HSJ’s round-up of the must read stories and talking points in health

The primary care frontier

Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England’s primary care director/sherrif, has signalled an end to what he calls the “wild west” general practice.

His comments came as NHS England set out plans to have GP practices organised in to “hubs or networks” covering populations of 30,000 to 50,000 over the next two years.

Dr Madan said organising practices this way would send a signal to CCGs about how they should be commissioning primary care services – giving it a more “organised” structure.

He told us that England ‘s GP practices are currently organised into anything from a “loose gang” to formal federations functioning as one business, making patients’ experience of primary care dependent on their geography.

However, under its new plan, NHS England hopes to bring in a more unified primary care offer.

According to Dr Madan, a 30,000 to 50,000 population is the “magic” number for a hub. The size is small enough to allow for practices to know everyone they’re working with, which is difficult in bigger groups, but big enough to move primary care from a “stabilisation” stage into a “transformation” stage, he said.

The NHS’s next steps

The refresh of the Five Year Forward View had some headline messages which HSJ explored in detail on Friday. But just as important was what the document and its reception tells us about the future nature and direction of NHS policy.

In his leader, HSJ editor Alastair McLellan explores what the Next Steps document means for the relationship between Simon Stevens and Theresa May, and why it is a “turning point” for the mental health sector.