HSJ’s essential summary of the day’s health stories

Labour manifesto leaked

A new NHS regulator was the notable health policy in a leaked draft of Labour’s manifesto, which was given to a few newspapers on Thursday. The final document is expected to be unveiled next week.

The draft, one of several versions, provides more detail of how a Labour government would “halt” the 44 sustainability and transformation plans and redraw them “with a focus on patient need rather than available finances”.

This would be overseen by a new regulator called NHS Excellence. It is unclear whether the second NHSE would replace the likes of the CQC and NHS Improvement.

The manifesto includes policies already announced such as increasing NHS staff pay; halting STPs; and free car parking across the NHS.

It says £6bn of extra funding would be raised for the NHS annually by increasing income tax for the top 5 per cent of earners. Money would also be saved by “halving the fees paid to management consultants”.

Rather than “dragging the country back to the 1970s”, Incisive Health’s Ben Nunn points out that the many ideas are similar to those from New Labour’s 1997 manifesto.

Another pledge is to provide access to innovative medicines. Speaking of which…

NICE number crunching

NICE has been asked to routinely assess the financial impact of specialised commissioning treatments for NHS England.

Another leaked document – a presentation to the pharmaceutical industry – shows NICE will analyse the “finance impact” of new treatments to help NHS England decide which drugs to fund.

The proposal was developed after NICE was appointed last year to provide specialised commissioning support to NHS England’s national programme.

NICE will provide a monetary figure for the cost of a proposed treatment for each of the first five years in which it may be funded. It will also estimate the number of people affected by the proposed funding decision, the total cost per patient over five years, and the net cost per patient treated over five years.

This is the second programme in which a review of the cost of treatments by NICE could impact patients’ access. It follows the controversial NICE policy to allow NHS England to delay NICE certified treatments by three years or more if the treatment is deemed “unaffordable” in the medium term.

Unwanted A&E record

Performance data that MPs and potential MPs from all parties should look at was released on Thursday.

The number of hospital emergency admissions rose 2.8 per cent in 2016-17 to 4.3 million, with March this year seeing the largest ever number in a single month.

Nuffield Trust analysis shared with HSJ shows total A&E admissions rose from 4.15 million to 4.26 million year on year, continuing a rising trend, despite efforts by national leaders and the NHS to stem the growth.

Containing and reducing emergency admissions and delayed care transfers have been key objectives of several national policies and programmes, including new care models and the better care fund.