Outgoing NHS England chief executive apologies for tweeting a parody video portraying his colleague as the Nazi leader, plus the rest of the day’s news and comment

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5.43pm HSJ is running a brief poll alongside NHS Change Day to find out what you think can be done to improve the NHS.

Will your answers match the public’s?

5.37pm Live blog picture took a wee bit of time to update - with surprising results:

5.27pm This week’s HSJ efficiency supplement investigates how NHS organisations are dealing with the new commissioning landscape.

The first chapter looks at how new breeds of organisation have grown out of the old, fragmented NHS “family”. Jennifer Trueland discusses how to ensure everyone still works together.

As ailing trusts move toward new partnerships in the unprecedented break-up of the NHS, case studies of Medway Community Healthcare and Dartford and Gravesham Trust highlight the ways to work side by side in spinoffs, as the second chapter in the supplement discusses.

The final section offers a look at integrating financial data and how leaders are using it to get a better grip on spending and save on cumbersome administration.

The supplement is free to download as a PDF.

5.15pm The BBC reports that a health board in North Wales spent almost £1m between 2010 and 2013 making six people redundant.

3.49pm David Nicholson has apologised for tweeting a spoof Hitler YouTube video poking fun at his colleague Tim Kelsey and the body’s care.data scheme, The Evening Standard reports.

The outgoing NHS England chief executive posted a link to a video titled “Tim Kelsey discovers that care.data is in trouble” a spoof the film German film Downfall, , with subtitles portraying Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s director for patients and information, as the Nazi leader.

Sir David has since taken the link down, and this morning tweeted: “”@tkelsey1 sorry this is what happens when you give an old bloke with an over developed sense of humour new tech you’re doing a great job X”.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “Sir David very much hopes his tweet did not cause any offence, that was not his intention at all. He knows his team is doing a really important and complex job for patients, one which is critical for the NHS.”

Sir David’s tweet has been criticised by shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne and Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie.

3.35pm A council leader embroiled in a row with with a clinical commissioning group has called for the resignation of its chair and chief clinical officer, after he was cleared of bullying them.

2.58pm The BBC reports that there has been a significant fall in the number of measles cases in England at the end of 2013, according to figures from Public Health England.

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: “Measles is a potentially fatal, but entirely preventable, disease so we are delighted that measles cases have recently decreased.

“The best way to prevent measles outbreaks is to ensure good uptake of the MMR vaccine across all age groups, so it’s heartening to see the success the catch-up programme had in ensuring 95% of 10 to 16 year olds in England received at least one dose of the vaccine.”

2.24pm The challenges of care.data have proven great, but the benefit – of better patient outcomes and billions of pounds of savings – remains well worth winning, argues Olaf Lodbrok, managing director at Reed Elsevier Health Analytics.

 “There is little concern in the US about big data techniques because of the benefits that it brings,” he says.

“Political leaders should explain the benefits the British public will reap from the power of big data.”

HSJ earlier today reported that NHS England has for the first time discussed the possible benefits of moving to a system where patients opt-in to signal consent for their data to be shared in the scheme.

2.07pm More from today’s papers, The Daily Telegraph reports that a man has criticised the NHS after claiming that two hospitals failed to diagnose his broken leg.

Colin Wilson, 31, from Keighley in West Yorkshire was not offered X-rays or pain relief at Hull Royal Infirmary. At Airedale General hospital he was told he was suffering from muscle pain.

He said: “My main concern is I got mistreated twice by two hospitals 100 miles apart, so it is pretty clear there must be a major problem with the NHS”

1.30pm This week’s issue of HSJ magazine is now available to read on our tablet app.

In this week’s issue we reveal that the national elective waiting list bucking the seasonal trend – hovering just below 3 million rather than falling sharply as it has in recent years.


  • A moratorium on commissioning specialist mental health services exacerbates bed shortages as new units stand empty
  • Three clinical commissioning groups decide to merge in the first such move since CCGs became statutory bodies last year
  • Staff report in a NHS survey that they are experiencing better communication with senior managers
  • Mike Birtwistle explains how Jeremy Hunt and Andy Burnham are failing to tell their NHS story
  • CCGs worry the proposed lead provider framework is not offering real choice over support services

To find the latest issue, simply navigate to “This week’s issue” on the app, or tap on the cover image on the homepage.

HSJ’s tablet app is free to download for both iPad and Android devices. iPad users can download it directly here, Android users will need to download it from the Google Play store.

1.05pm A lack of effective clinical leadership contributed to the death of an 18-year-old man at a mental health unit in Oxfordshire, an independent report has concluded.

Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned in the bath at an assessment and treatment centre run by Southern Health last July, was found to have been the subject of several failures of care.

The trust had suggested Mr Sparrowhawk could have died from “natural causes”.

12.38pm There is a £202m discrepancy between what foundation trusts think they are owed by commissioners, and what commissioners think they owe them, Monitor has revealed.

Speaking at the regulator’s board meeting on Wednesday, its director of finance, reporting and risk Jason Dorsett said the gap could “cause the sector to come in worse than it would otherwise have done” at the end of the financial year in April.

12.18pm A new criminal offence of wilful neglect would be extended across all formal healthcare settings under proposals revealed by the Department of Health.

It has also dropped its previous proposal to limit the offence only to cases of serious harm or death, arguing it should be a matter for investigating and prosecuting authorities to decide when charges are appropriate.

The DH estimates the offence, which will cover both individuals and organisations, could result as many as 240 criminal prosecutions a year.

12.08pm NHS England has for the first time formally discussed the possible benefits of moving to a system where patients opt-in to signal consent for their data to be shared in the controversial care.data scheme, HSJ understands. 

