HSJ’s round-up of Thursday’s must read stories and debate

Readers incensed by interims

Last week NHS England announced new controls on hiring expensive interim directors, including a £600 cap on pay per day.

But on Thursday, HSJ revealed the national body has authorised Kernow CCG to spend £396,000 on an interim turnaround director.

We do love a bit of irony.

Kernow, which is currently subject to legal directions, said the figure includes agency fees and contractual payments to employ a turnaround director “during the current financial year”, though the actual length of the appointment is still subject to agreement, it added.

The post has been filled by Keith Pringle, who has previously worked with CCGs in Hampshire and at Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Although CCGs can still pay above the cap, they must now seek permission from NHS England to do so. Kernow has been under legal directions, so had to ask permission even before the cap was announced.

NHS England’s area team for the South said the appointment is a crucial element in “strengthening capacity” to recover the CCG’s financial position, and it was encouraged by the early progress.

The situation has split opinion among HSJ readers, with one saying: “The amount of money spent on interims is obscene, no wonder the NHS has no money.”

But another added: “The nature of the work means it’s difficult and unpredictable and needs someone with experience. These people cost money. If it was easy, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

CQC catch-up

It has been a busy day or so for the Care Quality Commission, with a number of stories coming out of its latest board meeting and inspection of Yeovil District Hospital.

The one that provoked a flurry of comments on hsj.co.uk was that CQC chief executive David Behan said he would choose to ramp up waiting times rather than see a drop in care quality if he was in charge of a trust, following last week’s “reset”.

Mr Behan also had to apologise after 500 documents in the CQC’s possession, potentially including information about people’s previous criminal convictions and cautions, were accidentally thrown out after a cabinet was wrongly removed during office refurbishment.The regulator will commission an independent review of its security arrangements.

Trio of contract choices

The new multispecialty community provider contract will have three different forms and last 10 to 15 years, NHS England announced on Thursday.

NHS England’s framework for MCPs, set out three potential routes for contracting an MCP:

  • an alliance contract between various providers;
  • a “partially integrated” contract – under this version GPs will be able to retain their general medical services contract alongside the MCP contract; and
  • a “fully integrated model” – this will be a “hybrid” of the standard NHS contract and a contract for primary medical services.