5.53pm Stephen Thornton is to retire as chief executive of the Health Foundation at the end of this year, HSJ has learned.
Mr Thornton has been in post 12 years. An advert for his replacement has already published on the foundation’s website.
Mr Thorton, who also serves as a non executive director at Monitor, was this week confirmed as part time vice chair of the Eastern Academic Health Science Network.
5.49pm Monitor has announced that doctors should be involved in any foundation trust special administration process.
The regulator set out a key role for clinicians in guidance about how trust special administrators should carry out their statutory role.
The move is intended to ensure TSAs are able to act in the interests of patients.
Click here to read the guidance. It includes instructions intended to help TSAs engage with the local population as they draw up plans for patient services, and also makes clear that clinical commissioning groups are responsible for deciding the particular services that must continue to be provided locally under any reorganisation proposed.
Chief executive David Bennett said: “TSAs will only be called upon in exceptional circumstances, when we have worked with a foundation trust to explore all other options for safeguarding patient services. It is clearly vital that clinicians are closely involved in the decisions that administrators have to take, both in finding a sustainable long-term solution for patient services and running the failed trust in the interim.
‘We are grateful to patients, providers and commissioners for the suggestions we received during our consultation on the draft guidance. This will help us ensure that, should Trust Special Administrators be appointed, local patients will continue to receive good quality health services that meet their needs.”
5.28pm NHS England has given more details of the assurances that are being sought to enable Leeds Hospital to restart children’s heart surgery next week.
A statement issued this evening stressed that Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust’s decision to pause surgery was a “prudent, precautionary step”.
The NHS England release said: “Since then a review, which started last week, has been look in detail into: mortality outcome data and analysis; staffing; patient concerns and complaints; and concerns raised by other professionals.
“This information, alongside the latest position, was formerly reviewed yesterday at a risk summit that drew together all of the key bodies involved including the trust, NHS England, the Care Quality Commission, the NHS Trust Development Authority and Leeds City Council.”
Ian Dalton, the outgoing deputy chief executive and chief operating officer of NHS England, said: “The risk summit concluded that surgery could restart at the beginning of next week, subject to independent validation of the clinical data and an external review of clinical governance processes. We expect this work to be completed over the next few days and a conclusion reached early next week.
“I want to be absolutely clear that throughout this process the entire focus has been on the safety of children. We are working round the clock to resolve this matter as quickly as we possibly can. In the meantime we are ensuring that children can get the care they need elsewhere.”
The process will involve:
- The validation of the data provided yesterday by the trust, which will be reviewed by independent clinical experts;
- A review of clinical governance in the unit.
NHS England says the review team will “aim to assess that the services available for paediatric cardiac surgery are of a standard consistent with other units in the country with a similar case mix”. The evaluation will look at current working practices, across paediatric cardiac surgery and intensive care. It will also involve looking at details of the current protocols and policies at the unit and a review of any recent incidents or complaints, with interviews with staff involved in the care of these children. This work will be led by “independent clinicians”.
4.38pm The Fragile Hearts campaign group has published a statement on today’s news about Leeds General Infirmary (see 10.03am):
The statement reads: “The news that children’s heart surgery may resume at Leeds next week, (albeit ‘subject to independent assurances’) is something that deeply concerns our group. We would like to know exactly what these ‘assurances’ are and who the ‘independent’ body is that will be evaluating Leeds.
“The issue of data was only one aspect of the suspension, with CQC investigation and whistle blower statements also being key factors. Until full independent analysis of Leeds children’s heart surgery is carried out, including the 40% of cases that sit un-analysed within miscellaneous, we cannot feel confident that further children’s lives will not be put at threat.
“At this point in time is any consideration being given to those parents that have lost a child and that are grieving? The focus seems to be on how quickly surgical status at Leeds can be reinstated.
“We feel this is wholly wrong and we pray further lives are not lost as a result.”
The group represents parents whose children have died or suffered permanent medical harm as a result of heart surgery.
4.25pm There’s a good lively comment thread developing on David Williams’s story about NHS England’s data hiccup. The story is now in front of the HSJ paywall - join the debate here.
2.34pm The NHS Confederation has been promoting a short film it has made about NHS finance on twitter. The animation aims to explain why the NHS is suffering, despite not undergoing cuts like other public services, and warns that “tough choices” will have to be made.
It also compares the financial challenge to a game of giant Jenga which topples over and injures people, possibly fatally.
2.19pm Ben Clover reports on the NHS Trust Development Authority’s accountability framework, published today. The document sets out how the NTDA will work with trusts in the foundation trust pipeline.
2.12pm A London trust’s private finance initiative rebuild has moved a step closer after it secured permission to sell off some of its land with a smaller proportion than usual earmarked for affordable housing, HSJ’s Ben Clover reports. Harrow Council has agreed only 10 per cent of the homes built on land being sold off by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust in Stanmore would have to be affordable rather than the council’s usual policy of 40 per cent.
2.02pm Cumbria police have given the go ahead for an independent inquiry into care failings at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay’s maternity services to begin without waiting for the on-going police investigation into the same failures to be completed, the foundation trust has announced.
12.51pm NHS England operations director Ian Dalton has appeared on BBC News 24 to discuss the Leeds children’s heart surgery issue. He says it would have been “irresponsible” of NHS England not to act on the preliminary mortality data and not to work on a “precautionary principle”. “There was no intent to rubbish a unit. This is to ensure patients get safe services.”
11.43am Changes to the cancer drugs fund announced yesterday have led to 27 treatments previously available in some parts of the country being withdrawn from the programme’s “fast track” list, NHS England has admitted.
The Mail and the Telegraph both ran stories this morning based on fears that fewer treatments would be paid for as a result of moving from ten regional lists to a single national one.
