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

I feel so broke, I want to go home

Another day, another NHS financial target missed.

Just two months into 2016-17, chief regulator Jim Mackey has admitted in an interview with HSJ that the provider sector will not be brought into the black this year.

This is despite a public commitment made six months ago to bring providers back into balance, made in response to government demands.

This will come as a relief to leaders at local trusts, who always thought it a pretty far-fetched ambition.

The good news for Mr Mackey personally is that he can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of having to deal with all this nonsense at a national level.

He revealed in the same interview that he would only be in the job for two years (taking him to late 2017), before returning to his substantive post as chief at Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust.

That will put an interesting slant on his relationship with other national leaders, no doubt, as well as presumably an enhanced solidarity with local leaders.

Manchester mulls mega-merger

Manchester continues to bound ahead with the transformation agenda, with proposals outlined today for a single city-wide hospital provider.

This would effectively mean a mega-merger of the city’s two big teaching trusts - Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester FT - with North Manchester General Hospital (currently run by Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust) also thrown into the mix.

Normally, proposals as radical as these would prompt some frosty statements from the various parties, but there was decidedly little protest, and even some enthusiasm, from the trusts involved.

This may have something to do with two of the trusts having interim chief executives, after their previous leaders came into conflict with the commissioner/town hall vision and were soon off to pastures new.

The extent of the proposals again illustrates the increasing influence and power of Manchester City Council – which is brimming with confidence following the devolution deal for Greater Manchester.

Interestingly, the review by Sir Jonathan Michael, the respected former trust chief executive, rejected the idea of a “hospital chain” for the city of Manchester.

He said this model, which is being pursued by the acute trusts in Salford, Wigan and Bolton, is still in its “infancy” and may not be suitable where hospital sites are relatively close together.