• Comprehensive coverage of the mandate
  • Capita head of health leaving for Commissioning Board job
  • First government Mandate for the NHS expected at about 1pm.
  • Royal College of Nursing warns of nursing crisis with 30,000 jobs at risk

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6.50pm: We have published coverage of the financial element of the mandate - which sets the system’s spending and management cost limits.

5.12pm Comment from Dr Neil Bacon in response to Hunt’s NHS Mandate: “It is highly encouraging to see further commitment to the Friends and Family Test. The real test will be turning these commitments into reality and ensuring that there is a robust strategy in place to capture and analyse feedback. Engaging both healthcare professionals and patients with the Friends and Family Test will be a crucial breakthrough in delivering reforms throughout the NHS.”

5.10pm While a single outcome framework for the NHS, social care and public health services would be preferable, with all agencies moving further and faster together, ADASS president Sarah Pickup nevertheless agrees: “This mandate sets out the expectations of the Commissioning Board in a way that can accommodate common objectives and the ways in which we need to work together in order to achieve them.”

4.30pm The BMA has said that mandate’s success will depend on how it is translated in practice.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council says: “The NHS is currently operating in a tight financial environment and there is some evidence of a lack of engagement with CCGs amongst many healthcare professionals. Addressing these key issues will be vital to ensuring that the NHSCB and the mandate are a success.”

4.23pm: Peter Carter, chief executive & general secretary of Royal College of Nursing says “We are pleased to note that the mandate includes a commitment to work with Health Education England, which will have a key role in ensuring that the workforce has the right skills and adequate numbers to meet future health challenges.”

“While we welcome the accountability which this mandate sets out, it is important that it does not add to the burden of paperwork and administration which takes nurses, doctors and other clinical staff away from direct patient care.”

3.52pm: @HelptheHospices tweets: “@HSJEditor - Help the Hospices welcomes government shift on end of life care in NHS Mandate: http://bit.ly/UmjZTk

3.22pm: The Mandate should be a catalyst in moving integrated care from a subject for discussion in the policy arena to making it happen at scale and pace across the country says Anna Dixon, director of policy at The King’s Fund. “The Mandate includes a strong focus on decentralisation and freeing up local organisations to innovate. The real test will be how this translates into practice, especially given the tight financial climate and need to maintain financial control”.

2.57pm: The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has announced it is leaving the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium.

The group of 20 trusts had wanted to break away from the national Agenda for Change pay framework but national negotiations made progress last Friday.

2.22pm Malcolm Grant, chair of the NHS Commissioning Board, says “We will ensure maximum freedom for CCGs, so that local clinical leaders may respond more effectively to the needs of their local population. They will need to innovate and transform local health services to meet the needs and wishes of patients, while assuring the delivery of improved outcomes.”

2.20pm David Worskett, director of the NHS Partners Network, has welcomed the mandate’s requirement on the NHS Commissioning Board to develop ‘a fair playing field’ and to ‘improve procurement so that the process is open and fair and will help all providers.’ He says: “That will be crucial in enabling providers from all sectors to compete for contracts which will help drive both innovation and quality of care.”

2.10pm We will put patients at the heart of a liberated and innovative NHS. Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board says “Make no mistake, the NHS will find this a challenging and stretching ask - and it comes against the most challenging financial environment the NHS has ever experienced. But I believe the goals are achievable.” 

2.00pm NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar says: “We will hold ministers to their word that they will not try to revise the mandate on an ad hoc piecemeal basis in response to the latest issue that hits the headlines.”

1.53pm Turning Point’s deputy chief executive David Hoare says “Measurable progress towards true parity of esteem between mental and physical health is expected by March 2015. We need to ensure that everyone involved in the commissioning and delivery of mental health services works together to move this from rhetoric to reality.”

1.42pm National Voices warned that the Board and clinical commissioners should not ‘wall off’ these ambitions in a new ‘long term conditions silo’. It also noted that the government has not followed its own advice to highlight the key indicator - that of ‘being involved in decisions as much as you wanted to be’.

1.27pm @BenClover tweets on mandate: “We knew friends+family test was coming, we didn’t know successful trusts would be “financially rewarded”and we don’t know how that’ll work”

1.24pm @ShaunLintern tweets: “The #mandate has a large focus on culture, values and tackling variation in service quality across the #NHS. Big impact on workforce.”

1.22pm: HSJ contributor Rob Findlay (@Gooroo) Tweets: “Mental health to have guaranteed waiting times (like rest of NHS)”

1.20pm: National Voices (‏@NVTweeting) Tweets: “#mandate gives @NHSCB objective to ensure NHS dramatically better at involving patients & their carers & empowering them to manage”

1.17pm: HSJ has published comprehensive coverage of the government’s mandate for the NHS. It sets priorities for the service for the next two years. HSJ analysis includes:

9.47am Capita’s head of health is leaving for a job in Tim Kelsey’s department of the NHS Commissioning Board. The former DH chief information officer will be designing and starting a “new technology strategy that will uinleash the power of digital services to improve outcomes”. Ms Bryant has previously held roles at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and NHS Leeds.

9.39am The Sun claims an exclusive in its coverage of the NHS Commissioning Board’s mandate. Patients will be able to order prescriptions, book GP appointments and even see crucial test results on the internet under an online revolution. This will all happen by the 2015 general election, Jeremy Hunt will say today.

9.29am Departing NHS London chief Dame Ruth Carnall gives a robust response after a respondent to HSJ’s story about her urging speedier reconfiguration says she should “retire gracefully”. She says: “I don’t think it’s undignified to carry on doing what I am paid to do to the end of march.  I’m not going to sit and do my nails for 4 months.”

9.20am Obese NHS staff provide a “very poor role model” to patients trying to lose weight, according to a leading doctor. Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, a former president of the Royal Society of Medicine, said ministers should introduce a “requirement” for all health service employers to “address obesity in their staff at all levels”.

9.13am More than 30,000 NHS jobs are at risk of being cut, the Royal College of Nursing has said. Since the coalition came to power in May 2010, the NHS workforce in England has decreased by 28,500 posts, and a further 32,700 jobs are at risk, the RCN said.

Midnight: The Department of Health is today expected to publish the final version of its first Mandate for the NHS. It will set out what the independent NHS Commissioning Board, and in turn the whole service, is expected to deliver in coming years.

The DH has been consulting on a draft mandate, which is about 30 pages long, including about 30 objectives for the service.

Today’s final version is expected to be slightly shorter: The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he wanted it to be shorter. However, it is not expected to be cut to the tiny statement of vision which some have called for. The commissioning board itself has called for a very short document, with mainly outcomes targets, which would allow it to give maximum freedom to clinical commissioning groups.

As well as the main document, the DH is expected to publish expectations of achievement against a range of quality outcome indicators in the NHS Outcomes Framework.

The mandate - which will be laid before Parliament - is also expected to set out the budget for the NHS.