Our round-up of the must read stories and debate in health
- Today’s must know: Trusts’ capital spending plans unaffordable by £1bn
- Today’s talking point: Illegal immigrants traced using NHS patient information
- Today’s inspiration: First ambulance trust rated outstanding
- Today’s risk: Hospital under ‘enhanced monitoring’ over safety concerns
A £1bn warning
Yet another warning over the shortage of capital funding has gone out to trusts this week, with every finance director told to “personally check” their spending plans for the remainder of 2016-17.
Providers have been told their capital spending plans for the current year are still unaffordable and asked to defer non-urgent spending to 2017-18.
The last warning of this kind came about three months ago, and has yielded a reduction in planned spend of around £300m.
So there’s just another £1bn to go until the plans match the available resources, which total just £2.7bn.
A significant number of trusts have back-ended their spending towards the latter months of the year, and NHS Improvement suspects the forecast spend has been overestimated.
These messages from the centre always get a mixed reaction from trusts. One finance director told HSJ it was only sensible for the regulator to scrutinise the forecasts, while another thought the plea meant it was “panic stations” at Wellington House.
Vasco-Knight trial opens
Former trust chief executive Paula Vasco-Knight fraudulently paid her husband more than £20,000 from her budget, a court was told today.
She is charged with two counts of fraud between 2012 and 2013, when she was in charge of Torbay and South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust. Ms Vasco-Knight has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ms Vasco-Knight, of Runcorn, Cheshire, was also the national lead for equalities for NHS England from 2012 to 2014, where she had a budget of £200,000.
Exeter Crown Court heard she commissioned her husband, Stephen Vasco-Knight, to produce a £9,000 newsletter as part of her equalities work.
Ms Vasco-Knight is also accused of paying her husband £11,072 of taxpayers’ money to design a 200 page leadership improvement document called Transform.
Mr Vasco-Knight denied one charge of fraud.
Habib Naqvi, a senior equalities manager at NHS England, denied two charges of encouraging or assisting Ms Vasco-Knight.
The trial continues and it is expected to last two weeks.