HSJ’s round up of the day’s biggest health stories

Another week, another letter

Acute providers have received yet another letter from Jim Mackey (for which he apologies in the first line) regarding how system leaders plan to bring the A&E performance back in check.

The missive, which follows correspondence last week, details how many beds NHS England thinks each trust could potentially free up by working with councils and maximising the benefits of the £2bn of extra social care cash announced in the budget.

You can see your trust’s estimate here.

The regulator, which has estimated the funds could help “free up 2,000 to 3,000 beds, also warned that: “We run the risk that the additional funding will not have the intended impact if NHS trusts do not work proactively with their social care colleagues.”

The problem, of course, is that it’s not NHS cash and the NHS organisations will have no formal influence over how the new social care funding is spent in the next financial year (though HSJ understands a “tight accountability framework” will be introduced in 2018-19).

The message is clear: get lippy, get proactive and get on with it – or any slim chances of additional cash in the second budget of 2017 this autumn will be toast.

Turnaround success story

Congratulations to Medway Foundation Trust, which has come out of special measures after more than three years in the programme.

The trust was one of the first put in special measures in July 2013, following Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of hospitals with higher than average mortality rates.

It has now been rated requires improvement by the Care Quality Commission.

The regulator highlighted the trust’s maternity and gynaecology services for praise, as well as “strong leadership and clear communication” under chief executive Lesley Dwyer.

The turnaround is also a positive advert for trust buddying – Medway was paired with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.

Ms Dwyer said the partnership gave staff “credibility, faith and confidence” to improve the trust, and buddying also helped the trust recruit new talent.

Joint trust leadership on the cards?

Sustainability and transformation plans in the North West could lead to joint leadership between an acute trust and a community and mental health trust.

Cumbria CCG’s governing body made decisions last week over the future of services in the region, including maternity, community hospital beds and paediatrics, following a consultation about the region’s success regime (which is a key part of its STP).

HSJ understands changes could include creating a joint leadership team for North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust and Cumbria Partnership FT – the region’s acute provider and community and mental health trust respectively.

Both trusts are beginning to work more closely together to integrate services, including the region’s eight integrated care communities, which are creating teams linking primary care, community and social care, and some elements of secondary care.