HSJ’s round-up of Friday’s must read stories and talking points

Capital perks

NHS Improvement continues to think up ways to incentivise NHS trusts to meet their financial target for 2016-17.

Last month, the regulator confirmed that trusts which better their control total will receive a revenue bonus payment. Now it wants to give those trusts “preferential access” to capital funding.

This, of course, means struggling trusts face further punishment – not only missing out on sustainability and transformation funding, but also on potential capital investment.

As one HSJ reader pointed out, the policy risks “penalising the populations in struggling areas to benefit those in the better provided areas”.

Wouldn’t it be a better idea to offer greater help to the struggling trusts, perhaps ensuring that any extra money can only be invested in transformation programmes which will help them become more cost efficient?

Make or break year

This year is “make or break” for the Five Year Forward View, Professor Chris Ham writes on hsj.co.uk

With the halfway mark fast approaching for the NHS’s flagship plan, the King’s Fund chief executive says an “epic struggle” is taking place in the NHS to sustain existing services and transform how care is delivered at the same time.

In his assessment he says: “Leaders at all levels have focused on achieving financial control totals and getting back on track in meeting waiting time targets. They have done so under intense political and media scrutiny and scepticism in some parts of Whitehall about their ability to deliver their plans.

“Work to transform care through new care models has been less visible but progress is being made. This is evident in the primary and acute care systems and multispecialty community provider vanguards in Northumberland, Salford, Wakefield, Nottingham and Birmingham, as well as in work on enhanced care homes in Sutton and Sunderland.”