12.00pm Which bass player, who moonlights as a senior NHS director, will be flexing his jazz muscles next week?

As ever, our End Game blog has the answer.

11.43am EXCLUSIVE: NHS England’s national director for human resources and organisational development confirmed to HSJ yesterday that she is leaving the organisation.

A statement announcing her departure was sent to staff yesterday afternoon revealing Jo-Anne Wass is to take up a post at the University of Leeds as an organisational development consultant. The move is described in NHS England’s statement as a “secondment”.

11.30am NHS England is to invest £90 million in diagnosing two thirds of people with dementia by March 201, as part of a new package of care for dementia patients, announced by the health secretary today.

NHS England will work with local areas it is known that it can take up to 25 weeks to carry out diagnostic assessments. In others he wait is as little as six weeks. average.  

People diagnosed with dementia and their carers will be able to sign up to a new service on the NHS Choices website to get information in the early stages of their condition.

A “world dementia envoy” has also been appointed to raise funds for research towards a cure.

The announcement follows the G8 Dementia summit, held in London last December.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: Today’s package is about government, clinicians, business, society and investors coming together to raise our game on every front – from speedy diagnosis to compassionate care, and from help on our high streets to the quest for a cure.

“To have variation in diagnosis rates from a few weeks to close to six months is totally unacceptable and I am pleased that the NHS England have agreed to address this within the funding they have available.”

Alistair Burns, NHS England’s national clinical director for dementia, said: “Getting a diagnosis of dementia means that the patient can start getting the right treatment, care and support that they and their carers need – so the quicker the assessment happens, the better. 

“That’s why we are helping the NHS to work out the number of people with dementia in their local area, working with those areas taking the longest time to assess their patients and giving them the support to improve so that people waiting for dementia assessments get them in an average of six weeks.”

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is unacceptable that some people with dementia have to wait months to get a diagnosis. Today’s announcement is a positive step forward to increasing diagnosis rates and ensuring that no matter where you live you will receive a timely assessment.

“Too often we hear about a lack of suitable services available to people with dementia and their carers. We welcome the focus on post-diagnosis support which will provide a vital life-line to thousands who are currently left in the dark, with nowhere to turn for advice or support.

“Everyone with dementia should have the opportunity to access a dementia advisor - someone who can focus on their needs throughout their journey with dementia.”

11.15am Up to 240 prosecutions a year alleging wilful neglect or ill-treatment of patients could take place under a new criminal offence that could be introduced in England, reports The Guardian.

Individuals could face up to five years imprisonment and/or £5,000 in fines according to a consultation paper on proposed new legalisation.

The law would match penalties that already exist for those who ill-treat people without mental capacity, says the Department of Health.

With an estimated 10.8m users of health and social care each year the department believes offences under the new law would affect one in 45,000 patients.

10.50am Moving to The Guardian, the Department of Health has launched a three-month consultation on draft regulations for a procedure that aims to prevent mothers from passing on serious genetic diseases to their children. This is a controversial technique because it leads to babies with DNA from three people.

Mitochondrial transfer has never been tried in humans and is illegal in Britain under laws that ban the placing of an egg or embryo into a woman if the DNA has been altered.

The government announced last June that it intends to allow the procedure but the regulations must be finalised, debated and approved by parliament before clinics can offer the treatment.

About one in 200 children born in the UK have some form of mitochondrial disorder.

10.38am More from The Daily Mail, the number of women taking breast cancer screenings has fallen for the second year in a row, according to data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

10.30am Also in The Daily Mail, dangerous bacteria, including the superbug MRSA, may be being spread around hospitals and surgeries by dirty stethoscopes, a study has found.

10.23am The Daily Mail also reports on failings at a Welsh trust “on the the scale of the Mid Staffordshire healthcare scandal”.

A leaked copy of an investigation into the neglect of an elderly patient at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, South Wales, found that trust failed to hold a proper inquiry into her death, despite assuring family that one had taken place.

Wales’ first minister Carwyn Jones waiting over year after being alerted to scandal to launch a probe into it, the Mail reports.

10.15am In this morning’s papers, The Daily Mail reports on Jeremy Hunt saying dementia patients will be diagnosis within six weeks rather than six months of showing symptoms.

At a conference in Paris yesterday, the health secretary said the NHS should follow the French model of care, in which family doctors are more likely to detect signs of dementia.

He said he wants Britain to be a leader in both diagnosis and the search for a cure.

9.55am The beauty of the NHS Change Day movement is that it is far more than making a promise, it is a statement of intent to make care better for those who need it, says Pollyanna Jones, regulatory performance manager for King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust.

7:00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.HSJ is hosting a Twitter chat today, in association with Marie Curie Cancer Care, to discuss how best to tackle the issues of access and inequality when commissioning end of life care.

Recently Phil McCarvill, head of policy and public affairs at Marie Curie Cancer Care, wrote about the World Health Organization finding that only one in 10 dying people have access to palliative care.

He explained that while the UK is a world leader in palliative care, there is still significant unmet need here, especially among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

“The time to act is now,” Phil says. “Health and social care services need to listen to people who experience barriers to accessing care and tear these down.”

What are the solutions to breaking down these barriers? How do we reach more people with palliative care need each year and how can commissioners deliver services to meet actual need regardless of disease, ethnicity or any factor other than need?

Phil will be on Twitter on today from 12pm to discuss the importance of tackling access and inquality in end of life care.

Join in using the hashtag #HSJEOLC, as well as follwing @hsjnews and @mariecurieeolc, to ask questions and participate in the discussion.