The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Although the final refreshed version of the long-term plan for the NHS might not be published until the autumn, a leaked document prepared for the NHS Assembly has revealed what it is likely to look like.

It appears the digital priority, which had a whole chapter dedicated to it in the original 2019 long-term plan, no longer has the same prominence. Instead, a new priority stresses the need to “transform access to urgent, emergency and planned care.”

The document includes a range of feedback from stakeholder sessions, including with provider CEOs, which interestingly stresses the seriousness of burnout.  

NHS England is insistent that is it “completely untrue” that digital care has been dropped from the long-term plan and have said it will be reflected through the updated plan.

However, as HSJ commenters have noted, the LTP refresh without an also refreshed funding settlement is also not credible. And this document makes clear – there will be no new money.

Better together?

Amanda Pritchard’s promise of a new relationship between NHSE and senior frontline leaders seemed to move a step closer to reality yesterday with a big announcement from NHSE’s first ever chief strategy officer, Chris Hopson.

Mr Hopson – who has joined from NHS Providers – announced plans for “a single, aligned leadership team” that will include local CEOs, and promised “more immediate tactical communication channels” with the centre.

He wrote to local chairs and chief executives stating that an immediate priority would be to deliver on Ms Pritchard’s commitment to forge a new relationship between NHSE and senior leaders “based on the principle of co-creation”.

Mr Hopson’s letter, seen by HSJ, says: “The strategic objective is to create a single, aligned, leadership team across NHSE national and regional leaders, [integrated care board] chairs and CEOs, and trust chairs and CEOs…

“Creating a deeper, more regular, and more effective two-way dialogue across this group is one important way to deliver this objective, and an area where my new team can make immediate progress.” He also referred to the new “operating model” being developed by NHSE which “we expect to complete in the autumn”.

Mr Hopson’s letter goes on: “Co-creation, unlike engagement or consultation, requires co-design from the start. I am therefore establishing a new co-creation task and finish group to create the more effective two-way dialogue that we all need.

“Subject to the task and finish group’s thoughts, I envisage us looking at establishing a regular written communication for this senior leadership community with a linked feedback channel; systematising NHSE’s leadership conferences, webinars and events with you, and looking at more immediate tactical communication channels.”