HR directors seek further curbs to pay bill, Labour says emergency care pressure is growing, and the rest of today’s news

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4.35pm: The NHS Confederation has issued a statement on an EU law change in relation to clinical trials: “New EU law to reduce the tangle of bureaucracy that has caused a rapid decline in the number of clinical trials carried out in the UK moved a step closer yesterday, the NHS Confederation’s European Office says.

“The European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee voted in Brussels this week on a new EU Regulation to replace the controversial Clinical Trials Directive, introduced in the UK in 2004. Aimed at harmonising clinical trials activity and promoting good clinical practice across the EU, the Directive resulted in a 25 per cent fall in the number of trials across the EU, with the time taken to launch a clinical trial almost doubling.”

3.20pm: Radio 4’s the Report programme tonight will look at “Is A&E in England on the verge of collapse”

3.05pm: The Daily Mail has reported on the colourful tail of “An NHS chief [who] has been sacked from his £250,000-a-year job after it emerged that he was a convicted armed robber”.

2.42pm: HSJ reporter David Williams has higlighted a factor in the Labour emergency care story which we didn’t spot earlier. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has called on the government to “suspend all on-going A&E closures pending a personal review of the very latest evidence”.

David tweeted: “Burnham calls on Hunt to stop A&E closures. Will Hunt take control or leave it to independent NHS England?”

1.53pm: A health committee hearing on emergency care on Tuesday will hear from Anthony Marsh, chair, The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives & Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, and Clare Gerada, Chair, Royal College of General Practitioners.

1.43pm: HSJ reporter Ben Clover tweets: “In other Nicholson succession news, can there possibly be a wider resonance to this weekly update from the boss?

1.03pm: Former PCT chief executive Sophia Christie tweets regarding our HR directors’ survey: “It’s the ‘either quality or cost’ culture which will have to give if want morale, £ balance & service. #polarity”

12.54pm: Royal College of Midwives director Jon Skewes ‏@jonskewes tweets about the HR barometer findings: “not sure if 81% have even fully implemented the Review of AfC changes agreed as of April?”

12.44pm: HSJ reporter Shaun Lintern has been quizzed in a podcast on the findings from the HSJ/NHS Employers human resources director podcasts.

10.32am: The Daily Mail carries two separate stories on individual care complaints at trusts in Greater Manchester, one on page 12 and the other on page 21.

The story on page 12 is headlined “Sick nurse lost baby after hospital ignored her fears and sent her home in agony”. Central Machester University Hospitals Foundation trust said it was unable to comment on an ongoing legal action.

The story on page 21 is headlined “My diabetic wife waited so long for a drink in hospitals I had to ring police to get her one… 4 days later she was dead”. The paper makes the connection between the incident at Tameside Hospital, greater Manchester, and that of Kane Gorny at St George’s Hospital in south London who also called police asking for water.

9.49am: The Guardian has reported on research by Healthcare at Home, the company providing out of hospital services, on the savings which could be made if community care - in particular “virtual wards”.

The report says: “The NHS is being urged to relieve the pressure on hard-pressed hospitals by treating thousands of patients in “virtual wards” - at home, with regular visits from health staff replacing long stays on wards.

“The service could create 5,800 “virtual beds” in people’s homes to help hospitals cope with bed shortages and overcrowded A&E units deal with patients arriving as emergencies, a new report says.

“A few hospitals have begun treating certain types of patients this way in an effort to provide a patient-friendly response to growing demand at a time when NHS budgets are tight. In some places up to 35 patients a week, whom doctors agree do not need to be kept in hospital, are being cared for this way.”

An HSJ Local Briefing about Birmingham and Solihull also addressed the subject of virtual wards in March, placing it in the context of wider QIPP work in that health economy.

9.40am: The Labour party has released figures showing an increase in the proportion divert notices, turning ambulances away from A&E departments, indicating pressure on emergency services.

The Daily Telegraph reports:

“House of Commons library data disclosed that there were 357 occasions when emergency ambulances were diverted to other hospitals because there was no room at A&E in 2012-13. This was up from 287 in 2011-12.

“The figures, released to Labour by the House of Commons Library, represent the latest evidence that hospital A&E departments are struggling to cope.

“Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, admitted last week that hospitals could not cope with the added pressure on emergency care services on bank holidays or during very cold winters.

“However, Andy Burnham, Mr Hunt’s Labour counterpart, called for an immediate halt to closures of emergency departments and demanded that the health secretary personally take charge of the “crisis”.

“Mr Burnham will hold a “summit” on Thursday with NHS staff to discuss the difficulties affecting emergency care.”

9.31am: We have published a series of coverage of the very interesting outcome of the first HSJ/NHS Employers barometer survey of HR directors. There were some very interesting findings on plans for workforce cuts, and calls for further reductions in pay, terms and conditions.

8.45pm: A model of care for cancer services paper, published in 2010, focused on the poorer survival rates of cancer patients in London compared to the rest of the country. It outlined how a focus on earlier diagnosis and on improving access to “best practice”, including the consolidation of specialist services, could deliver benefits to patient outcomes.

In the first of two articles looking at how clinicians are shaping cancer care treatment in London, Kathy Pritchard-Jones writes about how recruiting leaders with shared values has reaped rewards within a year.

8.26am: Good morning, stroke is a major challenge for the NHS, affecting 150,000 people in the UK each year. It remains one of the biggest killers, and costs the health service at least £7bn annually.

Today on HSJ’s innovation and efficiency channel, Dr Ben Bray reviews the landscape for stroke services in the transformed NHS and talks to Dr Martin James, who chairs the national stroke services peer review scheme based at the Royal College of Physicians.