HSJ’s round-up of Thursday’s must read health stories

Success regime’s STP style dilemma

The success regimes tasked with turning around Cumbria’s troubled health economy has unveiled plans for a major overhaul of how healthcare is delivered in the region.

The west, north and east Cumbria success regime launched a public consultation last week over its plans to redesign how hospital and community care is provided in the region, including significant changes to emergency, community and maternity services.

The changes are aimed at cutting 2015-16’s combined £70m overspend (predicted to rise to £163m by 2020), tackling staff shortages and improving care quality, including hitting the four hour accident and emergency standards.

But no sooner had the consultation been published than campaigners had launched a petition against the proposed changes, which has already passed the 1,200 signatures mark.

Campaigners in west Cumbria, along with MPs, oppose the recommendations that more specialised services such as paediatric inpatient units, consultant led maternity and acute stroke units move from West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven to Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary.

The success regime – one of three in the country – is stuck between a similar rock and hard place as the more high profile STPs. On the one hand, there are demands for service change and to make efficiency savings, while on the other, local campaigners will oppose services being moved further away from their doorsteps or cuts to bed numbers.

Like STPs, the success regimes must get the public to buy in to their plans. But the quick public backlash shows how difficult a job this is.

Hunt warned

In a letter in The Daily Telegraph, NHS Improvement chair Ed Smith warned the health secretary that care could be put at risk if overseas staff are left feeling “demoralised and diminished” as ministers negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU.

His intervention comes after Jeremy Hunt announced that £100m would be spent to boost the number of “home grown” doctors in his Conservative Party conference speech earlier this week.

Pathology savings pipeline

The NHS will not be able to fully realise savings from planned back office and pathology consolidation in 2016-17, NHS Improvement’s productivity director has told HSJ.

However, Jeremy Marlow said there were some STP footprints that would deliver “cash this year” from consolidation, though the rest of the NHS needed to “start now” with rationalising services.

Mr Marlow said that pathology and back office consolidation could yield savings “in the order of half a billion”, but added: “We’re not going to be able to get it out… in the space of five or six months.”