Live logo

4.48pm Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has issued a statement in response to HSJ’s revelation today that a Public Health England report shows heightened death rates among older people since the beginning of 2012.

Mr Burnham said: “These figures raise major concerns about levels of care and support for older people and demand an urgent response from the government. Labour has been warning for some time about the collapse of social care and the growing number of older people left alone and at risk.  We now need to see action from the government.

“Earlier this year we revealed a shocking 66 per cent increase in the number of people over 90 going in to A&E in blue-light ambulances – a sure sign of something going seriously wrong in the way we care for older people.

“In light of today’s revelations I am asking Jeremy Hunt to commission an urgent investigation into the causes of this increase and to consider urgent improvements in support for older people.”

The story has also been covered by the Independent online here.

4.38pm The man named as Bolton Foundation Trust’s new boss has turned the job down — just two weeks after his appointment was announced, the Bolton News has reported.

According to the paper, Kevin McGee has opted to remain as chief executive at George Eliot Hospital Trust in Warwickshire. Mr McGee “was due to start any day”, the paper says. George Eliot was placed under special measures followng the Keogh review last week.

4.12pm @ShaunLintern tweets: “BREAKING NEWS: #MidStaffs A&E sisters Sharon Turner and Tracey White have been struck off the nursing register by the NMC.”

3.05pm The King’s Fund has a new paper out on the current health and social care workforce to meet health demands, as part of its Time to Think Differently programme.

In response, Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association GP committee, said: “This report demonstrates that policy makers have failed to get a grip on NHS workforce planning. The projected imbalances between different specialties will have serious implications for patient care and come on top of reports showing wider staff shortages in key areas such as emergency care.

“General practice is already under intense strain from rising patient demand and declining resources. A shortage in the number GPs entering the workforce will further exacerbate this pressure and could mean that there are not enough GPs available to provide care to patients.

“It is also worrying that services dealing with the care of older people are facing staff shortfalls when an ageing population will require their skills even more in the future.”

3.00pm @Davewwest tweets: “Remember CCG authorisation? A further 46 CCGs have now had all conditions lifted, leaving 59/211 with cnditions, and 8 with legal directions.”

2.49pm Another CCG which has seen all its conditions (13 in total) lifted is Nene CCG. Its GP chair Darin Seiger said: “Having all of our conditions and directions removed is testament to the hard work of our team, our member practices, the public and our health and social care partners in redesigning the way we commission healthcare services for our patients.”

2.46pm A whole host of clinical commissioning groups are today announcing that conditions imposed on them when they were given authorisation are being lifted.

Andrew Bartlam, Stoke-on-Trent CCG’s chief clinical officer said: “Today’s announcement by NHS England that we now meet all the criteria is significant for us. It is the culmination of over two years of extremely hard work.

“We are now fully focussed on our priorities of commissioning and ensuring the delivery of a sustainable healthcare system that provides consistently high quality and safe health services appropriate to the needs of the population of the city.”

11.59am NHS Employers has rejected the College for Emergency Medicine’s demand for more pay for staff working in accident and emergency departments.

Dean Royles, the body’s chief executive, said: “I’m surprised anyone thinks the answer is more pay at nights and weekends.

“We’ve heard a lot about the cultural change needed in the NHS but the very language some use shows how hard that will be. Evening and weekends in A&E are not ‘out of hours’ - it’s our busiest time and when patients need senior doctors most.

“We need doctors and their representatives to be leading the charge to more seven day care, given the overwhelming evidence that it is better for patients, rather than entrenching the debate in terms and conditions.”

11.55am Problems with accident and emergency performance and tobacco legislation are being debated in the Lords this morning. Labour Lords health spokesman Lord Phil Hunt tweets: “#LordsQs on A and E services. I ask why the Government’s emergency care review will not be implemented until next spring. No answer.”

Andy Cowper is covering the debate on Twitter.

11.50am The proportions of 11 to 15-year olds taking and drinking has fallen dramatically since 2001, according to new Health and Social Care Information Centre data. In 2011, 17 per cent of pupils had ever taken drugs, compared with 29 per cent in 2001. The proportion of pupils who had drank alcohol in the last week has fallen from 26 per cent in 2001 to 12 per cent in 2011.

11.00am Two new non-executive directors will join the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence board, the Department of Health has announced. They are Finbarr Martin, Consultant Physician in General and Geriatric Medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas Foundation Trust and Bill Mumford, chief executive of MacIntyre, a service provider for children and adults with learning disabilities.

10.45am John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, has spoken to the Times about the unexpected spike in mortality rates revealed by HSJ. He told the Times the figures could not be explained by a statistical illusion. Professor Ashton says possible explanations include an “accumulation of frail elderly people whose time has finally come”, resistence to antibiotics and the impact of austerity on social care and the NHS.

10.40am The BBC has reported that five European wine-producing nations are trying to block Scotland’s plans for minimum alcohol pricing. France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria have said the policy is illegal, unfair and ineffective and could have a devastating impact on the wine and spirits industry.

10.35am The Daily Mail’s take on the A&E crisis says doctors are demanding double pay to work evenings and weekends in accident and emergency departments. It says doctors’ hourly pay is now 25 per cent more for night and weekend shifts but doctors are arguing this is not a good enough incentive.

10.28am The Welsh government has rejected calls for a Keogh review-style inquiry into NHS care standards and death rates. The calls were made after it was claimed an elderly patient suffered serious neglect at two Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board hospitals.

10.27am The Department of Health’s decision to transfer a £3.6bn portfolio of NHS properties to a private company may have exposed the health service to a hefty VAT bill, HSJ has learned. NHS Property Services took ownership in April of the portfolio of properties and leases, transferred mainly from NHS organisations abolished under the 2012 Health Act.

10.17am The Daily Telegraph’s take on the A&E story quotes NHS England chief operating officer Dame Barbara Hakin saying “there should be an improvement in the offer” to encourage doctors to specialise in emergency care.

10.13am Doctors working in A&E should be given a pay rise to help end the staffing crisis on emergency wards, it has been claimed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. This comes after the Commons health committee said just one in five emergency units has a sufficient number of consultants for their busiest 16-hour period on weekdays.

10.11am A shortage of accident and emergency consultants is driving the reconfiguration of accident and emergency services in Gloucestershire, board papers seen by HSJ reveal.

Under plans approved by Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group last week, the accident and emergency unit at Cheltenham General Hospital will cease to accept 999 emergency cases between 8pm and 8am from 29 July.

9.50am Public health officials are closely monitoring death rates as mortality among older people has been unexpectedly increasing since the beginning of 2012, HSJ has learned.

Experts are considering whether the shift - which is illustrated in a Public Health England deaths tracking report obtained by HSJ - may be related to particularly virulent viruses. However, one expert warned it could also be related to cuts to social support services, particularly relied on by older females.


8.50am: Today on HSJ’s Leadership channel, Dr Mike Roddis highlights the importance of moral leadership in the NHS following the events at Mid Staffordshire and Morecambe Bay and uses case studies to illustrate next steps for creating ethical organisations.

“If concerns are raised about a doctor, for example, medical directors have to balance their responsibilities towards patients and the organisation with their duty of care towards their employee,” he writes. We will be having a Twitter chat on this tomorrow. Follow @HSJnews for details.