The Care Quality Commission has been asked to consider taking on patient safety from NHS England, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

Live logo

6.00pm The NHS Confederation has warned that pitting managers against nurses over pay will not improve patient care.

In response a report published today by the Royal College of Nursing criticising pay rises for senior executives, NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster said “At a time of great change it is important that we come together in the NHS. The Confederation, working with a range of partners, is keen to ensure that we do.

“Our experience from members is that they have continued with pay restraint for Executives. This is a matter for individual trusts, who may also be guided by the national Very Senior Managers Framework.

“In each trust there will be clear governance through Remuneration Committees, with non-executive chairs of any pay awards made.”

He said: “As the trade union representing nurses, the Royal College of Nursing is right to represent its members’ interests, and to argue for pay rises, benefits and other incentives for the nursing workforce. It would be remiss of the RCN to take its members’ subscription fees if it didn’t.

“It is also important that there is balance in the debate and we believe that putting clinicians against managers will not improve patient care.”

5.30pm Concern that Labour’s plans for integrated health and social care would necessitate another NHS re-organisation will be tackled by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham during the key note session at next week’s Commissioning Show.

The session will be chaired by HSJ editor Alastair McLellan and will also feature contributions from National Association of Primary Care chair Dr Charles Alessi and former House of Commons health committee chair Stephen Dorrell, in one of his first public appearances since unexpectedly stepping down from the role.

The Commissioning Show is being held 25-26 June at London’s Excel exhibition centre. Andy Burnham will speak at 9am on 26 June, with the debate following directly after.

HSJ is once again the lead media partner for the Commissioning Show.

The conference and exhibition is aimed at all involved in commissioning and integration projects, and will inform delegates on subjects ranging from organisational development and governance advice, to approaches to commissioning for patients with long-term conditions.

The conference programmes, include streams dedicated to CCG business, NHS England Local Area Teams and integrated care. Over 300 speakers will deliver legislation and policy updates, live debates, case studies and keynote sessions. The integrated care stream will draw these strands together, including topics such as “Is person-centred care possible?”, “Whole-system innovations to tackle the A&E crisis”, and “The Better Care Fund – Better for everyone?”.

Passes are free for NHS and public sector teams, but they are limited and delegates must register in advance here.

5.15pm Introducing barcoding and electronic tagging to the health service could save thousands of lives, explains Chris Doyle, industry marketing manager of healthcare, GS1 UK.

4.38pm Mirror columnist Kevin Maguire argues the NHS could be Labour’s “trump card” in the next general election.

“Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is failing to neutralise it as an issue as waiting lists mount and services decline,” he writes.

“Hunt blaming every problem on the last Labour Government of four years ago is a political smokescreen blown away by calamities in accident and emergency units, GP surgeries and care for the elderly.

“All are cataclysms on the Tory Health Secretary’s watch and his shouting “Stafford Hospital” might cheer bovine Con MPs but it doesn’t assuage the concerns of patients waiting more than four hours in A&E or a week for a GP appointment.”

4.10pm Birmingham Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust has announced it is leading a consortium of public, private and voluntary organisations in a bid to deliver mental health services for young people in Birmingham.

The consortium is bidding to run a new joined up service for children, adolescents and young adults which was tendered by Birmingham South and Central Clinical Commissioning Group on behalf of the city’s CCGs last month.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital was unable to bid independently for the contract because it covers patients from birth to the age of 25.

3.28pm In a speech at the annual Royal College of Nursing’s congress in Liverpool the union’s chief executive Peter Carter has warned nurses away from strike action over pay.

This is the first time the RCN has signaled it won’t follow other unions such as Unison, Unite or the Royal College of Midwives down the route of industrial action.

Instead the RCN says it will target 40 MPs in marginal seats and put pressure on politicians about nurse’s pay.

Mr Carter described the government’s decision to reject a 1 per cent pay rise as “ruthless” and “insulting”.

He told the congress: “It’s a double standard, it’s insulting and it’s blatantly unfair.

He urged nurses to “think very hard” about what they wanted to do in response.

“I know you’re angry…but however insulting the government’s pay settlement is, and however hard that makes things for you, you do need to think carefully about strike action.

