Chair of NICE says patients should see themselves as ‘equal partners’ with doctors, and the rest of today’s news

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4.04pm Our reporter Shaun Lintern tweets: “53.1 per cent of frontline NHS staff were vaccinated against flu by 31 December 2013. The first time vaccination rates have ever passed 50 per cent mark.”

2.28pm Here’s a new data video looking at the possible impact of CCG funding changes in the 2014-15 allocations, presented by our reporter Will Hazell.

1.51pm Chief executive of Salford Royal Foundation Trust Sir David Dalton has been appointed as a governor at the Health Foundation.

Sir David has been an NHS chief executive for over 20 years, serving at Salford Royal for more than 12 years. He is leading a programme to try to achieve the lowest mortality rate in the NHS and to provide harm-free care for the patients of his trust. He also served on the Berwick Review of Patient Safety which reported its recommendations to the Prime Minister in August last year.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation commented: “I am thrilled that Sir David will be joining our team of Governors. He has a wealth of experience across the NHS and a reputation for achieving on quality improvement and patient safety, two areas at the heart of our organisation. The progress made at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust is impressive.”

Sir David said: “I am delighted to be taking up this responsibility for the Health Foundation at such a pivotal time for the organisation and the NHS. The Foundation is entering into a new phase, and expanding what it is doing, contributing to its mission of improving healthcare quality in the UK. I am excited to be joining the team that will help to influence the future shape of the charity.”

Sir David appointment to the Health Foundation’s Board comes as the charity expands into new areas of work. The first phase of this development is already underway as the Foundation begins to create three new in-house teams in policy analysis, economics and data analytics. The developments follow the appointment of Dr Jennifer Dixon to the role of chief executive of the Health Foundation in October of last year.

The project to re-launch the website - which will have new services such as the ability to allow patients to book GP appointments and repeat prescriptions in an attempt to give them more control over their care - has been hit by a series of delays.

Health minister Lord Howe initially pledged the procurement process for the new services would “take place before 31 March 2014”.

1.09pm The clinical accountable officer at North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has announced he will stand down in June.

Leek GP Dr Dave Hughes will continue as a GP at Moorland Medical Practice.

The 60-year-old, father of three has taken the decision now to spend more time with his family and more time on his own interests.

Dr Hughes said: “I am passionate about patient care and feel very much that the CCG has made great strides since our inception last April. It was always my intention to stand down after two years. I have now been here for three years and feel it is the right time for me to go. The CCG has come a long way since it came into being and by listening to our patients we have been able to make real improvements to the services they receive, putting in care where they need it most, in places that are more accessible to them.

He added: “The CCG has a very strong and committed staff and GPs and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with them. I know I will be leaving the organisation in a very strong position going forward.”

The recruitment process will shortly begin to find a successor and the role will be advertised in the very near future.

12.40pm A row has ignited on twitter after the editor of NHS Choices responded to criticism from a GP by calling him an “arsehole”.

GP Ben Dean’s original tweet read: “You are a government stooge with a very transparent pro-establishment agenda.” To which Mr Nuki responded: “And you appear to be an arsehole”.

Fellow tweeters expressed outrage at Mr Nuki’s response. One reply read: “I am shocked that an editor cannot distinguish between calling someone a stooge versus an arsehole!! Not the same.”  

12.38pm Five leading bodies that represent statutory organisations which work with and support vulnerable people have jointly signed up to a pledge on adult safeguarding.

The five “umbrella” bodies which together represent police, social care, health and local government organisations, have said that all staff and contractors of agencies involved with vulnerable people should have at the minimum a basic awareness of and alertness to safeguarding issues, capacity, dignity and rights, as well knowledge of what to do if they come across cases which concern them.

In a jointly issued statement, the five bodies also say that specialist staff – including social workers, named doctors and nurses and key officers such as those in Public Protection Units – should have sufficient knowledge, skills and support to enable them to work with people in complex situations.

The five organisations - the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Local Government Association, NHS Clinical Commissioners and the NHS Confederation - represent the core statutory bodies tasked with implementing the Care Bill, which will put safeguarding on a statutory footing.

In the statement, they set out six key areas in which they encourage their members to focus their efforts on adult safeguarding, including leadership and commitment, information sharing, and training and awareness raising.

The organisations commit themselves to working together to prevent and mitigate risk of harm and abuse, as well as working together to improve outcomes for people who have been harmed or abused.

12.29pm HSJ is conducting an online survey on its mobile site to find out how we can improve it.

Do you access HSJ using your phone? If so, please take five minutes to complete the survey, answering some simple questions about how you use HSJ’s mobile site.

In November last year the national body pledged to bring about the world’s largest single patient safety improvement programme, structured around 15 collaboratives covering every geographical area of England.

A paper discussed at the NHS England’s January board meeting states the patient safety collaboratives are due to be established by the end of 2014-15, based on the boundaries of academic health science networks. By this time NHS England should have also developed a “nationally consistent system for patient safety measurement across each collaborative”, it says.

11.33am Today we’ve launched a new channel on seeks to explore how changes in commissioning can help meet the growing demand for care centred around age related conditions, which are now a significant and increasing burden on healthcare services.

