HSJ’s must read stories and talking points

Tories set out NHS election offer

The Conservative party – just to be clear, that’s the one widely expected to win the election – has published its manifesto for government.

Here’s our coverage of the document:

All the best comment and reaction was gathered in our liveblog, which ran throughout launch day. Key points? Well, a little surprisingly it did at least discuss NHS funding. Unfortunately, as with the other main parties, the proposal for day-to-day spending offers only a further five years of historically squeezed funding. It holds up an unquantified but purportedly “ambitious” capital spending scheme.

The Nuffield Trust observed  that none of the main UK parties are promising to increase spending on health as a proportion of GDP - a pretty extraordinary state of affairs given the funding squeeze and the positioning of the Labour Party this year.

Meanwhile HSJ bureau chief David Williams tweeted that for the NHS the manifesto was basically “2015 redux”, with the added promise of new primary legislation to support the Forward View, plus a bit of stick for NHS England’s leaders. 

What did he mean by that? The Conservative Party manifesto this year has an entire section on “Holding NHS leaders to account”.

That section opens with a passage on how NHS England is in charge of organising how care is delivered, and how the Tories support its plan - the Five Year Forward View. Indeed, they may be so supportive of the Forward View that they are willing to legislate to remove any technical barriers to it - although there is no specific detail on whether that will involve abolishing the purchaser-provider split or simply merging NHS England and NHS Improvement. 

Trust chief faces disciplinary hearing

On any other day this would have been the only story people were talking about: one of the NHS’s most high profile chief executives faces a disciplinary hearing next week.

Sir Leonard Fenwick, CEO of the “outstanding”-rated Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust - has been on “extended leave” all year. He is the longest-serving chief executive in the service.

HSJ previously revealed he had been accused of bullying - although the exact subject of the 23 May hearing is not yet known. An investigation into “serious issues” at the trust is understood to have been completed, and has been passed to trust chair Kingsley Smith.