“Think what going on strike really means. For a strike to work, it has to have a real impact on someone or something.

“If you’re a nurse, it means abandoning your patients – leaving those babies in the neonatal unit – cancelling that visit to an elderly patient in the community – walking out of the emergency department, or psychiatric ward.

“However strong your feelings, I know you won’t leave your patients in the lurch,” he said. “That’s not what you came into this job to do.”

Earlier today, the RCN published a study that claimed senior executives have received substantial pay rises at the expense of frontline nurses.

3.00pm NHS Employers should plough greater resources into in work training schemes for the nursing workforce, the head of a major review of the profession’s education and training has said.

Lord Willis, the Liberal Democrat peer chairing the Shape of Caring review, told HSJ in an exclusive interview that continuing professional development would be a key focus of his work. This was necessary to ensure nurses had the skills necessary for the NHS of the future, he added.

2.34pm Give social enterprise a greater role in the provision of local healthcare and you can energise staff, save the NHS money and bypass the red tape that holds back innovation, argues Tracey Bush, managing director of Spiral Health.

2.08pm Take a look at our interactive maps of local NHS waits around England, produced by waiting times expert Rob Findlay, showing the pressures and one-year-waits, with links to all the detail by organisation and specialty.

1.43pm The outsourcing company Mitie has been awarded a contract to take on the management of a South West hospital trust’s hotel services, it has been announced.

The £90m deal to provide Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust with cleaning, housekeeping and maintenance services covers an initial seven-year period and allows for a further three-year extension.

12.59pm The Guardian reports that almost half of all women who miscarry have to wait 24 hours or more for a scan to know whether their baby is still alive – a lack of “human kindness” that needs to be addressed - according to a survey.

Parenting website Mumsnet has published statistics which is says show the treatment and support of women receive fail to meet their needs or measure up to official guidelines.

The survey of 1,065 women who has miscarried found 46 per cent has to wait more than 24 hours for a scan with 18 per cent waiting longer than three days.

12.42pm Nurses are being urged to talk quietly at night and avoid squeaky shoes to help patients get a better night’s sleep, The Times reports.

Delegates at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Liverpool today will be urged to take sleep more seriously and wake patients as little as possible.

12.33pm In The Times, a small majority of GPs would like the option of an assisted suicide if they were terminally ill, according to a survey by MedeConnect Healthcare Insight, on behalf of Dignitas.

The poll of 1005 doctors found 40 per cent in favour, 32 per cent against and a quarter undecided.

However, two thirds said the BMA and royal colleges should take a neutral stance.

12.22pm The man in charge of a hospitals trust where more than 800 suspected cancer patients were wrongly discharged was paid a bonus of up to £45,000 at the time, The Daily Telegraph reports

Jan Filochowski, who led West Hertfordshire Trust for five years , stepped down in October 2012 – 18 months before the scandal emerged.

It later transpired that between January 2010 and November 2013, hundreds of patients referred urgently to hospitals in Hertfordshire because of symptoms of cancer were automatically removed from waiting lists.

12.04pm Looking the papers this lunchtime, the NHS is forced to reinforce beds and widen corridors to cope with obese patients, The Daily Telegraph reports on its front page.

The paper writes that the obesity crisis is so serious that NHS hospitals are buying specialist equipment to keep bodies cool because they are too large to fit into mortuary fridges.

Hospitals are also buying lifting equipment in order to cope with the growing numbers of obese patients coming through their doors.

The Telegraph has also produced a list with examples of how some hospitals are spending some of their share of the £5.5m being spent on adaptations and equipment for obese patients over three years.

11.26am Senior executives have received substantial pay rises at the expense of frontline nurses the Royal College of Nursing has claimed.

The union has published a study, called All in Together?, showing the cost of executive directors at 126 NHS trusts over the last two financial years has increased by an average of 6.1 per cent. The union says nurses earnings has risen 1.6 per cent rise over the same period.

However, in making the comparison the union asked for the total cost of the executive team and this included salaries, National Insurance costs, employer pension contributions and other benefits including redundancy payments and compensation. The data is based on a team and not per person.

