Philippa Slinger, the former chief executive of the troubled Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust is to join Care UK, plus the rest of the day’s news and comment

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3.10pm Monitor has today closed its investigation into the commissioning of specialist cancer surgery services in Greater Manchester and Cheshire after NHS England halted the commissioning process. Monitor has also published some guidance for commissioners based on the lessons learned from the investigation.

The case closure follows NHS England’s confirmation that it is developing a new service specification and process that will comply with the applicable rules so that the final outcome is in the best interest of patients.

Monitor originally opened the investigation after two hospitals raised concerns that the way these services were being commissioned was not in patients’ best interests.

We were concerned that the process being followed would not lead to the best hospitals being selected to deliver care to patients. In particular, we were concerned that the proposed approach might arbitrarily limit the number of options available to commissioners and might therefore unfairly exclude hospitals which could offer a better service to patients.

Catherine Davies, Executive Director - Cooperation and Competition said:

“Given the recent developments, we’ve decided that closing our investigation into NHS England’s actions and issuing some guidance for commissioners is the right thing to do to make sure patients get the benefit of the lessons learned from the case.

The guidance we have published today should assist commissioners and providers to understand the concerns raised in this case and help them to get the best for patients going forward.”

3.00pm NHS England has said that Paula Vasco-Knight no longer works for the organisation.

A spokeswoman said: “We have been talking to  Paula Vasco-Knight since October about her growing  workload in the trust locally and therefore her capacity to continue in her national role.  Earlier this week we agreed that the balance was not sustainable and that she would cease her national role with immediate effect to allow her to focus on local priorities.”

2.45pm Care UK, the private sector provider of health and social care has revealed to HSJ that Philippa Slinger, who quit as chief executive of Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust on Wednesday, will be taking up a senior management role at the company. Their statement can be read below:

“Care UK is delighted to confirm Philippa Slinger’s appointment as managing director, Secondary Care following an intensive and competitive recruitment process.  We believe her contribution to driving sustainable quality improvements throughout her career, most recently in the exceptionally challenging environment at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust, demonstrates the leadership and focus that will help us to further develop the services we provide to the NHS.

2.20pm Delegates to the forthcoming NHS Innovation Expo will benefit from a range of short practical seminars designed to inspire new practice across health and social care.

Details and themes of the seminars were revealed today (Friday, 31) as the prospectus for the NHS pop-up university that will feature as part of the two-day event was published online.

Led by peers across NHS, local government and third sector as well as national experts, courses are available in anything from building health literacy in hard to reach groups to building your own healthcare app.

Delegates can pick from more than 80 events during the two days of Expo to build a bespoke programme that meets their own areas of interest. The programme has applied for professional CPD accreditation for those attending the courses.

As well as seminars, delegates will also be able to access advice and share ideas through a series of themed discussion zones dotted around Expo where individuals can drop-in to gain up-to-the-minute learning in subjects like digital participation, GP professional development and community care.

NHS England’s Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, said: “There is simply nowhere else where health and social care professionals can gain access to the most provocative and inspiring thinkers. The Expo pop-up NHS university provides an opportunity to follow what interests you; whether it is in gaining a better understanding of a new technology, a way to use data or practical service innovations, there will be something there for you.”

Full access to the pop-up university is available at no additional cost to attendees at this year’s NHS Innovation Expo.

To book your NHS Expo ticket go to: 

Health and Care Innovation Expo - 3&4 March 2014, Manchester Central

HOSTED for the first time by NHS England, Innovation Expo will be the most important health and care event of the year.

Everyone who attends will benefit from excellent networking opportunities, relevant and useful tutorials in the pop-up NHS university and a programme of inspiring speakers across two stages on both days.

A digital zone and a GP surgery zone will transform the exhibition space into real life examples of integrated care in action, while over at Camp Expo there’ll be a festival feel with people pitching ideas and then showcasing their work - no agenda required.

Some of the most knowledgeable and influential people working in health and care as our speakers. Our line-up includes Bryan Sivak, ‎chief technology officer at US Department of Health and Human Services, and Lord Ara Darzi.

From NHS England we have chief executive David Nicholson, medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, chief scientific officer Sue Hill among others. From the US, David J Cooke will speak on m-Health.