HSJ’s commissioning reporter David Williams gives the fullest picture yet on what the changes mean for treatments paid for via the fund.
11.40am Also on hsj.co.uk today, Alex Kafetz takes the government to task over plans for a rating system which will provide a “single version of the truth” as judged by the chief inspector of hospitals.
He writes: “The fact the government wants to reinvent healthcare ratings is not worrying in itself. The fact they believe that there can or should be a single version of the truth raises many concerns…
“At best, it is a recipe for the sort of damaging and distracting bickering we’ve witnessed about hospital standardised mortality ratios over the past decade. At worst, it will interfere with the momentum of the transparency agenda, which is a real shame as it’s had such a good start. ”
11.32am HSJ has announced the shortlist for the Care Integration Awards and the Patient Safety Awards.
HSJ editor Alastair Mclellan writes: “The Care Integration Awards celebrate excellence in the area that arguably presents the greatest challenge to modern healthcare, particularly as services attempt to address issues raised in the Francis report on the failings at Mid Staffordshire. Categories include Women’s Health, Stroke Care and pain management.
“The Patient Safety Awards recognise the best initiatives so they can be shared throughout the service.”
11.21am This week sees the start of a scheme to increase transparency over payments by drug companies to health professionals, the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry has announced. Under the scheme the ABPI’s members have committed topublish aggregate totals of payments made last year to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Chief executive Stephen Whitehead said: “The industry is proud of its collaboration with healthcare professionals. Working closely with healthcare professionals has helped the industry to consult with, and listen to, clinical expertise and develop medicines which are in the best interest of patients. Full transparency about these relationships is right and appropriate and we have taken the lead to make this a reality. By publishing these figures industry’s aim is to ensure these vital relationships are open and transparent.”
11.14am In an article for the Guardian, Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, says “frontline experience counts more than NHS reforms.”
He writes: “Sir David Nicholson said the reforms are so big they can be seen from space.But on the frontline in trusts across the country, patients, the public and staff will not notice anything different this week, or even next month.
“The changes could be dramatic. They could usher in the greatest era of patient and clinical influence over how and where the NHS provides care and services. But to most people – the public, patients and staff – these momentous reforms concern one group of organisations they haven’t heard of or don’t care about, being replaced by another.”
10.53am The Care Quality Commission has criticised the management of Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust in a report published today.The report found that the trust’s Kings Mill Hospital was meeting the national standard concerning the welfare of people. However, it said that processes to assess and assure the trust of its own service quality had not been effective or robust enough. The inspection was carried out in response to concerns about breast cancer testing.
10.50am The BBC has reported health secretary Jeremy Hunt has backed NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh’s handling of the Leeds children’s heart surgery situation, and plans to reopen it.
10.31am The Daily Mail also carries a story about a child who died from meningitis after doctors at Darlington Memorial Hospital allegedly failed to diagnose the infection in February 2005.
The report claims 10-year-old William Cressey who died was prescribed Calpol because doctors believed he had a migraine.
His mother clams she repeatedly alerted doctors and nurses to his deteriorating condition but was dismissed as a “neurotic mum.”
Details of the story emerged as one of the nurses involved, Christopher Kirby, appeared before the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
10.27am Here is the full statement from Leeds Teaching Hospitals and NHS England. It is not very illuminating as to the issues but apparently Sir Bruce Keogh is due to make a statement later today.
10.23am The Guardian reports today that a five year old girl who died of meningitis was seen by two GPs less than 48 hours before her death.
Both GPs thought Kelsey Smart was suffering from viral gastroenteritis. Kelsey’s mother contacted out of hours GP services in Gloucestershire, saw a locum GP in Bristol, and another doctor in Kingswood, Gloucestershire.
An inquest into the death recorded a narrative verdict, with the coroner concluding that it was unclear whether earlier treatment would have led to a better outcome.
10.16am The Daily Telegraph reports that Nurses working in the NHS end their careers £100,000 better off than their private sector peers. The paper reports on a study presented today at the Royal Economic Society annual conference. The research found NHS nurses financial advantage comes later in their careers. A 30-year-old private nurse’s pay is close to £10 an hour - £1.50 an hour less than the equivalent worker in the NHS. By the age of 50 this difference is as much as £2 an hour.
It also carries an opinion piece on health tourism by conservative MP and member of the Health Select Committee Chris Skidmore. The MP writes that GPs should be told to establish whether patients are UK residents before registering them with their practice. “Not only would this recognise that the treatment we receive from GPs is as much a part of the contributory system as the treatment we get at hospitals, it would also obtain the information we need about eligibility in a much more appropriate environment than a busy hospital ward”.
10.03am The news that children’s heart surgery is to resume at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust is the BBC’s top story this morning but it is not clear what has led to the decision. Local MPs have called for an inquiry into last week’s decision to suspend surgery at the trust. On the Today programme Greg Mulholland MP described it as “noteable” that nothing had been heard from NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh since the “dawn raid” that shut down surgery and said the situation meant the judgement of senior people was in question. He accused Children’s Heart Federation chief executive Anne Keatley-Clarke, who had raised concerns about the morbidity of patients treated at the unit, of having an “agenda” of wanting to close the unit down. She said it was difficult for parents of patients to raise concerns in the Yorkshire area and many were frightened to speak out because of potential repercussions from the trust and the reaction of campaigners seeking to keep the unit open. Some parents had received threats after raising concerns, she said.
8.15am: Good morning, when Jeremy Hunt challenged the NHS to become fully “paperless” by 2018, he faced scepticism about whether it could be achieved. As the chief information officer of a Spanish hospital that has already made that vision a reality, Vicent Moncho’s advice to colleagues in the NHS is simple - not only is it possible, it is essential.