5.05pm: The health secretary has this afternoon called the leaders of a number hospital trusts that have failed to hit accident and emergency waiting times targets, HSJ has learned.

Jeremy Hunt took the unprecedented step of calling the leaders of a number of organisations that missed the target of 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours. Full story here

4.08pm: The first trusts singled out under the CQC’s new hospital inspection programme have received visits. To read Helen Mooney’s report on what the trusts can expect from their inspections and to hear how trust leaders are preparing, click here.

3.20pm: Our Hospital Transformation micro site is now in full swing - Rajan Madhok, chair of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, has written a message to incoming NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.

He explains to the new boss that staff safety needs to be his first priority in order to save the NHS. Read his comments here.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using the #HSJHospitals hashtag.

2.30pm: Over £4bn could be raised to help fund adult social care in England by scrapping an ‘outdated’ funding formula, according to the Local Government Association.

It claimed that the Barnett Formula, used since 1979 to allocate public spending across the four UK nations, left England short-changed by £4.1bn because of a bias to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Click here to read more.

2.10pm: NHS England today confirmed £150m will be taken from its expected surplus to ease winter pressures on more accident and emergency departments this year.

HSJ exclusively reported on Wednesday that extra funding would be made available to all trusts, beyond the 53 who were awarded a share of a separate £250m fund announced in September.

The 53 trusts which received a share of the £250m agreed to be performance managed closely by either Monitor or the NHS Trust Development Authority.However the same scrutiny will not be applied to any trust that receives part of the £150m. Full story here

1.50pm: The Care Quality Commission’s inspection teams will listen to all whistleblowers’ contributions, no matter when their complaint was made, the regulator confirmed to HSJ.

CQC chief executive David Behan has confirmed inspectors will consider “all information” they receive about a provider and this will include the contributions of any willing historical whistleblowers. Click here for the full story

1.20pm: Following HSJ’s exclusive report on Wednesday revealing that accident and emergency departments are to receive an additional £150m tranche of winter pressure funding, NHS England deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin has confirmed that the funding will be made available.

Dame Barbara said today that the additional money will come from NHS England’s expected surplus for the current financial year and will be distributed among local communities based on the number of people they serve.

Nineteen foundation trusts and 34 trusts received a share of the initial £250m in the first wave of funds annoucned in September. These were the trusts judged by Monitor and the authority to be at risk of struggling. Some argued it rewarded poorly performing trusts.

12.50pm: A cluster of clinical commissioning groups has given its providers until April 2014 to meet new quality standards in emergency and maternity services. The standards were drawn up to align with recommendations from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. More details here

12.10pm: The government has promised support for clinical centres specialising in rare disease treatment as part of the first UK Rare Diseases strategy. The strategy, announced today by the Department of Health, is designed to help build understanding of rare diseases and to boost research in order to find effective treatment for such conditions.

Other elements of the strategy include the creation of personal care plans for patients, bringing together health and care services. The government also promises better education and training to help health and social care professionals diagnose specific disease earlier and to enable better access to relevant treatments.

A key plank of the initiative aims to promote the UK as a world leader in research and development to improve treatments of rare diseases.

The DH said the strategy aims to make sure that none of the 3 million people in the UK affected by rare disease are “left behind”.

The Specialised Healthcare Alliance, an organistion representing patient groups that campaigns on behalf of people with rare health conditions, welcomed the publication of the strategy.

John Murray, the alliance’s director, said: “Today’s publication sends out a strong message about the need to work together to improve care for people with rare conditions, whose interests can often be overlooked in the context of a locally-focused NHS.

“The main challenge will be to ensure that all four nations develop tailored implementation plans to a clear timetable.”

11.30am: In the tough financial climate in which the health service finds itself, eyebrows will be raised at the news that the private King Edward VII’s Hospital, Sister Agnes, has been given a £30m donation from the Michael Uren Foundation.

The hospital says it will use the money to grow the hospital “by 25 per cent”, building more operating theatres, wards and consulting rooms.

The foundation has already deposited £5 million with the hospital and committed to providing gift it a maximum of £30 million over the next ten years.

Michael Uren, a former civil engineer, has been a governor at the hospital since 2007, according to Debrett’s.

11.10am: Accompanying our exclusive story about the number of CCGs set to end their first financial year in deficit, HSJ reporter Crispin Dowler reveals the biggest worry for NHS finance directors. To find out what it is, read his column in full here.

11.00am: Hospitals have made “no improvement” in monitoring the quality of patient care in light of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust scandal and “no improvement” in keeping patients safe or treating them with dignity, the Care Quality Commission has said.

Poor hospital care in the last year was also more likely to have had a negative impact on patients than the previous year, the regulator’s annual review of NHS and social care services in England found.

More than half a million people aged 65 and over are now being admitted to hospital in an emergency with avoidable problems, the State of Care report also showed.

These problems include malnutrition, pressure sores and urinary tract infections. Full story here.

10.45am: Patients suffering a brain haemorrhage could be unnecessarily harmed due to delays in diagnosis and treatment - especially at weekends and out of hours, a report says.

A lack of good care from GPs and hospitals means some patients do not get brain scans on time or treatment that could save their lives.

The report, from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD), looked at brain haemorrhages caused by a cerebral aneurysm (aSAH) - which represents the vast majority of brain haemorrhages. Read the full story here.

10.36am: This morning HSJ can exclusively reveal that there are now clinical commissioning groups expecting to finish their first year of operation in the red. Read the full story here to find out who they are

10.22am: An interesting editorial in the Financial Times this morning warns that the pace at which public services are being outsourced to the private sector has “far outstripped Whitehall’s ability to manage it properly”.

The paper argues that ministers need to slow down and take a “more sceptical approach” to outsourcing giants like G4S and Serco. It calls for taxpayers to be able to see in “much greater detail how these companies make profits and who their suppliers are”; for ministers to address a lack of competition in the market by doing more “to allow smaller providers to grow”; and for the civil service to be smarter about how they negotiate contracts “especially those where quality of service is as important as price”.

“Ministers often sign up for deals merely on the grounds that they save money,” the piece adds. “They also need to be more savvy about monitoring subsequent performance.”

10.20am: Looking at the morning’s papers, the Daily Telegraph reports that a Care Quality Commission study has found hospitals have made “no improvement” in monitoring the quality of care since the Mid-Staffs scandal.

The paper writes that inspectors were “alarmed” to see the way patients were treated in many hospitals and care homes.

The commission’s report, according to the paper, also highlights a sharp rise in the numbers of elderly patients being admitted to hospital with conditions which could have been avoided if they had not been neglected by GPs, care homes and social services.

9.58am: Robert McGough and Rupert Dunbar-Rees have examined the risks and benefits of Alliance contracts in an article for Resource centre. It is hoped that these contracts, signed by a number of different parties will help bring about greater integration than traditional NHS contacts.