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

Sleeves rolled up Simon

Simon Stevens will back “honest” leaders to deliver the Five Year Forward View – that’s the message HSJ editor Alastair McLellan has taken from our exclusive interview with the NHS England chief executive, who has his “sleeves rolled up” and is “entirely focused [on] delivery”.

Getting stuff done, Mr Stevens tells us, involves:

Key points from the contract

An agreement was reached between the government and junior doctors on Wednesday afternoonon on a new contract to be phased in from October.

There has been less agreement about whether the deal was victory for the government or the BMA. Fittingly, the first comment on our story was from chief negotiator Sir David Dalton, who called the the agreement a “score draw”.

Read Shaun Lintern’s digest of the most important points in the contract and make up your own mind.

Tomorrow’s deficit today

On Friday, NHS Improvement will publish the financial result for the provider sector in 2015-16.

But you needn’t wait till then. On Thursday, HSJ finance correspondent Lawrence Dunhill had already identified NHS providers have fallen almost £1bn short of their revised financial target for last year, finishing it £2.7bn in the red.

Read his analysis of NHS trusts’ latest figures, plus commentary from Richard Murray, Anita Charleworth and Adam Roberts, on hsj.co.uk.

Vanguards on a smaller budget

Funding to vanguards appears to have been cut, data released by NHS England has revealed. Although the total transformation pot has grown from £200m to around £300m this year, the total available to vanguards has shrunk.

The funding allocations show that Samantha Jones and Simon Stevens have followed through on their suggestions that since resource is scarce, they would only invest in the places that they had most confidence in.

We haven’t got the allocations yet for three vanguards in Greater Manchester. Funding for non-Manchester vanguards has gone from £120m in 2015-16 to £112m this year.

It is especially bad news for a handful of vanguards: 12 will receive less than £1m each this year. The biggest winners are the Royal Free, which is getting £8m to support its plans to set up a chain, and the cancer hospital collaboration, which will receive £7m. NHS England’s director for cancer, Cally Palmer, is chief executive of the Royal Marsden Foundation Trust, one of the leading contributors to the latter.

Not only are vanguards as a whole getting a little bit less than last year, but a clear choice has been made to back hospital chains over other sorts of vanguards. Funding available to the “acute care collaboration” cohort of vanguards has nearly doubled this year, while all other types are getting less.

Why’s that? Well, we’ve not had an official explanation but chains didn’t get much in 2015-16 partly because they only began halfway through the year. But this year is all about the money: possibly a judgement has been taken that chains can contribute better to whole system efficiency, sooner, than other vanguard forms.