Doctors meet over plans for NHS reforms

Doctors are to debate toughening their opposition to the government's plans to overhaul the NHS in England. Some 350 delegates will come together today to attend an emergency meeting of the British Medical Association (BMA) amid grassroots anger about the plans which could see increased competition. BMA leader Dr Hamish Meldrum said doctors were worried about the "very dangerous" plans. The Department of Health said it wanted to "work closely" with the BMA and was committed to the future of the NHS.

Dock pay for top earners who perform poorly

Top bosses in the public sector should have 10% of their annual salary held back in case they fail to perform, a Government-commissioned report has suggested. The Fair Pay Review said there should be greater scrutiny of executive pay in the public sector with a workers' representative sitting on committees that advises on how much top bosses should earn. The report was put together by Will Hutton, who heads the Work Foundation. The scheme, whereby 10% of a salary is held back, would be the first of its type in the world. It would affect around 2,000 senior staff initially although it could spread to tens of thousands of middle managers on a voluntary basis.

NHS 'worse value for money after investment'

Taxpayers are getting "less for each pound spent" from the NHS as a whole than they were a decade ago, the Public Accounts Committee warns in a report published today. Margaret Hodge, a Labour MP who chaired the committee said: "Over the last 10 years, the productivity of NHS hospitals has been in almost continuous decline. Over the same period, the amount spent on the NHS increased from £60 billion to £102 billion a year. The quality of the health service has improved as a result of this increase in spending. But the taxpayer has been getting less for each pound spent."

A better way to nurse NHS back to health

Comment piece in The Daily Telegraph by Philip Johnston discussing an NHS Trust which he claims has improved treatment by deciding to stop meeting targets and focus on patients' needs.

Leading supermarkets join healthy lifestyles deal

More than 170 companies - including the leading supermarket chains - have signed up to the "responsibility deal" to encourage healthier lifestyles. The full details will be unveiled later, but pledges on calorie counts on menus and clearer labelling on drinks are expected to be made. The voluntary agreements for England cover four themes - physical activity, food, alcohol and health at work. Andrew Lansley has been forced defend the approach after six health groups pulled out of the alcohol strand on Monday, arguing the government was being too soft on the industry.

TUC leader sets out his plans for national demonstration

Brendan Barber, General Secretary of TUC has set out his plans for the first national demonstration against cuts on 26 March.  He promises a barrage of protest against government cuts, ranging from industrial strikes and “peaceful civil disobedience”.

Parliamentary Update

House of Commons
Adjournment debates in Westminster Hall (9.30 am – 2.00 pm): performance of NHS services in Essex [Priti Patel]
Health and Social Care Bill
(10.30am & 4.00pm) – Room 10
Health Select Committee (10.30am)
Commissioning: further issues
Witnesses: John Black, President, Royal College of Surgeons of England, Alwen Williams, Chief Executive, East London and the City Alliance PCT cluster, Dr Paul Hobday, Kent Local Medical Committee Spokesperson & BMA Maidstone Branch Chair, Sean Boyle, Visiting Research Fellow, London School of Economics, Suzanne Tracey, President, Healthcare Financial Management Association & Director of Finance and Business Development, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Noel Plumridge, independent consultant and writer on NHS finances, Andy McKeon, Managing Director for Health, Audit Commission, and Margaret Whitehead, Professor of Public Health, University of Liverpool.
Public Accounts Select Committee (10.30am)
NHS trust procurement
Witnesses: Sir David Nicholson KCB CBE, Chief Executive, NHS and Howard Rolfe, Director of Procurement, East of England NHS Collaborative procurement Hub
Public Accounts Select Committee publish – Management of NHS hospital productivity

Other business
Public Accounts Committee publish report on Management of NHS hospital productivity
Will Hutton to publish Final Report & Recommendations of Fair Pay Review, setting out terms of new settlement for public service leadership
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to launch Responsibility Deal & Alcohol Labelling @ 10.00 am