Dr Kate Granger will tell Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings how her experience of being a patient with cancer led her to start the groundswell ‘#hello my name is’ movement to raise levels of compassion.

She will be presenting her Compassion in Care awards to an individual and a team.

Everyone attending Expo can be a student at the pop-up NHS university, taking a bespoke course chosen from ten themes. There’ll be tutorials on commissioning for outcomes, case studies from the North, integrating services for long term conditions, widening care in the primary sector, as well as sets of tutorials delivered by the NHS Leadership Academy and NHS Improving Quality.

It will be an event unlike any other.

History will be made when the NHS Change Day wall gets more than half a million pledges

NHS England will also host the first-ever participation awards, demonstrating its commitment to becoming a truly person centred organisation.

Health and care innovation Expo 2014 will not disappoint. Book your place now!

  • Follow all the news on Twitter @NHSExpo and join in the conversation with #expo14nhs

1.45pm The Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has released a statement ahead of a one-day strike tomorrow by Unite the Union.

David Whiting has condemned the latest actions of Unite the Union to strike as ‘reckless’ and ‘neglectful’ of patient care. According to the trust the strike will take place without any concessions for the most seriously ill and injured patients. 

Despite continued discussions over a prolonged period, which have been supported through Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), Unite has ‘rejected the opportunity’ to talk further with senior management and refused to call off the industrial action. The latest talks took place yesterday (Thursday 30 January 2014).

The 24-hour strike, which will start at 21.01am, is expected to have some impact on services as it could involve around 8 per cent of the total staff employed by the Trust. The Union will also carry out a further 4-hour strike on Monday 3 February which will start from 3pm.

David Whiting said:

“I would like to reiterate that I remain deeply concerned over this type of action, which I know is of concern to all of our A&E staff, who are very committed to patient care, and will place many of them in a very difficult situation.

“We continue to refute the misleading and factually incorrect claims being made by Unite the Union around patient safety.

“Our focus is on safeguarding patient care and we are committed to minimising the level of disruption to our services.  Industrial action in this form is certainly not in the best interests of patients, and it is deeply concerning for a trade union representing ambulance service workers to strike without making any concessions to patient safety.

“Throughout the 24-hour period of the strike we will be taking steps to maintain operational cover to sustain effective and safe services for patients calling upon us for emergency medical assistance.  We will continue to make every effort to get to patients as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining high standards of patient care.

“Our contingency plans are focused on providing a safe, responsive and high-quality emergency service to patients and this will always remain our top priority.”

1.30pm Lots of interesting comment on our Twitter chat at the moment. Tweet with #HSJChat to speak to Craig Bennett and Glyn Jones from the innovation team at Lancashire Care Foundation Trust discussing innovation traps and how they stop new ideas from improving the NHS.

12.06pm In The Guardian, a report on the state of maternity care by the Commons public accounts committee was highly critical of the Department of Health and NHS England their inability to explain who is responsible for the NHS having sufficient midwifery staff.

The report  found a national shortage of 2,300 midwives. Committee chair Margaret Hodge said: “There is evidence that many maternity services are running at a loss, or at best breaking even, and that the available funding may be insufficient for trusts to employ enough midwives and consultants to provide high quality, safe care.”

11.55am The Daily Telegraph reports that, according to a new study, lazy lifestyles could mean that, by 2030, the average person will use only a quarter more energy than if they stay in bed.

Research using local authority data by the not-for-profit health organisation, UK Active, found that in some parts of the country, four in 10 people take less than half an hour’s exercise a month.

Also in The Telegraph, Isabel Hardman writes about how a group of “modernising” Conservative MPs are trying to raise the profile of mental health in the party’s 2015 election manifesto.

11.50am Casting an eye over today’s newspapers:

The Financial Times reports that the new database is gathering increased criticism from campaigners who say the database will threaten patient confidentiality and could fall foul of proposed EU laws.

A survey of GPs earlier this month by Pulse magazine found that 40 per cent intend to withhold their personal records from the database.

The European parliament is pushing rules that would require patients’ consent for use of personal records. However, sources close to the EU process told the Times that the regulations had several hurdles to clear and were unlikely to derail the UK scheme.

