HSJ’s round-up of must read stories, including this year’s HSJ Awards winners

Inspiration and celebration

The winners of this year’s HSJ Awards, very probably the world’s biggest healthcare awards, have been revealed. Impressive feats are demonstrated across the shortlists, but among those taking the gongs were Liverpool CCG as clinical commissioning group of the year, and East London Foundation Trust as provider trust of the year. 

The awards also for the first time, following the summer’s Brexit vote, honoured six NHS staff from the European Union.

At a ceremony in London, HSJ editor Alastair McLellan said: ”Take it from me: healthcare systems across the world are in awe of the scale and pace of changes being made to care delivery and organisation by the NHS.

“The NHS remains the greatest laboratory in world healthcare and the prevailing view remains: if an advance is believed to have the potential to make a real difference to patient outcomes, experience or safety it is the NHS which remains the world’s best testing ground.”

Ensuring, not assuring

NHS England has told HSJ that it, along with fellow NHS quangos, is working with an STP footprint on “ensuring they will put in place the right skilled workforce to ensure high quality care”.

It follows a draft of the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West STP, published last week by Reading Council, detailing an aim of making £34m savings from staffing costs through “reduction of nursing grade input” and an increase in the use of “generic support workers” such as healthcare assistants.

The draft STP says its workforce plans would mean that an otherwise projected workforce growth of 4,526 full-time equivalent staff would instead be an increase of just 978. It forecasts that over the period the area’s health service will experience a 15 per cent increase in “patients”.

BOB (the STP has an odd geography but a great acronym) has told HSJ it wants to increase trained nursing numbers towards 2020-21 but also wants to look at skill mix.

NHS England is taking a lead on STP oversight and rule setting, but technically shares this role with the other NHS arm’s-length-bodies.

In a manner familiar to STP watchers, the oversight and approval process for them is very informal, but very much present. NHSE has previously indicated it isn’t signing them off – but it is giving some very direct feedback, which cannot be ignored.

Wherever next for STP assurance? We wait with bated breath.

Then there are the mixed messages. Save money, but perhaps not via compromising on the largest part of your cost base. Deal with the difficult issues and provide us with more detail – but nothing controversial, thanks.