15.39pm: Latest thoughts from “Waiting Time Guru” Rob Findlay are live up on the HSJ website – Commissioning board changes ‘18-week wait’ penalties
15.31pm: A paper presented last month at an Office of Health Economics meeting examined what may cause the two-cluster shape of EQ-5D indexes that are used widely in analyses affecting healthcare resource decisions. The EQ-5D is used widely including in PROMs. What determines the shape of an EQ-5D index distribution? was presented in January at a Health Economists Study Group meeting in Exeter.
15.22pm: University Hospital of Leicester Trust was quick to spot a good PR opportunity, noting in a press release that it helped identify the “royal bones” of Richard III. A team from the radiology department, at Leicester Royal Infirmary, scanned the bones using post mortem CT scanning protocols. Consultant radiologist Dr Shona Campbell said: “This was the oldest of the human remains we have scanned, and opens up a new and interesting area of research with the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History.”
13.19pm: Capita faces NHS Choices axe. The future operating model of the website at the centre of the drive to extend choice in the NHS faces fresh uncertainty after the Cabinet Office blocked the renewal of a contract with the existing supplier, reports James Illman. HSJ has learned the NHS Choices could be moved to the Health and Social Care Information Centre as an interim measure after the Cabinet Office vetoed moves to renew Capita’s contract to run the service. It could later become a social enterprise or be taken over by another supplier.
13.11pm: NMC clears Mid Staffs former nursing director. The nursing regulator says Helen Moss has “no case to answer”, Shaun Lintern reports.
13pm: Medics question rationale of Lewisham downgrade. The health secretary has approved plans to downgrade the first hospital under failure regime legislation. However, the downgrade is subject to conditions, the details of which remain unclear, reports Ben Clover.
12.28pm: Cameron will make the government’s Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry response statement tomorrow. Number 10 has confirmed today that it will be the prime minister, not health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who will make the government’s initial response to the Francis report in the House of Commons at 12.30pm tomorrow.
Rare for PM to take over a departmental statement, notes HSJ chief reporter Dave West. Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/patrickwintour/status/298765277057925120
12.01pm Lewisham Council this morning confirmed it was close to beginning legal action over the downgrade of Lewisham Hospital, reports Ben Clover.
Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “I do not believe that the trust special administrator had the statutory power to make recommendations about Lewisham Hospital and the secretary of state therefore has no power to implement them. I expect the council to begin legal action shortly. We do, of course, need to fully analyse the secretary of state’s statement before doing so.”
11.46am: Selbie: ‘The NHS is not the same as health’. The chief executive of Public Health England has urged a fundamental rethink of how illness and wellbeing are perceived, reports Ben Clover.
11.42am: HSJ reporter Shaun Lintern recalls his time spent as a local journalist covering the scandal at Stafford Hospital in My five-year journey reporting on Mid Staffs.
11.40am: Mid Staffs myths exposed: the truth about death rates, whistleblowers and the inquiry. In this article, HSJ reporter Shaun Lintern addresses some of the myths that surround the scandal of poor care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
11.29am: The Foundation Trust Network has analysed The Sunday Telegraph’s front page story from 13 January that said “17 NHS hospitals have dangerously low staffing levels, according to [the CQC]”. The FTN has examined the regulator’s inspection reports and contacted the hospitals concerned and found “the description of ‘dangerously low staffing levels’ is a gross exaggeration”, as chief executive Chris Hopson explains.
10.58am: In a blog, Daily Telegraph deputy editor Benedict Brogan says: “Downing Street is particularly concerned about the possibility that the position of Sir David Nicholson, who is overseeing its health reforms, might be undermined. He was in charge of the strategic health authority responsible for the Mid Staffs trust for part of the time when the deaths occurred. Last week he apologised “as a human being and a CEO”, but that may not be enough.”
10.56am: EXCLUSIVE: Safety data reveals trusts bucking the improvement trend. Analysis by HSJ’s David William’s has identified the NHS providers whose patients are suffering increasing levels of avoidable harm, bucking a national trend in of continuous month-on-month improvement.
10.30am: Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of umbrella patient group National Voices, wants the Francis report to be the “spur for a massive strengthening of patient and citizen voice in the health service”. In a document titled Not The Francis Report, Mr Taylor says: “We worry that the report will put too much emphasis on regulation. We think that is the wrong way to go. Not matter how good, regulators and inspectors cannot be everywhere at once. Patients, families and staff are the eyes and ears of the health service. We must ensure that they are in a position to speak out and be listened to.”
10.20am: The Department of Health and the Public Health Observatories have released additional baseline data and more recent data for a number of indicators in the Public Health Outcomes Framework. The framework, first published in January 2012, is intended to aid understanding of how well public health is being improved and protected. New baseline data are being published on the PHOF data tool for the first time for three indicators: age-standardised rate of emergency hospital admissions for violence; people presenting with HIV at a late stage of infection; and mortality rate from communicable diseases.
10.16am: The Guardian’s social policy editor Patrick Butler profiles Sir David Nicholson ahead of the Francis report. “The volatile world of NHS politics means they ultimately find the robust, centralist Nicholsonian style indispensable,” says Mr Butler.
10.14am: Audit, accountancy and consultancy firm Grant Thornton has published a detailed review of NHS governance. A survey highlighted in particular concern about governance in emerging CCGs. It said: “Respondents revealed a high level of concern about emerging CCGs’ corporate structures and readiness for implementation. Eighty per cent felt governance arrangements were not sufficiently developed. Seventy two per cent felt the proposed membership and size of CCG boards would not support effective governance.”
10am: NHS flaws ‘led to scandal’ - Taylor. Perverse incentives that mean it is better for NHS managers to allow standards of care at hospitals to fall rather than admit they are failing led to the scandal at Stafford Hospital, a health service expert has said ahead of tomorrow’s Francis report.
Roger Taylor, co-founder of Dr Foster, said every incentive in the NHS system pushes chief executives to “cut costs, cross [their] fingers and hope no one notices if standards of care deteriorate”. By contrast they risk losing their jobs by overspending or arguing to reorganise services. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Taylor said the risk that regulators will pick up on poor-quality services quickly or punish managers is “troublingly remote”.
7.48am: Good morning, the NHS Litigation Authority has reported a 6 per cent increase in the number of clinical negligence claims reported in the last financial year, with payments totalling over £1bn for the first time in its history. In April 2013, a law aimed at balancing disproportionate legal costs will come into effect.
Rachel Kneale has a written an analysis on the cost of reforms in clinical negligence cases. “The rule changes are a huge deviation from the present system and it is likely there will be a rush to bring claims before they take effect.”