The must read stories and talking points from Tuesday
- Today’s must know: HSJ100 2016 – the most influential people in the NHS
- Today’s talking point: Jeremy Hunt is the comeback kid
- Today’s risk: Huge spike in ‘high risk’ maintenance problems at trusts
The NHS’s movers and shakers
The top three in this year’s HSJ100 – revealed on Tuesday – may look familiar (spoiler alert: Simon Stevens and Jeremy Hunt were numbers one and two for a second year in a row), but the rest of our annual power list reveals big changes in the people with the greatest influence over the English NHS.
There are 31 new entries, 19 people dropped down the rankings by 10 places or more, and 11 see a similar rise. Read HSJ editor Alastair McLellan’s in-depth analysis for more trends and what they mean for the NHS over the next 12 months – and why Mr Hunt is the “comeback kid”.
Notably, there are significant shifts in the power balance between and within the leading NHS agencies such as NHS England and NHS Improvement, and local leaders rising up the rankings – especially those associated with STPs.
There is an almost complete absence of any political figures from outside the Conservatives in this year’s HSJ100, with no Liberal Democrat representatives and the highest Labour figure coming in at number 88.
Repairs backlog rockets
The backlog of “high risk” maintenance problems at NHS trust estates increased by almost 70 per cent last year.
According to data released on Tuesday relating to 2015-16, NHS providers face costs of £775m to deal with high risk maintenance issues – compared to £458m in 2014-15 and £357m in 2013-14.
High risk maintenance refers to repairs or replacements that must be addressed urgently to “prevent catastrophic failure, major disruption to clinical services or deficiencies in safety liable to cause serious injury and/or prosecution”.
Providers’ investment in estates maintenance has reduced every year since 2013, as capital budgets have been increasingly squeezed. Last month, NHS trusts were told to scale back their capital spending plans for 2016-17 and were warned that the Treasury could insist on signing off even the smallest projects.
‘Common sense’ from former health secretary
Elsewhere on hsj.co.uk, Stephen Dorrell (no stranger to previous HSJ100s), has written an article saying: “It would seem to be little more than common sense that provision for social care should rise at least as fast as provision for the NHS.”
The former health secretary and current NHS Confederation chair says the autumn statement next month gives the chancellor the perfect opportunity to start fixing the fact “that over the last decade social care spending has been flat at a time when NHS spending has risen by a quarter”.
He appeared at the Commons health committee on Tuesday afternoon (alongside this year’s number 34, Chris Hopson) to make a similar case.