The must read stories, talking points and analysis in the NHS

NHS staff make their feelings known

The NHS staff survey is a big moment in a chief executive’s year.

The results are one of the best indicators – and predictors – of performance in an era when most organisations miss access targets.

They demonstrate not only what staff think of the care they deliver (and they ought to know) but how effectively senior management are at communicating with their staff.

The 2016 results, released on Tuesday, match up well with CQC inspection results. Of the bottom 10 actute trusts on staff recommending care to a friend or family member, four are in special measures.

Ambulance trusts perform worst on most measures and specialist trusts the best.

Alder Hey Children’s FT in Liverpool is an exception to this, appearing in the bottom 10 for staff feeling that senior managers acted on their feedback despite its good CQC rating.

Groundhog day

Concerns that a high profile tech fund could be raided by ministers have been raised to HSJ, as NHS England remains locked in talks over its release.

You might think you’ve read this story before, but that’s because the concerns are partly fuelled by the fact all four flagship digital funds since NHS England was set up have been cut one way or another.

To re-cap: in October the £900m estates and technology transformation fund for primary care will be reduced by almost £300m. The £240m integrated digital care technology fund was cut to just £46m in 2015. The £260m “safer hospitals, safer wards” fund was cut to £196m in the same year. And the £100m nursing fund launched by David Cameron in 2012 was also reduced.

Twelve trusts were named as global digital exemplar trusts by Jeremy Hunt last September and are due to receive £10m each to accelerate their digital programmes.

The Department of Health confirmed that none of the cash expected to have already been allocated to the initial 12 acute trusts had been released, but NHS England said it “remained absolutely committed to the programme”.

Speaking confidentially to HSJ, a number of senior sources with close knowledge of the programme confirmed trusts had been expecting their allocations already, but they had still not been given any indication of when, or if, they would get the money, or a reason for the hold-up.

Former trust chair jailed

A former NHS trust chair has been jailed for two years after lying about his qualifications to secure senior roles in the service.

Jon Andrewes was chair of Torbay Care Trust and its successor Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust from 2007, and chair of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in 2015. He was also previously chief executive of St Margaret’s Hospice in Somerset.

Mr Andrewes lied about having degrees and a PhD, as well as his work experience with a series of charities. He earned more than £1m over 10 years in the jobs.

He admitted obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and two counts of fraud and was jailed for two years by Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC at Exeter Crown Court.