The Times reports on the chairman of South Devon Healthcare resigning, after a tribunal found he suppressed a report into nepotism by the trust’s chief executive, Paula Vasco-Knight.

HSJ yesterday reported that Dr Vasco-Knight, who is also NHS England’s national lead on equality and diversity, was accused of giving her daughter’s boyfriend a job by two former employees of a trust which neighbours South Devon.

The Times also reports on figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre last year, which found that children under the age of five have been admitted to hospital for eating disorders.

11.30am Adding dedicated private patient facilities and partnering with private hospital groups can help trusts generate a surplus in an otherwise flat funding environment, say Vishaal Virani and colleagues, in the latest of HSJ’s resource centre features.

11.20am Shares in the outsourcing giant Serco fell by 17 per cent yesterday following the company’s decision to issue a profit warning. The profit warning has come in the wake of problems it has had with the Government, its biggest source of contracts.

The warning came despite an announcement from the Cabinet Office that it had completed a review of the ‘corporate renewal’ plan put forward by the company and had concluded that it could bid for further government contracts.

In its coverage, The Independent reports that Serco said the cost of the review, lower revenues because of the damage done to its reputation, one-off payments to external consultants and lower operating margins meant that operating profits in 2014 are likely to be 10 per cent to 20 per cent lower than current City forecasts of £277m.

10.45am One of the longest-serving ambulance leaders in the country is retiring after almost 15 years.

North East Ambulance Service Chief Executive Simon Featherstone announced to the Board of Directors and Council of Governors he is stepping down at a public meeting.

He said: “It will be a big wrench to leave the NEAS, but the time is right for me as I turned 60 last year. My time here has been highly stimulating and personally fulfilling, which has been made possible because of the close support of successive chairmen, non-executive directors and a wonderful team of colleagues, right across the trust, who have placed the interests of our patients as their highest priority.”

Under his leadership, the ambulance service expanded through two mergers – firstly between Northumbria Ambulance and County Durham Ambulance services; and more recently with Teesside.

10.35am HSJ is hosting a Twitter chat this afternoon to discuss innovation traps and how they stop new ideas from improving the NHS.

Recently Craig Bennett and Glyn Jones from the innovation team at Lancashire Care Foundation Trust wrote about the seven innovation sins of the NHS.

They warned that pride, sloth, lust, greed, envy, wrath and gluttony cause the “death of good ideas”. They wrote: “Most of the time ideas just stay as ideas. Those few ideas that traverse the minefield from home to hospital, GP practice or office are soon crushed in the public sector.”

The authors suggest the NHS is a magnet for envy, wrath and gluttony. Do you agree or do you think another innovation sin creates bigger barriers for people trying to make things better?

Craig and Glyn will be on Twitter Today from 12.30pm to discuss the seven innovation sins and how best the NHS should “go forth, repent and be free of sin”. Join in using the hashtag #HSJchat.

Among the topics for discussion are, which sins create the NHS’s biggest barrier for progress and how best can they be “repented”? And can the NHS avoid these pitfalls?

10.30am Both the chief executive and chairman of an under-fire NHS foundation trust are to leave, it has been announced. In a statement, the trust said the chariman had led it through a “particularly challenging and difficult period over the last two years”. Full story here.

10.20am The safety of pregnant women and their babies may be put at risk by a lack of NHS funding and a national shortage of 2,300 midwives, MPs have said. In a damning report on the state of maternity care, the Commons public accounts committee criticised both the Department of Health and NHS England for being unable to tell it who is accountable for “ensuring something as fundamental” as whether the NHS has enough midwives.

10.15am There has been an array of interesting comments below our top story on how South Devon Healthcare Trust attempted to cover up a report that contained accusations of “nepotism” against its chief executive, Dr Paula Vasco-Knight. Read them here.

10.10am The names of organisations that fail to comply with patient safety alerts are to be published online each month as part of a revamped warning system being introduced by NHS England.

The patient safety alert system is being upgraded to spread information about emerging concerns throughout the health service more quickly, in response to recommendations of the Francis report and the Berwick review into patient safety.

The previous system was operated by the National Patient Safety Agency, which was abolished in 2011. For more details click here.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. We begin with the news that Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group plans to re-commission its community health and social care services on an unprecedentedly long contract of up to seven years.