HSJ’s round up of Monday’s key stories
- Today’s must know: DH concedes last minute U-turn over axing specialist hospital cash
- Today’s talking point: NHS England’s latest commissioning support intervention; and David Williams’ commentary on it
Working around the clock, to ask for more funding
Today saw David Cameron make the first major speech of his new term, in which he set out his vision for a “seven day NHS”. The PM also reiterated his promise of “at least” an extra £8bn a year by 2020 for the NHS, and more investment and training for GPs.
Nice for the health service to feature so prominently. But nurses and doctors wondering what “seven day” working will mean for their contracts might think otherwise.
And the Tory honeymoon doesn’t appear to have swayed health service leaders away from their insistence on addressing the wider funding question, either.
Chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens was speaking alongside Mr Cameron, and was careful to highlight that the year by year phasing of the £8bn was important, as was the ability to deliver sometimes controversial public health measures, as was a Scrooge-sounding “careful and disciplined phasing” of promised service improvements including… seven day services.
Elsewhere 50 NHS leaders signed a letter coordinated by the NHS Confederation to ask Mr Cameron for “extra investment this year and across the new parliament”, and for political support for service change.
Diamonds are not forever, it turns out
A mysterious, last minute improvement in the 2014-15 finances of some high profile hospitals was explained today, when HSJ revealed that the Department of Health had belatedly decided to make payments under the Project Diamond scheme after all.
The decision marks a significant U-turn for the department: it told the trusts last year that it would cease from that point on to provide Project Diamond funding, which compensates a group of mainly London based teaching hospitals for the additional costs of specialist work.
One reader suggested that this was the “DH once again proving it is a rules based payment regime except if you are well connected politically”.
But another said that the money was “promised and then taken away, and trusts have a reasonable right to press their case to be heard in those circumstances”.