The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

It was a matter of when, and not if, according to some but the government has rejected widespread calls to reform the NHS Pension Scheme – arguing its sticky-plaster solution is enough.

In a roundabout way of saying “no”, the Treasury’s consultation response argued that the raising of the income threshold from £110,000 to £200,000 during last March’s Budget has effectively solved the problem.

Not so, according to the British Medical Association, who slammed it as a “wasted opportunity” while pensions experts have echoed similar thoughts.

Ros Altmann, a former pensions minister and Tory peer, described it as “disappointing”. Perhaps another time?

Covid tech takes its toll

The chief executive of NHS Digital has told of the immense pressures her agency is under. Sarah Wilkinson said staff were suffering from burnout but the organisation was still having to say yes to projects they would normally turn away due to lack of capacity.

The arm’s length body has had to implement the testing infrastructure for the covid quarantine programme, deliver digital services for NHS Test and Trace and manage the covid data dashboards.

Ms Wilkinson told the organisation’s board this week: “The reality is as an organisation we are being asked to carry out a huge complex programme of work in really challenging circumstances…honestly in normal times I would just be saying no to work right now, I just don’t think we could deliver any more programmes on top of the volume of work we already have.

As well as increased workload, staff are also feeling the personal pressures of the pandemic, according to Ms Wilkinson, including isolation, caring for family members and home-schooling children. Read the full story.