HSJ’s must read stories and talking points

Mackey reveals next steps to tackle ‘ridiculous’ PFI deals

NHS regulators have set out next steps in their rather long-running efforts to help trusts buy out private finance initiative contracts which have “absolutely ridiculous” profit margins.

In a letter sent to providers, NHS Improvement said it was planning an event for providers with “early PFI deals”, to discuss plans for the remaining years of the contracts.

HSJ’s reader comments show a large degree of enthusiasm for stemming the flow of money through PFI deals. It’s been a long race though, and there are likely still hurdles to clear.

In the NHSI letter, chief executive Jim Mackey said: “I am… grateful for the suggestion of Susan Acott, chief executive of Dartford and Gravesham Trust, that we should bring together those trusts with early PFI deals, to discuss how best to plan for the final years of these contracts and to deal with the specific issues that may arise at this point.

“We will be arranging an event soon to discuss these issues, and will communicate further details in due course.”

The letter referenced comments he made at an HSJ event last November, when he said a working group had been established to explore the possibility of buying out some PFI schemes.

Random checks

NHS Improvement is to introduce random checks of the non-executive directors’ CVs, HSJ can reveal.

Papers presented to the most recent NHS Improvement board meeting show the regulator will start introducing the checks as soon as the purdah period is over.

The news comes after the jailing of the chair of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust for lying about his qualifications.

In March Jon Andrewes was given a two-year sentence after working in senior NHS non-exec roles for a decade. He falsely claimed to have two PHDs and a Masters, plus a degree from the University of Bristol and a diploma from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

The proposal was approved by NHS Improvement’s provider leadership committee in April and revealed in minutes this month.