David Nicholson accused of “systemic cover up” after new gagging orders emerge, coverage of the Liberal Democrats’ conference, 24/7 care and the rest of today’s news.

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5.54pm The government will introduce a law to allow healthcare providers and their staff to be prosecuted for neglect and poor care, the care services minister Norman Lamb has indicated. Speaking at the Liberal Democrat party conference, Mr Lamb said the government intended to attach new powers to prosecute providers who breach new fundamental standards.

4.56pm King’s Fund chief economist John Appleby is also appearing on the Radio 4 Costing the NHS debate this evening. He tells twitter he will be arguing “yes” to the question of whether we can afford the NHS.

4.50pm ShaunLintern is tweeting from a question and answer session with Norman Lamb at the Liberal Democrat conference.

3.32pm Foundation Trust Network chief executive Chris Hopson and Health Finance Management Association president Tony Whitfield will both feature on a live Radio 4 debate on Costing the NHS this evening. The programme starts at 8pm and is part of a three part series Examining the NHS, commissioned in the wake of NHS England’s Call to Action. The first programme, Surgical Cuts, aired yesterday while the third instalment NHS: Changing Culture it due to go out on Wednesday at 11am and will feature Robert Francis QC. There will also be discussion of the Costing the NHS debate on You and Yours at 12pm tomorrow.

2.49pm London mayor Boris Johnson discussed the London Health Board, which will oversee the independent commission, in an interview with HSJ’s Ben Clover last month. Read it in full here.

2.33pm For any readers experiencing a bit ofDéjà vu at the news Lord Darzi is to carry out a review of London’s health services, here is a link to some of HSJ’s coverage of his 2007 report Healthcare for London. This famouslyrecommended the creation of polyclinics across the capital.


2.27pm NHS England’s London twitter account has commented on the news Lord Darzi is to lead a review of health services in the capital:

2.14pm More from Glasgow: Care minister Norman Lamb has said he would like to see mental health patients being given personal budgets to pay for care. Speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow, Mr Lamb said: “I would like to move to a ‘right to have’ in relation to a personal budget and to extend it to mental health; giving individuals control over their health.”

2.09pm Underspending by the Department of Health and the return of billions of pounds to the Treasury, is nothing new health minister Norman Lamb has told HSJ.

In 2012 HSJ revealed the Department of Health has returned nearly £3bn of its funding to the Treasury over the previous two years and for 2012-13 was predicting an underspend of £2.2bn. Only a fraction of the money has been carried over for use in future years.

Answering a question from HSJ at a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow Mr Lamb said: “My understanding was that has gone on for many years and is no different to what happened under the Labour government.

“You can’t claim this is some form of new evil from the coalition and there will always be a tension between having to reduce a deficit, which is still £120bn, and ensuring we maintain spending on health services.

“But this government has protected health spending and that is a really powerful message. Lots of people were saying we shouldn’t protect health but we have done it for 2015-16 and in my view we have to do it beyond that and we will have a debate about that.”

2.01pm Mayor of London Boris Johnson has set up an independent commission, chaired by Lord Ara Darzi, to look at the provision and resourcing of health service in the capital. The work of the London Health Commission will inform the London Health Board’s response to NHS England’s call for an open and honest debate on the future of the NHS. The commission will look at whether the needs of Londoners are adequately understood by government and reflected in allocation formulae and the sustainability of healthcare services in the capital as well as how best to support the leading health research institutions based in the city.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and Chair of the London Health Board, said: With fundamental changes underway in a huge and complex sector it is critical that we gather hard evidence about services in London, to build a compelling case as we fight for resources and work to ensure they are used effectively.”

Lord Darzi said: ‘I am delighted to have been approached by the Mayor to lead this independent commission. I have always believed that as a leading world city London should have exemplary health services to match. I will consider over the next few weeks how best to establish this vital work.”

1.51pm From The Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow: Health minister Norman Lamb has announced that fifteen integrated care pioneer projects will get the go ahead from government within the next few months, five more than originally expected. Read Shaun Lintern’s report here.

1.47pm Staff equality and patient safety are intrinsically linked, argues trade unionist Roger Kline in a thoughtful piece looking at the discrimination faced by black and minority ethnic staff in the NHS.

12.55pm Also on hsj.co.uk today, Bedford Hospital Trust’s viability is questioned by its auditors. The trust is forecasting a deficit for the next five years, James Illman reports.

12.49pm Last week the Nursing and Midwifery Council voted to press ahead with a revalidation system for nursing. Read our report of the discussion at Thursday’s meeting.

