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

Is the answer to the NHS’s woes an organogram? Steve Barclay seems to think so.

This particular, searchable organogram – an map of the organisation, for the unaware – will cover the Department of Health and Social Care, with arm’s-length bodies instructed to follow suit. The point of this is to help patients and staff identify “too much management that can be a distraction to the frontline”, Mr Barclay said in a widely-trailed speech yesterday.

But other details that appeared in the press ahead of the speech – scrapping targets, for example – failed to materialise. Nor was Mr Barclay able to say which areas he thought should be deprioritised, despite his call to focus on a few key areas over winter.  

Instead, the health secretary struck a more measured tone on holding trust leaders to account on ambulance handover delays. “It’s not about blaming the chief executives, it’s about understanding what are their challenges,” he said.

Take your time

NHS staff will have more time to apply for their pension tax bills to be taken out of their funds as opposed to paying them upfront, HSJ has learned.

The DHSC has confirmed the NHS Business Services Authority is making arrangements to extend the voluntary scheme pays deadline until March 2023.

This is the third consecutive year the deadline has been pushed back, after having been extended in the two previous years in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Graham Crossley, an NHS pensions expert at wealth management firm Quilter, wrote to the DHSC and asked for the scheme pays deadline to be extended.

In response, the DHSC said: “The department has listened to concerns from stakeholders that an extension to the voluntary scheme pays deadline for the 2020-21 tax year is required.

“The previous deadline for this had been 31 July 2022. The department can confirm that the NHSBSA is making arrangements to extend the deadline to 31 March 2023.”

The move follows growing calls for measures brought in during covid to be extended.

Also on today

This week’s HSJ Health Check podcast discusses health secretary Steve Barclay’s first (and possibly last) moves to make the NHS more efficient. Meanwhile, leaders of Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust have told HSJ about how they are moving on from corporate governance concerns.