5. July 2012 14:39
The NHS will evolve into one of the best health services in the world after the Government’s controversial structural reforms, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has claimed.
Mr Lansley made the claim after the first Secretary of State’s Annual Report revealed waiting times are the lowest levels on record, MRSA outbreaks have fallen by a quarter and savings totalled £5.8bn.
Speaking in the House of Commons the Health Secretary said the health service was beginning a “new chapter” in its 64-year history.
He said performance results meant the NHS was entering a “new era based on openness and transparency, focused on what matters most to patients, on health outcomes, on care quality, on safety and on positive experience of care.”
“For the first time Parliament, patients and the public will know exactly how the NHS is performing, locally, nationally and by way of international comparison – a new era where patients are more in control, where clinicians lead services and where outcomes are amongst the best in the world,” said Mr Lansley.
However, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham was unimpressed with Mr Lansley’s predictions and accused him of needlessly reorganising the NHS. He said: “Just when the NHS needed stability to focus all of its energy on the money, what did you do? You pulled the rug from underneath it with a reorganisation that no one wanted and this Prime Minister promised would never happen.”
The Labour MP told the Health Secretary he had wasted “not just one but two lost years” as he “obsessed on structures and inflicted an ideological experiment on the NHS”. Mr Burnham also claimed the NHS reforms had “led to a loss of financial grip at local level in the NHS”.
5. July 2012 14:26
A single diabetes indicator will be created for the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) by the DH after an investigation found only half of patients received the nine existing separate checks.
Findings from the National Diabetes Audit for 2010/11 suggest that suspected diabetes patients are not being thoroughly checked for the condition by GPs.
Sir Bruce Keogh (pictured), NHS Medical Director, has written to NICE asking it to replace the current QOF indicators with a “composite indicator measuring the proportion of patients who received all nine of the processes”.
In the letter, Sir Bruce also called for the Institute to review the range of “target measurements and associated payment thresholds”.
“We hope to work together (with NICE) and with the BMA and other stakeholders to improve the QOF and support ongoing improvements in quality and outcomes for patients,” said a DH spokesperson.
The new indicator – which would be worth more than £5,000 – could be included in the 2015 framework.
The General Practitioners Committee (GPC) filed a complaint over the data used in the audit. The DH has now launched an investigation into the complaint with the outcome expected in September.
5. July 2012 13:02
The two clinical commissioning groups covering north Warwickshire will merge to form a single organisation.
Following consultation with the NHS Commissioning Board, local GPs have agreed to unite the North Warwickshire and Nuneaton & Bedworth CCGs as Warwickshire North CCG.
The decision was made “specifically” to address “size, geography and boundary related issues”, the Arden PCT Cluster Board said.
Neither of the existing CCGs is currently lined up in the four ‘application waves’ due to take place later this year.
The Nuneaton and Bedworth area is considered among the most economically deprived in the region, and Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital trust has a mortality rate 23% above the national average.
The George Eliot Hospital recently declared itself unable to meet the criteria for Foundation Trust status on its own, and has applied to franchise its management – with Circle being considered the most likely candidate.
The decision caused South Warwickshire FT to withdraw from the tender, saying that it was looking for a merger rather than a franchise.
The new CCG configuration does not directly affect the hospital trust’s choice of partner, but may strengthen the confidence of local commissioners that a sustainable solution for the region can be found.
5. July 2012 12:25
Commissioning Support Services (CSS) that are approved by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) will be given a licence containing guidelines on how they will be able to conduct business.
The licence includes the rules, processes and policies that will “underpin the operational arrangements” of CSS whilst they are hosted by the Board.
Guidance published on the final stage of the CSS assurance process outlines how they will be controlled by the Commissioning Board until they become independent in four years’ time.
The ‘license to operate’ will be provisional from October 2012 until it becomes formal from April next year.
It will be in addition to the binding development plan that will be agreed between the NHSCB and the support organisations that pass ‘checkpoint three’ of the assessment process.
“As part of these arrangements there are likely to be some additional checks up to and during hosting that provide the commissioning board with the necessary reassurance that CSSs continue to provide efficient, responsive and viable services,” the document said.
Additional guidance on the financial planning of CSS notes that they will be expected to run at a surplus of 5%-10% of turnover as part of their contingency plans. But they should aim to break even annually, the guidance adds.
Support organisations have also been instructed to save 4% annually between 2012-13 and 2015-16.
5. July 2012 10:44
NHS Blackburn and Darwen CCG looks set to get a new chair after its current lead Dr Chris Clayton decided to bid to become its chief executive when authorised.
Mr Joe Slater, a former social worker for Lancashire Council, has been named as the preferred candidate to chair the commissioning group.
As a local resident Mr Slater said he has “always championed the needs of local people” and will use his “knowledge and experience to help the CCG make life better and improve health in our borough.”
NHS Blackburn outlined the duties of Mr Slater in his new role. He will be responsible for promoting patient and public involvement and ensuring people are at the heart of local decisions about healthcare.
He will now undergo an additional assessment process before being formally appointed in August.
The CCG recently posted a video on YouTube featuring local residents outlining the structural changes to the NHS in the region.