The biggest stories and debate from the NHS

Missing target not an option

More than one in 10 clinical commissioning groups were forecasting they would miss the national mental health spending mandate for 2017-18, latest NHS England data shows.

Figures from the mental health dashboard show 32 out of 207 CCGs were expecting to miss the mental health investment standard for 2017-18.

The data, which was submitted by CCGs, shows the position at the end of the second quarter of 2017-18.

Eight CCGs are reporting their investment in mental health services will be cut in cash terms.

However, 85 per cent of CCGs were predicting they would successfully achieve the standard, with four commissioners increasing mental health spending by more than 10 per cent.

National mental health director Claire Murdoch told regional leaders the standard was not an “optional extra” and 15 per cent of CCGs failing to meet the standard was “not good enough”. She warned that failure to increase investment would lead to intervention by NHS England.

“Failing to meet the MHIS in 2018-19 would be unacceptable to us all,” she added.

Public health pay rise

Staff on Agenda for Change contracts providing council commissioned services will have their pay rise fully funded by the Treasury.

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed staff employed to deliver public health services commissioned by local authorities, such as health visitors and sexual health workers, will be covered by last month’s pay deal.

The confirmation has followed concerns raised to HSJ by senior sources at community services trusts that council-commissioned services might not be included in the AfC deal.

The DHSC said the money to fund the payrise will come directly from the Treasury, not public health funds.

Ministers and trade unions announced the deal to reform the Agenda for Change pay framework last month, which will be fully funded by the Treasury at a cost of £4.2bn.

Phillippa Hentsch, head of analysis at NHS Providers, said uncertainty around whether the deal applied to all AfC staff had been a “significant concern for trusts, particularly those providing community services”.

Procurement model pushed back

The implementation of the government’s new purchasing and supply model for the NHS has been delayed.

Contracts for logistics, IT and payment services currently provided by DHL have been extended by the DHSC, according to a briefing note from the NHS Business Services Authority.

These contracts were due to end on 1 October and be replaced by new contracts as part of the new NHS procurement model.

The “future operating model” aims to deliver hundreds of millions of pounds of annual savings by addressing how the NHS buys £5.7bn worth of goods and equipment every year.

HSJ was told by several senior sources the process of completing the last three procurements has been held up partly due to health ministers being replaced in January.