Today’s round-up of the must read NHS stories

Manchester undeterred

Making large recurrent savings usually depends on two things that are extremely difficult in the NHS – cutting staff numbers and treating fewer patients in hospital.

The frequent failure of trust mergers and service reconfiguration to release the expected savings (in the words of the King’s Fund: the evidence is “almost entirely lacking”) usually comes back to these difficulties.

But this hasn’t deterred those planning the merger of Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University Hospital of South Manchester FT and North Manchester General Hospital, who reckon they can deliver total savings of £105m by 2021, with £42m saved recurrently from that point.

The trusts will of course be helped by a sizable pot of transformation funding, and there is lots of duplication of clinical services, which should mean plenty of scope for securing efficiencies.

But tough decisions will need to be made on workforce numbers, while hoping that redesigned community and primary care services can somehow start reducing demand on the hospitals.

Southern Health prosecuted again

Southern Health Foundation Trust is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following the death of a patient.

Connor Sparrowhawk, aged 18, drowned in a bath following an epileptic fit while he was in the care of the trust. He died in July 2013 and the trust admitted responsibility for his death in 2016.

In the last five years the HSE has carried out four prosecutions against NHS trusts that resulted in successful convictions, according to its website. All four prosecutions were brought against the trusts after patients died.

Southern Health is also facing prosecution from the Care Quality Commission after another patient sustained serious injuries following a fall from a low roof at Melbury Lodge, Royal Hampshire Hospital.