The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

The planning guidance could now arrive as late as March because it has become entangled with negotiations around the Budget, we understand. That’s according to this week’s HSJ Recovery Watch which provides a guide to what to expect from the guidance and the Budget debate over the coming weeks.

It’s worth noting first up that despite the planning guidance being caught up with the Budget negotiations, one of the last major fiscal events before the upcoming general election, NHS leaders are not expecting the service will receive any significant pre-election cash bonanza.

Instead, the Budget issue is more one of ministers and the Treasury needing to nail down what is already a tight NHS settlement, and squaring it with the rest of the fiscal picture. 

However, a modest Budget prize for the NHS is not completely out of the question with maybe some sort of pot to support a higher bed base or capital funding to support productivity initiatives possibly being in the offing.

But, overall, there’s likely to be little upside to the delay to the guidance usually published before Christmas. Senior NHS leaders have however already been given a steer on the key targets likely to be included in the guidance. Read more here to find out what they are.

From Hunt to hunted

In the final days of the Liz Truss premiership, two government economic advisers are reported to have drawn up a note urging the new PM to shred almost all of her disastrous mini-budget – or see the British economy plunge into crisis.

According to The Telegraph, they helped precipitate the final acts of Ms Truss’s time in office (and propelled Jeremy Hunt into Number 11).

One of those advisors was Adam Memon, then an adviser to the short-lived chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, having moved into the Treasury after leaving the employ of Sajid Javid, to whom he’d been a long-standing assistant.

Mr Memon – who has an impressive CV including a string of high-flying roles at the Treasury, Department of Health and Social Care, Competition and Markets Authority, and as head of research at the Conservative party – is now moving to NHS England.

Here the economist will be responsible for bringing together a “demand insights” team, which, among other things, will feed into spending review negotiations.

The job ad for the role said the team would need “high levels of credibility” across government and the NHS, and the successful candidate should have “vast experience” as a political operator. 

All of which should come in handy at the inevitably fraught negotiations over the next spending review, which could well be under a different government.

Also on today

The King’s Fund’s Beccy Baird discusses her flagship new report on why the health and care system has failed to make the long-sought shift away from hospitals. And Buckinghamshire Council CEO Rachael Shimmin describes how NHS organisations can work with councils to address inequalities on their doorstep.