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Improving NHS staff productivity 'could save £280m a year'

The report found NHS expenditure on staff accounts for more than 60p of every pound hospitals spend. Credit: Hugh Macknight / PA Archive/PA Images

An 18-month review looking at ways to cut waste and enhance efficiency in the NHS, has found improving staff productivity by five minutes every shift could save £280 million a year.

The review, by efficiency expert Lord Carter, also found that with better procurement, the NHS could save £700 million every year.

The report added: "A sample of 22 trusts use 30,000 suppliers, 20,000 different product brands, over 400,000 manufacturer products codes and more than 7,000 people are able to place orders."

My experience of the NHS and hospitals internationally is that high-quality patient care and sound financial management go hand in hand.

"To improve the quality of care, hospitals must grasp resources more effectively, especially staff, which account for more than 60p of every pound hospitals spend.

– Lord Carter

The report comes as a separate study from the National Audit Office (NAO) found that in 2014 there was an overall staffing shortfall of around 5.9% in the NHS, equating to a gap of around 50,000 clinical staff.

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Education Secretary: 22 more free schools to open

A further 22 free schools have been will soon be open - creating 18,000 more school places across the country, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said 'parents are flocking' to free schools Credit: Jonathan Brady / PA Wire/PA Images

Free schools are newly established schools set up by groups such as teachers, parents, businesses and academy chains, with freedom over areas such as the curriculum.

Among those approved are two academies - one in Tower Hamlets, London and the other in Bournemouth - set up by Ian Livingstone, a founder of the Games Workshop who advised the Government on the computer curriculum.

The 'Livingstone Academies' will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and maths, the Department for Education said.

"Free schools are offering a rigorous education in communities which have never before had the opportunity of a good local school.

Parents are flocking to them in their droves - and today's announcement means that over 18,000 more children can benefit from a place in a free school.

With leading entrepreneur Ian Livingstone stepping up to open two schools, the free schools programme is proving to be a vital outlet for our society's most creative and innovative people to spread their excellence to future generations.

– Education Secretary Nicky Morgan

There are also plans to set up a new body of property experts to help find more sites for free schools, the Education Secretary said.

Labour MP Harry Harpham, 61, has died from cancer

Labour MP Harry Harpham, who represented Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has died from cancer, the party has said.

Labour MP Harry Harpham has died from cancer at the age of 61. Credit: Lynne Cameron / PA Archive/PA Images

The former miner entered Parliament at the general election last year after a long career in local public service, including a stint as deputy leader of Sheffield Council.

In a statement Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to Mr Harpham.

The news of the death of Harry Harpham is extremely sad and I send my deepest condolences to his family.

Harry was a proud socialist who had also been a proud miner.

He was dedicated to justice for working people and despite the undoubted hardship that his support for the miners’ strike would have caused him, as it did many thousands of miners, Harry recently told me he would have done it all again.

To the very end he was fighting for working people in parliament. What a decent man he was and he will be sadly missed by all his friends in the Labour Party.

– Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Harpham was diagnosed with cancer after his party's autumn conference last year and was treated in hospital a short time later.

He ran for Parliament after former home secretary David Blunkett announced he was standing down, and won the seat with a majority of 13,807.

Mr Harpham leaves behind his wife Gill and children Annie, Kieron, Dan, Emily and Victoria.

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Department of Health announces plans to cut 650 jobs

The job cuts are expected to reduce the department's running costs by 30% by 2021. Credit: Lauren Hurley / PA Wire/PA Images

The Department of Health (DoH) has announced it will cut around 650 jobs in a bid to save money.

Non-senior staff numbers will be reduced from 1,800 to between 1,200 and 1,300 by April 2017 in a bid to cut the department's running costs by 30% in the next five years.

The DoH will also merge employees from its three London offices to one site.

The Department of Health has an important role leading the health and care system in England to help people live better for longer.

It is only right that the Department of Health should take its fair share of the efficiency savings.

Consolidating our estate onto fewer sites and reducing staff numbers will enable us to deliver efficiencies and provide the most effective service to the country.

– Permanent Secretary Una O'Brien

David Cameron to try to finalise details of EU deal

David Cameron is today trying to finalise the details of his EU reform package.

The Prime Minister will meet EU counterparts at a London summit on the Syria crisis, before hosting European Parliament president Martin Schulz at Downing Street.

David Cameron will today attempt to finalise details of his EU reform deal Credit: ITV News

Despite the emergence of a draft deal on Tuesday, David Cameron is under pressure from some of his own Conservative MPs, largely over suggestions that MEPs could delay the introduction of a brake on migrant benefits for 18 months.

Yesterday, pressed on whether he had "compromised" on his election promises on the benefits brake by ITV News' Political Editor Robert Peston, the Prime Minister said it was "a negotiation".

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