New NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens will today identify older people’s services, joint working between health and social care, whistleblowing, and medical advances as among his top priorities.

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4.23pm An exclusive from HSJ’s Nick Renaud-Komiya: gaining public confidence in the controversial scheme may take longer than the six months currently set aside, according to an influential member of a group advising on the work.

NHS England announced last month that implementation of the information sharing scheme would be postponed for six months, following criticism from campaigners, professionals and politicians.

It also established a committee to lead engagement and advise on what to do next, which met for the first time last week.

Speaking after the meeting, Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of the patient group umbrella body National Voices and a member of the committee, told HSJ: “My view, and I think it’s shared by others too, is that one of the things we might want to advise is that this process of getting things right should take as long as it needs to and not be constrained by some artificial time scale. Six months might not be long enough.”

3.20pm Dame Ruth Carnall, former chief executive of NHS London, has joined the board of trustees at The King’s Fund.

Dame Ruth has over 30 years’ experience in health care, including 20 years as a chief executive in acute hospitals, mental health, community services and health authorities. She spent seven years in charge of the NHS in London as chief executive of NHS London and now works providing strategic advice to leaders in health care.

Commenting on her appointment, Dame Ruth said: ‘As a chief executive in the NHS I greatly valued the work of the Kings Fund in policy and leadership development. I am delighted to be able to contribute to their work as a Trustee.’

2.57pm Ian Trenholm has been appointed chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant. He will take up the post on 1 July, replacing Lynda Hamlyn who is due to retire this summer.

He joins the organisation from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), where he has been Director General and Chief Operating Officer since June 2012.

Mr Trenholm said: “Assuring the safe supply of blood and increasing the number of organ donors so that more lives are saved and improved is an incredibly worthwhile job. I am excited about the opportunity ahead and look forward to working with colleagues in NHS Blood and Transplant, to build on their success and address the challenges ahead.”

2.53pm Following the formal closure of NHS Direct today, Urgent Health UK and the College of Emergency Medicine have called on the Government, NHS England and CCGs to provide greater support for out-of-hours services to reduce A&E admissions.

The organisations claim that properly funded medical properly funded medical out of hours provision, with services co-located with A&E’s and stronger clinical involvement in NHS 111 should be prioritised as a matter of urgency to relieve pressure on emergency departments.

2.35pm Continuing the theme of Simon Stevens’ burgeoning in-tray, Chris Ham of the King’s Fund has written an interesting blog on what he views as the three major issues demanding the NHS England chief executive’s attention.

The blog echoes Alastair McLennan’s view that Mr Stevens’ will seek “to create a guiding coalition… to lead change and improvement in the NHS”.

2.27pm Eight London clinical commissioning groups are set to stop using their commissioning support unit and bring its functions in-house, HSJ understands.

The CCGs in north west London are reviewing the services they purchase from North West London CSU, with the findings due to be published at the end of April.

HSJ understands from sources in the CCGs that they will not renew their service level agreement with the support services provider. The agreement expires in September.

2.21pm Brunel University has joined Imperial College Health Partners.

ICHP is licensed as one of the 15 Academic Health Sciences Networks in England. AHSNs work with patients, industry and other sectors to identify new innovations and best practice, and turn these into practical products and services that can be more readily adopted by the NHS to improve patient care.

Brunel University is the second university to join the Partnership, which already includes Imperial College London as one of its 21 partner organisations.

Professor Julia Buckingham, vice chancellor of Brunel University, said:

“I am delighted that Brunel University is joining Imperial College Health Partners. Brunel has a long history in the field of health research and I have no doubt its’ complementary strengths in occupational health and physiotherapy research, social sciences, bioengineering, health economics and operations management will prove valuable to the members of the Partnership.”

1.47pm The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority has announced that its interim chair, Sally Cheshire, has been appointed as permanent chair of the fertility regulator by the minister for public health, Jane Ellison.

Ms Cheshire has been an HFEA authority member since 2006 and, prior to becoming interim chair in January 2014, had chaired both the regulator’s audit and governance committee, and licence committee.

1.42pm Here’s the shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, on the speech expected by Simon Stevens later this afternoon:

“We wish Simon Stevens well, but people should be in no doubt about the scale of the challenge facing the NHS. The NHS has just been through its worst year for a decade in A&E and staff morale is at rock-bottom following a re-organisation no-one wanted. Turning things around will require strong leadership and an ability to stand up to political inference from David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt.

“Labour welcomes the new emphasis on integration but, if this is to be delivered, it will mean changing the Government’s policy on competition in the NHS which is holding it back. Simon Stevens’ predecessor spoke of an NHS “bogged down in a morass of competition law” and it must urgently be rescued from that.

“The Health and Social Care Act has placed the NHS on a fast-track to fragmentation. David Cameron’s re-organisation created more bureaucracy and left the NHS in a weakened financial state. It’s Simon Stevens’ job to make sense of what is currently a very confused picture.”

1.19pm Dr Peter Carter chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing thinks Simon Stevens should focus on developing a long-term workforce strategy for nursing:

“The NHS in England is facing unprecedented challenges to deal with rapidly increasing demand and the challenges of an ageing society. Simon Stevens should focus on the NHS workforce, making sure that we have the right number of staff with the right skills in the right places to provide excellent care to all patients.

