A hospital trust in Lancashire has ignored national guidance by spending £1.5m on a surgical robot, plus the rest of today’s news and comment
Sir Michael Marmot, author of the respected ‘Marmot Review’: ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’, who has written the introduction of the report, said the report ‘’reminds us that the patients who are seen in clinical settings may well have problems in their everyday lives that may be causing or exacerbating their mental and physical health or may be getting in the way of their recovery. If we do not tackle these everyday ‘practical health’ issues then we are fighting the clinical fight with one hand tied behind our back.’’ He describes how the report ‘’provides a wealth of examples of where this has worked and the benefits it has delivered, some of it in statistically sound data, some of it qualitative, and some of it in truly inspiring stories’’.
The Major Projects Authority, which is supported by the Cabinet Office, has given the delivery of the project a “red” rating as part of an annual review into the progress of various large scale government projects.
The project says the rating denotes that “successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable.”
1.15pm GMB members employed by contractor Mitie as cleaning, catering and portering staff will stage a protest demonstration outside Epsom Hospital on 30 June over poor pay and conditions at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals.
The protest is in advance of an official strike ballot authorised by the GMB Southern Regional Committee to secure an end to a two tier workforce at these hospitals.
The contract between Mitie and the NHS trust began in June 2014. Mitie is contracted by Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust to provide catering services at both Epsom and St Helier Hospitals and domestic (cleaning) and portering services at Epsom Hospital only.
GMB is insisting that the disparity in pay and conditions be ended, with all Mitie workers brought up to Agenda for Change levels. This means a minimum starting salary of £18,583, rising to £18,846 for domestics and catering staff, and up to £21,283 for porters.
Members being balloted fall far short of these conditions. The majority of the workers earn the minimum wage or close to it, with minimal annual leave and no sick pay. That is £6.50 per hour or £13,500 per year for full time workers.
Kenneth Hall, 49, sold stories about patients and forged documents to back up his stories.
11.55am The Academy of Medical Sciences has elected a new president.
Professor Sir Robert Lechler will become the new president of the Academy of Medical Sciences from 4 December 2015 when Professor Sir John Tooke leaves office after four years in the position.
Professor Lechler said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead such a prestigious and influential organisation. The academy has achieved much in its short history and I look forward to working with the Fellowship and staff to continue to build its national prominence and influence.
“This is a challenging period for medical science, but there are many opportunities to be realised. In my role as academy president I will strive to promote innovation and collaboration and to ensure that the academy continues to represent excellence in medical science in its broadest sense.”
Professor Lechler is the vice-principal (Health) at King’s College London and executive director of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre. He was elected a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2000 and has twice been elected by the fellowship to serve on the academy’s council.
11.00am The new Nursing and Midwifery Council revalidation process for community nurses and midwives is a “wake up” call for nurses to prepare the necessary requirements needed to continue to work in health and social care, the union Unite has said.
But a survey of 1,100 Unite/Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association community nurses questions whether the whole process, including the 450 hours of nursing practice each year, will improve public confidence in the profession.
The survey of health visitors, school nurses and public health nurses found that only 48 per cent believed that revalidation will improve public confidence in how the public is protected.
Previously, NMC registrants have been able to self-validate by ticking the appropriate boxes to say they were ‘fit to practice’.
Now they will have to revalidate every three years to remain on the NMC register, a compulsory requirement if they wish to maintain registration to work in health and social care. It is due to be introduced fully across the UK next April.
The survey also showed that just over a quarter (27 per cent) are confident that they actually know what the revalidation process involves, and more than two thirds (68 per cent) feel that they have not been given enough information.
The Major Projects Authority said both care.data – a plan to link and store all patient data in a single database – and NHS Choices – the website supposed to allow users to log in and access medical services – had “major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable”.
In the case of care.data, which was supposed to restart this summer the authority said the project’s scope had not been defined, there was no senior officer responsible for it, and it needed to “reconstitute [a] programme board with a clear role and responsibilities”.
10.45am The chief executive of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust has resigned following a damning Care Quality Commission report which said there was a “bullying culture” at the trust.
In an email to all staff Anna Dugdale said the CQC had raised “serious concerns” about the trust and that she took “full responsiblity” as chief executive.
Cuckoo Lane Practice in West London was praised for providing regular spirometry tests, weekly clinics for patients registered at other practices and support for patients with self-management plans, which led to 25 per cent reduced hospital admissions for patients with lung disease.
The “duty of candour” guidelines make clear that patients should expect a face-to-face apology.
In April, the NHS introduced a rule that told NHS and private healthcare organisations to admit their mistakes candidly, and as soon as possible.
Now the same rule is to be applied to individual medics.
Detailed guidance makes clear staff should tell the patient as soon as possible when something has gone wrong, and what it might mean for their health.
The guidance also makes clear that patients or their families should receive a face-to-face apology.
The guidance was drawn up by the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council and applies to more than 950,000 doctors, nurses and midwives working in the UK.
10.05am The NHS is set to slash its safe drinking limits following evidence that alcohol can cause cancer, the Daily Mail reports.
Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies will draw up new guidelines later this year on the maximum daily and weekly amounts of alcohol that should be drunk.
The current recommendations have not been updated for almost 30 years.
10.00amThe Daily Mail reports that teaching doctors’ receptionists to spot the warning signs of strokes could save thousands of lives a year, research suggests.
It reveals that many patients phone surgeries not realising they are having a stroke and are told to come back for an appointment in several days or weeks.
Oxford university researchers say these deaths could be prevented if receptionists were simply put through an hour’s online training.
The Care Quality Commission, which is responsible for making sure trusts comply with the rules that came into effect in November, confirmed the number of complaints it has received and how many have been closed or are subject to further investigation.
The regulations require trusts to be assured people are fit and proper to be employed. Directors can be deemed “unfit” to sit on boards if they have been involved in “serious misconduct or mismanagement”. The CQC can, through the provider registration process, require the removal of directors found to be unfit.
7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.
We start the week with the news that a hospital trust in Lancashire has ignored national guidance by spending £1.5m on a surgical robot, according to NHS England.
East Lancashire Hospitals Trust bought and installed a Da Vinci robot at the Royal Blackburn Hospital earlier this month, which will be used by cancer surgeons to remove prostate glands.
The machine is expected to improve outcomes, but an NHS England spokeswoman told HSJ it was bought against commissioners’ advice.