Monitor takes the special measures decision following a damning CQC report, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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5.07pm The Commons public administration select committee has announced it is to take oral evidence from two panels of healthcare experts in a one-off evidence session following up the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s reports into severe sepsis and midwifery supervision and regulation.

The session will take place on Wednesday 10 September at 9.30am, and will consider to what extent the Ombudsman’s recommendations on the two issues have been taken forward.

4.46pm And one more:

“Why not consider doing more on a weekend through reducing activity Monday to Frdayi? It is not just about how many staff, but when they are deployed to ensure a smooth efficient operation.”

4.42pm Here’s another reader comment:

“I hope Mr Poulter is ignored. The problem of extending cover without any extra money actually means that the standard of care will go down at weekends. No one with the experience required is going to agree to work at weekends without compensation leaving the gap open for the inexperienced and bank staff.”

4.40pm We’ve had some interesting reader comments in relation to our story from earlier today about the government seeking to move to seven day services without increasing the wage bill. Here’s a sample:

“Everyone wants seven day services and rightly so. But to expect doctors and nurses to provide this service without additional money is simply not acceptable. Happy staff - happy patients. This is one more example of making hard working staff unhappy.”

4.07pm Staff happiness and organisational success are inextricably linked. In the week that HSJ reveals the best places to work in healthcare, Noeleen Doherty, principal research fellow at Cranfield University School of Management, explains how to ensure a health organisation and its employees can flourish.

2.29pm Alastair McLellan’s latest editorial is now online, discussing the NHS’s response to calls for an investigation into the tragic case of Elisabeth Dixon.

Alastair says “the fact that after 13 years of fighting, the family are still unable to find anyone willing and able to carry out a full investigation is unacceptable”.

He argues to clear up confusion over how care failures are investigated two things need to happen.

The first is “an assessment system must be created to determine which individual cases of care failure have not been satisfactorily investigated by other bodies and demand further scrutiny”.

Secondly “CQC should be given the powers and resources to assume the task; providing clarity for the service and the public”.

1.17pm Government ambitions to deliver more NHS services seven days a week without increasing the wage bill have been branded an ‘attack on hard working nurses’.

Health minister Dan Poulter has asked the NHS Pay Review Body to make “observations” on “affordable out of hours working arrangements”. In a letter sent to the body on Friday he said reforms to pay were “crucial to this vital area of service provision”.

However, Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said the government’s ambitions could only be achieved by nursing staff working more night shifts and weekends “for no additional pay”.

He said: “This is an attack on hard working nurses and healthcare assistants, adding insult to injury and showing that the government’s declared support for the NHS is nothing but empty rhetoric.”

12.34pm University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust has appointed a chair to oversee the implementation of its special measures action plan.

Glenys Marriott will chair the “improvement board” which will be responsible for reviewing the programme of work to improve care at the North West trust.

Morecambe Bay was put in special measures in June following the publication of a critical Care Quality Commission inspection report.

10.55am Some hospitals will put “two fingers up” to fresh attempts to end “excessive” car parking charges, ministers were warned during a parliamentary debate.

Relatives of gravely ill patients must be given free or cheap hospital parking along with patients with disabilities, those with frequent appointments and staff working shifts, according to new government guidelines issued to English hospitals.

But MPs have warned some hospitals are charging patients and their visitors up to £500 per week, as they continue to pressure the government to consider how to reduce parking fees and commit to abolishing them.

10.25am Thousands of patients have been struck off GPs’ lists because of NHS efforts to cut the costs of “ghost patients”, The Times reports.

Doctors have warned that patients could miss vital screening appointments or vaccinations if they are removed from lists without knowing.

Medical leaders accused health chiefs of “lunacy” in an attempt to cut costs but NHS England said it needed to stop money being wasted on patients who did not exist, adding that it was not hard for patients to correct errors.

10.21am Rising numbers of people are being treated in hospital for skin cancer, according to figures from the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin.

The Times reports that hospital admissions for treatment of the disease rose 41 per cent in five years.

Part of the increase reflect a reluctance among GPs to remove dangerous moles because of guidance that it is safer to do so in hospital, while more people could also be having moles checked as a result of public information campaigns.

Cases of skin cancer are rising fastest among men over 60, up 12 per cent in the past two decades.

10.16am A Czech clinic has offered proton therapy treatment to five-year-old Ashya King, who suffers from cancer and was taken to Spain by his parents to seek treatment outside of the NHS, The Times reports.

The boy’s parents, who have been arrested and face extradition for neglect, contacted the clinic last month but claimed that Southampton General Hospital had not provided the necessary paperwork.

10.11am Browsing through this morning’s papers, The Times reports that if NHS urgent care was a car, it would be “close to failing its MoT”, Keith Willett, director of acute care at NHS England, told the public accounts committee yesterday.

He said: “We have a car we all recognise is running very hot and very close to failing the next MoT. We have to do more than just change the gearbox or the clutch.”

10.07am NHS England’s spending on commissioning support units topped £125m last year, accounting for more than a quarter of some CSUs’ income, HSJ has learned.

The extent of CSUs’ reliance on the commissioning body for business is revealed in a breakdown of their income sources, released to HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act.

Although NHS England - which hosts all CSUs - had sought to withhold the data to protect their “commercial confidentiality”, the data was released after it received advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

10.02am New figures show a drop in the number of people aged 75 or over who are registered as blind or partially sighted.

According to data from Health and Social Care Information Centre, there were seven per cent fewer people aged 75 or above registered as blind compared to 2011, and five per cent fewer registered as partially sighted.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: “It is notable that despite our ageing population, there has been a fall in the numbers of people registered as blind or partially sighted in the 75+ age group. Today’s findings are a useful resource for local councils so that they can provide the relevant services for people with sight difficulties.”   

9.37am Throughout this week HSJ, in association with NHS Employers, will be celebrating the best places to work in the health service in 2014.

On Friday we will reveal our list of the 100 best NHS organisations to work for in England. You can find out more here.

7.00am Monitor has put East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust in special measures more than two weeks after the Care Quality Commission recommended the move.

The announcement comes over two weeks after the Care Quality Commission published a damning report identifying a “worrying disconnect” between management and frontline staff, rating the trust as “inadequate” and recommending it enter the special measures regime.

Monitor said it was taking action because of “serious failures in patient safety and leadership”.

An improvement director will be appointed to support the trust and to hold it to account against delivery of an action plan that it will be required to draw up.

Monitor said East Kent had also agreed to review its leadership and the way it measures patient waiting times.