5.57pm The Health Foundation has announced Nuffield Trust chief executive Jennifer Dixon as its new chief executive to succeed Stephen Thornton.
4.47pm The medical director and long-standing chief executive of troubled Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust have both tendered their resignations, a trust spokeswoman confirmed this afternoon.
4.00pm More tweets from @Jamesillman from health select committee hearing on confidentiality agreeements
“Nicholson: we r exploring using national contract to include clause on transparency to get info inc compromise agreements f/ private firms.”
“O’Brien: All compromise agreements should be discussed by hospital remuneration committees which have non exec members #pac”
“CCGs should know about the compromise agreements being struck at their provider hospitals, Says Nicholson #pac”
3.31pm Some tweets from @Jamesillman watching the PAC session on confidentiality agreements:
“Nicholson quizzed on if he was aware Mike Farrar had set up a private consultancy. “I am aware of it because i read it in @HSJnews” he says”
“@SteveBarclayMP asks how much NHS cash has been spent on consultancy of former Morecambe Bay CEO Tony Halsall? Nicholson says doesn’t know”
3.07pm Committee member Steve Barclay tweeted earlier: “Unbelievable - Dept Health confirm to me that they spent £73,563 on external consultants to help officials prepare for just one PAC hearing.”
He is now questioning the officials about it.
3.00pm NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson is at the Public Accounts Committee (again). This time to talk about confidentiality clauses and special severance payments. Other witnesses are Sharon White, director general, public services at the Treasury and DH permanent secretary Una O’Brien.
2.21pm HSJ senior correspondent Crispin Dowler writes in his finance column that there are “two ways of looking at the plan, announced by George Osborne last week, to more than treble the amount of NHS funding transferred to social care in 2015-16” – depending on where £3.8bn pooled fund for the health service and local authorities to jointly commission integrated services actually sits.
2.17pm Read story about the OFT’s probe into health service IT market announced this morning.
1.22pm The health secretary is concerned about the role of national competition regulators in relation to NHS provider mergers, and could legislate to change their role, he has said.
Jeremy Hunt was asked about the issue at a Commons health committee hearing today.
The 2012 Health Act gave the OFT, the national general competition watchdog, explicit responsibility for mergers between foundation trusts.
1.20pm Hospitals have been urged to consider further reducing elective activity during the junior doctor changeover in August to help tackle a spike in mortality rates.
The majority of junior doctors move into year long placements on the first Wednesday in August, although some also rotate position in February.
There has been concern patient safety risks rise at these times, with studies suggesting an increase in mortality for patients both in the UK and internationally. This has led to August being widely dubbed “the killing season”
1.18pm Questions have been raised about how data relating to individual surgeons’ mortality rates has been presented, both by the body that prepared it and the media.
The National Vascular Registry’s publication included a list of consultants’ raw mortality rates, which do not take into account the how sick the patient is and the complexity of the procedure.
Risk-adjusted data, which does take these factors into account, was only included in the report in a chart which did not specify which score related to which consultant.
Read full HSJ article here (£)
1:11pm Some councils could cease to exist under the pressures of the latest round of spending cuts. That warning has come from Local Government Association chair Sir Merrick Cockell in his speech today to the association’s conference in Manchester, HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle has reported.
10:46am The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into the supply of information and communication technology goods and services to the public sector citing hospitals as an area of focus.
An OFT statement said: “ICT plays a crucial role in the delivery of all public services, including schools, hospitals and the police.
“It is also an important part of the UK economy, with the top 20 software and IT services providers earning about £10.4bn a year in revenue from the public sector.
More information about the specific issues being considered by the OFT can be found here.
Anyone who wishes to contact the OFT can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the address below by 18 August 2013.
10:39am There’s quite a lot of health news in the Telegraph today.
There is new evidence of a further cover up at the Care Quality Commission, they report, as emails show senior figures knew of “system” failings at Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.
However, regional officials at the CQC deleted a reference to “systemic issues” in a media response about the trust in January 2010.
