This week HSJ celebrates the launch of its list of the top 50 chief executives of NHS provider organisations, and the rest of today’s comment and news

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5.30pm In the Nuffield Trust blog, Matthew Bell, a director at Frontier Economics, discusses how Monitor can become “the people’s champion”.

“Monitor suffers from a tremendous disadvantage in that the system it inherited is particularly poorly aligned and there are risks of significant winners and losers from change,” he argues.

“Monitor’s future (and just maybe that of the NHS as we know it) depends on managing the transition from what it inherited, to what it should be. If it manages that it will be the people’s champion.”

5.12pm LGC also reports that more than a quarter of local authority public health staff are considering leaving the profession, according to research by the British Medical Association.

5.00pm Our sister title Local Government Chronicle reports on two councils mounting last ditch challenges to the dropping of constant maternity consultant services at a Yorkshire hospital.

HSJ last week reported that plans to downgrade consultant led maternity services at South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust’s Friarage Hospital have been referred to the health secretary.

4.42pm In response to a BMA survey which found more than half of GPs are considering early retirement because of extremely heavy workloads, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “David Cameron promised to put GPs in the driving seat but has instead caused a dangerous collapse in GP morale.

“This survey is an emphatic vote of no confidence in the prime minister and his mismanagement of the NHS.

“On David Cameron’s watch, it is getting harder and harder for people to get a GP appointment.

“One in every three patients is now waiting more than a week for an appointment, which can’t be allowed to carry on.

“It is no wonder that hospital A&Es are over-stretched and have now missed the Government’s target for 35 weeks running.

“Patients are voicing their frustration about ringing the surgery only to be told nothing is available for days. But the Government is simply not listening to them.”

4.24pm In The Daily Mail, doctors are putting lives at risk by exaggerating the side effects of statins, medical researcher Professor Sir Rory Collins has warned.

4.05pm In a BBC interview, Jim Gee, who formerly led the NHS anti-fraud section outlines how he came to the estimation that fraud costs the NHS £5bn a year, 20 times higher than the figure listed in the government’s annual fraud indicator report.

3.48pm Speaking on recent reports of fraud in the NHS, Rob Whiteman, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounts, said: “Tackling fraud and protecting public money are at the centre of concerns about the way Government spends taxpayer’s money, especially in such a crucial service as the NHS.

“Cutting key anti-fraud functions is usually a false economy. NHS Protect’s funding is shrinking while other bodies such as the Audit Commission are being closed down. With a background of radical change and reform of public services, not least in the NHS, there is justifiable concern about how we guard against fraud and protect the public purse.

“In response to this need CIPFA is launching a new Counter Fraud Centre as a global leader in protecting public resources from fraud. We need to make sure that we continue fight to make sure that every penny of public money is accounted for and spent on the service that communities need.”

3.30pm The OFT has today referred the acquisition of the manufacturing assets of IBA Molecular UK Limited used to produce Fluorodeoxyglucose 18F (FDG-18) by Alliance Medical Limited to the Competition Commission.

FDG-18 is a radioactive tracer used in medical imaging scans for the diagnosis of cancer. It is purchased by NHS England, hospitals and other diagnosis centres.

The OFT previously identified competition concerns in the south of England which could lead to an increase in the price of FDG-18 and a decline in the reliability of supplies.

Evidence in this case suggested  that the parties competed before the merger for customer contracts within a two hour drive of their production sites in Sutton and Guildford where there is only one other supplier of FDG-18 to third parties. 

The market share of the combined parties in this area is estimated to be over 45 per cent.

Customers complained to the OFT that the merger may result in higher prices for FDG-18 and a decline in the reliability of supplies.

The Competition Commission is expected to issue a report into the matter by September.

Chris Walters, OFT chief economist, said: “FDG-18 is essential to medical imaging scanning for the diagnosis of cancer. This merger removes one of the few firms supplying it to hospitals and other healthcare organisations in the south of England. This could lead to an increase in cost to the NHS and a reduction in the reliability of supply.

