Five trusts face death rates probe
FIVE hospital trusts are to be investigated over high death rates, it has emerged, following a scathing report which laid bare the “disaster” of Stafford Hospital.
NHS Commissioning Board medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is to launch an immediate investigation into Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust after the trusts had higher-than-average death rates two years running.
The news follows the publication of the Francis Report, which highlighted the “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of patients” at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009.
Editor to give Huhne trial evidence
THE political editor of the Sunday Times will give evidence today at the trial of Chris Huhne’s ex-wife, who is accused of perverting the course of justice by taking his speeding points a decade ago.
Isabel Oakeshott helped Vicky Pryce reveal the crime in newspaper stories in 2011, after Huhne left her for his PR adviser the previous year.
Former Cabinet minister Huhne ended his political career when he finally pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice on Monday – after repeatedly lying about the points swapping in March 2003.
Barroso plea over EU budget talks
DAVID Cameron and fellow EU leaders have been challenged to negotiate “in a spirit of responsibility” at a crunch EU budget summit starting in Brussels this afternoon.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso – acknowledging he will not get his preferred spending of close to one thousand billion euros (£860 billion) over the next seven years – said too many around the table were defending national interests at the expense of a European budget big enough to pay for policies governments are demanding and which will help restore vital jobs and growth.
Talks between EU leaders broke down last November, with a frustrated Mr Cameron calling on the EU to start living “in the real world” by recognising the need for financial belt-tightening in line with national cutbacks.
Clegg to launch Eastleigh campaign
DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg will fire the starting gun in the Liberal Democrats’ Eastleigh by-election campaign today with a promise to press for higher taxes on the wealthy to ease the burden on “hard-working families”.
In the Commons, Lib Dem chief whip Alistair Carmichael will move the writ formally triggering the contest to elect a successor to disgraced former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne.
Polling will take place in just three weeks’ time, on February 28, in a battle which will pitch the Lib Dems into a head-to-head fight with their Coalition partners, the Tories, who finished second in the 2010 general election.
Gove forced into u-turn on GCSES
EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove has been forced to abandon his flagship plan to scrap GCSEs and replace them with a new English Baccalaureate.
The move was said to follow pressure from within the coalition from the Liberal Democrats as well as criticism from MPs across the political spectrum.
Last week the cross-party Commons Education Committee said the Government had “not proved its case” that GCSEs should be abolished in key academic subjects.