The Telegraph also covers the decision of NHS Direct to pull out of two NHS 111 contracts, and a new telehealth service being trialled at Guys and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.
There are also two pieces from yesterday’s health select committee session: Jeremy Hunt has said he “wanted to do more” around reducing the strain placed by excessive drinking on accident and emergency units. The Telegraph takes this as a hint that Mr Hunt might be growing more sympathetic to the idea of a minimum price per unit of alcohol. There’s also a short nib based on Sir David Nicholson’s evidence to the committee: more failing hospitals will be exposed, Sir David warned.
10:38am The Guardian carries a front page story today on two reviews of Tameside Hospital, Greater Manchester, which it reports found that care at the foundation trust was “so chaotic that patients are being left in pain, having to wait up to four days to see a consultant and languish in a corridor for hours because the A&E unit is full”.
The paper states that local GPs want chief executive Christine Green and medical director Tariq Mahmood to quit.
10:32am The Financial Times is among many papers this morning reporting on the government’s plans to tighten access to the health service for foreign visitors to the UK. The paper leads its story on the news that “non-Europeans who come to the UK to work or study will have to pay a healthcare levy of at least £200 on top of visa costs”.
The paper notes that evidence that “migrants take a disproportionate toll on the health system has been hard to find”. However, it adds that “ministers feel that in an era of austerity where voters are concerned about immigration, migrants should contribute financially to use the NHS.
10.27am The Commons health committee is taking evidence from Care Quality Commission chair David Prior and chief executive David Behan and also from Sterl Greenhalgh of Grant Thornton about of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust cover up.
Here’s a quick summary from @ShaunLintern who has been live tweeting proceedings:
Mr Prior has told the committee: “We will be a much more open and transparent organisation than we were before.”
He said the CQC was more concerned with its reputation than telling the truth citing the Mid Staffs inquiry.
He said the alleged cover up of the Grant Thorntonreport was a “damning indictment and shows a culture of suppression at CQC.”
Committee member Barbara Keeley has questioned former chief executive Cynthia Bower’s lack of recall over meeting with PHSO and says it seems “dubious.”
Mr Behan said: “The decision of anonymisation was one that sits at my door and I got that wrong” - David Behan tells Health Commitee
“We need to make sure our record keeping is robust and those records are there and available”
He says CQC has stopped deleting monthly emails pending any criminal prosecutions as a result of the scandal.
Grant Thornton’s Sterl Greenhalgh said the limited access to emails did not invalidate the report.
He said he was told by CQC head of IT emails were only kept for 12months but is actually kept for 6 years.
— Andrew Street (@andrewdstreet) July 3, 2013
10.00am The Daily Telegraph has a story this morning about hospitals “routinely” using the threat of legal action as an excuse to block investigations into medical blunders.
The charity Action against Medical Accidents has written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt warning him about the problem, which they say has arisen from confusing guidance.
9.59am The Daily Mail carries a page four lead story headlined: “As 111 phone line nears collapse, NHS chief’s extrodinary plan… SEND FIREMEN ON 999 CALLS INSTEAD OF AMBULANCES”.
The paper reports; “Firemen could soon be sent to medical emergencies instead of ambulances, the head of the NHS has revealed.
“The health service was ‘developing’ plans that could see fire crews act as ‘first responders’ to help over-stretched ambulance staff, Sir David Nicholson said.
The story is based on the answer Sir David gave to Tory MP David Tredinnick when asked if he had talked to the fire service about “supporting” paramedics. He said “yes we have. In most areas you will see they’ve got memoranda and understanding with the fire services and other emergency services for cross cover and help and support.”
The paper continues in reported speech: “He said it was unlikely that fire and ambulance services could merge but said firemen could be first on the scene in medical emergencies”.
8.45am: Frontline staff should be involved in improving the NHS and be empowered to exercise their duty of care responsibly writes Brendan Martin on HSJ’s innovation and efficiency channel today and compares examples from the UK with that of Sweden. “Many senior NHS managers still tend to see employee engagement as a luxury they cannot afford, and are reluctant to take the risk of devolving power when the buck will stop with them anyway.”