Nurses earnings data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre is based on per individual and will not include the additional costs to employers. The RCN told HSJ there hadn’t been any significant changes in additional costs other than pay in the two financial years which it claims makes up the majority of the increase in cost.

The RCN also examined individual pay and bonuses for executive directors and said half of the trusts had awarded salary increases of at least £5,000 to one or more executive director and a quarter had awarded increases in benefit in kind payments to at least one or more executive directors.

It highlighted 7 trusts where executives had received bonuses including the chief executive of Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust, Sir Jonathan Michael and the former chief executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust Jan Filochowski, who it said both received bonuses between £40,000 and £45,000.

It unveiled the report at its annual congress which is taking place this week in Liverpool.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “The findings in this report are yet another kick in the teeth for hardworking and loyal nursing staff.

“The government has maintained an iron grip on the pay and benefits of frontline staff, whilst the senior managers pay bill has seemingly gone unchecked,” he said.

The government has angered NHS unions following its decision in March to reject the independent Pay Review Body recommendation for a blanket 1 per cent rise in basic pay.

Instead, those at the top of their band will receive the 1 per cent but those eligible for an incremental rise will not. Those who have increments withheld on performance grounds will receive no pay rise at all.

Unison, unite and the Royal College of Midwives have all threatened industrial action over the pay decision.

11.03am A nurse has been arrested on suspicion of stealing drugs from hospitals run by Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, local police have disclosed.

10.58am Clinical commissioning groups have queued up to follow Somerset’s lead and break away from the national quality and outcomes framework, despite a strong signal from NHS England that further extension of the freedoms were unlikely in 2014-15.

As revealed by HSJ last week, NHS England approved a local alternative to the framework for practices in Somerset.

However, the body has said the freedoms will not be replicated in any other part of the country during this year.

10.44am Robert Francis has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List.

Mr Francis, who led the inquiry into care failures at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and has recently appointed a board member of the Care Quality Commission, was knighted in recognition of his services to healthcare and patients.

Michael Deegan, chief executive of Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust, and Professor David Fish, managing director of UCL Partners - part of the academic health science network - were also knighted for their services to the NHS.

Other senior NHS figures honoured include Amanda Doyle and Steve Kell, co-chairs of the NHS Clinical Commissioners leadership group, who were awarded OBEs for services to primary care.

Sam Barrell, chief clinical officer of South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, which has been widely praised for its pioneering integrated care arrangements, was awarded an CBE for her services to clinical commissioning and integrated healthcare.

Steven Peter Michael, chief executive of South West Yorkshire  Partnership Foundation Trust, was also honoured for his services to healthcare.

Jill Maben, director National Nursing Research Unit at King’s College London, was made an OBE for her services to nursing.

The full list can be viewed here.

10.38am There have been several changes to the way health provider estates have been owned and managed, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Bridget Archibald, partner and head of health at Mills and Reeve, canvasses the changes.

9.53am EXCLUSIVE: The Care Quality Commission has been asked to consider taking on patient safety from NHS England, HSJ has learned.

An internal review of NHS England’s functions, initiated by chief executive Simon Stevens when he arrived in April, has concluded that the organisation is not best placed to provide national leadership on patient safety.

HSJ understands preliminary discussions have taken place between the two national bodies about transferring the patient safety directorate to the CQC.

9.30am Bill Moyes, who championed the development of foundation trusts as Monitor executive chair, has urged the NHS to reconsider “whether the model of foundation trusts is sensible”.

In an interview with HSJ he argued the failure of many trusts to become FTs, ten years on from when he oversaw the first ones, “does raise questions both about the viability of those institutions, but also about whether the model of foundation trusts is sensible”.

9.25am Welcome to HSJ Live. To start the day, a single statutory panel could be established to judge fitness to practice cases for all health professionals, the chair of the General Dental Council has suggested.

The comments by Bill Moyes, the former executive chair of foundation trust regulator Monitor, follow the government’s surprise decision not to changes laws in order to streamline professional regulation before next year’s general election.

Several professional regulators argue that this failure to legislate hampers their ability to make quick decisions and protect patients.