5.07pm: In his weekly column, our Westminster insider, Michael White of the Guardian, offers his perspective on whether we should copy China’s approach to care of the elderly - and the rights and wrongs of public feeling on “health tourism”.
4.40pm: Jeremy Hunt’s speech at the King’s Fund on older people this afternoon is being accompanied by debate on Twitter under the hashtag #kfageingwell
3.18pm: Yesterday we reported that Scottish health secretary Alex Neil had said the NHS in England is being handed to “profiteers” while its patients are struggling to pay for prescription charges, which are “a tax on ill health”. The story is one of our most commented upon. Here is just a sample of hsj.co.uk visitors’ views. Crash helmets on…
Without the English subsidy how is Neil going to afford the Scottish Health Service?
Without the oil subsidy how will England afford anything?
With its oil reserves depleted, unsustainable unemployment levels and one of the most unhealthy ageing populations in Europe, how does Scottish NHS propose to pay for for all this ? Reality check required.
How will they pay? By not handing over money to the “profiteers” for their pockets and share-holders. Oh, and the English population is ageing at the same rate as the Scottish population - one day at a time.
Scotland will not be squandering money on nuclear weapons or invading foreign countries and will save incredible amounts of money which can be spent on healthcare.
Actually, I don’t think NHS Scotland is responsible for the “appalling levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and alcoholism” cited by my colleague above. It’s more to do with closing the industrial base of the Scottish economy and a serious lack of investment in jobs that pay a living wage, decent homes, education, transport and culture.
2.55pm: Hospitals are trying to increase the number of nurses and healthcare assistants working on their wards in a trend being attributed to a growing focus on patient safety in the wake of the Francis report. An investigation by HSJ’s sister title Nursing Times found a significant majority of NHS trusts have increased the numbers of nurses and healthcare assistants they are prepared to employ - known as the funded establishment - despite the unprecedented financial strain on the health service.
2.50pm: Health secretary Jeremy Hunt today expressed interest in a proposal for greater patient involvement in NHS commissioning. During health questions in the Commons, Conservative MP Steve Baker urged him to consider a Civitas paper calling for groups of patients to be able to set up their own commissioning bodies. Mr Hunt said the ideas were “interesting” but that he had to give the coalition’s reforms chance to bed in. Read the Civitas paper here.
2.30pm: The Royal College of Nursing has commented on an amendment tabled by Earl Howe to the Care Bill to introduce mandatory training and certification of health and care support workers. Chief executive Peter Carter said: “Through our lobbying on the Care Bill, we have ignited the debate in this crucial area, resulting in continued pressure on the government to act. Thanks to this campaigning, along with the hard work of Baroness Emerton and others, we are now a step closer to mandatory regulation for all HCSWs, which will further improve patient care.”
2.20pm: Watch live stream of #ISCG, started at 2pm. Health and care leaders in England meeting on data and tech strategy http://www.england.nhs.uk/ISCG/livestreams/
2pm: The board of Plymouth Hospitals Trust has banned all non-essential spending and has ordered that all staff appointments are signed off by the director of finance in a bid to tackle a financial crisis. Spending on conference trips, travel, external training and non-essential office items such as furniture has been banned.
1.57pm: New primary care providers are being stifled by GP commissioner hostility, and the inability of existing practices to sell their businesses, the health sector regulator has been told. Monitor held a “call for evidence” about the “commissioning and provision of general practice” in the summer and said it would report by the end of the year. The work could potentially result in Monitor ordering further reviews and making policy recommendations.
1.52pm: The RCN has responded to the government announcement on “better charging of overseas visitors”. Chief executive Peter Carter said: “The NHS already has a system in place to charge non-EU visitors to the UK for certain services… There is also no indication of how much it is going to cost to set this new process up.
“Any charges should not override the principle of access for all in need. We should not place further barriers on those with physical and mental health needs which may escalate to emergencies, which would also place further pressure on the NHS.”
1.40pm: On Twitter, Andy Burnham accuses Jeremy Hunt of “complacent spin” on A&E services, which are getting “worse and worse on his watch”.
1.32pm: International law firm DAC Beachcroft has launched the second edition of a compendium in partnership with the Foundation Trust Network that provides foundation trusts with practical support on good governance. The compendium is available online.
11.32am: HSJ, in association with Interserve, is hosting a webinar tomorrow from 12.30pm in which we will explore how estates and facilities management can best support patient pathway redesign and how the NHS can make the best use of estates. Click here to read more about Redesigning pathways, redefining your estate.
11.27am: The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges has also commented on the charging of overseas visitors for NHS care. In its response to the DH consultation, it says: “It is essential that any arrangement for the charging of individuals or the checking of eligibility is removed from the sphere of the personal interaction between the clinician and the patient… No-one should be denied access to immediate necessary treatment wherever they may be irrespective of their means and status.”
Read their full reaction as a PDF here
11.14am: Peers have backed a move to make it easier for the neighbours of failing providers to be ordered to reconfigure services in order to ensure local health economies are viable. The government proposal to extend special administrators’ power follows legal confusion over plans to downgrade parts of Lewisham Hospital Trust.
11.07am: Health chiefs are taking legal advice to eject dozens of French travellers who infuriated frontline NHS workers by setting up an encampment in a hospital car park. Staff have been forced to find alternative parking away from the Royal Gwent Hospital, in Newport, south Wales
10.58am: A coalition of health, migrant, children’s and refugee organisations has come out against government proposals to limit migrant access to NHS services, some of which are included in the Immigration Bill, which has its second reading today.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, said: “These proposals will endanger not only the lives of people in migrant communities but will affect the health of the UK as a whole. Any plan to prevent thousands of people living here from accessing GPs would be counter-productive, bureaucratic, harming our health and adding more, unnecessary costs to an already stretched NHS.”
10.12am: The Guardian reports that the coalition has launched a fresh assault on so-called health tourists by saying short-term immigrants and foreign visitors should pay more than £500m a year towards the cost of their NHS care. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, will present a new analysis suggesting temporary migrants are costing the NHS up to £2bn a year.
Also on guardian.co.uk, Rin Hamburgh looks at the pros and cons of becoming a freelance as it relates to people suffering from depression.
9.59am: David Prior’s plea is developed by Liz Saunders, who says it’s incredibly difficult for clinical staff to offer truly patient centred care if they don’t have the right facilities, equipment or staff. “The NHS ends up with people in management roles, with great clinical skills and qualities, but little understanding of how to do their new role − how to be a really effective manager,” she writes. Read her article here.
9.30am: Welcome to our live feed of all that’s going in the world of healthcare leadership. Clinicians must make their voices heard if the wide variations in care and poor practice in the NHS are to be closed, writes David Prior in our Opinion section.
“Transparency must be the answer to the silence, the silence that has allowed unacceptable clinical variation and a lack of accountability for poor practice.”
Also new in Opinion, Alex Kafetz argues why the education sector has been far more open in providing access to data and open to new ideas than the health service.
And in Resource Centre, Heather Richardson explains why at this critical time for the NHS, there is much that hospitals can learn from their hospice colleagues when it comes to treating patients with compassion and respect.