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5.52pm NHS chiefs have launched a long-awaited procurement process for a new national contract for GP clinical IT systems.

NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre said the new GP System of Choice (GPSoC) contract will “increase competition, innovation and value-for-money by encompassing a greater range of suppliers, systems and services”.

The new GPSoC contract, expected to be in place by the end of 2013, will also introduce new arrangements to help integration between systems used by GP practices, the two bodies said in a statement.

The existing GPSoC arrangements are used by 81 per cent of practices in England to procure their IT systems.

The systems collect and share patient information to support clinical care and also to provide access to national services such as Choose and Book, the electronic prescription service and summary care records.

3.44pm The start of the debate on the Care Bill has been delayed as the Lords are still discussing the Same Sex Marriage Bill. It is not now likely to start until this evening.

2.54pm Monitor has deferred the FT application of another trust. The body responsible for authorising NHS trusts as foundations has deferred Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust bid for six months, citing “concerns the trust has not yet demonstrated that it meets the quality governance requirements”.

2.21pm Jeremy Hunt has been drumming up interest in the NHS in the US this week.

The health secretary told a conference in Washington DC yesterday the government is driving six health data advances that will be “bigger than the internet”.

US website Med City News reported on his speech from theDatapalooza conference.

1.37pm HSJ’s @Davewwest has tweeted a link to a Guardian story about Hackney GPs who wanted to take back responsibility for out of hours care but were refused due to concern over a legal challenge if the service was not put out to tender.

1.30pm HSJ, in association with the King’s Fund, is conducting a survey on female leadership in the NHS. We want the views of women and men on issues including sexual discrimination, bullying and the impact of having children on your career. To take the survey click here, it should only take a couple of minutes. The results will be anonymous and will be published in a special edition on HSJ next month.

12.45pm Black and minority ethnic applicants are discriminated against by the NHS recruitment process, a new report has claimed. Steve Ford reports on the findings of research by co-director of Patients First Roger Kline. Mr Kline found the likelihood of white applicants being appointed was more than three times greater than that of BME applicants, and the likelihood of white shortlisted applicants being appointed was nearly twice that of BME applicants.

12.28pm The chair of the Medical Schools Council has written to chancellor George Osborne urging him to rethink plans to transfer the medical education budget from the department for Business Innovation and Skills to the Department of Health. In the letter (attached) Tony Weetman argues the move would have a “devastating” effect on the UK economy as world leading institutions face have their funding raided to support service delivery. He highlights the “instability in nurse education created by ever-changing numbers” as an example of why the DH should not be given responsibility for medical education.

Professor Weetman said: “The Medical Schools Council cannot stress strongly enough that transfer of budget responsibility for medical education and research to DH would pose a significant threat to the UK’s leading position in health research and education…

“Huge pressures already exist within the DH and such a transfer would inevitably lead to a narrower understanding of the nation’s complex health needs. The long-term view is required if we are to educate a clinical workforce with the flexibility and skills to innovate and adapt throughout their careers.”

11.24am The Daily Mail carries a double page spread examining the role of GP Dr Simon Fradd who helped negotiate the new GP contract in 2004. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has blamed the terms of this contract, which allowed GPs to opt out of out of hours care, for the increase in number of patients attending A&E.

The newspaper claims the 2004 contract “was arguably the most generous public sector pay deal in modern British History.”

It quotes Dr Fradd claiming the outcome of the negotiations “was just stunning really. Stunning in that no one in my position had ever believed we could pull it off.”

The paper also points out Dr Fradd went on to create Concordia Health, a company that offers to run out of hours services.

This resulted in him earning a £1.6m apartment on the Thames, the Mail claims and says he enjoys skiing in the Swiss Alps and hang gliding

The articles goes on to describe his lavish lifestyle and claims the sky’s the limit for GPs while the link between patient and doctor has been severed.

It says: “Underfunded and ineffective the sick and ill now routinely find themselves on the phone waiting to speak with a call-centre who may have had as little as four weeks training.”

Patients are voting with their feet the newspaper claims and highlights a series of patient scandals concluding the article with: “It is shocking to think these deaths could be the tragic legacy of the fateful 2004 deal which saw GPs reduce their hours, boost their pay packets – and betray the nation.”

11.19am HSJ’s latest update on the A&E performance tracker has now been published. It includes more up to date data than the King’s Fund report that is out today and shows performance against the four hour target is continuing to improve. The data goes up to the week ending 26 May.

10.47am Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, has commented on the King’s Fund report showing an increase in A&E waits.

He said: “This is no surprise – as the RCP identified in last year’s call for action Hospitals on The Edge?, patients are presenting at emergency departments in increasing numbers because there is nowhere else they can go. Patients arriving at the ‘front door’ of the hospital have an impact on acute services throughout the hospital, and we need to redesign emergency care systems around the patient while making sure that clinicians’ workloads and working practices are safe and sustainable.”

10.33am The Daily Telegraph also reports on the King’s Fund’s paper but also carries a story claiming public sector workers are wasting three days a year waiting for their computers to boot up. The story is based on comments from Stephen Kelly, the government’s chief operating officer, who said it took seven minutes for his own PC to spring into life in the morning.

NHS managers may well sympathise

10.32am The Daily Mail continues its focus on the accident and emergency crisis with a report on the King’s Fund’s paper. The paper describes the figures as the latest “disastrous milestone.”

It also includes the story of six-week-old James Payne who died in November last year after three doctors failed to spot a viral infection.

According to the paper he was seen three times over nine days by a GP, a doctor at Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust and then a locum GP. His family plan to take legal actions against the NHS.

10.24am Monitor has warned foundation trusts to ensure they are investing “adequately” in health services in the wake of the deterioration in performance against the accident and emergency four hour target. In a press release this morning the foundation trust regulator says it is “concerned” after 58 per cent of foundation trusts with emergency departments breached the target.

A report to Monitor’s board on performance during 2012-13 noted knock on effects of poor A&E performance including an overspend of more than £500m on agency staff, more trusts breaching their clostridium difficile limits due to high bed occupancy and a deterioration in performance against cancer targets.

10.20am Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network has announced two key appointments this morning. Chief executive of the Association of British Healthcare Industries Peter Ellingworth will begin a six month period as chair at the end of the month. Raj Jain, currently chief executive of Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Foundation Trust, has been appointed as managing director and will start full time with GM AHSN in early autumn. In the interim period, he will be working two days a week on the establishment of GM AHSN.

10.18am Listen to the King’s Fund’s chief economist John Appleby discussing the report on Radio 4 Today programme this morning here.

The section starts one hour and nine minutes into the programme.

9.57am HSJ’s A&E performance tracker has been following the decline in performance over the past few months. Read the latest update here.

9.54am Waiting times for accident and emergency patients have reached a nine-year high, according to an analysis of the latest figures by the King’s Fund. The think-tank’s quarterly monitoring report showed that in the final quarter of 2012-13, 5.9 per cent of patients (313,000 people) waited for four hours or longer in A&E, the highest level since 2004. t means that the government’s target that no more than 5 per cent of patients should wait for more than four hours has been broken for the first time since June 2011.

8.37am: Over the last two years, specialised commissioning has undergone a major restructure and has been in a period of transition. As a result, specialised commissioners have been reluctant to leave planning legacy issues for the new NHS England.

On HSJ’s Innovation and Efficiency channel Juliette Kumar and Claire James offer best practice examples from Cheshire and Merseyside.  

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