What the Francis report means for commissioners, HSJ at the Labour party conference and the rest of today’s news and comment
5.44pm The General Medical Council has abandoned fitness to practise investigations into three former Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust medical directors and a deputy. HSJ’s Shaun Lintern reports on the legalities behind the decision.
4.53pm An inquest into the death of baby Elleanor Bennett at Barrow Maternity Unit nine years ago has heard evidence from her mother today. The unit is run by University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust which wil be the eubject of an independent inquiry into failures in maternity later this year. ITV’s Elaine Wilcox has been tweeting from the inquest:
Mother at Elleanor Bennett’s told by her consultant her baby’s death was ‘one of those things’ &’no systems or procedures had to be changed’
— Elaine Willcox (@ElaineWITV) September 23, 2013
2.55pm Dave West tweets from Labour Party Conference with some hints of what will be in shadow health secretary Andy Burnham’s speech on Wednesday. Follow Dave on twitter or on hsj.co.uk here.
— Dave West (@Davewwest) September 23, 2013
2.06pm Labour health secretary Andy Burnham has seized on HSJ’s exclusive on A&E performance in London to declare a “summer crisis”.
In a statement put out this afternoon he said: “David Cameron’s ill-judged NHS re-organisation has placed the NHS in the danger zone. These leaked documents confirm he has presided over the first summer crisis in living memory.
“Close to one million people have waited longer than 4 hours to be seen at A&E in the last 12 months - the worst year in decade. The Government cannot continue to ignore the warnings. Until Ministers face up to the fundamental causes - the collapse of social care and front-line job losses - the NHS will continue to struggle.
“This is further proof you can’t trust David Cameron with the NHS. We can’t have another year in the NHS like the last one - he needs to urgently get a grip.”
1.16pm Health policy consultant Mike Birtwistle attempts to draw some clarity from the confusion around what integration actually means. He writes: “The word is used as polite code for a range of very different and sometimes unpalatable issues. To help people avoid unwittingly supporting things they might not actually agree with, this is my attempt at unraveling the integration code.” Read the full article here.
12.06pm A couple of exclusives new on hsj.co.uk this lunchtime: David Williams has obtained a leaked NHS London report showing the performance of London’s accident and emergency department against the four hour target is at levels not normally seen until December.
Meanwhile, Sarah Calkin reports UnitedHealth is planning to wind up its UK arm and shift staff into another subsidiary with a more pan-European focus. It is understood UnitedHealth UK, which has made a loss during every year of its operation in the UK, will announce rebranding plans in the coming weeks.
11.58am HSJ is hosting two web chats this week. At 1pm on Wednesday Alexander Stevenson, author of Public Sector: managing the unmanageable will be answering questions on public sector leadership. You can read his article for HSJ here and submit questions and comments ahead of the chat here.
At the same time on Thursday and expert panel will be discussing 24/7 services. The panel includes Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s national director for acute episodes of care and Dr Johnny Marshall, director of policy at the NHS Confederation as well as Dr Steve Kell, chair, Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group and Mike Pinkerton, chief executive, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Foundation Trust. You can submit questions and read up on some recent discussion of the issue on hsj.co.uk here.
10.48am Also new on hsj.co.uk this morning: Monitor warning on foundation trust A&E performance. The regulator reports the number of foundation trusts failing the four hour target has doubled in the past year, prompting the Labour party to warn there would be “severe storms ahead” this winter.
10.41am HSJ’s Dave West is at the Labour party conference today. Follow him on twitter for updates @Davewwest
10.40am Ghost’ patients on the NHS cost the taxpayer a staggering £150m a year, the Daily Mail reports. The paper says the “scandalous statistics” reveal the number of people signed up with GPs exceeds the population by more than 2million people, costing £450m over the last three years.
10.13am As many as 1 in 500 patients might be awake while on the operating table, the Daily Mail reports. Oxford University anaesthetist Professor Jaideep Pandit developed the theory after reviewing a number of studies on the subject. However, he concluded most patients were unconcerned by the experience and could be in a “third state of consciousness”.
10.08am Charity Diabetes UK has predicted the number of people suffering from diabetes will double within two decades and warned that Britain is “sleepwalking into a public health disaster”, The Daily Telegraph reports.
10.06am New on hsj.co.uk this morning: British academics are to analyse thousands of GP notes from the last 15 years in an attempt to learn more about patterns of disease, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis across the UK. The “big data” research by the University of Sussex and Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) will focus on the free text in GP notes.
10.00am Scientists claim to have found the blue-print for a “holy grail” vaccine that could prove effectively against all types of flu according to the Times. A team at Imperial College London have identified a set of immune cells which play a critical role in protecting the body against the influenza virus. Researchers found that those who escaped swine flu, or caught it but managed to avoid the symptoms had far more CD8 T cells.
8:50am: Good morning, the Francis report is arguably the most influential report in recent years on the state and practice of the NHS. Since April this year, clinical commissioning groups have been responsible for commissioning secondary care, including those services at the heart of the Francis report.
Today on HSJ’s commissioning channel, Chris Waite and Robert McGough say though the Francis report may have focused on care failings in Mid Staffordshire but the lessons learned apply to commissioners across the country.