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

The standalone debate

Data published by NHS Improvement has shown 17 out of 55 community providers failed to meet their own staffing plans for registered nurses over the last three years.

The regulator has also published analysis of trust fill rates by the three different types of provider.

Interestingly, NHSI’s analysis suggested that on average, standalone trusts met their staffing plans more frequently, while integrated acute and community trusts appeared to perform the worst.

The figures should perhaps be treated with some caution, as they do not account for varying the quality in plans across individual trusts. But they certainly raise an interesting question about what sort of organisation is best placed to run a community hospital.

When Lord Carter declared integrated trusts were more efficient, for example, could this be because they are less safely staffed?

It also raises questions over whether NHSI and trusts are measuring the right metrics when it comes to safe staffing in community hospitals.

As community trust chief executive Matthew Winn argued; staffing in community hospitals, which are often rehabilitation orientated, is probably better seen through the lens of a multidisciplinary team not just nursing numbers.

All in it together?

Health Education England has had a difficult few years as the plaything of the Treasury. Ministers have changed policy on funding for the NHS workforce multiple times and left HEE to cope with the consequences.

Then chancellor George Osborne’s accounting trick to deliver extra money to NHS England in 2015 meant HEE was forced to save 20 per cent of its running costs and cut spending on areas like workforce development, or continuing professional development.

In its latest annual report, the £5bn education and training body reveals the costs of staff redundancies at almost £17m over the past two years.

But while staff have faced losing their jobs, some of HEE’s most senior executives have benefitted from boosts to their pay.

Chief executive Ian Cumming saw his pay increase from between a banding of £195,000 to £200,000 in 2016-17 to between £200,000 and £205,000 in 2017-18.

He also saw an increase in bonus pay from a banding of £5,000 to £10,000 in 2016-17 to a banding of £10,000 to £15,000 in 2017-18.

Chief nurse Lisa Bayliss-Pratt saw her minimum pay increase by £10,000 per year moving from a banding of £115,000 to £120,000 in 2016-17 to £130,000 to £135,000 in 2017-18. The report highlighted that this followed her taking on an additional role of a regional director in September.