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18:03 HSJ reports that an independent inquiry is to be set up to investigate poor care at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.

The inquiry will sit in public and is expected to examine events at Furness General Hospital surrounding a number of infant and maternal deaths between 2004 and 2008.

4.20pm: HSJ has obtained copies of the election statements made by the Royal College of Physicians presidential candidates Dr Richard Taylor and Sir Richard Thompson.

A copy of both statements in full can be downloaded (see right).

2.25pm: Former independent MP and consultant physician Dr Richard Taylor has launched a bid to oust the sitting president of the Royal College of Physicians Sir Richard Thompson.

It is the normal convention for the President to stand unopposed and the election suggests a schism at the heart of the RCP over the future of the NHS.

Dr Taylor stood for election in Wyre Forest against the closure of Kidderminster Hospital’s A&E department in 2001. He is co-leader of the new National Health Action party set up to fight against the Government’s NHS reforms.

Details of the RCP election can be found on the organisation’s website.

1:45pm United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has told HSJ its former chief executive, Gary Walker, is and was always free to speak out about its patient care.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said it has checked its legal agreement with Mr Walker, as requested on Friday by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

1:48pm NHS Midlands and East has published a full response to accusations made by David Bowles and Gary Walker regarding United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust some five days after the story originally broke.

It says the strategic health authority (SHA) “totally rejects” the allegations made by David Bowles and Gary Walker.

It adds: “During her tenure as SHA chief executive, Dame Barbara Hakin and the staff of the SHA acted in the interest of patients, ensuring that they received high quality and safe services.” 

12.53am The Faculty of Public Health has announced it supports the government’s pledge to reduce child deaths by bringing health services together.

12:50am Mortality rate three times as high among mental health service users than in general population, new Health and Social Care Information Centre figures show.

12.27am Today appears to be the day health leaders have come out in support of Sir David Nicholson. Writing exclusively for HSJ Sir John Oldham backs Sir David.

Meanwhile chairman of the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee chairman Dr Laurence Buckman; Royal College of General Practitioners chair prof Clare Gerada and deputy medical director of the NHS Commissioning Board prof Steve Field have are all been quoted in the media today suggesting Sir David should not leave.  

11:54am Several private firms have been approached by the NHS Commissioning Board about the possibility of running an NHS commissioning support unit, HSJ has learned.

Commissioning reporter David Williams writes that the board’s business development unit is attempting to find a long term solution for the Norfolk and Waveney CSU, which still does not have a permanent managing director.

HSJ understands the commissioning board has approached Ernst and Young, Capita, Serco, Circle, Atos, KMPG, PWC and McKinsey about taking over the running of the CSU.

11.32am For any readers having trouble accessing our article on patient leaders, we’ve changed the URL to include new interactive graphics.
The new link is http://bit.ly/152Q5v8 .

“There seems to be a lack of desire for change at the pace that us patients want. Nothing is done quickly in the NHS,” says patient leader Michael Seres.

11.29am The Ethical Medicines Industry Group has called for discussions around the government’s proposed shake-up of drug pricing and movement to a value-based pricing system to be widened to ensure the scheme’s success (see statement attached).

11.17am The NHS Confederation has responded to the Government’s pledge to reduce child mortality rates. NHS Confederation interim director of policy Jo Webber said: “We are pleased and proud to have signed up the pledge to make this a reality, and we will be working with NHS organisations to help deliver its aims.”

10.52am The fallout from the Francis report is the subject of the Daily Telegraph’s front page. It reports David Cameron calling for individuals NHS staff members to take the blame for the Mid Staffs scandal.

The Prime Minister said it was unacceptable that no NHS staff have faced the “proper consequences” for their role in the scandal. Mr Cameron said he could not intervene in police operations but suggested that the Francis Report might lead to prosecutions.

10.49am A new national pledge to reduce child deaths is to be announced by ministers, the Guardian reports. The pledge is in response to findings from the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum, set up January 2012, which found that UK child mortality rates are among the worst in Europe.

10.39am Many HSJ readers have questioned whether NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson should resign following the publication of the Francis report and the allegations levelled by Gary Walker about a cover up at United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust. Sir John Oldham disagrees and argues that Sir David should stay.

He writes: “In the devolved reality of today, the concept that the leader of the NHS can be individually responsible for the errors in part of it is not a reasonable judgement. It persists the culture of persecution that we wish to get away from. I recognise many will take a strongly opposite view.”

9.53am: Good morning, hospital staffs are scared to speak out and hospitals fear rising negligence claims. We need to match a new duty of openness with the introduction of “no fault compensation”, says former health secretary Frank Dobson. On HSJ today he writes that we must recognise that we live in a compensation culture where “coming clean” could lead to a massive increase in claims for negligence or breach of human rights.