The must read stories and biggest talking points in the NHS

Big changes at the top of the shop

Thursday was the day NHS England and NHS Improvement held their first joint public board meeting. To mark the occasion, the health service’s two biggest arm’s length bodies announced several changes to how management at the centre of the NHS is going to work.

  • NHSE and NHSI will move to a single “financial and operational planning and performance” regime.
  • This will involve the two organisations sharing a single appointee in several senior roles: chief finance officer; medical director; national director for transformation and corporate development; and nursing director.
  • The latter change will be eased by Jane Cummings retiring as NHSE’s chief nursing officer after six years in the role.
  • NHSI is creating several new national director roles: chief provider strategy officer; chief people officer; chief improvement officer; and chief commercial officer (it is not yet clear which current national director roles are being scrapped).
  • NHSE/I is also going to set up a new “NHS assembly” (official name TBC) for national and local leaders, which will “codesign” the government’s upcoming long term plan for the NHS and oversee progress of the Five Year Forward View. Some readers may think it looks similar to the NHS Modernisation Board of the early 2000s.

At regional level, NHSE/I said their new joint regional teams will mean a “different kind of local leadership of the NHS, where regional directors promote, encourage and support local systems to achieve more integrated and sustainable models of care”.

And NHSE announced four new “integrated care systems” (to join the existing 10). They are: Gloucestershire; Suffolk and North East Essex; West, North and East Cumbria; and West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

Meanwhile, NHSI pledged to be more “proactive in shaping the provider landscape” and drive hospital and service level reconfiguration to deliver clinical and financial sustainability. Perhaps it will follow up Lord Carter’s suggestion, made in an interview with HSJ, that integrated acute and community trusts are more efficient.