HSJ analysis identifies 15 areas which could be candidates for proposed whole health economy intervention regime, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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4.53pm The Daily Mail has a story on how NHS arm’s length bodies have spent over £2m on buying smartphones and iPads.

Labour MP Karl Turner said: “At a time when the NHS is in crisis, out-of-touch Tory ministers are splashing more than £2 million on iPhones and iPads for pen-pushers.

“Labour is promising an extra £2.5 billion beyond Tory plans – which will be spent on patients, not office perks.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘Employers across the world are embracing 21st Century technology such as smartphones and tablets because they allow staff to be more flexible and efficient, and in the case of the public sector provide better value for money for taxpayers.”

4.42pm Andy Burnham is talking at the National Children and Adult Services Conference. It sounds like he’s saying some interesting things about the integrated care agenda:

3.22pm HSJ has released a brand new app.

The app, launched in association with Verita, is available for tablets and smartphones on both iOS and Android.

Learn more here.

2.22pm You can find our story on the Ombudsman’s report here.

NHS errors have had a “devastating impact” on every generation from the cradle to the grave, the report reveals.

2.21pm Simon Stevens has indicated part of NHS funding could be designated to be spent on investment to “kick start service change”.

The comments by the NHS England chief executive, speaking to the Commons health committee yesterday, indicate money may be separated from normal allocations to form a fund to support the report of service models proposed in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Mr Stevens said: “We have got to ask the question, where we need to kick start service change, ‘Is there a case for freeing up some of the cash from day to day operations in order to lever in some of these new models and deal with the double running costs?’

2.15pm Whole health economies could face intervention for poor performance under a new approach proposed by the NHS national bodies, under the NHS Five Year Forward View. It could potentially include a “special measures” approach to areas with serious problems.

HSJ analysis has identified 15 areas where commissioners and providers have multiple serious problems, making them candidates to fall into a proposed intervention regime for whole health economies.

You can find out who the 15 are here.

12.43pm GPs and social workers are ideally placed to work together to implement radical solutions to the funding crises facing both general practice and social work, according to a joint report by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the College of Social Work launched today.

The report, GPs and Social Workers: Partners for Better Care, demonstrates how social workers can work with GPs to empower strong, resilient communities that will be key to better and more integrated health and social care.

It calls for the ‘Berlin Wall’ between health and social care to be knocked down and for more education for professionals on both sides to better understand the role, responsibilities, and constraints of the other.

Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: “We desperately need more funding and more GPs but meaningful, collaborative working will also be essential to maximise the resources we have available to us in the best inerests of our patients throughout the health and social care system.”

Jo Cleary, chair of the TCSW, said: “It is estimated that £1.6 billion could be saved across health and social care every year by closer ties between GPs and social workers, both benefitting the people who use our services and substantially cutting the £30 billion deficit predicted by the end of the decade in the NHS as well as address the significant pressures already on council budgets.”

12.36pm A report has been published today by the Centre for Policy Studies calling for healthcare statements to be sent to everyone who uses the NHS each year, notifying them how much their use of its services has costed.

Jesse Norman, the Conservative MP who co-authored that report, discusses the idea in the Financial Times today. Highlighting that NHS doctors field 40,000 visits a year from patients with concerns about dandruff, Mr Norman says the statements could also flag how much money would be saved if cheaper treatment options that were just as good were used.

He writes: “Healthcare statements would force the NHS to become more rigorous about cost assesment, attribution and control. That alone would be a huge benefit.”

12.25pm The Times reports that more than one in five new nurses are now from abroad, as the number arriving from overseas has leapt by almost 50 per cent in a year.

For the first time in almost a decade Britain is importing more nurses than it exports, prompting accusations of short-term mismanagement.

The Royal College of Nursing said the expensive “scramble” to tempt staff from abroad was wasting millions of pounds at a time when the health service is desperately short of money.

12.11pm The Foundation Trust Network has commenting on today’s launch by NHS Clinical Commissioners of its Leading Local Partnerships publication. Miriam Deakin, head of policy, said:

“This is a welcome publication which highlights some excellent examples of innovation where local providers and commissioners are coming together to drive more preventative and integrated models of care in the best interests of patients and service users.  We particularly welcome the focus on building constructive and meaningful partnerships across local health economies in which NHS providers play a key role in dialogue with their commissioners.

“CCGs play a fundamental role in the new health system with the prospect of increasing responsibilities for co-commissioning primary care. Yet our members tell us there is more to do to reduce the variability they experience in their relationships with commissioners across the country, and to build capacity across the system to ensure well evidenced, risk managed but ambitious commissioning decisions.” 

“However, the case studies in this publication are a real cause for optimism including with regard to the new local-central partnership set out in the Five Year Forward View in which local partners will play a leading role in shaping new models of care to respond to the needs of their populations. For this to succeed, alignment with Health and Wellbeing Boards will be essential and we fully agree with the premise of this report that evidence based, clinical and expert input must always underpin commissioning decisions for health care services.”

12.09pm A leader column for The Telegraph suggests that patients could help relieve the strain on the health system.

It argues in favour of a recommendation by the Centre for Policy Studies for the introduction of annual healthcare statements informing patients of the NHS services that have used in the past 12 months.

