HSJ’s must read stories and talking points

Jeremy goes (a bit) soft(er) on STPs

It’s amazing what difference a couple of new words can make.

With the addition of four words Labour has softened two of its key manifesto pledges relating to sustainability and transformation plans, watering down the involvement of patients in rewriting them and suggesting the process will be reviewed, rather than simply stopped.

The final version appears to back away a little from the stance it took in a draft version which was leaked last week.

The official document, published today, says: “Labour will halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England”.

This may only be a change of adding two new words, and (were there a Labour victory) would come as little comfort to those who have their eggs in STP baskets. But it is a bit of a major climbdown from last week’s leaked version, which simply said a Labour government would “halt” STPs.

It is not clear if the party is going to call for an independent review by an independent auditor or consultant, or simply ask the Department of Health and NHS to review them.

On the involvement of patients, the party has also today pledged to “ask local people to participate in the redrawing of plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances”.

The leaked version said that if elected, Labour would “ask local health groups to redraw the plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances.”

This is also a major change, shifting the party’s stance from getting local health groups to rewrite the STPs to getting local people to participate in rewriting the plans.

Cyber disruption rolls on

Many of the trusts most severely disrupted by Friday’s cyber attack are expecting to resume most patient services on Wednesday, but are still battling to restore IT systems, HSJ tech correspondent Ben Heather reports.

Amid a thick fog of war, HSJ is aware of five NHS trusts that cancelled outpatient appointments or elective operations on Tuesday, five days after at least 47 trusts were infected by an unprecedented ransomware attack that spread to more than 100 countries. These included Barts Health, Mid Essex Hospital Services, Colchester University Hospital FT, Northumbria Healthcare FT and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital.

Most were expecting to have the majority of patient services restored on Wednesday. However, many trusts which were affected by the ransomware were still working to restore their IT systems.

Barts Health, among the worst hit it the attack, was the only trust to confirm that it would still be cancelling some appointments and elective operations on Wednesday.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Barts Health said while most operations and appointment would go ahead on Wednesday it had “reduced the volume of planned operations and clinics” across all five hospitals.