Dame Sally Davies calls for Academy of Medical Sciences to review the safety and efficacy of medicines to restore public trust, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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5.00pm NHS England has signalled it will adopt a ‘strategic approach’ in its use of a £1bn fund for primary care premises, admitting that the first year of investment had been a ‘rush’.

The central authority first announced a £1bn fund for investment in GP premises in January. Practices were invited to bid for funding, which would be released in £250m tranches over four years. The successful bidders for the first year were announced in March, shortly before the pre-election purdah period.

The organisation’s director of primary care commissioning, David Geddes, admitted “this year was a rush”. He added: “What we want to be able to make sure… is that next tranche is not another tranche of a one year process.”

4.55pm The Department of Health is considering a cap on legal costs for clinical negligence claims against NHS organisations.

In a letter to providers and clinical commissioning groups, DH finance director David Williams said the department is working with the NHS Litigation Authority and Ministry of Justice on the plans.

The letter outlines various measures to reduce NHS spending, including the previously reported cap on agency staff spending. But it also says work has begun to “review a number of issues including the potential to introduce fixed legal costs for clinical negligence”.

3.30pm A man who received stolen NHS cancer care money has been ordered to pay back over £74,000 to the Royal Marsden Hospital, following a confiscation order brought by NHS Protect.

William Flynn of Wallington, Greater London, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment last July after pleading guilty to conspiracy to convert criminal property. He has three months to pay the money or he will be sent back to jail for two years and three months for non-payment.

Flynn was one of eight people convicted of conspiracy to defraud or conspiracy to money launder following the theft of £642K from the Royal Marsden Hospital. Members of the group used the money to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, buying luxury goods from Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Selfridges. In total, £331K was recovered from the group and they were jailed for a total of over 14 years.

The full extent of the fraud was uncovered after the Royal Marsden referred concerns to NHS Protect. One of the trust’s regular suppliers reported that over £180,000 worth of bills had not been paid. Investigations by NHS Protect revealed that the bank account details held by the trust for the supplier had been changed without authorization, diverting the funds to unknown accounts. Royal Marsden’s then accounts payable officer Stacey Tipler was responsible for making these changes, and five other suppliers also had their payment arrangements altered. Ms Tipler’s partner Scott Chaplin recruited the other conspirators, who then provided the bank accounts to launder the stolen money.

Sue Frith, managing director of  NHS Protect, said, “The public will be pleased to see a court forcing a fraudster to either pay up or get locked up again. We always seek to recover stolen NHS funds, which is taxpayers’ money and was needed by NHS cancer patients.”

At a seminar of the leadership inquiry at the all party parliamentary health group this morning, Sir Sam Everington, chair of Tower Hamlets CCG who also leads on primary care service redesign for NHS England, said there was a “lack of leadership development” among consultants.

He said: “What the Lansley reforms did is cement leadership development in putting GPs in a commissioning role. Where I see a massive gap is the lack of leadership development among consultants.

2.30pm A trust in special measures is facing collective legal action from more than a dozen patients and families. It comes amid allegations of systemic failure which contributed to poor care, HSJ has learned.

Lawyers for 17 separate families and patients said if the case against Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust is successful, it could pave the way for group actions against other NHS trusts where systemic failures play a role in poor care.

The legal action is based on a number of allegations in 17 cases between 2007 and 2013 that all include claims of systemic failure. It is unusual for the cases to be grouped together and for the claim to rest on the systemic failures claimed in the specific cases.

2.25pm Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust will have extra regulatory conditions placed on it after CQC inspectors issued a warning following an inspection in March.

CQC visited the trust unannounced following concerns regarding the emergency departments at the trust’s Alexandra Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “Our inspectors were concerned at what they found in the emergency departments at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust. We found there were delays in handovers from ambulance crews, there was a shortage of nursing and senior medical staff and we had concerns about safeguarding procedures concerning children and the management of medicines.

“This is why we took immediate action. Our team gave feedback on their findings to the trust as soon as they had finished their inspection and this was quickly followed by CQC issuing warning notices and placing a condition on the trust’s registration. We have been closely monitoring the trust since our inspection, working with the Trust Development Authority and other stakeholders, such as the local Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England, and we will continue to do so.

“Our inspectors will return to the trust unannounced at a future date to check on whether improvements have been made. If improvements are not made we will consider what further action we need to take.  

“Significant work is needed to improve services at the trust so that it meets the standards people have a right to expect.

“The trust knows what it now needs to do to ensure change takes place.”

