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

On Monday morning HSJ published analysis revealing several NHS trusts were getting their gas supplies from the UK subsidiary of the Russian government-owned energy giant Gazprom.

That evening the former NHS England chief executive, Lord Stevens of Birmingham, told his fellow peers that those contracts effectively mean the NHS is funding “dictatorial regimes… engaged in acts of aggression”.

He said the health and financial benefits of the NHS decarbonising were clear, and “we also now clearly see the security and humanitarian case for action”.

Yesterday the first government organisation, Suffolk County Council, announced it would be ending its contract with Gazprom early, through a break-clause in October, if not sooner, by as yet unspecified means. A second local authority, Merton Council in London, has said it will also try to end its contract with Gazprom early, “in response to the atrocities being committed by the Russian state in Ukraine”.

The pressure on NHS and local government bodies to end their contracts with Gazprom will mount with each report of fresh horrors from the frontline in Ukraine. However, cutting ties will pose a considerable challenge from a procurement and legal standpoint, without additional legislation from the government.

Time to go on the record

NHS England’s new transformation directorate has told integrated care systems to announce their plans for a single or ‘converged’ electronic patient record.

ICSs were told earlier this month that they had until the end of last week to submit details about their trusts’ current use of EPRs, their plan for moving to a single EPR or make existing EPRs more interoperable, and how this would be funded.

The instruction came from NHSE’s transformation director Tim Ferris shortly before health and social care secretary Sajid Javid announced at the HSJ Digital Transformation Summit on Thursday a new target to accelerate the implementation of EPRs in the NHS.

Multiple sources said the demand prompted some “pushback” from digital leaders in ICSs and trusts, particularly around EPR convergence, which represents a costly challenge in many areas, requiring significant planning.

Mr Javid set a new target for 90 per cent of trusts to have installed an EPR by December 2023 and the remaining 10 per cent to be in the implementation phase by that point.

Also on today

In Recovery Watch, James Illman says virtual wards are being touted as the future, but what exactly do they offer and how will their performance be monitored? And in comment, Donna Hall argues that it is communities – not hospitals – that are key to a thriving NHS.