather than using legal threats.
10.25am The Independent reports on calls by the Labour party for the NHS to be explicitly excluded from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the trade deal being struck between the European Union and the United States.
The prime minister argues that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could provide a £10bn boost for Britain and has promised to put “rocket boosters” behind efforts to clinch the deal.
10.22am Looking to this morning’s papers, the Daily Telegraph reports that hospital managers are taking legal action to remove elderly patients who are “bed blocking” and preventing other patients from being admitted.
Hospitals claim families have abandoned elderly relations in hospital wards, even when they are well enough to go home, denying other patients the chance of treatment, the paper writes.
Families of patients at Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital Trust have been warned that they have seven days to find their relation a space in a care home or face being taken to court.
Elsewhere, the Telegraph reports that Labour attempts to reverse Conservative health reforms are “deeply concerning, misguided and disruptive,” a coalition of leading GPs have warned.
In a letter to the paper, the doctors urged MPs not to vote on Friday in favour of a bill which claims to repeal parts of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.
Labour MP Clive Efford’s private member’s bill would reverse some of the changes introduced by then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
Labour says the 2012 reforms have pushed a “privatisation” agenda, by promoting competition for NHS contracts.
But a number of leading GPs, including those in charge of clinical commissioning groups say those calling for the changes to be reversed are making “an ill-informed attack” on the doctors in charge of the system.
In many cases, relatives and whistleblowers feel they must resort to covert filming – and there have been some spectacular results in identifying perpetrators and supporting criminal convictions.