A condition was placed on the trust’s registration with regard to the service at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

This stated that the trust had to ensure appropriately skilled and qualified staff assessed patients on their arrival at the emergency department, with immediate effect. It also stated that the trust needed to ensure systems were in place for patients to receive a safe and prompt handover from the ambulance service in to the emergency department.

Warnings were also issued with regard to the emergency departments at both the hospitals inspected. The trust has been told it must make immediate improvements with regard to security relating to children being cared for at both hospitals and with regard to staffing levels and the maintenance of equipment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Under its inspection model, CQC gives individual ratings to each of the core services at NHS trusts and gives trusts an overall rating. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust is yet to be rated under this system however it will undergo an inspection next month, where CQC will follow up on the findings of the March inspection.

2.20pm The Centre for Ageing Better has appointed Anna Dixon as its new chief executive.

Ms Dixon was most recently chief analyst and director of strategy at the Department of Health. Before this she spent seven years as a director at the King’s Fund.

1.11pm As many medical consultants as GPs should sit on the governing bodies of their local clinical commissioning groups, a member on HSJ’s Future of NHS Leadership inquiry has said.

At a seminar of the leadership inquiry at the all party parliamentary health group this morning, Sir Sam Everington, chair of Tower Hamlets CCG who also leads on primary care service redesign for NHS England, said there was a “lack of leadership development” among consultants.

10.56am You can read the full recommendations of the HSJ’s Future of NHS Leadership inquiry here.

10.34am Claire Read, the secretary of the Future of NHS Leadership Inquiry is also tweeting from the event.

10.28am Our correspondent Sophie Barnes is at the parliamentary launch of HSJ’s Future of NHS Leadership report. See her Twitter feed for updates.

10.16am A temporary finance director paid £47,000 a month by Barts NHS Trust has been relieved of his duties, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Ian Miller was being the equivalent to an annual salary of £561,000 despite a Government order to halt the “excessive and indefensible” rates paid on short-term contracts, the paper said.

Barts Health NHS trust, which has the highest bill for agency doctors and nurses and is forecasting the greatest deficit in the history of the NHS, confirmed that he was no longer working for them.

A spokesperson said: “We have previously made clear that we required Ian Miller’s support because he was available immediately – for a period of up to six months – and because he had the experience needed to lead the finance department of the largest NHS trust in the country.

“We now have that expertise in-house, and consequently, Ian Miller’s short-term contract recently ended.”

10.11am Dentists are falsely advertising NHS appointments they cannot provide, and then push for patients to pay for private treatments that cost hundreds of pounds more, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Undercover researchers from Which? found nearly four in 10 dental surgeries that claimed on the Government’s official website to offer NHS services, but refused to offer an appointment when they were telephoned.

A third were fully booked for at least two weeks. In one case, researchers who said they suffered from tooth pain were told to wait “eight to nine months”, the researchers said.

10.04am More than 100,000 people with asthma in the UK are at risk of having a potentially fatal attack because GPs are not prescribing them the right medication, a charity warns in The Guardian today.

An estimated 22,000 people, including 2,000 children, are in danger because they are using long-acting reliever inhalers on their own rather than with a steroid preventer as they should be, according to a report by Asthma UK.

That poses a danger because the reliever helps to improve the patient’s breathing but not treat the underlying inflammation that causes flare-ups of asthma.

10.01am The Guardian reports that the morning after pill has been officially licensed for use by girls under 16 for the first time, and is set to be available from pharmacies across the country.

EllaOne, which has the advantage of being effective five days after sexual intercourse, has received a change of licence from the European medicines agency, which means it is available for use by any woman of reproductive age in Europe.

Tony Fraser, the general manager of HRA Pharma in the UK and Ireland, which makes the pill, said he felt it was “important that we look at these things pragmatically and realistically. Girls don’t go to the pharmacy unless something has happened and they need care”.

9.47am: There should be an independent review of the safety and efficacy of medicines, Dame Sally Davies has said.

The chief medical officer for England requested the review in a letter to the president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Sir John Tooke the BBC has learned.

The review by the academy will start tomorrow.

The letter was sent in February. Dame Sally wrote that she was “very concerned” about the public view that doctors and scientists are “untrustworthy”.

She cited debates over the use of cholesterol lowering statin drugs for people at low risk of developing heart disease and Tamiflu.

She continued: “I have, therefore, reluctantly come to the conclusion that we do need an authoritative independent report looking at how society should judge the safety and efficacy of drugs as an intervention.”

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

Ministers are tightening hospital and council budgets, hospitals are charging exorbitant car parking fees, and doctors are being “incentivised” with tick-box targets in their contracts - all to maximise any passing form of rent while squeezing out liabilities - says Michael White in his second monthly column.