Health and local government ministers have insisted better care fund cash will not be diverted by councils into non-health projects, plus the rest of the day’s news and comment

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5.00pm The BBC reports on research by University College London, which has found that over half of patients leaving intensive care suffer long term psychological damage.

4.23pm Also in The King’s Fund blog, Helen Gilburt examines who should lead the debate on mental health funding and reforming the system.

“At the moment, the mental health system benefits from strong and consistent leadership from local mental health trusts. Their expertise in delivering care for people with mental health problems, supported by block contracting, has contributed to their dominance in service provision. However, this may have come at a price,” she argues.

“Most trusts offer little in the way of choice for service users seeking to take greater control over their health, while their focus on acute care and limited interface with primary care limits their contribution to supporting greater moves towards the prevention of mental illness.” 

4.00pm In The King’s Fund blog, senior fellow Nigel Edwards argues the NHS must learn from previous mistake sin order to transform community services.

He writes: “This area represents multiple failures of policy and process: failure to develop good metrics and effective commissioning; underinvestment in good management; ineffective implementation of policy – and general neglect.

“Some providers are delivering fantastic and innovative care against the odds and new thinking and models are emerging. It will now be important that the mistakes of the past are not repeated and the opportunity to transform community services is seized.”

3.30pm The latest column from Your Humble Servant is now available to read online.

3.20pm Do staff have access to the information they need on malnutrition?

What are the barriers to better nutritional care?

To coincide with Nutrition and Hydration Week, HSJ is exploring nutrition in the NHS and we would like to hear your views.

2.59pm NHS England today published its planned care waiting list data for December 2013.

Waiting time guru Rob Finlay has analysed that these figures mean in his HSJ blog.

2.47pm What is the best way to commission end of life care?

Tomorrow at 12pm, HSJ – in association with Marie Curie Cancer Care – will be running a twitter chat to discuss the importance of partnership working in end of life care.

Dr Peter Nightingale, the joint Royal College of GPs and Marie Curie clinical lead for end of life care, will be online taking questions and offering his thoughts.

Follow the @hsjnews and @mariecurieEOLC Twitter accounts on 14 February to take part.

We will be using #HSJEoLC – you can use this hashtag now to post questions and contributions for the debate.

2.32pm On the subject of Monitor, the regulatory body must get the balance right with its competition and performance oversight roles or risk its competition powers being taken away, argues Andrew Taylor, founding director of the Cooperation and Competition Panel.

2.20pm Monitor has arranged for expert support to be given to Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals Foundation Trust, to help improve its standard of care.

The regulatory body has appointed Mark Davies, former chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare, as the trust’s improvement director. He will operate on a part-time capacity.

Mr Davies was also appointed as the part-time improvement director for Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, which is subject to a police investigation following allegations that staff were pressurised into manipulating waiting time data.

Mr Davies has been the chief executive of seven NHS trusts, including Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals.

Frimley Park Hospital Foundation Trust has also agreed to work with Heatherwood and Wexham Park hospitals, ahead of a potential acquisition.

Monitor regional director Mark Turner said: “We believe this expert support will enable the Trust to make the necessary improvements so that patients can receive quality care both before and after a potential acquisition by Frimley Park hospitals.

“Mark Davies brings substantial NHS experience to this role, in particular a track record of successfully dealing with the complex challenges that can arise in large organisation such as this trust.

“We will continue to monitor the trust’s progress closely and will not hesitate to take further regulatory action if required”.

2pm Two commissioning support units have announced they are entering into a formal merger.

Find out which ones they are by clicking here.

CSUs across England have made arrangements to form networks, following the publication of NHS England guidance on the procurement framework for support services in October. The guidance states that a smaller number of CSUs will offer a full range of services than before.

By forming networks, CSUs hope to be entitled accreditation into NHS England’s “lead provider” framework.

CSUs who do not gain accreditation could only survive as subcontractors to the lead providers.

Decisions over which CSUs will be accredited as lead providers are expected to be made in the spring.

1.41pm The Daily Telegraph also reports on a new breast cancer drug, known as T-DM1, which could give an extra six months of life 1,300 women with an advanced form of the disease.

A new breast cancer drug that will give 1,300 women a year with advanced form of the disease an extra six months of life has been hailed by charities as a “huge step forward” in treatment.

1.20pm More from today’s papers this lunchtime, The Daily Telegraph reports on GPs warning of a “crisis of confidence” over, and calling for the programme to be stalled until the public is better informed.

12.15pm Also in The Guardian, doctors are missing signs of a life-threatening lung disease in six out of seven patients, according to research.

A study of almost 390,000 UK sufferers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder found that doctors had overlooked symptoms such as breathlessness and “smoker’s cough” in around 85 of them.

