The must read stories and debate in the NHS

More CCG mergers

It’s starting to feel like the floodgates are ready to swing open on CCG mergers, after several years in which they were actively discouraged by national leaders.

Liverpool, South Sefton and Southport and Formby CCGs are the latest to announce plans to create a single organisation, which would be the biggest CCG in the country.

This follows recent confirmation of the merger of three CCGs in Manchester.

As the CCGs noted, there has been a significant change of attitude at NHS England in recent months, with national leaders now prepared to sanction mergers.

So expect the sweeping away of the architecture created by the Lansley Act to continue apace.

Virgin Care vs The NHS

Virgin Care has launched legal proceedings against eight NHS commissioners after losing a bid for a £82m children’s community services contract.

The company issued court proceedings in the High Court against NHS England, Surrey County Council and the county’s six clinical commissioning groups one month after commissioners awarded the three year contract to Surrey Healthy Children and Families Services LLP.

A spokesman for Virgin Care told HSJ that concerns about “serious flaws in the procurement process” prompted the company to launch proceedings. “Never before have we been so concerned with the whole process that we have needed to make a challenge of this nature,” he added.

Get lippy to stay above water

NHS Providers has urged councils and NHS leaders to agree targets for short term reductions in hospital bed days, after the announcement of £1.2bn extra in social care funding for 2017-18 in the budget.

The body representing NHS trusts welcomed the extra money announced but warned its members to start negotiating with local government partners now on how it would be spent.

The news comes after a very senior NHS source warned that NHS organisations would have to be “lippy” in order to get value out of the money going to councils. Ensuring the funding leads to reductions in hospital bed use is central to NHS national leaders plans for improving performance in the next financial year, in particular next winter.

Chris Hopson, the NHS Providers chief exeutive, said the money is essential for the NHS to “keep its head above the water” in 2017-18.