This site is intended for health professionals only

Secret hospital bans on veils, failing hospitals to be ‘twinned’ with good ones and the scrapped NHS IT project that has cost £10 billion

Staff in many hospitals are being secretly banned from wearing veils, according to today’s Telegraph front page.

An investigation by the paper revealed that at least 17 NHS hospitals have ‘quietly’ banned their frontline staff from wearing the full-face ‘niqab’ veil, with the news coming amid a political debate on the Muslim clothing in Britain.

Health minister Dan Poulter, who has ordered a review of current healthcare guidance on the issue, said: ‘Being unable to see a healthcare professional’s face can be a barrier to good and empathetic communication with patients and their families.’

Managers from the country’s best hospitals are to be sent into worse-performing ones to try to improve them, reports the BBC.

Trusts can expected to be paid bonuses if their managers, parachuted in to help other sites, are able to help raise standards.

Ministers will later today set out how 11 trusts which have been put into special measures will be twinned with ‘more successful’ hospitals.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to say: ‘With the help of inspiring NHS leaders and their teams from our leading hospitals, I am confident that we can get these hospitals out of special measures and on the road to recovery.’

The scrapped NHS IT project that aimed to give patients individual care records has cost the taxpayer at least £10 billion, the Public Accounts Committee has said.

PAC member Richard Bacon MP described the scheme, abandoned in 2011, as one of the ‘most protracted and worst contracting scandals in the history of the public sector … both in the scale of money involved and the scale of the mistakes’, reports the Independent.

Most of us ‘will have to work until we drop’, according to new Office for National Statistics projections.

Even with huge regional variation taken into account, the length of time people can ‘normally expect to lead a full and active life’ is 10 years below the state pension age - leaving the dream of a happy and health retirement a ‘myth for all but the minority of people’, writes the Telegraph.

Reporting on the same study, last night’s Evening Standard focused on the variation in healthy life expectancy, after the statistical report showed women in Richmond in southwest London can expect to be healthy until age 72, compared to just 54 in east London borough Tower Hamlets.