Nominate the people making the greatest impact in high quality, safe care for patients, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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2.24pm The Health and Social Care Information Centre has secured international status for the United Kingdom as an expert centre for global health classifications.

This means the HSCIC  is now a designated Collaborating Centre for the World Health Organisation Family of Classifications, following a 13-stage process completed by the HSCIC on behalf of the Department of Health.

The UK now joins an international network of expert centres in health classifications and coding development, with a mission to improve health through ongoing development, maintenance and promotion of an integrated suite of health classifications that provide information of value and utility across the world.

An example of this is the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, a group of clinical codes used by all WHO member countries that enables the prevalence of different diseases to be compared nationally and internationally.

ICD codes underpin NHS information such as Hospital Episode Statistics in England, which is analysed and published in anonymised form by the HSCIC.

HSCIC chief executive Andy Williams said: “Securing WHO designation is the result of commitment to the network over a number of years and  many months of hard work and continuous engagement by HSCIC staff to support our submission.

“ I am delighted that our expertise will be harnessed internationally. We have committed to a four year work plan and will represent the UK in this important area of global development, with the ultimate aim of driving improvements to information to improve health not just in this country but around the world.”

More information about the WHO network is at:

1.48pm The NHS Trust Development Authority has launched an investigation into the ‘unexpectedly high’ demand for acute services that has seen winter pressures continue into the summer.

A report to its board last week said it had embarked on “urgent work” to find out what was behind the apparent surge in demand and how providers had responded.

1.45pm The number of times GP surgeries in England are forced to turn away patients for appointments next year will pass the 50 million mark, new research predicts.

Lack of investment is leading to an overstretched service in crisis which is struggling to meet patient demand, the Royal College of General Practitioners has said.

1.41pm The leading hospitals ‘buddied’ with failing trusts under the special measures regime received some £1.5m to cover their costs last year.

HSJ has also learned that some buddies are on track to double their money after helping ailing trusts leave special measures.

Even with the bonus payments, senior figures claim the regime is better value for money than management consultants.

1.37pm Most cancer and end of life care services in Staffordshire are expected to be provided by the NHS following a £1.2bn contract procurement, one of the directors behind the commissioning process has said.

Dr Jonathan Shapiro, who was last week announced as the director of clinical engagement of the Transforming Cancer and End of Life Care Programme, defended the procurement exercise against widespread concerns it would lead to privatisation of the services.

1.30pm Earlier this year government cut a deal with pharmaceutical industry that effectively took the cost of drugs off the table for two years.

So, why is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence still turning down cancer treatments based on cost, asks Hilary Tovey, assistant director of policy and information at Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

1.27pm Responding to the RCGPs statement that lack of investment is leading to an overstretched service which is struggling to meet patient demand, chairman of the the National Association of Primary Care, Dr Charles Alessi said:”Primary care needs and requires reinvigoration, and we are disappointed that NHS England is not taking the steps required to do so. Repeated assaults on primary care contracts - significantly, PMS contracts held by more than four out of ten practices - are not the answer to the problems we face; investment in primary care is the solution.”

Dr Nav Chana, GP at Cricket Green Medical Practice, Mitcham, and NAPC’s vice chairman, said “Of course we recognise the need to invest in primary care. However the model of care delivery needs to change so that general practice is seen as a key part of the system of care with a greater focus on improving population health outcomes, not just reacting to demand.”

The NAPC has been very active undertaking work across the country to address the challenges and depends faced by members. We are working with GP practices and community pharmacists to develop new roles of Primary Care Navigators.

It is intended that this training and the PCN role will eventually be usable across all long-term conditions. The training and skill set for the PCN will involve understanding the issues, listening effectively, asking open questions, and guiding/signposting people to personalised local and national sources of the help and support they need. The National Association of Primary Care firmly believes through the use of skill mix and simple innovative programmes are the key to the issues being faced.

11.50am The following statement has been released by NHS Protect, the health service’s counter-fraud agency:

A former head of financial accounting at an NHS Trust in East Sussex who defrauded the NHS of £2.2m has been sentenced to five years and four months imprisonment, following an investigation by NHS Protect (Blackfriars Crown Court, 25th July 2014).

