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Cutting room floor

Health Education England has opted not to publish a much-anticipated review into community nursing, which it has been carrying out over the past year, after members of its steering group raised complaints. 

According to multiple sources, the final blow came when two members of the group pulled out due to serious criticisms over the quality and focus of the report. HSJ also understands there were requests from other members of the group – which included representatives from NHS Improvement, NHS England, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Royal College of Nursing – that the report not be published.

This chimes with concerns from members of the steering group revealed in March, including that the work was heavily “based on anecdote” and “conversations”.

HEE tried to alleviate concerns the work would be left on the cutting room floor, stating it would instead be fed into wider workforce plans. 

However, those who had been holding their breath for the report may be hanging their heads in despair. When launching the review in 2018, HEE said it was “essential” to understand why training places were not being filled and support a more flexible workforce.

Greater Manchester is still struggling on the four-hour target, despite formal intervention from regulators earlier this year.

The proportion of patients dealt with within four hours in the region, which has benefitted from a unique devolution deal which included a £450m transformation fund, was 84 per cent in the first quarter of 2019-20. This compared with 87 per cent in the north of England, and 89 per cent nationwide.

That being said, Tameside And Glossop Integrated Care Foundation Trust has managed to buck the trend, seeing 92 per cent of patients within four hours in 2018-19, which is better than the national average. One of the reasons given for its success is the shared leadership and commissioning function across the area’s council and clinical commissioning group.

Curious, then, that nearby Wigan and Stockport clinical commissioning groups have recently opted to have separate single accountable officers.

Wigan had previously gone for joint leadership with the council, but has reverted back after Donna Hall’s retirement. Wigan does at least have several other senior joint posts, such as finance and contracts boss Paul McKevitt.

Stockport, on the other hand, has none. At 77 per cent, Stockport FT has the region’s worst performance against the four-hour target in 2018-19.