12.02pm Back to the day’s papers, The Guardian reports that one of England’s four children-only hospitals has “very worrying” problems in its operating theatres, according to the Care Quality Commission.

Alder Hey in Liverpool failed to meet four of five national standards when it was inspected in December. Shortcomings included a faulty emergency call system, potential safety incidents, unreported “near misses”, staff shortages leading to cancelled operations.

11.38am South Devon Healthcare Trust has confirmed that its director of workforce development and organisational development Adrienne Murphy is also being investigated alongside chief executive Paula Vasco-Knight, following a tribunal ruling that found the trust sought to cover up nepotism claims against Dr Vasco-Knight.

Another acting chairman has also been appointed following the resignations of Peter Hildrew and his replacement Topsy Murray. David Allen has been a non-executive director at the trust since 2012 and has now been appointed acting chair.

He said: “It is a great privilege to be asked to act as chair of this trust. Our superb staff work tirelessly for our patients and I am immensely proud of them.

“My priorities are our patients first and always, restoring the excellent reputation of the trust and progressing our plans with Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust to integrate health and social care services for the benefit of the people of Torbay and Southern Devon. They deserve the very best care and that is what we work to deliver.”

11.22am However, Professor Colin Baigent counters in The Daily Mail that statins are a “vital tool in combating cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death in this country, causing around 180,000 deaths  each year”.

He adds: If we want to stop deaths which seem to come out of the blue in a person with no previous heart problems, then we have to encourage healthy lifestyles and start treating seemingly healthy people with a statin.

“It can’t be done efficiently in any other way.”

11.14am The Daily Mail also reports on “the great statins divide”. Following the recommendation by NICE the cholesterol-lowering drugs should be made available to patients with a 10 per cent or more risk or more of having a heart attack within a decade, Dr Aseem Malhotra argues that tackling obesity would be a more beneficial step towards reducing death rates than prescribing statins.

He writes: “My biggest worry about statins is that people will see them as a magic pill that allows them to tuck into three pizzas a night and umpteen hamburgers with impunity. But they aren’t. People who want to take care of  their health, need to make changes themselves.”

10.46am On the subject of cosmetic surgery, The Daily Mail reports on biology teacher Victoria Meppen-Walter, 44, who committed suicide after she became “obsessed” he looks had been ruined by surgery to remove a cancerous mole from her forehead.

Ms Teppen-Walter had said she was left with “burning pains” and “dreadful facial deformities” following cosmetic surgery, however the coroner found the procedure had been performed satisfactorily.

10.29am In today’s papers, The Times also reports that anti-ageing injections will have to be prescribed by doctors as part of a clampdown on the cosmetic surgery industry.

Clinicians will have to supervise the use of dermal fillers and regulators will get tough on lax prescribing over the internet after a review last year said that the jabs were “a crisis waiting to happen”.

10.20am The BBC reports that the government is set to announce tougher rules on dermal fillers, Botox injections and plastic surgery, in a bid to curb “cowboy practices”.

10.01am From our sister title Nursing Times, nurses at a service that supports adults with learning disabilities in Doncaster are threatening to strike over cuts in pay and conditions after the service was taken over by a private provider.

9.54am Since the reorganisation of the health service, many people have been left wondering who can or should decide the future of healthcare provision, says Holly Jarman, a research assistant professor with a joint appointment at the Centre for Law, Ethics, and Health and the department of health management and policy at Michigan University.

9.41am In Resource Centre this morning, emergency admissions of patients with rare neuromuscular conditions can be avoided if specialist support and coordinated care is available in the community, writes Kate Bushby, action research chair of neuromuscular genetics at the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University.

9.29am Nearly a quarter of the funding for local Healthwatch groups has gone missing, according to research by the national body representing them.

England’s 148 local Healthwatch groups, which were set up as “consumer champions” for the NHS under the Health Act 2012, were allocated £43.5m by the Department of Health last year.

But research by Healthwatch England, shared exclusively with HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle, has found the groups only received £33.5m of this – leaving £10m unaccounted for.

9.20am The Department of Health has acknowledged that life expectancy at 75 – one of its corporate indicators – fell in 2012 for the first time in many years.

Meanwhile, provisional statistics suggest it may have fallen or remained the same in 2013, in an unusual break from a long term trend of year on year increases.

7.00am Welcome to HSJ Live. We start the day with the news that health and local government ministers have insisted better care fund cash will not be diverted by councils into non-health projects.

In HSJ and Local Government Chronicle’s interview with Norman Lamb and Brandon Lewis, the two ministers sought to play down fears expressed by NHS England’s medical director at a Commons health committee hearing last month. Sir Bruce Keogh said: “There is a fear that the labels [will] be taken off the money and that it will be used for filling in potholes and other significant things.”