“Alliance told the OFT that the merger would secure supply of FDG-18, creating benefits for patients. Though plausible, we did not have sufficient evidence to be confident that this would outweigh the possible harm.

“A more in-depth assessment is therefore needed.”    

3.24pm The Financial Times reports that an immanent review of how the NHS evaluates drugs will be seen as test of whether the UK can balance the need to make savings in the NHS with the rising cost of newer medicines.

3.11pm Meanwhile, The Financial Times carries an interview with outgoing NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson, ahead of his retirement.

3.00pm Ahead of Simon Stevens taking his position as NHS England chief executive next week, The Daily Telegraph argues in its leader column that “it is in the area of primary care that Mr Stevens will need to focus most attention”.

“With more people living longer and thereby likelier to contract debilitating illness associated with age, the pressure on hospitals will, over time, become intolerable.

“Greater emphasis will be needed on treating and caring for people at home.

“Yet the balance of resource distribution within the NHS by no means reflects that.”

2.43pm Thousands of dementia sufferers should be offered experimental drugs in hopes of successful treatment, according to Dennis Gillings, the government’s adviser on the disease, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

2.24pm Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is considering enlisting the support of midwives, GPs and registrars to help reduce the levels of family breakdown by encouraging couples to talk about the their relationships, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

2.10pm NHS England’s medical director is writing to all hospital trusts in England to reiterate that it is illegal to dispose of aborted foetuses by burning them as clinical waste, the BBC reports.

Sir Bruce Keogh has also written to the Human Tissue Authority to ask them ensure there is clear guidance on the issue.

2.00pm The Daily Telegraph reports that at least 15,500 aborted and miscarried foetuses have been incinerated as clinical waste by 27 NHS trusts in the past year, with some used to heat hospitals, according to an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches.

The Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice last night. Health minister Dr Dan Poulter described it as “totally unacceptable”.

1.46pm Patients with advanced prostate cancer may miss out on a new treatment, reports The Times.

Nice said that there was not enough evidence to show that a form of internal radiotherapy was better than existing treatments. Bayer, the pharmaceutical company, has been urged to show NICE that the treatment is worth the £24,000 per patient cost.

1.34pm In case you missed it when the news broke on Friday, the director of forensic services at the mental health trust that runs Broadmoor Hospital is leaving his post after allegations he sent anonymous letters to other members of staff, HSJ can exclusively reveal.

Andy Weir is leaving his post as director of specialist and forensic services at West London Mental Health Trust despite an investigation begun by the trust finding “no evidence” to support the allegations, according to an internal trust document seen by HSJ.

1.25pm Monitor is to send a contingency planning team to Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn, which is forecasting a a £13m deficit in 2013-14.

The team will develop options for securing sustainable patient services at the financially troubled foundation trust.

HSJ reporter Ben Clover has tweeted:

1.00pm Back to today’s papers, The Times reports that women under stress are less likely to get pregnant, a study suggests.

Scientists looked at 501 US couples with no known fertility problems. They found that the third of women with the highest level of alpha-amylase – a marker of stress – were 29 per cent less likely to get pregnant each month and twice as likely to fail to get pregnant during a year of trying.

12.47pm The Health Foundation has appointed Richard Taunt as its director of policy. He will lead a new policy team at the organisation.

Mr Taunt is currently head of regulatory change at the Care Quality Commission, a post he has been seconded to from the Department of Health.

He previously headed the NHS Policy and Strategy Unit at the Department of Health, an adviser on strategy and policy on areas such as a quality, primary care and reform.

Chief executive Jennifer Dixon said she is “absolutely thrilled that we have secured such a high calibre individual to lead our work at the Foundation on policy”.

“There is a lot to do as healthcare faces significant challenges over the next few years and Richard, with his team, will play a key role in shaping the health environment towards better quality care for patients.

“He joins a strong team at the Foundation working to improve safety, involve people more fully in making decisions about their care, and in ensuring services are more efficient.’

Richard Taunt said he is “delighted to be joining the Health Foundation at a time when its focus, improving quality, is the overriding priority for the NHS”.

