HSJ’s round-up of Thursday’s must read stories

STPs told to open up

NHS England (with its arm’s length body pals) has issued new national guidance on STP public involvement, explaining that it is important and should bloody well happen at some point.

This might feel like a shift in tone for those of us who have heard the sustainability and transformation process painted in tougher terms by the people in charge: it has often been presented as a hard nosed, closed door conversation for senior leaders to be decisive about difficult choices.

Despite the new language, though, the ethos underpinning the STP process appears intact.

Thursday’s guidance says “most” STPs will be published by the end of the year – meaning they will by then have been given the nod from the top of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Some STPs, almost certainly, will therefore not have been signed off even after the next 21 October submission. Like climbing a good mountain, just when you think you’re getting to the end of the STP process, another stage appears before you.

This means that despite pressure from outside to start making STPs public, and within the NHS to let up on the tightly controlled national process, Simon Stevens, Jim Mackey and colleagues appear to be retaining their final say and veto.

Child data risk

Nearly three quarters of children with child protection plans do not have their details stored on an information sharing scheme designed to ensure their safety, HSJ revealed on Thursday.

As a result, tens of thousands of children would not be identified as being “at risk” if they presented at NHS accident and emergency departments.

NHS Digital said only 34,128 children with protection plans have their details uploaded to the child protection information sharing scheme, known as CP-IS, accounting for just 28 per cent of all such at-risk children.

This suggests a further 87,000 vulnerable children would not be identifiable to the health service.

NHS staff are concerned that CP-IS is creating “false negatives” that could lead clinicians to assume a child is not at risk when actually they have a protection plan that is not displaying on the system. To counter this, NHS Digital recommends that health professionals “follow their local safeguarding processes whilst the coverage increases”.

Bernstein bows out

Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein is to retire next spring after almost 20 years in the role.

Sir Howard – who joined the council as a junior clerk in 1971 and became chief executive in 1998 – was instrumental in securing Greater Manchester’s devolution deal for health and social care in 2015, and leads the region’s STP.

His departure is likely to increase the influence of Jon Rouse, the recently appointed chief officer for the health and social care devolution project.