HSJ’s round-up of Monday’s must read stories

New faces at the DH

While the Jeremy Hunt was one of only two cabinet level MPs to keep their job following last week’s reshuffle (defence secretary Michael Fallon being the other member of the exclusive set), there has been an almost complete overhaul of the rest of the Department of Health ministerial team.

Theresa May has given junior ministers Jane Ellison and Ben Gummer new jobs as financial secretary to the Treasury and minister for the Cabinet Office respectively; Alistair Burt stepped down after resigning from government earlier this month; and George Freeman, who as life sciences minister spanned the health and business departments, will chair the new prime minister’s policy board. Lord Prior, however, stays at the DH.

The new appointments are Philip Dunne as minister of state for health; Nicola Blackwood as parliamentary under-secretary of state, in her first ministerial job; and David Mowat in the same role.

At the time of writing the new faces’ briefs hadn’t been confirmed, but Mr Hunt gave a hint on Twitter as to who might be doing what.

Manchester merger?

Manchester is still motoring ahead in the race for the Five Year Forward View, with the four commissioning organisations in the city set to consider “formal integration”.

Consultancy firm Deloitte has been asked to look the options, and seem likely to consider a merger between the three clinical commissioning groups and the council’s social care department.

The organisations have been working increasingly closely since the devolution deal was announced for Greater Manchester last year, and have already formed a joint commissioning board.

A report to Central Manchester CCG’s board meeting this month said: “An independent option appraisal which will consider the benefits of more formal, integrated organisational and management models has been commissioned.

“Following a tender process Deloitte has been awarded the contract. They have embarked on a process of stakeholder engagement, including talking to staff from the three CCGs and Manchester City Council.”

Asking the difficult questions

In his leader on Monday, HSJ editor Alastair McLellan has welcomed the “straightforwardness” of Jim Mackey’s high profile interventions last week on how the NHS meets its financial challenge this year and beyond.

He writes: “What Mr Mackey’s intervention has done last week is to ask… what is “good enough?” In other words, at what point should NHS organisations cease to try to improve a service and instead switch its resources elsewhere…

“The reaction to the NHS Improvement chief executive’s thoughts have – mostly – been a disappointing mixture of suggestions that he is telling trusts to endanger safety and/or is only concerned with meeting financial targets.

“What he is actually asking of NHS leaders is that they identify what is really not acceptable – and then tackle that with alacrity – and to realise and then explain that almost everything else will have to wait.”