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4.15pm: The latest NHS sickness absence data has been published by the NHS Information Centre.

The data shows that between January and March 2013 the average sickness absence rate for the NHS in England was 4.38 per cent, an increase from the same period in 2012.

The North East SHA area had the highest average sickness absence rate for January to March 2013 at 4.89 per cent. London SHA area had the lowest average at 3.62 per cent, although Special Health Authorities would have had the lowest rate (3.56 per cent) if classed as a geographical area.

Ambulance Staff were the staff group with the highest average sickness absence rate for January to March 2013 with an average of 6.96 per cent.  Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting Learners had the lowest average at 1.04 per cent followed by medical and detal staff at 1.35 per cent.

You can access the data release here.

3pm: Last week Polly Jones wrote on that ‘Generation Y’ should be better represented on NHS boards – both because of the new attitudes and skills it possesses and because it’s a growing patient group.

Her ideas have stirred up strong feelings among readers. You can see what they’re arguing about and join in the debate here

12.30pm: A Care Quality Commission probe of Tameside Hospital found the foundation trust was failing to ensure patients were treated with respect and getting safe and appropriate care.

The quality regulator also reported that the provider’s systems for assessing and monitoring the quality of its services were “not robust enough to ensure that all risks were identified, integrated and effectively managed”. It said this meant that timely action “was not always taken to protect people who use the services”.

The CQC reported that in May it carried out inspections of Tameside’s emergency care pathway, risk management and incident reporting. This was after it received “correspondence from the North Western deanery and… a report of a review of urgent care commissioned by the trust raised concerns about patient safety and the quality of service provision in the accident and emergency department and escalation areas at the trust”.

The regulator had been told “there was a culture of under reporting of incidents, problems of overcrowding and delays in ambulance handovers, poor implementation of discharge planning and a lack of regular team meetings for staff”.

Inspectors found ambulance handovers to the emergency department took place in a corridor, meaning “that the privacy of patients’ confidential information was not always respected”.

Full story here.

12.20pm: The Department of Health has refused to agree Monitor’s proposed budget for this year, setting an allocation nearly £6m lower than the healthcare regulator believes it needs.

Monitor’s latest forecast is that it will need a core running costs budget of £53.7m in 2013-14, but the department has allocated just £48m.

A paper that was set to be considered by the regulator’s board this week claims the DH’s allocation is “insufficient” to fund the significantly expanded role Monitor has been given under the 2012 Health Act.

Full story here.

11.15am: The Royal Voluntary Service is calling for people to join the ranks of its trolley volunteers who help thousands of hospital patients every day.

The charity for older people says that an increased number of helpers would relieve the pressure on hospital staff and make patients’ lives easier.

There are currently 1,000 trolley volunteers, 150 of whom a day carry out four-hour shifts taking books, newspapers and refreshments to those who are bed bound.

11.10am: HSJ’s latest Local Briefing has gone live this morning.

This week’s is by our reporter for the south central region, David Williams, and examines the future of acute services in East Berkshire.

The feature centres on the fortunes of the troubled Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust. Will a relatively modest local reconfiguration fall victim to local politics? And what are the chances of Frimley Park Foundation Trust’s planned acquisition of Heatherwood and Wexham Park succeeding?

Click here to find out.

And, if you’re interested in the east Berkshire health economy, you’ll find this recent news story interesting too.

11am: The Daily Mail and BBC is reporting the case of dementia patient Peter Ryley, aged 76, who died following a fall in hospital after being given drugs to “keep him quiet.”

Mr Ryley, aged 76, from Derbyshire died in January 2011 after staff at Nottingham University Hospital’s Trust gave him extra doses of sedative.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust said it was putting new guidelines in place for sedating “agitated” patients.

An inquest in September into Mr Ryley’s death heard that medical staff failed to implement a risk assessment which would have prevented him from falling and seriously injuring himself.

The full story is here.

10.51am: Skipping breakfast puts men at greater risk of heart attack warns the Daily mail today.

Older men who don’t eat in the morning are a quarter more likely to have a heart attack or die than those who do.

The paper bases its report on a 16-year study in the U.S which tracked 26,902 male health professionals aged 45 to 82.

10.32am: The Times is reporting a psychiatrist broke patient confidentiality after a predatory paedophile confided fantasies to her.

Dr Ruth Bagshaw went to police after her patient Gareth Jordan told her he had been watching children on their way to school.

Police raided his home and found photographs of children walking to school along with children’s underwear and clothing.

Jordan, who had already been ordered to sign the sex offenders register for possessing indecent images,

The Times reports he was made subject to a community order to run alongside the existing order until June 2016. He will also do 100 hours of unpaid work and pay a £60 victim surcharge.

John Cameron, head of the NSPCC helpline, said Dr Bagshaw should be “commended for her actions.”

10.30am: NHS trusts are taking the opportunity presented by the birth of the future King of England to boast about their maternity units.

So far on Twitter this morning we’ve had this, from University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust: “Congratulations to all those who became parents yesterday. We safely helped to deliver 17 babies sharing the same birthday as the #royalbaby”

And this, from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust: “Waiting for the name of the #royalbaby to be announced. We’re thinking Alfred or George. What do you think? And a huge congratulations to the families of the 13 babies safely delivered yesterday that share their birthday with the #royalbaby”

Has a memo gone round?

10.15am: NHS England is floating the possibility of scrapping the complex array of financial penalties and incentives currently imposed on NHS providers and replacing them, from 2015-16, with a single pay-for-performance premium.

An NHS England discussion paper currently being circulated to clinical commissioning groups and other bodies admits that the current system of “incentives, rewards and sanctions” is “often not used as intended”.

It cites examples including “commissioners setting targets that cannot be achieved in order to avoid paying [Commissioning for Quality and Innovation] monies”. Under the CQUIN scheme, providers can theoretically earn a premium worth 2.5 per cent of their contract for meeting quality improvement targets.

Read the full story here.

8.45am: Good morning, there was major shift in the commissioning and provision of community services after the Transforming Community Services programme was introduced across England. On HSJ’s Innovation and Efficiency channel today Robert McGough explains its impact. “There is a real prospect of competition for services when the original contracts expire.This prospect is potentially strengthened by the push to move services out of hospitals and into the community, and complicated by the potential role of some of these services in the move towards greater integration”, he writes.