Government departments are seeking for the health budget to “share the pain” of cuts in 2015-16, reports say, and the rest of today’s news

HSJ live logo

HSJ live logo

4.32pm: Mid Staffordshire campaign group Cure the NHS has announced some of its members will be holding a silent protest outside the NHS England board meeting in Leeds on Friday. The group, many of whom have relatives or friends who died or were poorly treated at Stafford Hospital, want NHS England chief executive David Nicholson to resign.

Group founder Julie Bailey said: “To date not one person has been held to account for all of the deaths and suffering that was caused at Mid Staffs. We owe it to our loved to ensure a safer NHS and accountability for those deaths.

“We will continue to campaign for his removal from this post as we believe the man is part of the problem and not the solution.

“As chief executive of the NHS Sir David Nicholson, is ultimately responsible and why we demand his resignation.”

4:01pm: A new website that enables patients to compare nearly 200 independent hospitals on a range of quality of care indicators for the first time has been launched today by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN).

A collaboration involving almost all independent hospital operators, PHIN will publish standardised and directly comparable information drawn from records of both private and NHS treatment. The site enables patients and clinicians to search for local hospitals by procedure and to compare how they perform based on data from the treatment of more than a million patients a year.

While the information is drawn from patient records, it has no access to any patient-identifiable data.

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, chairman of PHIN, said: “The healthcare sector as a whole is on a transformative journey towards far greater transparency and better use of information to promote choice and quality. Recent watersheds including the Francis Inquiry into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust and the ongoing Competition Commission review of independent healthcare have reinforced the importance of timely, accurate, joined-up information, accessible to those who need it.

“Independent hospitals must meet raised public expectations of the range of information to support their choices in healthcare.”

2:32pm: We now have a story live on the commissioning reform redundancy from David Williams.

More than 10,000 NHS staff have been made redundant in the past three financial years as a result of the government’s commissioning reforms, according to official figures published today.

“The Department of Health’s initial estimates of the impact of the Health Act, published in January 2011, said there were 64,200 staff in affected organisations - mainly primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, and the DH.

“It expected 15,800 redundancies and 3,600 staff to leave through wastage. It suggests fewer staff have left than expected, although the DH has since acknowledged its own initial figures were uncertain.”

12:30pm: HSJ reporter David Williams has been tweeting about the People Tracker report, released today by the Department of Health.

He tweets: “At end of 2012-13: 34,204 people in now-defunct NHS orgs found a role in the new system. 3,841 left of their own accord. 2,394 redundancies.”

“However there were also an estimated 5,600 redundancies in 2010-11 and another 2,100 in 2011-12. Total transition redundancies: over 10,000.”

“NHS transition workforce was 68.4pc female. Those laid off were 72.2pc female.”

“There were no voluntary redundancies in the entire Southern region of the NHS in 2012-13. However 478 FTE were laid off.”

12:11pm: The King’s Fund yesterday organised a debate on medical leadership, hosted by HSJ editor Alastair McLellan. You can catch up with what was discussed on Twitter by looking at the tag #kflead.

11:04am: The Daily Mail reports this morning that all children aged two will be offered flu vaccinations  from September, “almost a year earlier than planned”. The move is designed to protect the most vulnerable elderly patients by halting the spread of the virus.

10:59am: Child health expert Ingrid Wolfe has been tweeting about what sounds like an interesting speech by Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie in south London.

She tweets: “Selbie: Health is all about people and relationships. Housing. Loneliness. Love. #SELPHCollaborative (how to translate this into policy?)

“Selbie - 95% of the CMO’s investment in health research is in hospital based interventions. This is a scandal. #SELPHCollaborative

“Local authority re-acquisition of public health. This is what the latest period of reorganisation will be remembered for #SELPHCollaborative”

10:37am: The Times leads it front page with a story about the potential for the drug tamoxifen to be offered to half a million women at high risk of breast cancer. The drug is already used to treat women diagnosed with breast cancer, the paper reports, and a study published in the Lancet today found one case of breast cancer would be prevented for every 42 women who took the drug. The paper suggests the drug, which is available generically, could be prescribed in the way statins are used to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.

10.18am: Monitor has authorised Kingston Hospital NHS Trust as a foundation trust. The decision will come into effect from May 1, 2013.

It is the first foundation trust to be established under the regulator’s new powers to promote and protect patient’s interests. Monitor will regulate the trust on its ability to be a well-led organisation that provides patients with quality care on a sustainable basis.

The decision means there are now 146 NHS foundation trusts, two thirds of all trusts in the NHS.

Miranda Carter, executive director of assessment, said: “We assess trusts to ensure that they are able to deliver quality services for patients on a sustainable basis.

“The authorisation decision is a very positive development for the trust, which can now focus on using its new freedoms to improve services for patients.” 

10.09am: Gene therapy may offer new hope for those with heart failure struggling to live a normal life if the first British trials in humans, announced on Tuesday, are successful, the Guardian reports.

The two trials, involving about 250 patients, will look at whether the pioneering treatment is safe, reduces emergency admissions and improves quality and length of life.

9.26am: The Department of Health is promoting its latest immunisation programmes - it says in a statement: “Millions more people will be protected against disease by improvements to the UK’s world class immunisation schedule, announced today, including three vaccination programmes to protect against flu, shingles and diarrhoea.”

9.16am: The Financial Times this morning reports on its front page about a “drive” among government departments “for NHS to share pain of savings”. It says departments including communities and local government, business, defence, and justice are pressing for some of their spending to be recategorised as health spending during the 2015-16 comprehensive spending review. This would allow what currently constitutes health spending to be cut, while to some extent protecting the government’s commitment to increase health spending during the Parliament.

It should be seen in light of the existing commitment to passport about £1bn of NHS spending to social care, and the fact the NHS has in reality been working with flat real terms funding, rather than increases, for several years.

The press coverage on the issue comes as departments make submit their submissions to the Treasury on the CSR, which will be announced in June, and also days before the councils elections.

8.17am: Good morning, a research has concluded that within a hospital, staff who are clear about their roles and objectives, and have their development needs met, are likely to perform their roles more effectively and thereby provide better patient care.

Today on HSJ’s leadership channel, Hedda Bird reveals how HR can deliver an approach to performance management that creates value and better team working.