NHS England appoints the directors of most of the organisation’s new ‘sub regions’, plus the rest of today’s new and comment.

Live logo

4.06pm Seven mental health patients have killed themselves in England since 2012 after being told there were no hospital beds for them, the BBC reports.

An investigation of coroners’ reports and NHS trust papers with the journal Community Care found another patient denied a bed later killed his mother.

It comes as mental health beds are being cut in England - figures show more than 2100 have gone since 2011.

The NHS England said spending on mental health was increasing in real terms.

2.20pm An alert system to help clinicians spot children experiencing abuse and neglect has gone live today in the first two hospitals in England, the health technology news website Onmedica reports.

Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust are the first hospitals in the country to use the new Child Protection-Information Sharing system, which is designed to prevent repeats of the Baby P case.

The system, which is set to be rolled out across the entire country by 2018, connects emergency departments, out-of-hours GPs, walk-in centres, and local authorities throughout England.

When a child is seen in one of these care settings, a flag will automatically appear on the child’s record if they are subject to a child protection plan or are being cared for by a local authority.

2.18pm The Department of Health has announced that since 2011, £520m has been raised by the sale of unused NHS buildings and land, in a drive to make the NHS more efficient and free up land to build new homes.

The sale of surplus land and derelict buildings has made room for more than 8,300 new homes, the money raised can go back to support front line NHS services.

The DH has said that the freeing up of this land will also enable the building of new homes.

They cite an example in Salisbury - the Old Manor Hospital - which had been derelict since 2003, is now going to be made into a high-quality, assisted-living complex, providing around 100 homes and communal facilities.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “The NHS is facing unprecedented demand and we are working hard to make it more efficient. The sale of surplus buildings has created space for new homes and more cash for frontline patient care.

“The land and money made from these sales drive local growth, create jobs and help build a stronger, more resilient economy.”

2.12pm The NHS is facing its biggest financial squeeze in its history over the coming years. It is constantly looking to be more efficient and make savings, but what does procurement look like and how it could be improved?

HSJ, in association with NHS Supply Chain, wants to explore readers’ experiences of purchasing clinical supplies and how the process can be streamlined.

For each completed survey NHS Supply Chain will donate £1 to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Do you feel empowered to get involved in decisions that may produce savings and improvements in patient care?

Who makes the decisions on buying clinical supplies at your organisation? Is it the healthcare professionals who will use what is purchased, or the finance and procurement departments?

We want to know what you think are the benefits of better procurement and which ones are most important.

It will only take 5-10 minutes to fill in our short survey. Your responses will be confidential.

The survey will be open until 28 December.

1.24pm NHS England has appointed the directors of most of the organisation’s new ‘sub regions’ which are to be created as part of a restructure designed to cut costs by 15 per cent.

The 12 sub regions will replace the current 24 area teams outside of London when the new structure is introduced in shadow form from 5 January.

It will reduce the number of very senior managers by up to 25 per cent and see NHS England outside the capital operate more like the London region, with staff working for different areas as required.

12.53pm The Care Quality Commission is asking people who run and use health and care services for views on the regulator’s plans for inspecting primary care dental services, and inspecting and rating ambulance and independent healthcare services.

Following the earlier roll-out of CQC’s  new inspection approach for general practice, out-of-hours GP services, adult social care and in NHS acute hospitals, three consultations are launched today to seek views on CQC’s plans for inspecting dental, ambulance and independent healthcare services.

CQC chief executive David Behan said: “We have been carrying out new style of inspections in hospitals, mental health and community health services, adult social care services and GP practices over the past year.

“Now we are setting out the changes we are proposing to make to the way we regulate dental services, ambulance services and independent healthcare services will help us to make sure that they provide safe, high-quality care.

“We want to hear what professionals, clinicians and members of the public think of these proposals.”

All three consultations run until 23 January 2015. You can take part on the CQC website www.cqc.org.uk/inspectionsconsultation or using #tellcqc

All of the consultation documents are available

The probe of the large West Midlands trust was revealed in this month’s CQC’s board papers.

A spokeswoman for the care regulator confirmed it would carry out an unannounced inspection at some point.

