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There is an ill wind blowing in from across the water and it is not going to do anyone any good.

Local government finances have been far from perky for some time and the covid crisis has highlighted the parlous state of many authorities.

NHS Confederation and NHS Providers’ community network today wrote to two Cabinet secretaries (for health and for local government) to sound the alarm – this local government snafu is having a direct impact on the NHS, the self-same NHS we all clapped for all those weeks ago.

They warn that councils face a £9.2bn shortfall for 2020-21 but the emergency covid-19 funding comes to £3.2bn.

The £6bn shortfall will have to be found through cuts if central government does not step in. The community network – “the national voice for community providers” – is worried the cuts will fall on services commissioned by local authorities but provided by NHS community trusts.

Councils are “already looking to retender contracts for NHS community health services”. The community network is eager for this not to happen.

The middle of a pandemic is not the time to take NHS staff away from the frontline to work on complex tendering processes, the network argues. Furthermore, they warn, jobs may be at stake; NHS jobs.

The network is therefore asking the government to put a halt to retendering NHS community service contracts until 2021-22.

Double jeopardy

Life as a junior doctor has always been hard. The days of 100 hour weeks may have ended but juniors still struggle with challenging rotas, the occasional unsupportive consultant and IT which does not work.

HSJ’s report into trusts which are under enhanced monitoring by the General Medical Council shows this is not just a matter of juniors having a rough time of it – there are real patient safety concerns from juniors being asked to carry out procedures or make decisions they were not equipped for, having to cover too many patients, and being asked to cover other specialties’ work.

The trusts involved – some of which have been under enhanced monitoring for some years – all say they are addressed the issues raised in Health Education England’s monitoring work. But it is striking that, despite some pretty horrifying reports, since the start of 2019 only two posts are known to have been suspended.