Barts will be placed in special measures after critical CQC report, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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17.14pm Keep an eye on HSJ Live tomorrow for coverage of the budget.

16.23pm The charity Young Minds has called for an annual progress report on new plans to overhaul mental health services for children and young people.

Chief executive Sarah Duggan said it was vital to maintain momentum when it came to making much-needed improvements.

“The current system is too fractured, too complex and too under-resourced,” she said. “We welcome the report of the taskforce but this has to be the start of a journey and not the end.”

15.59pm Health services need more flexibility on working time rules, NHS representatives have told EU policy-makers.

The delivery of round the clock services, continuity of care and staff training would benefit from more flexible rules about when doctors take breaks, according to the NHS European Office in its response to a consultation on possible changes to the Working Time Directive.

15.43pm The Scottish government has been accused of being “short-sighted” for launching public health campaigns without adequate consultation with GPs, reports the British Medical Association.

Campaigns such as Scotland’s “detect cancer early” initiative were well-intentioned but had put unplanned, increased pressure on GP surgeries, doctors told a conference of local medical committees.

15.36pm The Department of Health today published new statutory guidance on the planning, commissioning and delivery of health services for children in care.

15.09pm NHS organisations across England are staging events as part of Nutrition and Hydration Week - a joint campaign by the Hospital Caterers Association, National Association of Care Catering and NHS England.

14.53pm The decision to place Barts Health Trust in special measures could be the “fresh start” the troubled organisation needs, according to the leader of Waltham Forest Council.

Council leader Chris Robbins described the “inadequate” rating given to Whipps Cross University Hospital as a “huge blow to the borough’s residents” and called for urgent improvements.

“Local leadership is needed to put this right. We want to work with the community, the clinical commissioning group, Barts Trust and other healthcare providers to run a hospital which gives patients excellent care in a facility where staff feel valued and choose to work,” he said.

“The council believes the decision to place Barts Health in special measures could open the door to the fresh start Whipps Cross desperately needs and is calling on the government to look at the long-term option of building a first-class new hospital on the site.”

14.41pm Labour says it backs a devolution plan for the NHS in Greater Manchester and will push ahead with it if they win the general election, reports The BBC.

Last month, Chancellor George Osborne said the £6bn health and social care budget would be taken over by the region’s councils and health groups. It will be the first English region to gain full control of health spending.

14.33pm Five people treated by a dentist investigated for poor hygiene have tested positive for Hepatitis C show the results from the largest patient recall in NHS history, reports The BBC.

14.24pm The decision to cut and downgrade nursing posts at Barts Health Trust put patient care at risk and has contributed to the organisation being placed in special measures, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

It was announced earlier today the trust would be placed special measures following a critical report by the Care Quality Commission on services at Whipps Cross Hospital.

“The RCN has stated repeatedly that the decision by Barts Health two years ago to cut and downband several hundred nursing posts would  jeopardise patient care,” said RCN London regional director Bernell Bussue. “It is to our great disappointment that this has proved to be the case. Barts also now has both the highest deficit and highest agency nursing bill in England as well as vacancy rates up around 15%.

“After what has happened at Barts, cutting jobs and wages can never again be seen as a safe or sustainable way to fix funding shortages in the NHS.”

14.15pm The NHS has paid out £12m to patients sexually abused in hospitals, GP surgeries and dental practices in the past two decades, according to The Daily Mail.

More than 400 claims have been made against NHS workers since 1996, with dozens more assaulted by non-clinical staff, according to the paper.

13.56pm Plans to overhaul child and adolescent mental health services must be implemented carefully to avoid putting extra strain on already stretched specialist services, says the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

There is a risk the plans could mean less funding for services working with the most vulnerable children and young people, warned Dr Peter Hindley, Chair of the college’s child and adolescent faculty.

“Specialist child and adolescent mental health services are already stretched,” he said. “The recommendation to redesign the current system could see this situation exacerbated.”

13.20pm A delay in drawing up a prescribing policy for a licensed drug has led to at least two preventable deaths, it is claimed in an HSJ exclusive.

Families, doctors and charities have criticised NHS England for not having a policy for the drug everolimus in the treatment of a genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis complex, or TSC.

13.11pm The Swiss drug giant Novartis has struck a deal with NHS England to prevent one of its breast cancer treatments being axed from the cancer drugs fund, reports HSJ.

The agreement comes after NHS England proposed to remove everolimus for the treatment of advanced breast cancer in January as part of a wider overhaul of the cancer drugs fund.

12.40pm NHS Providers has highlighted the need for ongoing investment in mental health provision in response to the government’s new vision for services for children and young people.

“The recommendations in this report must be linked with a cultural change that gives parity of esteem and true investment to both child and adult mental health services, as well as a focus on developing expertise in children and young adults’ specific issues,” said director of policy Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said:

“We need to take mental health services and provision as seriously as we do physical health, including a payment system that is fit for purpose. Mental health providers are facing the same levels of increasing demand and financial challenges as other NHS providers. As we approach this Wednesday’s Budget, it will be crucial to both increase and sustain funding for mental health services.”

12.21pm The government wants to move away from the four-tier system in children’s mental health provision to stop vulnerable young people falling through gaps in services and prevent providers and commissioners “passing the buck”, according to plans unveiled today.