12.15pm Also in The Guardian, Labour has attacked David Cameron’s reported decision to put forward former health secretary Andrew Lansley for a top humanitarian job at the UN as “unbelievable”.

Mary Creagh, the shadow development secretary, said the offer of the job of UN humanitarian and emergency relief coordinator appeared to be “consolation prize to Andrew Lansley for sacking him” as leader of the House of Commons.

12.05pm The Guardian has a story on NHS England’s spend on the private sector.

Last week NHS England produced its first detailed report on all spending over £25,000 in the 12 months up to April 2014, with the paper reporting that tech firms, management consultants and private healthcare companies have received millions of pounds in payments.

NHS England was pressured to publish the figures by the campaign groups 38 Degrees and Spinwatch, who organised a petition with 76,000 signatures.

11.47am The BBC has provided some interesting statistical context surrounding the provider sector’s £630m deficit.

According to its October board papers, East Cheshire Trust was successful in two tenders to provide sexual health and age related macular degeneration services.

With the trust forecasting a deficit of £6.6m this year, the contract wins are a positive development for the small district general hospital.

11.30am The leader of a well regarded clinical commissioning group has been appointed to the chief executive post of an acute trust under investigation by Monitor.

Sam Barrell, currently chief clinical officer at South Devon and Torbay CCG, will take up her new role at Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust in the New Year when current boss Jo Cubbon retires.

While the £250m turnover trust has historically been a financially stable organisation with strong performance,Monitor this month launched an investigation into a persistent failure to meet the 18 week referral to treatment target.

11.05am Eight out of ten asthma sufferers are still not receiving basic care, The Times reports. It comes six months after it was warned that complacency in the health service was costing hundreds of deaths a year.

This is according to an online poll of 6,500 asthma patients, conducted by the charity Asthma UK.  

The charity found that patients enduring long hospital stays and life-threatening attacks because they were not receiving the simple checks that could keep their asthma under control.

10.50am One in three doctors supports assisted dying and a growing number would help their patients to die, a survey has found.

The Telegraph reports that a poll by the Royal College of Physicians comes as the Lords debates a Bill which would allow terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to take a fatal dose of medicine.

The Royal College said it would retain its stance, opposing such changes, but that the findings signalled a “shift in opinion” within the medical community.

In total, 32.3 per cent of the 8,000 doctors polled said they supported a change in the law to permit assisted suicide by the terminally ill with the aid of their colleagues.

10.45am The Telegraph reports that the NHS spends more than £80m each year handing out paracetamol, with the average prescription costing 20 times the price of a packet of the simple painkiller in supermarkets.

This year, 22m prescriptions for paracetamol were written at an average cost of £3.67 per prescription.

This is a 13 per cent increase on last year, when £73.5m was spent on the medicine, government figures show.

10.38am The Daily Mail reports that parents must take their young children to have the flu vaccine becuase they are ‘super-spreaders’ of the virus, according to the chief medical officer.

Dame Sally Davies said that so far this year, only a quarter of children aged two to four have been vaccinated even though all are eligible.

She warned that it was crucial they are protected as they are vulnerable themsevles and may pass it on to elderly relatives or pregnant mums.

10.26am Emergency and elective activity has continued to rise, according to the latest data from NHS England.

Inpatient elective admissions have risen by 24.5 per cent since records began six years ago while GP referrals have risen by 19 per cent over the same period.

The latest data on inpatient elective activity shows that demand has continued to grow steeply over the last six years.

Admissions have increased from 2.2m between June and September 2009-10 to 2.7m in the same period this year.

GP referrals have jumped up from 10m to 10.3m this year.

Meanwhile, the latest figures for emergency activity show that admissions to A&Es were at their highest level since  2010.

Despite this increased pressure departments have improved their performance slightly compared to previous weeks, with 90.8 per cent of patients dealt with within four hours at major departments compared to 89.4 per cent the week before.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. We begin the day with a piece from Varya Shaw on how an overhaul by Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group of its mental health services has shifted the balance of power from a single dominant NHS provider to service users and the community.