The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Saving for retirement

The proportion employers are expected to contribute to the NHS Pension scheme will rise to 20.7 per cent next month, up 6.3 percentage points from the current 14.4 per cent. 

The rise is going ahead despite respondents to a recent consultation on the topic raising concerns about the potential havoc the financial burden would cause, with some noting such an increase would force them to review their workforce.

The Treasury, importantly, has confirmed that its agreement with the Department of Health and Social Care last year over NHS funding will be honoured, meaning the additional cost for employers will be covered until 2023-24.

Yet it’s worth noting this appears to be a huge spending commitment from government if this rise is to be covered on top of the funding growth agreed for the NHS last summer. Some back of the envelope mathematics suggests the rise will equate to several billion pounds extra each year, so it is perhaps worth keeping an eye out for any creative accounting from government.

What the watchdog did next

Although it acquired new powers to prosecute for failing to provide safe care in 2015, the Care Quality Commission has only so far used them against one trust – Southern Health Foundation Trust – which was prosecuted after a patient fell from a roof.

That was until this Tuesday, when it emerged the CQC would be charging Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust over accusations it failed to provide safe care and treatment of a prisoner in the healthcare section of HMP Lewes who hanged himself. As in the Southern Health case, the trust was accused of breaching a “fundamental standard”. 

Although the watchdog may have been slow to discharge its powers, trusts may now be taking note that its bite is indeed as powerful as its bark (chief executive Ian Trenholm disclosed last year that the organisation was considering prosecutions against 31 trusts).