CDF should pay for new drugs for set period before they are approved or rejected by NICE, NHS England has said, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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3.27pm University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust has announced that its application to Monitor for modifications to its tariff has been successful.

The trust said it understood the “local price modification” to be the first of its kind in the country to be approved by Monitor, and said it was in “recognition of the geographical challenges the trust faces treating patients across five sites”.

Aaron Cummins, Morecambe Bay’s director of finance, said: “We welcome the announcement by Monitor about the modification to our tariff. We particularly welcome the recognition from Monitor that we face a unique challenge in this area - providing healthcare across five sites to a population size which often, in more urban areas, is served by fewer hospitals.”

The price modification which is likely to be in the region of £20m to £25m, will apply to six areas of treatments for our patients:

  • Accident and emergency
  • Surgery
  • Trauma and orthopaedics
  • Paediatrics
  • Women’s health
  • Non-elective medical conditions

The trust will have to apply each financial year for the modification to its tariff.

Mr Cummins added: “The price modifications for this year are really good news and shows that there is national recognition and confidence in our plans for the future. Our longer term strategy seeks to address the structural issues, meaning the requirements for LPM will reduce over time.

“Working in partnership with, our two local clinical commissioning groups, other healthcare providers in the area and our other partners, we are committed to implementing ‘better care together’, which will help to transform healthcare across the area for patients - helping them to access healthcare much closer to their homes.”

1.24pm The health secretary has said that a hospital chief executive has been assessed as ‘fit and proper’, after regulators considered a series of serious concerns against him.

However, an MP who has complained about Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust chief executive Phil Morley has responded by restating her concerns and calling for a new independent process for assessing the “suitability” of senior managers.

Hull North MP Diana Johnson contacted Jeremy Hunt in January about Mr Morley remaining an NHS chief executive. He left Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, where he held the same post, in spring last year. This was shortly before the Care Quality Commission published a report which highlighted “pressure to meet performance targets” and “a bullying culture in some areas”.

A review by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service last summer found widespread perception of bullying at the trust and said “senior staff [were] seen as being supportive of bullies and the bullying culture”.

A whistleblower, Hull’s former director of estates and facilities Pauline Lewin, criticised Mr Morley’s management, while a report by auditors identified problems with financial control during his time in Hull.

1.14pm The NHS England public board meeting has now finished. You can view what was said on my colleague Judith Welikala’s Twitter timeline below.

1.12pm Nottingham University Hospitals Trust is to take on more staff to stop a struggling specialist children’s service from collapsing.

The trust will recruit more doctors to its paediatric dermatology service, which will be left with one full-time and one part-time member of staff at the end of this month.

Trust leaders told Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City councils’ joint health scrutiny committee last month that they are also working more closely with local GPs to support NUH’s paediatric services.

11.54am The cancer drugs fund should become a ‘managed access’ fund, which would pay for new drugs for a set period before they are approved or rejected by NICE, NHS England has said.

The arm’s length body said the fund needed to change because it was not financially sustainable in its present form.

Under the plans the CDF would have “clear entry and exit criteria”.

It would be used to pay for drugs that lack sufficient evidence to warrant routine use, but which “appear promising” and could benefit from extra evidence “to enable a more informed NICE appraisal decision”.

Instead of a “failure to recommend”, these drugs would receive “conditional approval” by NICE and be provided through the fund “for a defined period”, during which further evidence from “real world” use would be collected.

At the end of the period the drug would go through “abbreviated NICE appraisal” using the new evidence and the manufacturer’s offer price.

It would then either be recommended by NICE, and move out of the fund into mainstream commissioning, or it would be rejected, in which case it would exit the fund and only be available through individual patient referral.

11.51am Another very interesting comment from Michael Macdonnell:

10.39am Interesting news from NHS England strategy director:


10.32am Here’s some of the quotes from Alan Milburn:

10.00am The IPPR report echoes calls heard earlier this week for creation of an NHS transformation fund:

9.50am As well as the NHS England board meeting, this morning also sees the publication of an Insitute of Public Policy Research report on “reinforcing the power of citizens and communities in health and care”. Former health secretary Alan Milburn is at the launch, as is my colleague Shaun Lintern:

7.00am Good morning. Today on HSJ Live we will have live coverage of NHS England’s board meeting in London.

HSJ has already reported on a number of items on the agenda, including the commissioning system’s financial outlook, its review into children’s heart surgery and its cancer strategy.

The meeting comes after NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, medical director Sir Bruce Keogh and chief nursing officer Jane Cummings were grilled by MPs for over three hours on Tuesday.

Proceedings are expected to start 10.30am. HSJ reporter Judith Welikala will be in the room. Follow @JudithWelikala and @HSJnews on Twitter for more updates.