15.28pm: The Department of Health has rather belatedly published the impact assessment for the secondary legislation covering competition and procurement. It seems a little light on detail.
13.47pm: Lawyers have expressed their misgivings about the government’s new procurement and competition rules, published last week.
Read our story here.
11.29am: The NHS Commissioning Board’s top team is expected to use part of the public board meeting to discuss and make an initial response to Mr Francis’s report. It is likely to be keen to stress its plans for harnessing patients’ voice, greater transparency, changing NHS management culture, and improving services. With campaigners’ and newspapers’ criticism focusing on Sir David Nicholson, its chief executive, in recent weeks, there will be pressure for the board to demonstrate it can respond to public concern.
11.24am: HSJ acting news editor Dave West tweets: “#Francis development: Robert Francis will attend the next meeting of the NHS Commissioning Board, on Thursday @nhscb”.
11.13am: The Department of Health is looking for “up to” five more non-executived directors for the Care Quality Commission.
11.03am: The British Dietetic Association is calling for the introduction of hospital food standards in England.
It cites a report called Twenty Years of Hospital Food Failure, that claims between 1992 and 2013 governments have introduced “21 failed voluntary initiatives to improve hospital food, costing more than £54 million of taxpayers’ money” and that celebrity chefs Loyd Grossman, Albert Roux, John Benson-Smith, Mark Hix, Anton Edelmann and Heston Blumenthal have been appointed to lead these voluntary initiatives.”
10.42am: Today’s celebrity tweets so far:
Comedian Bill Bailey on the north-west London reconfiguration, with downgrades of three A&E units.
Curious Incident of the Dog in ther Nightime author and former Nursing Times cartoonist Mark Haddon writes about the procurement rules and what they mean for competition in The Guardian, ahead of the Eastleigh by-election where the National Health Action party is campaigning.
10.39am: Lewisham Council gave Jeremy Hunt until 16.30 today to respond to its letter setting out grounds for legal challenge on hospital downgrade. A reminder of our story yesterday, the College of Emergency Medicine said yesterday the proposed replacement for Lewisham’s A&E did nbot fit its definition of an emergency department. Notable in a number of ways, but one of them is that no one knows what the specs of the new unit will be, HSJ has been told that work simply hasn’t been done yet.
10.17am: My colleague James Illman reports Circle are anticipating “slightly better than expected operating profit” because it is “encouraged by the emergence of further NHS opportunities”. Which seems a surprise considering earlier reports that appetite in Whitehall for further Hinchingbrooke-style franchises was waning.
Circle’s chief executive also confirmed to James it may not pay off all the trust’s £40m debt during the life of the contract, as had been hoped.
She reports the attack by Labour on the rules which effectively enshrine the old principles and rules of co-operation and competition used by the advistory body the Co-operation and Competition Panel as law, to be enforced by Monitor.
The law comes into force at the start of April and there is still no impact assessment for it available from the Department of Health.
A choice and competition frameowrk is due to be produced by Monitor at the end of March which will set out the areas of the NHS believed to be suitable for a competitive market and those that are not.
9.56am: Daily Mail columnist Ian Birrell calls for Sir David to lose his job over Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and related issues.
9.55am: The papers continue to cover so-called “gagging clauses” today, which they again link to NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson.
Highlighted in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, figures released to Conservative MP Steve Barclay indicate NHS trusts and foundation trusts spent £14.7m on compromise agreements between 2008-9 and 2010-11.
Mr Barclay - who has previously raised questions about compromise agreeements and the compromise clauses which are often in them - said Sir David Nicholson should be asked about the issue by the Commons public accounts committee.
HSJ published an analysis of the use of agreements on Wednesday. It appears they are often not used for the purpose of silencing patient safety concerns.
9.46am: Given the Lewisham Hospital news that is expected today this story from yesterday afternoon is likely to be significant.
The College of Emergency Medicine has written to the NHS Commissioning Board to say the proposal for a “smaller A&E with 24/7 senior medical cover” does not fit its definition of an emergency department.
7.48am. Good morning, strategic health authorities and primary care trusts are currently engaged in identifying IT assets and sorting out IT services and contracts, as they get ready to transfer their systems to new recipients when they are dissolved on April 1. Ross Clark provides some guidance through this complex process.