Care Quality Commission to increase fees for providers by 9 per cent, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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17.14pm About 240 jobs are to be axed at Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, reports The BBC.

According to The BBC, the job cuts were announced in an email to staff from chief executive Dr Lucy Moore, who said the redundancies were all expected to be non-clinical roles.

In January the trust was rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission.

“There will be a root and branch restructuring of the corporate side of the trust,” the email read.

16.57pm GP receptionists should be trained in compassion as they are now the “only untrained members of surgeries”, according to blogger and breast cancer patient Judith Potts in a comment piece for The Daily Telegraph.

She has encountered both “grumpiness and underqualification” in the past few days including one receptionist who was “surly, disinterested and plainly hostile”. With more patients booking appointments online those who telephone GP practices and speak to reception staff are more likely to be older, vulnerable people or in the midst of a medical emergency, she points out.

“Would it not be better to employ receptionists who are medically trained; who have been on courses specifically aimed at those in this front­of­house position; and who have an ability to empathise with patients?” she asks.

16.21pm Mike Ramsden, the new chairman of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, has said he “likes a challenge” as he starts his quest to restore the troubled organisation’s reputation.

In an interview with local newspaper the Hull Daily Mail, he highlighted the need to address low staff morale and urged trust employees to raise concerns with him and chief executive Chris Long.

“I can absolutely assure you while I am chairman and Chris Long is chief executive, there will be no question of reprisals or any kind of singling out of those individuals as trouble-makers,” he said. “We are 100 per cent committed to making improvements where they are needed, and getting feedback from people delivering and using that service is the most important thing we have in bringing about those improvements.”

Sorting out A&E waiting times is another priority. It appears the trust’s new non-executive directors are “anything but fawning lickspittles”, according to the Hull Daily Mail’s assessment and the “winds of change are whipping up around Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital”.

16.01pm Should HSJ launch a new award category for organisations that successfully replicate good healthcare models?

The NHS is obsessed with new ideas but should spend more time copying what has worked well elsewhere, according to Axel Heitmuller of Imperial College Health Partners, speaking at a Reform conference on the future of NHS Commissioning.

“@Axelheitmuller lays down challenge to the @HSJnews: Why not have an award for best example of an org copying ideas?” tweeted the Nuffield Trust’s Leonora Merry. @leonoramerry

15.30pm NHS Providers has described the fee increase announced by the Care Quality Commission today as “difficult to justify”.

“Today’s 9 per cent increase of the CQC’s annual registration fee for NHS providers in 2015/16 is a step towards full cost recovery within the regime, but comes at a time when NHS providers are under unprecedented pressure to make major savings in response to the current financial climate,” said NHS Providers’ head of policy Miriam Deakin.

“The proposed 9 per cent fee uplift equates to an estimated additional £1.8m in fees across the foundation trust and NHS trust sector. Although CQC fees do not represent a large portion of an individual provider’s budget, in the current context where 58 per cent of trusts are reporting a deficit including many with good financial track records, and facing an efficiency factor of 3.5 per cent, an increase of 9 per cent is difficult to justify.”

14.33pm The Care Quality Commission has announced a 9 per cent increase in regulatory fees for providers for 2015/16.

CQC chief executive David Behan admitted the fee hike came at a “difficult economic time for many providers”.

“But we hope that they, and importantly those who use their services, are seeing the benefits of our inspections, which allow us to identify where improvements are needed and to celebrate what services are doing well,” he added. “We are determined to deliver value for money by being an efficient and effective organisation.”

The move will mean trusts with an annual turnover of £125-£225m paying nearly £6,500 extra per year.

14.10pm HSJ reporter Judith Welikala is tweeting live from a conference on the future of NHS commissioning hosted by the Reform thinktank. Follow her @JudithWelikala

Keynote speakers so far have included NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, who told delegates there was a “big opportunity” to rationalise by bringing together decisions about NHS, social care and other areas of public spending.

12.43pm A plan to help improve services for people with hearing loss was launched by NHS England and the Department of Health today.

The Action Plan on Hearing Loss, which is aimed at health service commissioners and providers, was developed with organisations including Public Health England and hearing loss charities, and people directly affected by hearing loss.

