Labour will pledge to increase NHS funding paid for by a “mansion tax, the BBC reports, and the rest of today’s news and comment

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6.45pm The BBC is reporting that Labour will tomorrow announce a commitment to pay for an increase in NHS funding through a “mansion tax”. The party’s leader will speak at about 2pm tomorrow.

Previous discussion of a “mansion tax” suggest it could raise around £1.5bn-£1.8bn. The NHS Confederation recently called for additional £2bn annual funding in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to pay for transition to reformed healthcare services.

6.15pm Some news from the BBC’s Nick Robinson on Labour’s plans for NHS funding:

4.47pm The NHS Trust Development Authority has launched a strategy to support NHS trusts with their communication activities.

The arm’s length body said there had “never been a more important time to have strong communications at the heart of the NHS”, but said there had so far been a lack of support for communications staff.

Its strategy was unveiled in a paper presented at the TDA’s monthly board meeting which also revealed it had completed reviews at a number of trusts to see how effectively they were communicating.

4.15pm Dudley Group Foundation Trust has become the first trust to be granted a formal review of its Care Quality Commission rating.

The West Midlands trust was inspected by the CQC under the regulator’s new inspection regime in March.

Inspection reports and ratings are usually released by the CQC around two months after inspections.

The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said: “They’ve been unhappy, we have tried to find a way through this informally but that was not satisfactory.”

3.50pm A new group for small and medium-sized hospitals has been set up by the Nuffield Trust to look at how they can adapt their business models.

The New Cavendish Group will bring together hospital chief executives to discuss the challenges facing smaller trusts. It was formed in response to a meeting called on that subject at 10 Downing Street by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards told HSJ the group was not a small-trust equivalent of the Shelford Group, or intended to compete with the NHS Confederation or Foundation Trust Network.

3.48pm A second inquest into the death of a man who died after being treated at Stafford Hospital in 2006 was due to resume in Leicestershire today.

Coroner Catherine Mason abruptly halted the inquest into the death of 20-year-old John Moore-Robinson in April after she said evidence of new potential witnesses had not been disclosed by Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

Ms Mason said at least two more nurses and a doctor who had been on the rota at Stafford Hospital on the day Mr Moore-Robinson died had been identified and would be contacted.

2.49pm NHS England has appointed Richard Jeavons to lead its commissioning of specialised services in an interim capacity, HSJ can reveal.

The national organisation has failed to recruit a substantive director of specialised services, despite using head hunting firms. Simon Stevens said he wanted to create the post shortly after he became NHS England chief executive in April.

2.00pm HSJ is looking for best practice examples that have been implemented within NHS organisations; and is backed by evidence of improvements that could be replicated across the wider NHS. If your team has made successful improvements within the field of innovation and efficiency, commissioning and leadership, we want to hear from you. Please send your case studies to

1.35pm On future organisational forms:

1.33pm On Labour’s “big idea” for the future of the NHS:

1.30pm Andy Burnham on joining up health with other services:

1.29pm HSJ’s James Illman is at a conference fringe event where Andy Burnham is currently speaking. Here’s what the shadow health secretary has been saying:

12.31pm The NHS Confederation has commented on the whistleblowing story we mentioned earlier today on HSJ Live. Chief executive Rob Webster said:

“We welcome the additional evidence presented by Patients First. We are all in agreement that we need to have mechanisms for NHS staff to have their concerns listened to and feel supported when they raise legitimite concerns.
“The vast majority of staff who raise concerns have them dealt with effectively and we need to make sure this is the experience for everyone.

“The language we use is important if we are to give confidence to our staff to speak up. Messages which imply you will be victimised or lose your job undermine all the hard work going on locally to improve confidence in our systems and processes.

“We know there is more to do, particularly around ensuring there are effective feedback mechanisms in place and no-one should experience bullying.

“Employers have made huge progress using evidence based approaches to staff engagement and invested time and resource to building trust between individuals and their organisations - the primary focus of any intervention should be to provide on-going support to them as they develop open, values driven culture across each organisation.

“We are committed to supporting Sir Robert Francis and the review team as they develop their recommendations.”

12.15pm The NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes for 2014/15 is now open for applications. The £650,000 prize programme encourages, recognises and rewards front line NHS innovations. This year’s challenge prizes include diabetes, infection control, rehabilitation, use of technology and digital patient and clinician engagement. Small innovations with a potential to make a big difference are also being recognised in the new ‘Acorn’ challenge – supported by HSJ.

Only NHS organisations are eligible to apply and innovations must be proven and have the potential for spread.

