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NHS transparency ‘taking hold’, new deadly bird flu emerges and Labour accuses CQC of politicking

Scientists have warned a new deadly strain of bird flu that has claimed its first victim in China has ‘pandemic potential’, reports the BBC this morning.

A 73-year-old woman from Nanchang City died after contracting the new strain of influenza A, called H10N8, while a second person is known to be infected. There is no evidence it has spread from person to person as yet, but scientists told the Lancet the potential for it to become a pandemic ‘should not be underestimated’.

Meanwhile on the domestic front, Jeremy Hunt says the NHS is now listening more to whistleblowers and the service is already ‘more caring’.

In an article for The Telegraph, the health secretary claims there are signs of openness and transparency ‘taking hold’, with over 7,000 whistleblowers contacting the CQC so far this financial year. Mr Hunt says he hears from frontline health service workers they want the Francis Inquiry ‘to mark a turning point in the history of our health service’ and says: ‘One year on, I believe it has.’

Finally, The Independent has an exclusive on Andy Burnham’s claims the new head of the CQC marks another example of the Government politicising public sector bodies.

Mr Burnham’s claims come after former Tory MP and chair of the CQC David Prior told a Sunday paper the NHS ‘was in need of “serious change” and needed “more competition to drive up standards of care; more entrants into the market from private sector companies, the voluntary sector and other care providers”,’ the Independent says.

According to the paper Mr Burnham said: ‘We need to hear from the Government about whether these are appropriate comments for the chairman of the regulator to be making.’