“If NHS England is able to achieve this with a long-term workforce strategy it will go a long way to improving staff morale and patient care, and we look forward to working with Simon Stevens to help make this possible.”

1.13pm There’s been a lot of comment from health care organisations ahead of Simon Stevens’ first speech as chief executive of NHS England.

Let’s start with the Foundation Trust Network - here’s what their chief executive, Chris Hopson, had to say:

“Simon Stevens’ first speech sets a welcome tone: realistic and sensible. Our members will play their part within and across our health and social care system in responding positively, and wherever the FTN can help, we will. We join him in thanking the fantastic contribution of colleagues across the service in maintaining and improving NHS care within tight finances.

“Mr Stevens is right that the changing nature of our challenges will need new approaches, moving away from what he calls the “traditional partitioning of health services”. It is timely for him to describe quality as “how all the pieces come together”. We look forward to working in collaboration with colleagues in NHS England and across the networks of health and social care to help the service and the system develop care of a quality the public have the right to expect within our available resources”.

12.27pm Alastair McLellan’s latest leader is now online, discussing Simon Stevens’ possible strategy for the rest of the year.

Alastair writes: “He will be keen to determine a relatively limited set of priorities over his first three months; work to win a broad consensus for them by autumn; and then attempt to create some momentum behind his plans before the election traps everything in molasses.”

11.59am Nick Timmins, senior fellow at the Institute of Government and the King’s Fund, has written for HSJ arguing that the abolition of Audit Commission could end the important principle of independent audits of public sector spending.

11.33am One year on from the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act, the British Medical Association is today launching a new campaign questioning whether the coalition’s reforms have been beneficial.

The campaign - ‘Health and Social Care Act – is it working?’ - will focus particularly on the changes relating to competition.

The BMA has argued that the more prominent role envisaged for competition has been damaging to the NHS, and has called for the repeal of the act.

11.16am Simon Stevens wrote columns for HSJ for seven years. On the day that he takes the helm at NHS England, you can read all his contributions here.

10.58am Less than half of GPs feel decisions made by clinical commissioning groups reflect their views, according to a survey by the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund.

The research, published on the first anniversary of the coalition’s reforms to NHS commissioning, suggests however that three times as many GPs think they can influence the work of their CCG than could influence their predecessors – primary care trusts. 

10.52am Labour has accused the government of “vandalism” by destroying NHS Direct, which formally closed on March 31.

The helpline was replaced by the NHS 111 service, but Labour claimed the new system was “fundamentally flawed” with a lack of medical knowledge.

10.43am Ambulance crews should carry body-worn CCTV cameras to prevent thousands of “disgraceful” assaults on frontline staff each year, according to a new report.

Up to four ambulance workers are attacked each day in London, with physical assaults on paramedics and responders up 23 per cent in the capital last year, according to Freedom of Information figures revealed in a report authored by Roger Evans, the Greater London Authority crime spokesman for the Conservatives.

10.34am England can learn from the radical solutions Japan has adopted to meet the health and social care demands from its ageing population, argues Mayumi Hayashi.

10.25am The latest HSJ data video is now online. In the video, David Williams explains the consequences of the Treasury’s decision to claim the £650m primary care legacy debt pot.

10.10am The statutory duty of candour is to be extended to regulators, Department of Health officials and government ministers, HSJ has learned.

A statutory duty of candour was one of the recommendations of Robert Francis’s report into the care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. The government has since adopted the recommendation – which will require healthcare providers to admit when their actions have caused patient harm.

Last week health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to extend the duty of candour to incidents causing moderate harm, as well as death and serious harm. HSJ now understands the government is worried that failure to extend the duty to policymakers and regulators risks undermining the new measure in the eyes of the public and the professions.

10.03am Two commissioning support units have become the first to publicly call for bids from third parties wishing to become their long term strategic partner.

The CSUs, who plan to merge later this year, have received 30 expressions of interest after placing an advertisement on the NHS Supply2Health website. Find out who they are here.

9.50am Private healthcare provider Circle is expected to have to dip into its own coffers for the second year running to cover a deficit at Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust, HSJ has learned.

7.01am NHS England has published some details of a speech its incoming chief executive Simon Stevens is due to give today on a visit to the North East. He will today identify older people’s services, joint working between health and social care, whistleblowing, and medical advances as among his top priorities.

He will visit services in a tour designed to highlight how the NHS needs to develop. A statement released ahead of the visit said Mr Stevens would say he planned to begin the job by “listening” to what people thought needed to be done.

However, he is expected to identify several priorities on which he believes there is consensus. These include “action to raise standards of care for older people, better joint working between health and social care, and new models of care delivery harnessing new advances in medicine”.”I know that for the NHS the stakes have never been higher,” Mr Stevens was expected to say. “Service pressures are intensifying, and longstanding problems are not going to disappear overnight. Successfully navigating the next few years is going to take a team effort- involving the biggest team in the biggest effort the NHS has ever seen.”

7.00am Welcome to HSJ Live. Tight finances, rising demand and a looming general election set the backdrop for Simon Stevens’ return to the NHS today as chief executive of NHS England.

HSJ asked John Appleby, Clare Gerada, Michael White and many more to outline some of the biggest issues ahead. Simon Stevens brings experience and judgement to this role: he will need both. We also wish him luck.