The must read stories and debate from Friday

No new capital?

The week began with Simon Stevens getting tongues wagging at the Commons public accounts commitee – with his talk that some STPs will “effectively end the purchaser/provider split”.

It finishes with the NHS England head honcho holding court at the Nuffield Trust summit, where he covered a lot of ground in his 45 minute appearance.

Most notably, Mr Stevens said he was “not expecting” the NHS to get any new capital from next week’s spring budget, adding that “the principal fiscal event for this year will be in November”.

This went against what Jim Mackey was saying at the end of 2016, and in the past week senior national NHS officials have indicated they still hoped there would be additional capital funding announced in the budget to back STPs.

He also announced three new tests for for STPs to pass before NHS England approves any consultation involving the removal of hospital beds. But he was adamant these measures are “not a moratorium on bed closures” and trusts will still have “freedom to flex their number of beds”.

When asked about procurement rules, Mr Stevens said the NHS is “losing something” from the way community services contracts are often subject to legal procurement processes – and that Britain will be in a position to “shape our own decisions” in this area once it leaves the EU.

Asked about this afterwards by HSJ, he referred to EU competition rules introduced in 2015, which dictate that commissioners must alert the market when they intend to award any new contract worth more than €750,000.