11.32am Five clinical commissioning groups in Staffordshire are planning to tender the first integrated 10 year contracts for cancer and end of life care, HSJ has learned. Macmillan Cancer Support is understood to be working with the groups to help design the specification for two outcomes based contracts. They are expected to be tendered in November. Read the full story here on hsj.co.uk.

11.30am NHS England has delayed the publication of its choice and competition framework amid a “paucity of evidence” of the benefit to patients. HSJ’s David Williams’ report from Friday’s NHS England board meeting reveals publication of the guidance, originally due in early summer, is not now expected until late Autumn.

11.25am A £500m pathology reorganisation has collapsed after another group of commissioners in the West Midlands opted to abandon a controversial procurement exercise, HSJ’s James Illman exclusively reports. Read the full story and analysis here.

11.12am Meanwhile, the BBC is also carrying a news item about the pressure on emergency departments from alcohol related attendances. A report from Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, part of Heart of England Foundation Trust, claims one man has visited the emergency department more than 250 times in the last few years.

11.09am Tonight’s Inside Out programme on BBC1 will look at accident and emergency and the potential solutions to the current crisis. The programme, which starts at 7.30pm, features Salford Royal Foundation Trust and Grantham and District Hospital. An article on the BBC’s website offers a snapshot of a day in each trust’s emergency department.

10.55am More from Shaun Lintern at the Liberal Democrats’ conference and a discussion about innovation in the NHS:

10.52am The Care Quality Commission’s new inspection programme is set to begin this week. An “inspection panel”, including clinicians and trained members of the public as well as CQC inspectors, will arrive at Croydon Health Services Trust tomorrow and Airedale Foundation Trust on Thursday. The Croydon panel will be chaired by Professor Edward Baker, medical director at Oxford University Hospitals Trust while the Airedale panel will be led by clinical oncologist and ex-President of the Royal College of Radiologists Dr Jane Barrett.

The programme will continue next week with inspections at Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust and the Royal Wolverhampton Trust. They will be chaired by Dr Chris Gordon, Programme Director of QIPP at the NHS Leadership Academy and Liz Redfern, chief nurse for NHS England (South) and deputy chief nurse for England, respectively.

The CQC plans to inspect 18 hospitals by the end of the year to test its new model. It has picked six organisations rated as a high risk under its surveillance model, six low risk and six in between. Read the full list here.

10.25am The Daily Telegraph also carries the story about “gagging orders”, reporting on page 4 that the “head of the NHS has been accused of a ‘systemic cover up’ after official figures disclosed that hospitals have spent more than £4m on secret gagging orders”.

It says there were 133 cases of a type of confidentiality agreements and payoffs being used which do not have to be approved by the Department of Health and Treasury, in the past four years. These are “judicially mediated” settlements, which are signed off by a judge or senior lawyer. The paper says information released to the public accounts committee shows these agreements have been used by 77 trusts, costing £3.9m in total, in the past four years.

A spokesman for Sir David said he was “not aware of these arrangements”.

10.20am Health minister Norman Lamb has called for cross party talks on the NHS during a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow. He told delegates Labour and the Tories needed to commit to a discussion about how to make the NHS sustainable.

10.14am NHS spends £4million on secretly gagging 266 whistleblowers despite boss saying it only happened once, the Daily Mail reports. The story is based on information obtained by Conservative MP Steve Barclay in a parliamentary question. Mr Barclay asked the Department of Health for the number of pay offs in the NHS agreed through judicial mediation. This was the type of payment made to former United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive Gary Walker and does not need Treasury sign off.

10.06am HSJ’s Shaun Lintern is in Glasgow for the Liberal Democrat Conference this week. Follow him on twitter @ShaunLintern.

8.40am: Good morning, in a week-long special issue HSJ is considering what measures are needed to move the NHS towards a 24/7 care delivery model. Last week Health secretary Jeremy Hunt at the Kings Fund’s conference on the future of primary care pointed to patients being unable to get appointments outside of working hours and indicated the need for a shift to seven day working in health and social care.

On the same day, the Royal College of Physicians urged reconfigurations that would support seven-day working. Amongst the 50 recommendations of its Future Hospital Commission is that care should be provided seven days a week, with full access to scans and lab testing at weekends.

Today on HSJ’s commissioning channel we kick off the debate with Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK writing on the practical actions that can ensure any changes made towards 24/7 care in the health sector can be matched in social care. You can find out more on our seven-day working coverage here.