“This is a good idea. If people are confronted with the costs, they might think more carefully about the most appropriate way of using the system.”

11.04am The Telegraph profiles three examples of “devastating and shocking” care failings from Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s investigation into complaints against the NHS.

These include a woman in her 80s who died after being left on a hospital floor for six hours, a patient with cancer who only survived through seeking private treatment, and a baby who was left with permanent brain damage.

10.54am The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has published 126 summaries of NHS investigations it carried out between April and June this year.

The cases investigated included several complaints about incorrect discharges from hospitals and failings in diagnosis of cancer.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said: “These investigations highlight the devastating impact failures in public services can have on the lives of individuals and their families.

“A shocking case that stood out was that of a one-day-old baby who suffered permanent brain damage at Barts Health NHS Trust in London because a nurse and two doctors made serious mistakes during a blood transfusion.

“We are increasingly concerned about patients being discharged unsafely from hospital. Unplanned admissions and readmissions are a massive cost to the NHS.”

You can read the summaries here.

“We are publishing these summaries so public services, MPs and members of the public can see the different types of complaints we look into, our findings and recommendations. I hope this will give people with concerns about the service they have received the confidence to come to us to complain. We also want to provide valuable lessons for public services, and show how complaining makes a positive difference to them.”

10.48am Whole health economies could face intervention for poor performance under a new approach proposed by the NHS national bodies, under the NHS Five Year Forward View. It could potentially include a “special measures” approach to areas with serious problems.

HSJ analysis has identified 15 areas where commissioners and providers have multiple serious problems, making them candidates to fall into a proposed intervention regime for whole health economies.

You can find out the areas here.

10.43am The Daily Telegraph leads with the story that the NHS has made “devastating and shocking” errors failing every generation, according to a report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Dame Julie Mellor said she was concerned about a lack of “care and compassion” following her report into 126 investigations of NHS complaints.

She told The Telegraph: These investigations illustrate the devastating impact that failings in the NHS can have on the lives of individuals and their families – they cover from the very young to the very old, and they cover all types of health care, hospitals, GPs, and dentistry.”

10.30am Patients are not being properly warned about the risks of screening for chronic diseases such as cancer, according to MPs, The Guardian reports.

Checking apparently healthy people can lead to false results and patients being given treatment – including major surgery – that they do not need.

The science and technology committee also raised concerns over the Health Check programme introduced in 2009, which offers patients a so-called MOT from the age of 40, warning that it could be a waste of valuable NHS resources.

About 11m people in England are invited for some form of screening every year with the bill for breast, cervical and bowel cancer programmes coming in at around £348m, while a further £400m is spent on non-cancer testing.

10.18am Turning to this morning’s papers, The Guardian reports that the new chief executive of the civil service, John Manzoni, will waive his £100,000 a year year salary from a major drinks company as he comes under fire from more than 70 leading medical professionals and charities over his second job in the alcohol industry.

In a letter to the cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, the signatories say they believe it incompatible with UK public health goals for Manzoni to work as a non-executive director of SADMiller, the brewing group behind such brands as Grolsch and Bulmers, which opposed the introduction of minimum alcohol pricing.

The Cabinet Office said Manzoni could keep his second job because the government was satisfied it was not a conflict of interest.

However, they later released an updated statement saying it has been agreed Manzoni can keep the second job “to do in his own time on an unpaid basis”.

10.03am NHS Clinical Commissioners are today launching their new publication “Leading Local Partnerships: How CCGs are driving integration for their patients and local populations.”

‘Leading Local Partnerships’ profiles some of the clinical commissioning groups across England who are driving new and innovative models of care that put the patient at the heart of the system, and are improving the health and wellbeing of their local populations.

NHSCC co-chairs Dr Steve Kell and Dr Amanda Doyle said:

“As GPs we know that we and our patients are sometimes hindered by a fragmented system. We know that while we can treat the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that affected an individual for year, there has traditionally been little we could easily do about the damp patch at home that was exacerbating the problem.

“As clinical commissioners, we know that we are leading changes to reduce that fragmentation and ensure patients get all the support they need. This report is proof. It showcases 20 examples of CCGs joining with partners, not just from social care, but from the voluntary and private sectors, to improve the health of their populations.”

9.58am Latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that the reported number of place of safety orders made where an individual was taken to a police station has decreased by 24 per cent, from 7,900 in 2012-13 to 6,000 in 2013-14.

Meanwhile, place of safety orders where an individual was taken to hospital increased by 21 per cent, from 14,100 in 2012-13 to 17,000 in 2013-14.

The Mental Health Act gives police powers to take people who appear to be suffering from a mental disorder to a ‘place of safety’ for assessment for up to 72 hours - in the interests of the health or safety of the person, or the protection of the public. After assessment, the person will either be taken to hospital if not already there and detained under another section of the act, admitted informally to hospital, or released.

A key priority of the crisis care concordat is reducing the frequency with which individuals experiencing a mental health crisis are detained in police stations. 

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

To start the day, behaviour change specialist Claire McDonald tells HSJ how changing people’s behaviour can lead to big changes in public health in our latest podcast.