Audiology Today will explore how local commissioning for audiology services might lead to a better experience for those with age related hearing problems.

It will review the any qualified provider system and discuss how it can support greater community based management of people with age related hearing loss.

The regularly updated channel will include a mix of thought leadership and opinion pieces written by those with expertise in the field.

11.07am Brunel University has been awarded just over £420,000 to identify England’s best value for money programmes that encourage people to be more active.

The Health Economics Research Group (HERG) has been awarded £426,702 by the Department of Health to identify which interventions have been successful in getting people more active and which offer best value for money across England.

HERG will be considering characteristics which affect why and how people take up physical activity as well as the full range interventions. Director of HERG and project lead, Professor Julia Fox-Rushby said: “We will be looking at projects around schools and sports but also town planning, bike trails, use of signs such as suggestions to take the lift rather than the stairs and social aspects of people’s lives such as going to the GP or activities at the workplace.”

The team are looking for details of interventions which encourage people in England to be more physically active but for interventions to be considered by this research they must be able to show evidence of their success. Contact Dr Nana Anokye if you could have this evidence -

The team will be collaborating with Professor Peter Whincup from St George’s University of London, Dr Charlie Foster from University of Oxford and Dr Barbara Jefferis from University College London. Dr Simon Taylor from Brunel’s School Of Information Systems Computers and Mathematics will ensure the team produces a ‘fast and friendly’ computer model for comparing the costs and benefits of all physical activity interventions.

The results of this research will be used to inform how money could be best spent in encouraging people to be more active in England and identify which programmes are most effective for different groups of people at different stages of their lives. 

10.45am North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is considering terminating its contract with Central Eastern CSU, and has already decided to bring three services in house.

Board papers from the CCG’s January governing body meeting state that following concerns emerging about “the delivery of services” by the CSU, an “agreement has already been reached to terminate three services”. These are: business intelligence, contracting and individual funding requests.

A review by the CCG found that in these areas “CSU performance was detrimentally affecting the capacity to manage CCG business and deliver statutory functions, or creating a potential reputational/patient safety risk, and also created a risk to the delivery of service strategies”.

10.25am The Telegraph reports that hundreds of urgent operations are being cancelled as hospitals run out of beds.

The figures show that on an average day this winter 30 hospitals ran out of beds in intensive care and high-dependency units.More than 440 urgent operations have been cancelled in the past two months.

Experts said that units were under “extreme pressure” because there is not enough slack in the system.

David Haslam, chairman of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, said that patients need to see themselves as “equal partners” with doctors to get the treatment they need.

And he explained that after working as a doctor near an American air force base in Cambridgeshire, he noticed that US patients had a less deferential approach than local residents.

The comedian, who announced his intention over the weekend, says he wants to preserve “one of the single greatest achievements of any civilisation”.

He has put himself forward as a candidate for the single-issue National Health Action party in the May poll.

They have repeatedly argued that changes amount to privatisation by the back door - a claim the government strongly denies.

10.07am The Guardian reports that 11 per cent of NHS staff come from overseas, according to figures obtained from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The proportion increases for professionally qualified clinical staff, at 14 per cent, and more so for doctors, at 26 per cent.

The BMA said: “Without the support of these doctors many NHS services would struggle to provide effective care to their patients.”

9.54am Actor Rufus Hound has revealed he plans to run as a member of the european parliament for the National Health Action Party.

Speaking on the Jonathan Ross show Mr Hound said: “I think I’m going to run as an MEP. I’m going to run for the NHA because the NHS is being privatised.” 

The National Health Action Party was launched by doctors, health care workers and ordinary people just over a year ago in opposition to what they see as the government’s privatisation of the NHS and amid warnings of the impact of the government’s NHS reforms.

On Thursday one of its founding members, Dr Louise Irvine, who helped lead the successful campaign to save Lewisham Hospital, announced she was standing to be an MEP for London in May’s euro elections.

Dr Louise Irvine said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Rufus Hound has offered to stand for the NHA in the London euro election. It’s fantastic that he’s prepared to take action to help defend our NHS at a time when it’s in grave danger.  Together we can alert the public to the gravity of the threat to the NHS from this government with its programme of cuts, hospital closures and privatisation and to send a powerful message to politicians in Westminster and Brussels that people will not stand by and let their NHS be destroyed.

“It’s scandalous that most people don’t even realise that the government’s Health Act removed its “duty to provide” healthcare for you and your children.

“We also want to raise awareness of the imminent danger posed to the NHS by the EU/US trade agreement which will allow American companies to carve up the NHS and make the privatisation process irreversible.”

9.48am In our comment section Matt Tee writes that despite amendments to the Care Bill there is still concern that trust special administrators can close hospitals with little or no consultation.

9.45am The Financial Times reports that private health insurer Bupa is considering selling cheaper policies that would only cover private treatment for individual illnesses in an attempt to keep customers.

Under this proposed cover patients would rely on the NHS for all other treatments apart from selected conditions that Bupa would cover.

A tenth of the UK population has private health insurance, the lowest proportion since records began in 1995.

6.00am Good morning. We kick off Live today with a look at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation Trust, which has started offering Saturday surgery procedures to its patients. So far it seems to be showing good results.