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

Innovate again

Readers have had fun today with news of a new national innovation unit in NHS England and Improvement. The problem in the NHS has not traditonally been innovation but disseminating that innovation.

A Department of Health and Social Care announcement said the accelerated access collaborative, set up last year, was now the “umbrella organisation for UK health innovation” and the “‘front door’ for innovators looking to get their products funded by the NHS”.

NHS England chair Lord David Prior said: “Our ambition is very clear: the NHS will be the most innovative health care system in the world.”

What is less clear is how the AAC will fit in with the existing innovation infrastructure of the NHS - not least academic health science networks.

The announcement came from the DHSC and NHS England. NHS England (a statutory body) is now merging with NHS Improvement (a non-statutory body comprising two unofficially merged statutory bodies - with some pay equivalence problems still to be ironed out) to form a single entity whose name and governance remains less than wholly clear.

This follows the creation of NHSX, created to oversee tech earlier this year.

Both NHSX and the new AAC unit have chief executives despite not actually being independent organisations.

Borderline illegal audacity

Can’t get a sustainable funding solution for social care through a hung Parliament while the chancellor is seeking to eliminate a budget deficit in the face of a shaky economy and a national political crisis? Why not try some “borderline illegal” audacity?

Daily Insight is not quite sure what this suggestion for helping the social care crisis from the Care Quality Commission chief executive actually means, but we like it.

Ian Trenholm - who is a former borough council chief among other things - told a conference: “We may need to reflect in local government, and as a former local government chief executive I am just as culpable of this, that we look to government for guidance and instruction probably more so than the NHS does.

“There is something about audacity within this room, within local government more broadly, to say can we create some prototypes? Can we create some new ways of doing things which are borderline illegal perhaps?”

He said creating “improvement alliances” across local authorities could help councils fulfil provider “market shaping” responsibilities under the Care Act 2014 and understand “financial and quality drivers” among local providers.