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5.43pm: Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie, who has called for David Nicholson to resign as NHS chief executive has tweeted to say she has secured a House of Commons debate on transparency and accountability in the NHS. The debate will be held on March 14.

She tweeted to say problems were not specific to Mid Staffordshire but were wider across the NHS.

5pm: As reported by HSJ Live earlier, our understanding of the situation remains that Mark Britnell was approached by the board in relation to its deputy chief executive post, which will soon become vacant.

The board, in approaching and potentially appointing a very senior, high profile deputy, would be aware it could stoke speculation about Sir David’s own future, despite the moves being led by the chief executive himself. Such a move could also lead to a possible successor to Sir David being put in place at the board.

4.50pm: The NHS Commissioning Board has just issued a statement on the Daily Mail’s claim that Mark Britnell had been interviewed by it. A spokesman said: “It is obviously completely wrong to suggest that the NHS Commissioning Board is ‘in the process of appointing a replacement’ to David Nicholson. This appears to have been made up by the Daily Mail. We would remind you of the Chairman’s statement at last week’s board meeting.

“We are of course about to recruit a new Deputy CEO. But we have not yet decided how best to approach this. Therefore, no one has been interviewed and discussion about any individual is, at this stage, merely speculation.”

4.37pm: HSJ editor Alastair McLellan is covering Care Quality Commission chief executive David Behan’s speech at the Nuffield Summit on Twitter.

@HSJEditor: “CQC CEO says there has been an over reliance on (quality) regulation in the NHS #ntsummit”

3.57pm: Meanwhile Joe Farrington-Douglas @joefd says: “”System is running too hot to cope” - stark contrast with casual “40% waste” from morning economics session. #ntsummit”

3.54pm: Some interesting comments in response to Robert Francis speech at the Nuffield Trust. Leeds Community Health chief executive Rob Webster tweets: ””@NuffieldTrust: #ntsummit Francis: hospitals can make changes now, no need to wait for Department of Health to order it.” We all can & must”

3.07pm: However, the Telegraph says, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is backing Sir David.

The newspaper’s columnist Sue Cameron has also again written in defence of the NHS chief executive, and has also pointed out some of the subtleties in the debate about confidentiality agreements.

3.03pm: Catching up on other coverage about Sir David Nicholson’s future, a story in the Daily Telegraph says that: “A meeting of the 1922 Committee of back-bench Tory MPs was dominated by calls for Sir David to quit.” The committee’s membership is Conservative party backbenchers.

3.01pm: HSJ editor Alastair McLellan has Tweeted an announcement from the Nuffield Trust summit. “@HSJEditor: NHS Commissioning Board dir of patients & info [Tim Kelsey] says they are teaming up w/ UKonline to educate 100,000 in health literacy skills #ntsummit”

An HSJ story will follow.

1.59pm: Some well placed sources are stressing to HSJ that Sir David Nicholson - rather than board chairman Malcolm Grant - has led the process of consulting potential candidates.
Rumours that they have spoken to Mr Britnell, and other big name NHS figures such as strategic health authority chief executives, suggest they are seeking a very senior, possibly high profile individual.

In doing so, Sir David and colleagues are likely to be aware it could stoke speculation about his own future. Such a move could also lead to a likely successor to Sir David being put in place at the board.

1.52pm: Following the speculation about Mark Britnell this morning, the NHS Commissioning Board has told HSJ details of a formal process for appointing a replacement for NHS deputy chief executive Ian Dalton will be announced imminently.

1.13pm: Interesting to note, today, that Mike Farrar would also be a possible candidate for the job of NHS Commissioning Board chief executive, if it became available. He has been a contender for the post of NHS chief executive in the past, and has remained in the senior leadership of the NHS.

1.12pm: NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar, writes on hsj.co.uk that the NHS must think about why it collects information, as well as what is the most efficient way to do so. He spoke to HSJlast week about what he hopes to achieve from the review.

Mr Farrar says: “We have tolerated far more information routinely being demanded at all levels of the pyramid for little defensible purpose. This generates frustration throughout the NHS, even in the regulatory and supervising bodies who have lots of information but little of relevance to the job they really should be doing.”

He also invites ideas and contributions to the review.

11.55am: In a related story, we report the revelation in an HSJ online seminar that GPs could be the first to receive single Ofsted-syle ratings, under plans being developed for the healths secretary. Watch the webcast by clicking on the video below.

