National Audit Office finds that GP data IT system “significantly delayed” and mistakes led to “losses of public funds”, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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10.56pm NHS England this evening set out a list of specialised services, treatments and drugs which it will now fund, following a three-month consultation and prioritisation process.

It approved 29 for routine funding. It rejected seven which it had considered.

In the case of two particularly controversial drug treatments - Vimizim for Morquio A Syndrome and Ataluren for Duchenne muscular dystrophy - NHS England said it would await the outcome of ongoing highly specialised technology appraisals by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

HSJ has covered patient, clinical and political concern about the absence of routine funding for these treatments, and NHS England’s processes.

4.13pm What does winning an HSJ Award mean?

That question is answered in this video by the team from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust, who won the coveted provider trust of the year award at last year’s ceremony.

You can enter the awards here.

1.29pm The Health and Social Care Information Centre has commented on the NAO’s report:

“The NAO report states that significant issues occurred with GPES in the years before the inception of the HSCIC, which was created two years ago with a new mandate, structure and senior leadership team. It is clear the GPES procurement and design stage was not good enough, regardless of the intent of predecessor bodies.

“The HSCIC is equally clear that upon our creation we took full responsibility for delivering a data extraction service that is operationally and financially efficient. We are maximising the working aspects of GPES and replacing those parts that do not work. Our focus is on developing a suitable service that meets the needs of the NHS and patients.”

12.20pm The National Audit Office has found that the general practice extraction service, an IT system designed to allow NHS organisations to extract data from all GP practice computer systems in England, which will be used as part of the Care.Data programme, has been “significantly delayed” and that mistakes had “contributed to the losses of public funds”.

The key findings of the NAO investigation are:

  • The project has been significantly delayed and many customers have yet to receive data. The original business case said the service would start in 2009-10, but it took until April 2014 for Health and Social Care Information Centre to provide the first GPES data extract to a customer.
  • Mistakes in the original procurement and contract management contributed to losses of public funds, through asset write-offs and settlements with suppliers. The total expected cost of the GPES programme increased from £14m to £40m during the planning and procurement stage. Further cost increases have been smaller, but the project has had at least £5.5m of write-offs and delay costs. The need for the service remains and further public expenditure is needed to improve GPES or replace it.
  • Only one customer, NHS England has so far received data from GPES. The time needed to design a new type of extract and restrictions in the contracts severely limits HSCIC’s ability to provide data to those who request it. It is unlikely that GPES in its current form can provide the NHS-wide service planned.

These issues were brought to the attention of the NAO through its financial audit of the HSCIC. The NAO said it “observed during its visit that the system was not working as expected and that additional costs had been incurred through a settlement with one of the main suppliers, Atos IT Services UK Ltd”.

11.54am Councils hoping to gain Greater Manchester style devolved powers over health and social care must convince NHS England that the benefits of the move would go beyond integration of the two services, the body’s chief executive has said.

Simon Stevens told delegates at the Local Government Association annual conference yesterday that the devolution of £6bn of health and social care budgets to the Greater Manchester combined authority would test the benefits for other parts of the public sector and the area’s economy as a whole.

He said: “This is going to be a very important test of the presumption you can put one and one together and get more than two; or in this case, £5bn [of NHS money] and £1bn [of social care funding] and get more value.”

Mr Stevens also named several “tests” NHS England would apply to areas interested in following the Manchester mode.

11.49am The ‘failure regime’ for Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust overran its budget because the trust’s ‘special administrators’ had a weak negotiating position relative to neighbouring NHS organisations, a Monitor review has found.

The review, shared exclusively with HSJ, concludes that there would be a “bias towards avoiding” the trust special administration (TSA) process in future “unless necessary”.

11.04am Readers of our latest stories on the travails facing NHS England in the way it approaches commissioning specialised services might be interest to take a look at this prescient leader written by HSJ bureau chief Dave West back in January.

Back then he wrote: “The tacit message of the service’s marching orders for 2015 – delivered as normal in a giant document dump in the weeks before Christmas – was that NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority are prepared to let specialised services, and therefore specialist providers and many large teaching hospital trusts, take a hit.”

10.51am Andy Burnham set out his stall yesterday on his approach to devolution and local government if he were to become Labour leader.

Speaking in Harrogate on the day of the Local Government Association’s annual conference Mr Burnham spoke of his “vision for health and care I set out in the last Parliament, where councils lead on commissioning with a single budget.”

He said:”Devo-max for local government means devolving power out of Whitehall departments.

“Here are the practical steps I will take to make it real.

“First, it starts with given councils a clear new role and control over the funding to deliver. I would propose that the role of the council in the 21st century should be this: to improve the health and well-being of the local population.

“And that means commissioning with a single budget for children and adults. The silos in our public services are a luxury we can no longer afford.

“They duplicate costs, but they also produce sub-optimal solutions. There is no incentive to invest in prevention, only in picking up the pieces when things go wrong.

“Imagine the possibilities of a system which could align health policy with housing policy, leisure, and planning. It opens up the possibility of radical reform of public services based around the individual.”

10.22am There are only two days left to enter the HSJ Awards.

The entry deadline for the HSJ Awards 2015 is this Friday, 3 July.

There are 22 categories to enter this year, including a new category to showcase the organisation that best improves outcomes through learning and development.

The last year has been a crucial period in the development of the NHS. The need to improve efficiency, while maintaining or improving quality, has been combined with the challenge of introducing new care models and navigating increasing levels of government and regulatory scrutiny.

The winners will be announced at an event at Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 18 November.

To enter the awards click here

10.16am Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust should remain in special measures, the Care Quality Commission has recommended.

The inspectors found that safety was “not a sufficient priority”. There was a backlog of serious incidents and the investigations lacked enough detail to ensure failings were understood.

The team also found that improvements were not made when things went wrong.

Patient outcomes were “varied” and some staff were not “competent” in carrying out their roles.

10.12am To catch up on yesterday’s key HSJ stories, read our latest Executive Summary.

10.01am Welcome to HSJ Live. A process for deciding which new specialist treatments NHS England will fund will not be developed until the end of the year at the earliest, it has emerged.

This has provoked frustration from patient groups.

NHS England published its response to a consultation on the controversial issue of how it decides which new treatments to fund in specialised services this week.