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

Four expert bodies have called on NHS England to reveal how successful planned emergency care targets being trialled by 14 trusts have been. 

The trusts have been piloting the proposed standards since 2019 but concerns have now been raised over the lack of transparency around the trial data, which has not been made public. 

The 14 trusts have also stopped publishing data against the four-hour target, putting their performance beyond public scrutiny.

NHS England has been pushing to introduce the new targets  – which include ambulance response and handover times – that would replace the current four-hour target.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said: “We would like to see better transparency and proper scrutiny of all NHS data, particularly for the urgent and emergency care pathway.

“This would include any data around the [clinical review of standards]. Transparency and scrutiny of this data would allow for progress to be made on implementation.”

Read what the other expert bodies have to say in the full story.

Javid’s vision

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid is due to give a key speech today, aiming to set the agenda for reform as the system (fingers crossed) can spend more time away from covid matters. He will speak at the Royal College of Physicians in London about 2.30pm – follow HSJ and @hsjnews Twitter for coverage.

Yesterday, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson used HSJ’s comment section to share what he thinks the NHS will want to hear.

“It’s a key moment,” writes Mr Hopson. “Key will be explicit recognition of the context the service faces. After a decade of the longest and deepest financial squeeze in its history, the health and care sector was already under significant pressure before covid hit.”

The pandemic has created an additional set of challenges, he says. “Record care backlogs across a range of services including mental health and community services. An even more stretched and tired workforce. And an unstable urgent and emergency care pathway.”

Mr Hopson goes on to say that among the challenges, there are exciting opportunities, such as the power of digital technology to improve outcomes, 21st century personalised medicine, a much greater emphasis on prevention and tackling the determinants of ill health and investing in whole population management and reducing health inequalities.

“And the pandemic has shown the NHS can adapt with flexibility and a speed of change few thought possible. Expanding capacity. Rapidly and flexibly redeploying staff. Collaborating to create innovative solutions to wicked problems like speeding up discharges and supporting patients to move treatment to where spare capacity is available.”

Read Mr Hopson’s full opinion piece here.

Also on today

In news, we cover the appointment of a new chief executive for Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust, and in comment, Anna Rowen says the NHS must acknowledge discrimination to effectively tackle it.