11.52am: HSJ’s Sarah Calkin has an exclusive interview with CQC chief executive David Behan, in which he details plans for a “single failure and distress regime”, jointly with Monitor, which aims to increase the consequences of quality failures for trusts.It is a key development in post-Francis policy for regulation, and appears to contradict some of his recommendations.

11.49am: HSJ editor Alastair McLellan writes that post-Francis, the day-to-day pressure which is still having the greatest impact on service planning and performance is the drive to save £20bn. He also says, “It is no longer simply enough to arrive at a savings target, it is necessary to know how you will get there.”

11.43am: The Nuffield Summit is currently underway in Surrey. HSJ will be covering its main events today and tomorrow, including input from Robert Harris and others. There is also coverage and discussion on Twitter.

11.19am: HSJ reporter David Williams reports: “I understand Mark Britnell has been approached about the possibility of replacing the commissioning board’s departing deputy chief executive Ian Dalton. Well placed sources said the board’s chair Malcolm Grant had approached a number of people about whether they would be interested in the deputy job, which Mr Dalton will leave at the end of April.

“Mr Britnell is among those who have been approached, along with strategic health authority figures and leading acute sector chiefs. However, a source said Mr Britnell had turned down the deputy chief and operations director post.

“Commissioning board sources strongly played down suggestions Mr Britnell had been approached to replace Sir David Nicholson as chief executive. One senior source said there was little appetite for Mr Britnell to take that post, partly because of his current role as health at KPMG. It would be politically difficult to appoint a management consultant to the top job. Mr Britnell was also at the centre of a high profile row in 2011, based on comments the previous year in which he told private firms the NHS “will be shown no mercy” in future, and that they are well placed to benefit.”

11.12am: Here is HSJ’s story on that storm in 2011. Mr Britnell told HSJ that the “vast majority” of NHS care will “always and quite rightly” be provided by “public sector organisations and paid for out of taxation”, according to the man at the heart of a storm over accusations of NHS privatisation.

10.58am: In light of the Daily Mail report it is worth remembering the prime minister in 2011 declared in Parliament he had “never heard” of Mark Britnell. David Cameron made the comments after Mr Britnell was reported as making agressively pro-market comments about the NHS. Mr Cameron said: “He [Britnell] is not my adviser” and that he had “never heard about this person in my life”. Newspapers claimed Mr Britnell had advised Cameron, as he had been part of a Downing Street policy advice panel.

10.03am: The Daily Mail has claimed Mark Britnell, a potential favourite as NHS Commissioning Board chief executive, has been interviewed by the board with the possibility of being its deputy chief executive. If true, the interviewing of such a senior figure would be a significant development for the future of current chief Sir David Nicholson.

The Mail story claims Mr Britnell is being lined up to replace Sir David, who the paper has been campaigning against

It says: “The head of the NHS appeared to be losing his grip on power last night as it emerged that senior directors are quietly lining up a successor. Sir David Nicholson has repeatedly defied calls to resign, despite being at the centre of one of the worst hospital scandals in living memory. But the Daily Mail understands senior health service directors believe his position is untenable and are now in the process of appointing a replacement. The man in the frame is understood to be Mark Britnell, a former adviser to David Cameron, who is currently head of health at consultancy firm KPMG.”He was interviewed by Professor Malcolm Grant, chairman of the NHS Commissioning Board, two weeks ago with a view to being appointed deputy chief executive.Should he accept the job, he would almost certainly be promoted to chief executive while Sir David is moved aside.”

9.50am: Campaigners in Leeds have won a High Court challenge to a decision to move paediatric cardiac surgery from Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, they have said.

It will have consequences for the drawn out national process - which has already faced challenges - to reconfigure child heart surgery.

The Leeds campaigners had disputed the method the national process, led by a joint committee of primary care trusts under the name Safe and Sustainable, used to select which centres should provide surgery.

A summary of the judgement published by campaigners today said:

“Safe and Sustainable were asked to provide further information about how the centres were given the quality scores, including the sub scores which made up the total quality score. It refused. The judge decided this was a fatal mistake.

“The assessment of quality undertaken by the expert panel was so significant to the final decision making, fairness did require disclosure of the expert panel’s sub scores to enable those participating in the consultation process, including the specialist centres themselves, to provide a meaningful response.”

8.20am: Good morning, on HSJ today William Sprigge and Laura McIntyre examine the many issues facing providers as they prepare for the second wave of licensing from Monitor. There are just a few weeks to go before the 1 April deadline, when NHS foundation trusts in England are brought into Monitor’s new healthcare licensing regime.