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A long-serving provider chief executive bids farewell to the NHS this week, after twice leading his large acute trust to an “outstanding” rating by the Care Quality Commission.

Robert Woolley has led University Hospitals Bristol and Weston for 12 years, an impressive amount of time given the turnover of leaders at many NHS trusts.

In a candid interview with HSJ, Mr Woolley described his sense of “powerlessness” at the start of the pandemic and said a new leadership style was needed to help staff through that most stressful of periods.

He also reflected on how CEOs are often not equipped or prepared for those moments when their trust “gets it wrong” in situations where patient tragedies occur, and how managers deal with such events.

Mr Woolley also had words of warning for the NHS leadership. Discussing the new health reforms, he said there was a danger that political targets would drive “unhelpful behaviours” which would lead to the NHS being unable to truly deliver integrated services.

“I think regulators understand the importance of system working, but the trouble is system working doesn’t give the immediate results that the politicians need,” he said.

Let’s hope his warnings do not go unheeded.

And the final figure is…

The NHS revenue budget will be £330m lighter as the Treasury has refused to fund additional ongoing covid costs, HSJ understands.

The NHS England Mandate and final budget for 2022-23 also lays out 13 priorities for NHS delivery but confirms its objectives will be reset in an “NHS long-term plan update” to be agreed between government and NHSE and “published in summer 2022”.

In February, it was reported that the Treasury refused to increase the Department for Health and Social Care funding envelope to pay for ongoing covid testing in 2022-23, and it is thought the dispute ended with the DHSC receiving at least £1bn less than it believed it required to cover costs. 

Last week, NHSE chief finance officer Julian Kelly told the organisation’s public board meeting it had been asked to reduce its spending plans by around £500m to help make up the difference in the wider DHSC budget. But HSJ understands that by the time the mandate was published on Thursday, NHSE’s budget had been reduced by £330m compared to previous plans.