Trevor Barry Cosson, 38, of Hastings, East Sussex, pleaded guilty to offences under the Fraud Act (2006) and Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) to defraud Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust (PCT) and East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT of £2.2m. He used the money to buy an extensive portfolio of eleven properties in East Sussex and London.

The fraud was discovered after a restructure of the PCTs for which Trevor Cosson previously worked. The PCTs were disbanded and a new organisation was created – Sussex and Surrey Commissioning Support Unit – which had responsibility for financial matters. An end of year audit carried out by the new body revealed suspicious payments of hundreds of thousands of pounds. The matter was then referred to NHS Protect for investigation, who gathered evidence of further fraudulent activities by Cosson.

Cosson manipulated the internal payments systems of both of the PCTs he worked for. Standing orders were set up in the name of regular suppliers but the payments were actually credited to bank accounts controlled by Cosson. Between 2008 and 2011 Cosson authorised £810,000 worth of standing order payments, and £1.4m worth of payments between 2011 and 2012 via an internal payments system.

Sue Frith, Head of the National Investigation Service at NHS Protect said, “Mr Cosson’s dishonesty resulted in the theft of over £2m from two local health bodies. He abused his position of trust so that he could live a lifestyle that he could not afford. Stealing from the NHS is not a victimless crime as this money could have been used to provide healthcare locally. The sentence reflects the seriousness of Cosson’s crime and will act as a deterrent to others.”

11.50am The Labour MP Tom Watson has written a blog in light of the controversy surrounding the ‘banker-style’ salary of Dr Anthony Marsh, the chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Dr Marsh, who is currently paid 232,000 to run the trust alongside its East of England counterpart, drew ire from local and national press for the size of his pay packet.

Now Mr Watson discloses the details of a letter sent to him anonymously – apparently written by WMAS chair Dr Geoffrey Harris and sent to Trust Development Authority chief executive David Flory.

Dr Harris appears to be criticising the TDA for its decision to appoint Dr Marsh as a part-time chief executive, despite the ambulance service’s view that “leadership capacity has consistently been identified as a key need”.

11.05am A bill proposing the right for people to die in their own homes, written by the Labour peer and former health minister Lord Warner, will receive its first reading in the House of Lords today.

Lord Warner, explaining the rationale behind his private members bill, writes: “What’s not to like about my bill? It is very straightforward in that it enables people to ask their GP to register in their medical records that they wish to die at home or the place they regard as home. The Bill gives the Health Secretary the power to produce regulations to achieve this, and to require health and care staff to honour the wishes of patients in accordance with statutory guidance.”

To read Lord Warner’s full blog – click here.

10.58am The Times reports on its front page that one in nine people seeking a GP appointment are being “turned away” by surgeries as doctors’ leaders warn that the system is failing patients.

Doctors’ leaders said the figures, which suggest that doctors turned away patients more than 40m times this year, were a “shocking indictment” of a failing system and warned that the early signs of deadly diseases could be missed when patients are shut out of surgeries.

Patients in Birmingham and London are the worst affected, the paper reports, with one in seven people being turned away.

The Royal College of GPs said that the system had been “brought to its knees” by the weight of patient demand.

10.23am The Financial Times reports that GlaxoSmithKline’s chief executive has opened the possibility of the group being broken up in the future as he pushes through an overhaul of Britan’s biggest drugmaker.

Sir Andrew Witty said GSK had the option to spin off its consumer healthcare business if a time came when it offered more value as a standalone company.

10.15am The Daily Mail reports that nearly £1.6bn in redundancy payments has been given to NHS bureaucrats in the past four years, including thousands who have since been rehired.

In the past 12 months at least £8m was spent paying off 40 managers, handed cheques for £200,000 or more.

Papers lodged at the court revealed Jill Finney is seeking at least £1.3m libel damages from the CQC. The regulator could also have to pay Ms Finney’s legal bill should it lose.

Her case is expected to claim that the CQC’s current chair David Prior and chief executive David Behan abused their power and acted maliciously in publishing allegations that she ordered a “cover up” of its failings.

9.43am Good morning. HSJ, working with Veredus, is seeking to celebrate healthcare’s clinical leaders – the people who are making the greatest impact in driving and influencing high quality, safe care for patients.