The must read stories and talking points in health policy

Capita gains

An STP pegged to create one of England’s first accountable care systems have decided to accept a helping hand from the private sector.

The Nottinghamshire and Nottingham STP has called on the expertise of Capita and Centene UK, an offshoot of the major US healthcare insurer.

The companies have agreed to assist the STP in developing their ACS, for the not too altruistic amount of £2.7m.

While readers’ comments were unenthusiastic about another Capita/NHS partnership, the outsourcing giant has subcontracted Centene to do most of the work.

The firm is a provider of data analytics and IT systems, whose parent organisation is the Centene Corporation – a Fortune 500 company who provides health insurance for the US government’s Medicare and Medicaid schemes.

The man leading the creation to this ACS, Stephen Shortt, very honestly admitted commissioners do not yet have the expertise to develop something this complex but with hoped that “over time we will develop our own levels of expertise and knowledge and become more self-sufficient”.

The admission that the NHS does yet have quite enough expertise to pull a major service reconfiguration such as this is important and indicates this STP may not be the only one to seek a helping hand from the private sector.

Unregulated risk

NHS patients are being put at risk from thousands of unregulated clinical physiologists working in hospitals across the health service.

The Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists, which maintains a voluntary register of 6,000 people, has spoken out over its fears for patient safety after its members identified 19 separate incidents of harm or concerns relating to physiologists over two years.

Physiologists work in a variety of areas in the NHS providing diagnostic tests and invasive procedures, which can cause significant harm to patients if done incorrectly.

The RCCP feels the risk to patients is now too high and wants the government to bring in statutory regulation to force physiologists to meet basic levels of training and standards.

Regulation would also allow staff guilty of misconduct to be struck off.

The government has promised to reform regulation of health workers but in a response to HSJ seemed to drop these plans, saying only that focus was on changing the culture.