The performance divide between the NHS in England and the rest of the UK has narrowed in recent years, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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Haringey Council is to launch the bidding process this summer but refused to disclose which aspects of the service the tender would cover or the value of the contract.

“The contract details are commercially sensitive and not finalised as yet, as are exactly what services we’ll be putting out to tender,” a council spokesman said.

3.39pm There are some interesting reader comments on our story about Robert Francis expressing concern over the mental health higher funding cuts:

“The affect to the morale of Users and Carers, commissioners and providers has been enormous because of the message this measure has sent. Why is it that so often those at the top of DH/NHSE with their hands on the wheel just don’t get it? It’s not too late, put this right while you look for the £1.5b of MH money gone missing.”

“This is all really odd. Everyone gets on the MH bandwagon and yet totally misses the real issue. The cuts are killing the NHS, the difference between MH and acute cuts is irrelevant and arguably most MH trusts have had far better financial ratings than the acutes. Cuts of 4 per cent pa plus unavoidable cost pressures are damaging patient care and pehaprs Francis should focus on that before it is too late. The lacking of bridging funds to move between delivery models is nothing short of gross incompetence on behalf of NHSE et al. I imagine this is the money ‘stolen’ by the Treasury.”

“Please do not forget that not only are there mental health sectors but also learning disability services which would also feel the pain of this cut. Community services are also feeling the brunt sicker patients being managed in their own homes, patients excersing their right of choice or where they may chose to die when they are EOL and rightly so - who would want to die in an acute hospital if you have the choice of your own home, whilst preventing hospital admissions into the acute sector.”

2.18pm Doctors are using inefficient systems to receive patients’ results, but having the information pushed to a phone or tablet would provide faster care and reduce costs, says Dr Jon Shaw.

1.43pm The Times reports on Monitor urging hospitals to set up chains and franchises or take over social care services, even if means taking “controlled risks” with finances and care.

This is the conclusion of an initial report by the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes clinical commissioning groups, which says that the “status quo” for their health services was a “highly unlikely” outcome of the review, given services’ stretched financial state.

The review, the first of its kind to be funded by Monitor, is part of the health regulator’s new approach to dealing with trusts facing financially unsustainable futures.

1.18pm The British Medical Association has responded to the Health Foundation and Nuffield Trust report looking at the different health services in the UK.

Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council, said: “This report highlights a clear link between investment in staff and services, and improvements in patient care. Rather than wasting billions on unwanted changes to the NHS in England, this money would have been better spent improving frontline services, delivering more joined-up care and addressing variation in care where it exists.

“My real fear is that opening up the NHS to market forces and the fragmentation of services resulting from NHS changes will leave patient care and frontline services irreversibly damaged.”

1.14pm Unison says that the ambulance service is on the verge of breaking down due to paramedics’ stress levels.

A third of the 1300 NHS ambulance workers the union questioned had taken time off due to work related stress in the past year.

At an extraordinary meeting of Stafford Borough Council last night members voted unanimously to support the work of the Support Stafford Hospital campaign group and its efforts to seek legal advice following the decision of Jeremy Hunt to dissolve the trust and to transfer some acute services to larger neighbouring hospitals.

The motion said: “This council resolves to fund such legal action as is thought appropriate to maintain essential services at Stafford, preserve the integrity of the hospital and retain the expertise of hard working staff.”

However, the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which was commissioned to advise the health secretary, criticised the local NHS for a “marked lack of empathy” with the public.

The South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group was referred to the health secretary late last year by South Gloucestershire Council’s overview and scrutiny committee after reneging on a commitment by its predecessor primary care trust to build a new community hospital.

11.30am Join us at 12pm today for a Twitter chat about commissioning for end of life care. Follow the @HSJnews and @MarieCurieEOLC Twitter accounts from 12pm to take part. We will be using #HSJEOLC – you can use this now to pose questions for the debate.

11.23am As the move to seven day working within the NHS gathers momentum, Udara Ranasinghe looks at the pitfalls that can befall organisations in its implementation.

11.00am Our readers’ letters this week comment on Lord Warner’s proposal to introduce patient charges and a call for more training in child mental health from the senior people at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

10.48am The Daily Mail reports that the suicide of a violinist days after her court ordeal at a sex abuse trial “could and should have been prevented” by mental health services, a report said yesterday.

Frances Andrade, 48, took a fatal overdose a week after being cross-examined over her accusations against Michael Brewer, who was later convicted of indecently assaulting her.

Yesterday a serious case review into her death in January 2013 concluded mental health services had failed to respond to “flashing red lights” that she was at high risk of committing suicide.

10.34am This week’s issue of HSJ is now available to read on the tablet app. It includes an interview with Monitor chief executive David Bennett calling for “turbo-charging change” and the launch of the HSJ inquiry into the future of NHS leadership.

The joint study by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation revealed that England performs marginally better across a number of areas, including life expectancy, ambulance response times and amenable mortality rates- deaths considered avoidable by medical intervention.

Scotland saw improvement in in sanctions and targets but Wales saw waiting times for procedures such as knee or hip operations rise sharply since 2010.

9.55am The findings of a survey of the professional finance community working at the coalface of the NHS point to a number of issues that need addressing, writes policy and technical director at the Healthcare Financial Management Association, Paul Briddock.

9.48am The Guardian reports that men with prostate cancer are being given false hope by tests that underestimate the aggressiveness of their disease, according to a study.

Researchers found that more than half of a group of men whose cancers were initially classified as slow-growing and confined later turned out to have more dangerous tumours.

Mr Francis told HSJ the recommendations he made to improve standards of care in the NHS were “just as applicable” to the non-acute sector, adding he would be “very concerned” if as a result mental health was given “even less priority” than it currently is.

His intervention brings further embarrassment for NHS England, which has repeatedly claimed the costs of implementing recommendations from the Francis report as justification for their decision to apply higher efficiency requirements to non-acute providers.

9.37am Join our Twitter chat today discussing commissioning end of life care in the context of an ageing population.

Follow the @HSJnews and @MarieCurieEOLC Twitter accounts from 12pm today to take part. We will be using #HSJEOLC – you can use this now to pose questions for the debate.

9.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

We start the day with the announcement that a new health and care integration summit is to be launched by HSJ and its sister title Local Government Chronicle with the intention of offering advice and support to health and wellbeing board members.

The integration summit will bring together professionals from local government, the NHS and associated bodies for debate and simulation exercises designed to improve system leadership and outcomes.