Introduction to clinical coding and the rest of today’s news

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11.30am Healthcare sector regulator Monitor has taken to Twitter (@MonitorUpdate) to deny the story published on The Guardian’s front page this morning. The regulator tweets: “We received representations on tax from contributors to Fair Playing Field Review but made it clear we have not yet come to a view.”

10.15am The Guardian has reported that healthcare sector regulator Monitor is considering recommending that private providers of NHS services be exempt from paying corporation tax on their profits. The newspaper reports that a source who has seen a final draft of Monitor’s Fair Playing Field review describes it as “sympathetic” to private sector demands. The government-commissioned review, which is looking at all potential barriers to fair competition among providers of NHS services, must be ready to lay before parliament in March this year.

9.48am: We have published a revealing and extensive exclusive interview with Sir David Nicholson, NHS chief executive and NHS Commissioning Board chief executive.

8.40am Kingston has become one of the first eight clinical commissioning groups in England to be fully authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board last month. Chief officer David Smith reflects on the process, explaining the challenges that lie ahead. “Authorisation cannot be seen as the end point and now is the time to redouble our efforts to improve services,” he says.

7.25am Accurate clinical coding with appropriate tariffs is important for departments and trusts. Suboptimal coding may affect the maintenance and development of services, staff, equipment and perhaps viability. A published audit of the clinical coding of ENT operations estimated a loss of £400,000 a year. Showkat Mirza, consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, says that even though it’s “complicated and flawed, departments must work with it to ensure they receive appropriate payment for their work.”