HSJ’s round-up of the day’s must read and must watch stories
- Today’s must know: The leaders chosen for 41 of England’s STPs
- Today’s talking point: CQC to hike trust fees by 75 per cent
- Today’s risk: Locked in a deadly embrace with junior doctors, Hunt’s end appears nigh
- Today’s must watch: ‘My job as health secretary is to do the right thing for the NHS, however difficult’
As culture secretary during the London 2012 Olympics, Jeremy Hunt will have heard plenty about the importance of “legacy”.
Now his thoughts appear to have turned to how the history books will judge his time as health secretary.
HSJ editor Alastair McLellan observes that Mr Hunt spoke about what he wanted to be remembered for “no less than five times” during an hour long meeting convened by HSJ to discuss the government’s health policy and his leadership.
Also present at the meeting were BMA council member and Tower Hamlets CCG chair Sir Sam Everington, Health Foundation chief executive Jennifer Dixon, and Central and North West London Foundation Trust chief executive Claire Murdoch.
Mr McLellan says “reading between the lines, it is possible to see the health secretary is also eager for the sweet release of a reshuffle”. Keep watch to see what happens after the EU referendum.
Readers can make their own judgements of Mr Hunt’s views – and what he might to next – by watching our videos of the conversation on hsj.co.uk:
- ‘My job as health secretary is to do the right thing for the NHS, however difficult’
- The NHS ‘should offer the safest, highest quality care anywhere in the world’
- ‘To say that austerity is self-imposed is to assume that money grows from trees’
- How do you think Jeremy Hunt will be remembered?
CQC price hike
The Care Quality Commission announced its long anticipated fee rise on Wednesday, revealing that NHS trusts will see the charges they pay to the regulator increase by 75 per cent next year.
The CQC has arguably been dealt a difficult hand by the government. Its grant is getting cut by about 25 per cent over the next four years, resulting in an overall budget reduction of at least £32m. At the same time it is expected to toe the line of a government policy requiring it to levy fees which cover the full costs of its “chargeable activities”.
That will be cold comfort for providers – a small trust will see its fees increase by £58,656 next year.
When the CQC launched its fees consultation it outlined two scenarios: the first for “full cost recovery” to be achieved in two years, the second for it to happen in four. It has plumped for the more bullish two-year option.
GP practices will see their fees more than triple next year, but the Department of Health has tossed them a £15m bung which it says will offset the increase. Readers may question the wisdom of the government cutting the CQC’s grant, forcing the regulator to increase GP fees to make up the difference, and then giving GPs more money to cover the fee increase.
However, with some GPs threatening “civil disobedience” over the fee hike, it was probably necessary to insulate this already overstretched part of the NHS from the effects of the fee rise – though questions remain about whether this extra financial support will be continued in future years.
In an interview with HSJ earlier this year David Behan, the CQC’s chief executive, said increasing fees would make the regulator “more accountable” to providers.
Providers may be forgiven for asking when this new era of accountability will begin: the CQC has admitted that in choosing the two year option it was going against the grain of the feedback it received in its consultation, with the vast majority of organisations expressing a preference for the smoother, four year increase.
The new bosses
NHS England has confirmed the 28 men and 13 women who will lead in 41 of the 44 “sustainability and transformation plan” areas across the country.
Three of the “footprints” are still leader-less: Norfolk and Waveney; Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; and Coast, Humber and Vale. Although HSJ has learned that the Cornwall footprint is looking externally for its STP leader.