The must read stories and debate in health policy

Stevens sets out post-election reality

No matter who wins the general election on 8 June, “there is no version of reality” where the NHS will change the priorities of the Next Steps for the Five Year Forward View.

Simon Stevens reasserted his commitment to the Next Steps delivery plan despite the snap election being called within a month of its publication.

The NHS England boss told a King’s Fund event: “Without prejudging the outcome [of the election] – we will obviously be guided by the new government – it is pretty clear that the core operational priorities that the NHS set out in Next Steps document are the right things for us to be working on over the year ahead.

“There is no version of reality where we don’t need stronger primary care; no version of reality where we don’t need more expansive and resilient mental health services; no version of reality where we don’t need better health and social care integration – to name just three.”

He added that 2017-18 “will be a sleeves rolled up year with a lot of change across the country”.

Mr Stevens also revealed that NHS England will use the NHS Confederation conference netx month to announce new measures to help drive change in the years ahead.

Election 2017: The non-party manifestos

Still nothing from the parties, but plenty of other groups have been putting out their “manifestos” on what the next government’s health policy priorities should be.

The Richmond Group, made up of 14 health and social care charities, has put together a five point plan “so that those with a long term health condition can get the health and care they deserve”.

The Association of British Healthcare Industries, which represents medical tech companies, is even more concise with a four point agenda.

The scores on the hospital doors

Another thing we can expect after the election is a new scorecard for measuring A&E performance.

NHS Improvement first announced intentions to make a fresh attempt at developing a new way to measure trusts’ performance, which factors in issues such as acuity and patient experience as well as waiting times, last December.

HSJ has been told the scorecard could be “launched as early as June”, but development is ongoing and many of the core elements have not been finalised.

Hitting the standard to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours is one of NHS England’s main priorities in 2018, alongside improving financial performance. Due to the importance of hitting the target, trusts will likely face regulatory pressure should their performance against the new metrics be below expectations.