The deadline for applications is 7 November 2014. Visit for more information and follow on Twitter on

12.04pm Our Twitter chat with Monitor’s Jason Dorsett has now started.

Please tweet your questions to @HSJNews or @MonitorUpdate using the hashtag #HSJchat.

11.37am Also in The Telegraph, GPs in some areas of England are prescribing almost 125 per cent more antibiotics than others.

In Camden, noth London, 40,102 prescriptions were written for antibiotics for every 100,000 people in 2013-14, compared with 89,763 in South Tees.

The finding raises questions about overuse of the drugs after doctors admitted dispensing antibiotics to “get rid of patients” from surgeries more quickly.

11.29am The Daily Telegraph reports that public sector employers will have to monitor the social background of their staff in an attempt to encourage more working class people to “smash the glass ceiling” under Labour plans.

Gloria De Piero, the shadow equalities minister, said an “inequality of opportunity” has become entrenched in many professions and that Britain is still not “class blind”.

11.10am Jason Dorsett, Monitor’s director of financial reporting and risk, will be taking part in an HSJ Twitter chat at 12pm today to answer your questions about the report and the FT sector.

Among the issues Mr Dorsett will be discussing are:

  • how FTs are performing against key national healthcare targets, such as accident and emergency waiting times, cancer targets and ambulance response times;
  • the sector’s financial position in what many people expect to be a crunch year for provider finances;
  • what regulatory action Monitor has taken against FTs this quarter and why; and
  • what action FTs should take to improve their financial and operational performance.

Pose your questions to Mr Dorsett and take part in the debate here.

10.57am We can also expect some more information from Mr Burnham on integrating care:

10.53am Some interesting tweets from Patrick Leahy, head of public affairs at the Royal College of Surgeons. He’s tweeted comments from shadow health secretary Andy Burnham at the Labour party conference in Manchester:

10.48am The Guardian reports that Labour sources have made it “increasingly clear” that the party will commit extra funds for the NHS, possible by earmarking cash raised by reintroducing the 50p top rate of tax.

10.26am Also in The Times, patients needing emergency operations suffer because care is neglected and disorganised, according to the leader of the Royal College of Surgeons.

About 15,000 people a year die during emergency surgery, with “huge” variations in death rates that could be reduced if the NHS focused on the problem, said Clare Marx, president of the RCS.

Ms Marx said that a political focus on waiting times for non-urgent operations means that the needs of more than a million patients requiring emergency surgery for problems such as broken bones, kidney stones and late-diagnosed cancers has become a “Cinderella issue”.

10.19am Browsing through this morning’s papers, The Times reports that almost half of cancers are spotted too late for the most effective treatment, according to analysis by Cancer Research UK.

The charity says that these delays cost thousands of lives each year.

Earlier diagnosis of some of Britain’s most common cancers could improve the survival chances of more than 52,000 patients a year and save the NHS more than £200 million, according to the research. When caught at the earliest stage, 5,000 more patients a year would live at least five years after diagnosis, they have calculated

10.15am When Ed Miliband was asked on Sunday about whether extra NHS funding would be paid for through tax increases, he said: “If you are asking ‘do I think we should be somehow raising taxes now on everyday working people’, I am very wary of that. My government is determined to tackle the cost of living crisis [and] if we are elected in May that is what we are going to do.”

9.48am There have been hints over the weekend that Labour may make an NHS spending announcement at its party conference this week.

On the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “We are certainly going to make sure the NHS does not lose money and we want to do more than that. We will be saying more about that between now and the election.”

The BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith also tweeted the following this morning:

9.32am The past three months have seen a strengthening of public approval for the government’s treatment of the NHS, an exclusive HSJ/FTI Consulting poll has found.

The survey is the second in a series of quarterly polls to be conducted over the year leading up to next May’s general election.

The HSJ poll found 56 per cent of people agreed the current government was “doing all they can to preserve the best of the NHS” while trying to address inefficiencies.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

We start the day with the news that some NHS organisations are using a ‘fundamentally wrong definition’ of whistleblowers when dealing with staff who raise concerns, according to a study of cases submitted to the government’s review of the issue.

The finding was made in a study of more than 70 cases which had been submitted to the whistleblowing review currently being carried out by Sir Robert Francis QC.

The work, carried out by a legal team including employment law expert Patrick Green QC from Henderson Chambers, identified that widespread bullying of, and suffering by whistleblowers deterred others from raising concerns.

The study, shared with HSJ, was carried out for whistleblowing campaign group Patients First.