The must read stories and talking points from HSJ

STP’s capital concerns

Some of the key problems with the STP process have been highlighted in fairly stark terms by health leaders in Cheshire and Merseyside.

A leaked copy of the region’s STP submission to NHS England outlines significant blocks and risks around implementation – chiefly around capital funding, management capacity and an absence of contingency money.

The submission says the plan is “heavily” dependent on capital – totalling more than £750m – but acknowledges there is next to no possibility of this being available.

This of course raises doubt over whether the plan can be implemented in full, and therefore whether the £900m financial gap facing the region by 2021 can be successfully closed.

To be fair to the STP leaders, they seem to recognise this by flagging up the lack of contingency funding.

The document says: “The current level of planning has no level of contingency (indicatively 25-50 per cent) that would normally be associated with programmes of this size and complexity.

“Secondly, the robustness of the ‘plans’ and associated risks regarding measurability, capability and deliverability all serve to make us discount the current value of the whole by a figure of 30 per cent equating to some £300m.”

Last month, NHS Providers’ chief executive Chris Hopson said STP leaders across the country were effectively being forced to draw up transformation plans which they did not believe could be delivered.

Judging by these comments in the leaked document, the Cheshire and Mersey STP might fall into this category.

Mind the gaps

Providing enough junior doctors to staff hospital rotas seven days a week is not the primary role of Health Education England, its chief executive has said.

Professor Ian Cumming told HSJ the shortage of junior doctors on some hospital rotas was a “service delivery issue” involving a lack of non-training doctors, while HEE’s role is ensuring there are enough trainee doctors to provide the future consultant and GP workforce without creating oversupply.

He also warned it would be up to trusts and universities to fund any expansion of nurse training places in 2018. “[HEE hasn’t] got any more money. We are continuing to fund the number of placements that we fund at the moment,” he said.

Biggest GP partnership in the works

Fourteen GP practices in Suffolk intend to form the largest single GP partnership in the country by April 2017, HSJ revealed on Friday.

Once up and running, it will be the biggest single GP partnership in the country, with a patient list of 112,614 – surpassing the current largest Lakeside Healthcare, which has a list of around 100,000.