“Difficult choices lie ahead for the health service, and I look forward to working with such a distinguished set of colleagues to help the NHS make the right decisions for the good of all those who depend on it.”

12.32pm The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is to announce proposals on Thursday that could see the health service increase the amount it spends on branded pharmaceutical drugs.

The document, known as a methods guide, will outline changes to the way in which NICE measures innovative medicines’ cost effectiveness, and is to be put to consultation for three months, a spokesman said.

12.17pm Monitor is sending in a contingency planning team to Queen Elizabeth Hospital  King’s Lynn Foundation Trust.

The regulatory body has plans to a tender to choose who will carry out the work, which is expected to begin in July.

The team will make a recommendation to Monitor about options for sustainable patient services at the trust.  

Queen Elizabeth has been in breach of its operating conditions since January 2012. It was placed into special measures in October 2013. Monitor expressed concerns about its poor quality care and leadership at the time.

Monitor has since appointed an interim chair, chief executive and nursing director to the trust and reported progress being made in several areas, but it is still forecasting a £13m deficit for 2013/14.

Monitor’s regional director Mark Turner said the trust is “suffering serious financial problems”.

“The people of King’s Lynn expect good quality care to be provided and our team of experts will work closely with the trust management and with local commissioners to ensure the services patients need are provided in a sustainable way.”

12.00pm The Times reports that four in ten patients wait so long to see a GP that they are worried they are putting their health at risk, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners which claims that family doctors are under “severe threat of extinction”.

Maureen Baker said a “toxic mix” of rising workloads and falling budgets was putting patient care at risk.

11.43am In this morning’s papers, The Guardian reports on its front page that fraud may be costing the NHS £5bn a year, more than 20 times the government’s official figures.

A further £1bn at least is being lost due to financial errors, claims Jim Gee a former senior official responsible for dealing with the crime.

11.27am Also in our Hospital Transformation channel, catch up on the highlights of the HSJ/Roche Pathology Conference 2014 with three short films.

11.10am Nearly half of the £90m Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards technology funding originally earmarked to be spent this year will be rolled over into 2014-15, NHS England has said.

10.52am In her third post in the #Transformation2019 series over in the HSJ Hospital Transformation Channel, Sue James, chief executive at Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust, tries to answer the question about how well prepared we | are for the transformation journey in the five years ahead.

10.35am More than half of GPs are considering early retirement because of extremely heavy workloads, a British Medical Association poll suggests.

Fifty-seven percent of family doctors have considered retiring early, the union reported.

10.25am The demand for cataract surgery may be rising, but so are the ethical and practical dilemmas surrounding access to treatment, HSJ’s latest roundtable of experts, in association with Alcon, heard.

10.09am In our comment section, the waiting list isn’t supposed to grow in January, but it did, writes waiting times specialist Rob Findlay.

It is fast approaching the 3 million mark, and national breaches of 18 weeks later in the year have become a little more likely.

9.55am To kick off HSJ’s celebration of outstanding chief executives in the NHS, David Buchanan, professor of organisational behaviour at Cranfield University School of Management, explains that NHS chief executives of the future will have to possess different skills and perform new functions compared to today.

9.45am This week HSJ celebrates the launch of its list of the top 50 chief executives of NHS provider organisations.

This is a list like no other as the the people are some the most important decision makers in the English NHS and were nominated by their peers.

The judges considered several criteria; and though the financial and care quality performance of organisation was important, more emphasis was given on  identifying leaders whose individual efforts, skills and focus had set them apart.

Along with the list, which will be unveiled on Wednesday exclusively on the HSJ tablet app, we will be publishing/running content around leadership, improving patient care and the important traits required by the chief executives. The list will also be published on and in the magazine on Friday.

To see the Top Chief Executives on Wednesday download the HSJ app on iPad and Android.

6.00am Good morning. Health systems are at an important crossroads, write Charles Alessi, Anne Snowdon and Karin Schnarr. Access to health information and revolutionary medical discoveries are together generating grassroots demand for personalised healthcare.

Personalisation in the traditional sense means individuals are able to seek healthcare services and treatment tailored to meet their unique health goals and challenges.