The NHS England chief executive wants to create a standing group of national and local health leaders so “the national bodies and frontline NHS leaders… can better connect and align”.

Simon Stevens told HSJ he was still developing the idea and it would be refined with the new chair and chief executive of NHS Improvement, who are yet to be appointed.

Simon Stevens

Source: Neil O’Connor

Simon Stevens: ‘Leaders of STPs will be able to make their voices heard’

“I’m thinking hard [and] talking to people about ways in which the national bodies and frontline NHS leaders, and indeed clinicians and patient groups, can better connect and align,” he said.

It would include sustainability and transformation partnership leaders, Mr Stevens said.

“One of the things we’re going to be exploring in the autumn… will be perhaps the creation of some form of NHS council or assembly that brings together, on a regular basis, frontline organisations and national bodies.

“This is really about how to better connect national and frontline perspectives on some of the decisions that we’ve got to make,” he added.

It would be a “shared point of decision making around implementation of some of the things that we’ve got to get done” and “a way in which leaders of STPs will be able to make their voices heard and presence felt on the national stage”.

Mr Stevens said: “In some areas it will be decision making or co-decision making. In other areas it will be more informal than that.”

He indicated he had not decided who should chair it.

Euratom

The NHS England chief executive indicated that the need for the NHS to provide cancer treatment would “trump other considerations” over the UK’s membership of Euratom.

Concerns have been raised by some within the sector in recent days that giving up Euratom membership - a possibility as part of Brexit - would restrict access to isotopes needed for radiotherapy.

Mr Stevens said: “The view from the UK is that it’s not right that cancer patients will be at a disadvantage after we leave Euratom, if we leave Euratom, because Euratom doesn’t have a role in controlling the movement of medical isotopes across borders, and it places no restrictions on the export of medical isotopes to countries outside the EU.”

He added: “Where’s there’s a will there’s a way. Let’s be real about this. Nobody’s going to do anything that’s going to jeopardise the NHS’s ability to actually provide top quality radiotherapy services for cancer patients. That’s going to trump other considerations.”

Stevens: NHS could create new national 'council' to share decision making