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

Lost in a black hole

Data from tens of thousands of tests carried out outside the NHS has “disappeared into a black hole” due to a technical error.

Trusts had only been receiving data from NHS lab tests, which make up less than half of total tests now being carried out.

An internal email, seen by HSJ, said no new national testing programme data had been reported since the start of last week.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the error had been fixed but the data fault made it harder for NHS organisations to respond to the spread of covid-19 in their areas.

No stock answers

NHS procurement teams are confused and concerned by the suspension of a host of intensive care consumables from NHS Supply Chain’s online catalogue.

They must now contact an NHS England/Improvement “clinical consumables group lead” to order the products – a position many haven’t heard of.

As well as adding to the myriad supply routes procurement teams are currently juggling, this new system raises some big questions about the supply of these products. Are stocks running low, and if so, how low? Have suppliers issued stock warnings? Why, weeks after the critical care peak, are these products now being restricted? And what will this mean for restarting business as usual care?