Outsourcing firm Capita responsible for breach of NHS employees’ personal data in Liverpool , plus the rest of the day’s news and comment

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4.50pm However not all our readers have been so critical of the government’s plans:

“I support the legislation and it is a shame that NHS professionals are defensive or aggressive towards it. But shouldn’t the legislation also apply to private care and nursing homes who fail to keep proper records of falls, bruises, illnesses and injuries and if they fail to keep CQC and the local authorities safeguarding teams advised when they should?”

3.09pm Our story on how NHS managers face jail for publishing misleading information has attracted some strong comments. Here’s a selection:

“Can we fully support this initiative for both the NHS and the politicians who run the show!”


“The hatred of public sector management is almost visceral.”


“Regulation is never a sustainable solution and merely leads to regulatory game playing. Whatever happened to ‘doing the right thing’? Oh, the amount of litigation!”

2.18pm Some breaking news: privately run Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust has warned that its deficit could exceed £12m this year, and has applied for a government bailout of nearly £10m.

The trust’s latest finance report, to be discussed at its board meeting on Thursday, states that even an “optimistic” forecast shows Hinchingbrooke finishing £7.7m in the red. Its “pessimistic” forecast shows a deficit of £12.2m.

Hinchingbrooke has applied to the NHS Trust Development Authority for £9.6m of public dividend capital funding, and expects in the meantime to be able to make use of a “TDA temporary borrowing facility”, the report shows.

1.43pm Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust is still awaiting £4m of funding to help it clear its large backlog of elective patients waiting for treatment.

Commissioners had already agreed to fund £4.1m of the work last year. However, the trust is yet to receive the money and estimates it needs a further £4m on top of that to treat the backlog of patients by the end of March.

This funding has yet to be agreed with commissioners.

1.04pm NHS managers who publish false or misleading information could face up to two years in prison under new laws set to be confirmed by ministers this week, HSJ has learned.

The Department of Health has revealed it plans to lay regulations for the criminal offence as part of its response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust inquiry report.

The government is also set to reveal plans to fine hospitals £10,000 for each clinical negligence claim where they fail to be open and honest about significant clinical failings.

12.20pm More than 60 bids by NHS and other care providers have received a share of the second tranche of nursing technology fund, an NHS England director has told HSJ.

The second tranche of money from the flagship technology fund was originally worth £70m. But it was cut to £35m by the Department of Health, as revealed by HSJ in November.

NHS England’s director of strategic systems and technology, Beverley Bryant, said 62 organisations would receive a share of the funding. The winners include 55 NHS trusts and seven voluntary, community or social enterprises.

12.16pm Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust has formally challenged a decision by its main commissioner to impose financial penalties worth a total of £2m this year.

The acute trust said in board papers it “does not accept” the penalties levied by Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Minutes from the trust’s governing body meeting in December said: “The full year effect of the CCG penalties (including emergency department) is £2m, with the current position standing at £400,000.

“The trust does not accept these penalties and is formally challenging them with the CCG.”

10.50am The Financial Times reports that the NHS has appointed private sector companies including Capita to help buy billions of pounds of services for hospitals and GPs.

NHS England has announced that Capita Business Services, Mouchel and Optum, part of United Health, are among companies that are in line to win work worth at least £5bn advising clinical commissioning groups, which spend more than two-thirds of the NHS budget buying care for patients.

A host of NHS organisations were also appointed to the ‘framework’ of preferred suppliers of commissioning support services.

These organisations can be used by hospitals and GPs to buy service more quickly - £3bn-£5bn of services must be procured by April 2016 to meet EU law.

10.41am The Daily Mail reports that an inquiry into whistleblowing, led by Sir Robert Francis QC, will call for hospitals to stop using gagging clauses as a means of silencing whistleblowers.

Campaigners have called for such clauses to be banned outright.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said over the weekend that about 1,000 patients a month are dying in NHS hospitals because of avoidable mistakes and a culture of cover-up.

The report of the inquiry ‘Freedom to speak up?’ is due to be published on Wednesday.

10.29am The Daily Telegraph reports (newspaper only) that false fire alarms are costing hospitals thousands of pounds in fines, figures have shown.

London Fire Brigade began charging repeat offenders last years to try to reduce the time and money wasted on unnecessary call-outs, which make up more than a third of incidents.

However, due to bogus alerts automatically triggering calls to the emergency services, some hospitals are still being visited each week, leaving the NHS facing a £177,000 bill in London for 2014.

10.22am On Sunday Jeremy Hunt announced an annual national case note review to try to reduce the number of avoidable deaths.

The health secretary has ordered an annual review of a large national sample of patient case notes - approximately 2000.

The review will be used to establish a national rate of avoidable deaths every year, and on that basis place individual hospitals into bandings according to the number of deaths estimated locally. To place hospitals within the bandings more accurately, their projected share according to the national estimate will be adjusted to take account of each hospital’s known safety metrics.

By March 2016, every hospital board will have the first of an annual series of projected avoidable mortality rates to inform and drive local improvement. Every hospital chairman will be required to write to the health secretary upon receipt of their figures each year to update him on how they plan to eradicate avoidable deaths in their organisation.

Jeremy Hunt said: “I’m determined to go even further in rooting out poor care, and have ordered a national case-note review to work out the percentage of avoidable deaths by hospital. I want all hospital boards to have a laser-like focus on eradicating avoidable deaths in their organisation; even one life lost to poor care or safety error is too many.”

Hospital mortality rates expert, Professor Nick Black, said: “A national annual review would place England as the first country in the world to monitor the extent of avoidable deaths, and provide a basis for stimulating quality improvement in each individual hospital.”

10.05am The outsourcing firm Capita has been responsible for a breach of NHS employees’ personal data in Liverpool, HSJ can reveal.

The company, which was providing human resources services to nine trusts in Liverpool until last year, mistakenly sent details of staff at other Merseyside trusts to Liverpool Community Health Trust’s HR department.

The trusts in the “Merseyside consortium” transferred payroll and recruitment services to Capita HR Solutions in 2012.

9.55am There is “hard evidence” that the special measures regime has reduced death rates at the 11 Keogh trusts and potentially saved hundreds of lives, researchers have claimed.

According to statistical analysis by Dr Foster, the healthcare information company, there has been a significant reduction in mortality rates at the trusts since the regime was introduced in July 2013.

The 11 trusts experienced a decline in their mortality rates of 9.5 per cent, compared to a 3.3 per cent decrease nationally, from July 2013 to August 2014.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. With the government’s record on healthcare reform coming into sharp focus, and following five years at the helm, have its legislative and structural changes left the service in a better or worse shape than when it arrived, asks Chris Ham, chief executive of the King’s Fund.