HSJ’s roundup of Wednesday’s must read health policy stories
- Today’s must know: Primary care underspend to boost NHS England’s bottom line
- Today’s inspiration: Winners of HSJ Awards 2015 to be revealed
- Today’s risk: Devon trust ‘fast running out cash’ gets £2.4m advance payment
The bottom line
Lots of money is expected to shift between different health budgets before the end of the financial year, as the Department of Health scrambles to stick within its revenue spending limits.
Historically underfunded budgets remain the easy targets, and the latest finance report from NHS England reveals a raid on primary care cash, with up to £44m now expected to be unspent by the end of 2015-16.
As Richard Murray, director of policy at the King’s Fund, points out, this is “hardly helpful” for the success of the Five Year Forward View, which stressed the need to shift resources from hospital beds to primary care.
He added: “This is beginning to look like recent years, with NHS England relying on underspending in primary care to manage overspending in specialised commissioning and acute services.”
Watch out for similar moves before April, plus further raids on capital funding, as well as the ongoing absence of a substantial NHS transformation fund. This might help the DH get close to balancing the books this year, but could hinder the long term changes that everyone agrees are needed to make the service sustainable.
Pursuit of excellence
The winners of the 2015 HSJ Awards were revealed at a ceremony on Wednesday night.
This year more than 600 organisations submitted 1,600 entries in 23 categories - a record for the awards.
HSJ editor Alastair McLellan said: “The NHS is experiencing one of the toughest periods in its 67 year history, with demand and expectation rising and funding in short supply.
“The fact that the HSJ Awards has seen the biggest ever increase in entries shows the service remains undaunted in its mission to provide world beating patient care.”