HSJ’s round up of Wednesday’s must read stories

CCG consolidation continues

A region has taken a massive step towards STP-wide decision making after all its clinical commissioning groups signed up to create a joint committee.

All 11 CCGs in the West Yorkshire and Harrogate STP area have signed the memorandum of understanding and terms of reference to set up a joint commissioning committee for the region.

The new committee will be made up of two members from each CCG, an independent chair and two lay members and will make decisions about how STP-wide services are commissioned.

Key areas it will take decisions on include cancer, mental health, urgent and emergency care, and standardising commissioning policies across the footprint.

The committee’s scope will be agreed in a workplan by the boards of all the CCGs, but then it will be able to make decisions for all members as long as it achieves 75 per cent agreement.

Now leaders have put pen to paper, the organisations need to write the committee into their constitutions, so it becomes an official decision making body.

The only niggle is that only one of the 11 CCGs has so far submitted its constitutional amendments for NHS England’s approval.

If the committee is going to have its first public meeting in May (as planned) it means the other 10 will have to get a move on.

A U-turn and a hold-up

A week on from the budget, and two of chancellor Philip Hammond’s most high profile announcements are already unravelling.

The planned increase in National Insurance contributions for self-employed people is not happening, at least not in this parliament.

Scrapping the budget’s main revenue generator raised concerns about where the money will come from for the health and care spending announced last week.

The £2bn extra for social care is unaffected, the Treasury confirmed, but questions remain (and were unasked in PMQs) about what the U-turn means for the £325m of capital promised to STPs.

Meanwhile, the new London devolution “deal” – trailed in the budget and expected to be announced on 15 March – has stalled.

Last Wednesday, Mr Hammond said he had “reached a deal with the Mayor of London on further devolution”, but no agreement has emerged.

The Department of Health told HSJ there was no timeline for the devo deal to be finalised.