HSJ’s round-up of Monday’s must read stories

The future of hospital chains

In last week’s expert briefing on new models of care, HSJ’s David Williams set out eight policy questions on hospital chains that need answering.

This week, the leading architect of hospital chains, Sir David Dalton, has answered them.

Intriguingly, he called for a change of inspection regime for trusts, like his, that are leading chains.

Sir David said: “The group must be capable of functioning when one or more local organisations has a poor rating or experiences poor performance.

“Otherwise there is no incentive for groups to support troubled organisations. I would expect similar CQC inspection arrangements to those currently in place in non-NHS groups/chains.”

Independent providers such as Spire or the Priory Group are not given an overall organisational rating. HSJ understands this is a live debate at a high level in the NHS and hasn’t been resolved.

Sir David’s thoughts are reproduced in full in this week’s edition of What’s New In Care Models.

STPs could face mental health veto

Two NHS England directors have warned that local sustainibility and transformation plans could be rejected if they cannot show how they would improve mental health services.

The national director for mental health, Claire Murdoch – who also leads Central and North West London FT – told a session at the NHS Confederaion conference last week: “I think that it’s the job of NHS England and NHS Improvement not to approve any STP, not to pass it, unless it can show the golden thread of early intervention, psychologically minded approaches to health and good services for people who have mental illness.”

Her colleague Jonathan Fielden, national director for specialised commissioning, agreed: “Any STP that does not have at least a mention of how they are going to address the issue of mental health is highly unlikely to pass.”

The 44 STP footprint areas were asked to submit to their initial plans to NHS England by the end of the month.

Brighton rocked

Another warning, this time from the CQC to Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust. The regulator has served it with a warning notice and told it to improve in three areas by the end of August.

CQC deputy inspector of hospitals Edward Baker said: “Throughout our inspection we found that patients were not receiving the quality of care that they are entitled to expect, or within the timescales required.”

The warning notice comes after a CQC inspection in April, shortly after chief executive Gillian Fairfield took over. The trust’s chair Julian Lee stepped down in May while the previous permanent chief executive, Matthew Kershaw, left the trust at the end of last year.

The trust’s accident and emergency services were rated inadequate in a CQC inspection a year ago.

Dr Fairfield called the  warning notice “difficult reading” but said there had already been changes to improve the trust.