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3.04pm NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has touched on the forthcoming Francis report into Mid Staffs in his monthly letter to the service. He says: “Before we get to April, we face a critical moment in the NHS’ history. The publication of Robert Francis’s second report into what happened at Mid Staffordshire will doubtless challenge us all when we read it. While it is difficult for me to speculate on what the report may or may not say before publication, I have said many times before that we should all take the time to read his first report, which on its own is a salutatory reminder of the consequences of what can happen to patients and their families when we get it wrong.

“It is incumbent on each and every one of us to ensure we listen and respond appropriately to the details and recommendations in the report… It can be hard to find reasons to be optimistic when you read the tragic testimonies of those affected by what happened at Mid Staffordshire. However, those events have to be set against the broad and substantial improvements we’ve made as a system over the last period. Those improvements have one common factor: our staff. It’s their dedication and commitment that will ensure that, whilst we will learn the vitally important lessons from the report, NHS colleagues remain relentlessly focused on doing the very best for the patients and communities we serve in 2013 and beyond.”

Sir David Nicholson said 10 days ago he believed he should continue to remain the head of the NHS following the Francis report, to implement its recommendations.

14:44pm A report published alongside Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that the NHS should be paperless by 2018 has underlined the difficulties the NHS faces in hitting the target in just five years. Announcing his desire for a paperless NHS, the health secretary highlighted a government commissioned report which calculated improved use of IT could deliver £4.4bn of savings annually.But ministers did not mention that the report, by accountancy firm PwC, estimated it could take a decade to fully realise these savings.

14.20pm Health minister Dan Poulter has unveiled plans to sell off the Department of Health-owned limited company Plasma Resources UK. Dr Poulter today issued a written ministerial statement which read: “I am announcing today that the government has decided to seek private sector investment in the government-owned limited company, Plasma Resources UK Ltd (PRUK) through the sale of the majority or all of the shares in the company. We are taking this action to support the company and its employees in the next phase of the company’s development.”

PRUK is comprised of the UK-based Bio Products Laboratory, which was formerly part of NHS Blood and Transplant, and the U.S. based plasma supply company DCI Biologicals. According to a 2012 statement by health minister Lord Howe, BPL is a commercial manufacturer of plasma products including clotting factors and immunoglobin preparations, and a “key supplier” of niche products such as “tetanus, rabies and VZ hyperimmunes”.

12.34pm: We have published an opinion piece by Richard Lewis, at the Nuffield Trust, on the limitations of mergers in the NHS.

10.32am: Suzette Woodward, previously of the National Patient Safety Agency, has been named the NHS Litigation Authority’s director of safety, learning and people.

10.31am: NHS Employers has published a guide on NHS use of social media in relation to HR.

10.27am: We have reported the Department of Health has named Croydon Borough Council chief executive Jon Rouse as its new director general of social care.

7.55am: Becky Malby explains how NHS Leeds commissioned a development programme for 26 “senate level” doctors, delivered by the Centre for Innovation in Health Management. The programme created a prototype medical senate for Leeds and allowed the city’s senior doctors to develop working relationships that had not been possible before.

7.52am: Good morning, on HSJ, expectations of NHS chief executives have reached unacceptably high levels and are based on fallacies that can be eradicated, write Douglas Board and Robert Warwick. “Complex systems can’t be controlled, even if you shout at them loudly”, they say. The relevant political pressures included not only changes of minister, local authority or party, but the senior managerial politics of becoming “toast”. Becoming de facto blacklisted because of an association with failure in the minds of a few pivotally connected senior individuals.