HSJ’s round-up of Monday’s must read stories

Join the club

As expected, the new financial special measures regime was expanded on Monday to include three more acute trusts.

Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust, East Sussex Healthcare Trust, and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust were placed in the regime by NHS Improvement.

Gloucestershire Hospitals was the least surprising, given the sudden announcement of its underlying deficit position last month.

Both the Sussex trusts have veered off course with their financial plans (although to a lesser extent than some other organisations) and have been deemed to require additional oversight.

Along with Barts Health Trust, the Sussex trusts are now in two forms of special measures – one for finance and one for quality, which will need to be finely balanced.

This was spelled out by Dr Gillian Fairfield, interim chief executive at Brighton, who said: “In order for us to comply with essential quality and safety standards and meet the CQC requirements, as well as meet an increasing demand on our services, it is clear that we now need support to recover our financial position over a realistic timeframe…

“It is extremely important that any financial measures introduced must not compromise our ability to deliver safe and effective services or our ability to deliver on our safety and quality improvement plan.”

The threat of leadership change was implicit within the financial reset announced in the summer, and we’ve now seen the first direct casualty.

John Bacon has resigned as chair of Barts Health Trust after NHS Improvement said a “change in board leadership is needed”.

The trust’s severe financial problems are well known – it’s currently racking up a deficit of £15m a month – but it’s not all that clear what bringing in a new chair will achieve.

Did the regulator just need a head on a plate?

Rattling the tin

Meanwhile, HSJ editor Alastair McLellan is answering the questions “when will the NHS get more money” in his latest editorial.

It follows The Guardian reporting on Friday that prime minister Theresa May told NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and his NHS Improvement boss Jim Mackey that the NHS would not be receiving increased funding in the short term.

The editor warns: “There is a real concern among some in the national NHS leadership that well intentioned lobby groups are making the same mistake as the British Medical Association did over the junior doctors’ contract; that a crescendo of protest will eventually force the government to fold. They fear the constant rattling of the tin in the government’s face will, in fact, encourage them to take an even more entrenched position.”