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

Thanks, but no thanks

Last week, HSJ revealed the full list of the projects which won capital funding from the government’s £1bn handout. 

But, where there are winners, there are often also losers. This week, HSJ’s analysis reveals the projects which missed out in the most recent wave of funding. 

Among the bids given the thanks, but no thanks treatment were an £84m urgent and emergency care transformation in Middlesbrough, system wide cancer reconfiguration in South Yorkshire, and a large elective care centre in Norfolk. 

Some have lamented the relatively small portion – less than 10 per cent – of the £963m pot allocated to primary and community care providers. By comparison, 60 per cent of the funding announced last week went to acute trusts, while 22.1 per cent was allocated to mental health trusts.

Matthew Winn, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services, took to Twitter to say he was “hugely fed up” that “little or no funding” had been allocated to primary and community health infrastructure, although he did add he was “very pleased for [his] NHS colleagues around the country getting capital for their buildings”.

Meanwhile, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers which is the trade association for NHS trusts, remarked on the social media website that he was “very struck” by the delight of those trusts which received capital, but also “how incredibly disappointed those that missed out are”.

The Department of Health and Social Care said funding was allocated on the “strength of bids received from local NHS teams”.

Closer together

Another day, another round of merger chatter.

This time, it’s taking place in the East Midlands. A joint governing board paper for Leicester City, West Leicestershire, and East Leicestershire and Rutland clinical commissioning groups has revealed the trio will hold a review on the “relative merits of a merger” in early 2019.

The group has also decided to “move to a single accountable officer and shared management team”.

Concerns have previously been raised about the ability of a single AO to meet the needs of different patients, but the three chief executives noted a “single commissioner voice” would “enable CCGs to exert more authority”.

Recruitment for the new accountable officer will start subject to the outcome of a consultation with affected individuals.

Meanwhile, in the West Midlands, it’s new year, new chair for Coventry and Warwickshire sustainability and transformation partnership, which has a stated ambition to become an integrated care system. 

It’s none other than outgoing King’s Fund chief executive Sir Chris Ham, who recently quipped that NHS leaders risk making a “huge mistake” if they made integration requirements too prescriptive in the long-term plan. He argued relationships, rather than structures, are more important for regional integration.