Explore the results from HSJ’s election survey, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

  • A number of important business-as-usual stories broke on the NHS this week, albeit with the general election campaign continuing to dominate the national news agenda. Here’s HSJ’s summary of the highlights from us and the rest of the media today and over the past week:
  • The Care Quality Commission’s board has highlighted concern about the time taken by the watchdog to publish hospital inspection reports. It follows another interesting development, with Circle celebrating the inspectorate re-rating Hinchingbrooke  Health Care Trust, which it used to run, as “needs improvement” rather than its previous “inadequate”. The regulator’s board appears to agree it has some problems with the timing of its processes.
  • Meanwhile, the UK President of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has indicated she would not sign up to another deal similar to the current pharmaceutical pricing scheme unless the NHS makes a ‘substantial’ increase of drugs access.
  • Earlier on in the week HSJ’s latest CCG barometer survey, which got a great deal of national coverage (including from The Guardian), found that over two-fifths of commissioners intend to place contracts to tender solely out of fear of controversial competition rules.
  • The same survey uncovered that more than a third of CCGs are seriously considering placing limits on access to certain services, suggesting another political row over the dreaded ‘R’ word – rationing – in the health service.
  • HSJ put together some nifty Venn diagrams showing where the political parties’ health policy promises overlap, becoming the toast of social media. With the election on 7 May likely to result in a hung Parliament, any common ground on the NHS may be a vital factor in post-election negotiations between parties, and in what policies emerge.
  • Finally, click here to read Michael White’s angry response to The Daily Mail’s attack on what it called the ‘fat cat’ pay of NHS leaders.

11.43am Police have confirmed that nobody will face criminal prosecution over the deaths and injuries caused to mothers and babies at the disgraced University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.

A total of 11 infants and one mother were found to have died needlessly at Furness General Hospital over a nine-year period – including newborns Joshua Titcombe, Alex Davey-Brady and Chester Hendrickson.

The deaths were found to have been avoidable in the Morecambe Bay Investigation report, published by Bill Kirkup CBE in March.

But Cumbria Constabulary announced today that its four-year-long investigation into the cases of 35 people who suffered within the hospital maternity unit between 2004 and 2013 has now been closed, The North West Evening Mail reports.

The senior detective leading the inquiry said the force had not been able to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that a crime had been committed.

11.37am Looking to the papers this morning, The Independent reports that private sector and other alternative providers of GP services in the NHS do not do as well as traditional GP practices, an analysis by Imperial College London has found.

Since 2004, for-profit companies such as Virgin Healthcare and Care UK, as well as voluntary organisations and social enterprises, have been able to win contracts to provide GP services.

Research carried out at Imperial has found that these providers perform worse than typical surgeries on 15 of 17 key indicators – such as patient satisfaction, diabetes control and keeping patients out of hospital.

11.15am Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust has completed the transfer of 45 per cent of its 3,540 staff to six other organisations after losing its role as provider of older people’s services across the county.

A report by chief executive Matthew Winn for the trust’s April board meeting confirmed 1,600 staff had been transferred to other organisations under transfer of undertakings protection of employment regulations on 31 March.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

Rising waiting lists, a reorganisation of commissioning and political interference are just a few of the things NHS leaders do not want from the next government. Daloni Carlisle explores the results from HSJ’s election survey, in association with GE Healthcare Finnamore.