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

Stick to the plan

Official financial data for NHS trusts will suggest the sector is broadly on track with its deficit plan at the midway point of 2016-17, the chief executive of NHS Improvement has told HSJ.

Jim Mackey said the combined mid-year forecast for trusts will be “around the mid £600m mark”, against the £580m planned deficit.

Data collected directly from local providers and board reports for quarter two by HSJ has suggested a year-end deficit of around £850m.

However, Mr Mackey said this may have included overly pessimistic initial forecasts from trusts, and explained that various factors can result in the numbers changing before being formalised.

The year-end forecast includes the entire £1.8bn “sustainability and transformation fund”, which was introduced this year to incentivise trusts to improve their finances.

The combined financial plans for trusts have set a planned deficit of £580m for the year. Last month NHS Improvement and NHS England said actions had been taken to ensure the deficit was “no more” than this, but reiterated the aim to reduce it to £250m.

Mr Mackey also said the regulator was trying to reverse the “loss of discipline” at some trusts around financial reporting, with new forecasting protocol for trusts.

Leeds triple tie-up

Health leaders in Leeds are exploring new “shared leadership and governance” arrangements, but have stopped short of proposing a full merger.

An independent strategic commissioning review is looking into how Leeds West, Leeds North and Leeds South and East CCGs deliver services across the city, with part of it exploring how the organisations are governed.

HSJ also understands three pilot projects in the city could form the foundation of a series of MCPs, which could become a forerunner to a city-wide accountable care organisation.

Leeds West CCG chief executive Philomena Corrigan ruled out “crudely” merging with the other groups, but said the review would probably lead to a joint leadership team and shared governance arrangements.

The review is expected to report next month.