The must read stories and talking points in health
- Today’s must know: Jeremy Hunt – I want to be health secretary until 2019
- Today’s talking point: Hunt vows to act on NHS’s ‘biggest area of weakness’
- Today’s risk: HEE misses GP training target despite record recruitment
The long game
In an in-depth interview with HSJ, Jeremy Hunt has set out wide ranging plans for the next phase of his time as health secretary.
As HSJ editor Alastair McLellan notes: “He knows the length of his tenure means he has a rare opportunity to leave a legacy and wants to stay in post for another ‘two to three years’ to deliver it.”
Mr Hunt said he would “love” be in post until 2019, surpassing the stints of Aneurin Bevan and Lord Fowler (Mr Hunt has been SoS since September 2012).
In the interview Mr Hunt also revealed:
- Plans to focus heavily on improvements to mental health services for children and adolescents, which he described as “the biggest single area of weakness in NHS provision”.
- His expectation that the NHS will increase the number of nurses in substantive jobs as it cuts agency nursing.
- A drive to reduce litigation costs “throughout the NHS”.
- He believes the failure to investigate unexpected deaths uncovered at Southern Health was likely to be “a problem across the NHS”.
- The government has entered talks with unions over Agenda for Change contract reform, and is still planning consultant contract changes.
- He believes local NHS leaders have a responsibility to make the case for service reconfiguration, rather than politicians.
“His vision may prove to be wildly ambitious,” says Mr McLellan. “But Mr Hunt is used to being underestimated by the NHS and its observers, and the scepticism of others is unlikely to push him off course.”
‘Scandalous, inexplicable, wholly unjustified’
That was the BMA’s take on the Care Quality Commission’s proposed fee increases for providers in 2017-18 – specifically over the plan for some GP practices to pay up to 76 per cent more than they currently do.
The CQC’s consultation document sets out options for increasing fees next financial year, including increases of nearly 50 per cent for NHS trusts and foundations trusts. It describes a lighter touch approach to increases for social care providers.
Earlier this year the CQC decided to move to “full cost recovery” from providers over two years
Mixed bag for GP training
Health Education England has filled more GP training places than ever before but failed to reach its target for 2016.
The national training body has filled 2,989 GP trainee places for 2016, against a mandated target to recruit 3,250 this year.
Earlier this week HSJ reported that HEE is to receive an additional £20m on top of its existing budget to help support the planned increase in the number of GPs. NHS England pledged £206m to implement workforce measures from the GP Forward View.