The biggest stories and debate in the NHS

Hunt’s integration ambition

Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt has told HSJ he wants the government’s long term funding plan for the NHS to be “ambitious” and to deliver big change to the service. This means meeting performance targets again and delivering transformational care by using more technology – while at the same time delivering the “full integration of health and social care”.

Mr Hunt was clear he believes the plan, promised by Theresa May in March, had to deliver enough funding for both transformation and day to day performance otherwise, he warned, the service would not be sustainable enough to handle 1 million more over-75s in 10 years time.

He described the change in funding model for the NHS as one of the service’s “big moments” and said moving away from “haphazard planning” would allow significant change to be delivered.

His comments will be welcomed by many but also will attract cynicism over whether the plan can actually deliver on both the transformation and performance fronts. Many NHS managers will recall the spin around the Five Year Forward View, which has not delivered any substantial transformation funding for the NHS. Most of the sustainability and transformation funding, for example, has gone to fill the bottom lines of trusts sinking deeper into the red – as it was always destined to do.

Mr Hunt’s big moment can’t not deliver this time.

Workforce upgrade

NHS Improvement has called on trusts to strengthen their workforce plans, after a review found all of them could be “more robust”.

The regulator has said most trusts would benefit from “reviewing, upgrading and strengthening” their systems for developing workforce plans.

In response to its findings, NHSI has created a toolkit to help trusts improve their plans and increase participation from senior leaders and managers.

The regulator also announced its intention to create a “chief people officer” role, but could not provide any further details at this stage.