Instead local NHS services should seek to establish more flexible, “seamless” models of care for young people with mental health problems, says the Future in Mind report, published by the Department of Health and NHS England.

The plans follow a review by a government taskforce that found many young people were not getting the support and treatment they need.

The four-tier system, which was introduced in 1995, can create barriers between services and lead to fragmented care, warns the report.

“It often results in children or young people falling in gaps between tiers and experiencing poor transitions between different services,” says the document.

“At its worst, it can lead to commissioners and providers of different tiers of service effectively passing the back to one another.”

The government wants to see more areas create a “single point of access” to a wide range of mental health services including specialist support and adopt a “whole system approach” to commissioning to ensure the right mix of provision and reduce pressure on inpatient services. This could include the creation of more “step down” provision for vulnerable young people leaving hospital.

Other key goals include:

·         Ensuring better communication/referrals between services by having a named contact within specialist mental health services for schools, GPs and others

·         Better links between CAMHS and services for children with disabilities and special needs

·         Swifter routes to community-based care, including intensive treatment at home, to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions

·         Ensure appropriate support for young people with mental health problems in A&E

·         New legislation to stop under 18s being put in police cells for their own safety as opposed to specialist mental health provision

·         New waiting time and access standards for mental health services

12.00pm Campaigners in Scotland want to see more health bosses prosecuted for preventable deaths or when patients are harmed, reports the BBC.

11.41am Obese women are 40 per cent more likely to develop certain types of cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.

Being excessively overweight increases a woman’s risk of developing at least seven types of cancer including bowel, post-menopausal breast, gallbladder, kidney, womb, pancreatic and oesophagheal cancers, says the charity.

11.21am On the day the government launches plans for young people’s mental services, The Times reports children as young as seven are increasingly seeking help for self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

The warning comes from children’s charity Place2Be, the biggest provider of counselling in schools. Hospital admissions data shows the number of children aged ten to 14 admitted to hospitals for self-harm has almost doubled in the past decade.

11.08am Neurological services are struggling to provide the best care because of lack of funding, warns the South of England Brain Injury Forum (SEABIF), which is urging MPs to champion services in their local areas.

The call follows a report by the Neurological Alliance, which found more than half of patients were finding it hard to access the treatment and support they need.

“On the whole acute neurological care is generally good, but rehabilitation services are inadequate due to a lack of funding, which means that many patients will face extremely long waiting lists to get the rehabilitation they need,” said SEABIF chairman Ciaran McCabe.

“This lack of support will also have a knock on effect to social care as patient health is likely to deteriorate the longer they need to wait.”

10.58am Plans to overhaul mental health services for children and young people will be unveiled by the government today.

The new measures, to be announced by care minister Norman Lamb, follow a review by a government taskforce, which found many young people were not getting the help they need.

10.46am Making greater use of pharmacists to ease pressure on GP services and cope with shortages of practitioners is a “great idea”, according to Dr Mark Porter in a comment piece for The Times.

“A significant proportionof my daily workload centres on medication and prescribing issues and it would be great to have a pharmacist to help me,” he writes. “Not only would it free me to see more patients, it would almost certainly lead to better medicine management and happier patients experiencing fewer side-effects.”

10.37am The Times reports on new guidance issued by the Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire area of NHS England that suggests older GPs should start earlier and clock off at 4pm when their concentration goes.

The arrangement could allow younger colleagues with children to do the school run and start later so all family doctors “survive and thrive”, suggest the guidelines.

10.26am Care homes and home care agencies could be driven out of business because councils can no longer pay them enough to operate, warns the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, as reported in The Daily Telegraph.

David Pearson says the system of care for the elderly and disabled is becoming “unsustainable” in many areas due to funding cuts and demographic pressures.

10.18am Barts Health NHS Trust is to be placed in special measures following the publication of a highly critical CQC inspection report which rated Whipps Cross University Hospital “inadequate”.

In a statement the trust said that as a consequence of the report and “trust-wide challenges in meeting national waiting time standards and the financial position at Barts Health”, the NHS Trust Development Authority has decided to place the trust in special measures.

More to follow.

10.04am A “hidden army” of pharmacists could help ease the crisis in GP numbers, reports The Independent.

Patients with long-term health problems like asthma and high blood pressure could be given an appointment with an in-house pharmacist instead of a doctor, according to proposals announced today by the Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The plans would see pharmacists take control of a GP surgery’s medicine stocks and liase with local hospitals and care homes. They could also help relieve pressure on GP waiting lists by seeing patients whose main reason for visiting was medicines-related.

9.52am Cancer care for patients in Staffordshire could be cut after it is take over by private firms in what is described as “the biggest privatisation of NHS services yet” in The Guardian.

Campaigners claim handing the £700m contract to the private sector could see hospices closed and less money spent on treatment. The warning follows the publication of a document prepared by the four local clinical commissioning groups in Staffordshire, which reveals they plan to appoint one one company to act as “prime provider” of cancer services.

9.33am Whipps Cross University Hospital has been rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission.

In a damning inspection report published today, six of the London hospital’s eight services were judged to be inadequate.

The hospital is part of the troubled Barts Health Trust, which has lost three board members in the last month, including its chair.

Urgent and emergency care, medical care, surgery, services for children and young people, outpatients and diagnostic imaging and end of life care were all inadequate.

The two remaining services, maternity and gynaecology and critical care, were both ‘requires improvement’.

More to follow

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.