Key objectives include early diagnosis, a greater emphasis on prevention and the creation of more integrated services. A hearing loss commissioning framework is also planned.

12.11pm An investigation has been launched after staff at Salford Royal Hospital allegedly breached protocol to look at a colleague’s medical records, reports the Manchester Evening News.

“Incidents of staff inappropriately accessing the medical records of other staff members are extremely rare,” Paul Renshaw, the foundation trust’s executive director of organisational development and corporate affairs, told the newspaper. “When these are found to have happened, we thoroughly investigate these and take appropriate action against those who are found to have breached the rules.”

The trust would not say if anyone had been disciplined and how many staff had been investigated, according to the paper.

11.42am Devolution of health and care budgets could help improve services and cure the NHS’s current cash crisis, according to a paper published by the Reform thinktank today.

The paper, which was co-authored by former Labour health minister Lord Warner, argues a more decentralised model, like the one due to be adopted in Greater Manchester, could provide the solution to many of the health service’s problems.

From April 2016, the region’s entire £6 billion health and social care budget will be consolidated within a single partnership body which will set overall strategy

Executive powers will rest with a new Greater Manchester Joint Commissioning Board with actual commissioning delegated to the most effective level.

“For the first time, a large city region has offered a model of healthcare in the UK that focuses on preserving and improving the health of all citizens rather than merely treating them when they are sick,” says the report.

“It could provide a step change in health outcomes, particularly for the worst off. If successful in fixing the care model, this innovative approach could help make the NHS more financially sustainable, by controlling the numbers needing expensive acute care.”

11.31am A key architect of the foundation trust legal structure has said the sector’s existing governance models can be used to run new models of care set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Governance models for the new care models have not yet been established but Steve Dunn said the FT structure can be used to establish primary and acute care systems (PACS). Read the full HSJ story here

10.56am University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust has reported a year-to-date deficit of £16.5m.

The trust said this was due to a “shortfall” in funding it receives for highly specialist work as one of the London teaching hospitals, known as Project Diamond funding.

In the minutes for the trust’s February board meeting, chief executive Sir Robert Naylor said the trust received £20m of funding in 2013-14 but it had only been offered £5m for 2014-15.

Read HSJ’s story here.

10.47am The NHS has spent nearly £350,000 on removing tattoos after people changed their minds about their body art, reports The Daily Mail.

More than 2,000 people have been given free laser treatment in the past four years, shows Freedom of Information data originally obtained by The Sun newspaper.

10.34am Labour has criticised the Tories for “breaking promises” on GP opening hours, reports The Daily Mail, which says millions of patients are struggling to see their GP because surgeries are not open at a convenient time.

Nearly one in five said they cannot easily make the appointments on offer and a quarter aere now waiting more than a week to see their GP, show figures from the latest GP Patient Survey, flagged up by Labour.

The party claims the stats show “the failure of the Conservatives to deliver on their promise to introduce seven-day-a-week working”, reports the paper.

10.23am The mental health of children and young people has been “willfully neglected” by those in power, according to head of the NSPCC Peter Wanless.

His comments are featured in The Times as part of the paper’s Time to Mind campaign, which is calling for more investment in child mental health services.

10.11am The government is to apologise to thousands of NHS patients who were infected with deadly diseases by doctors using contaminated blood products, reports The Daily Telegraph.

A formal statement of regret will be given to the House of Commons later this week.

10.04am Some of the world’s deadliest tropical diseases are heading for Britain as global warming makes the country a paradise for mosquitoes, warns The Daily Telegraph, reporting on research by the Emergency Response Unit of Public Health England.

Outbreaks of diseases like malaria would hit major cities like London and Birmingham first because urban areas are warmer, according to an article by Dr Jolyon Medlock in The Lancet.

9.50am A hedge fund that employs one of Labour’s biggest donors has invested almost £10m in a private healthcare firm that makes money out of the NHS, reports The Independent this morning.

7.00am Good morning. There are five things we can do to keep us mentally well that we can also use to manage and monitor our health outside the NHS. They can do more for us then the health service can, argues journalist Philip Hammond.