The NHS’s marching orders, important finance rules, and an inquiry into a controversial contract failure were among the news stories we covered in the last few days before Christmas. Today’s Executive Summary brings you a recap of what you might have missed.
What you might have missed
- The annual NHS planning guidance set out priorities and rules for 2016-17 and beyond. The document is shorter than in previous years and emphasises local system leadership – but also includes the traditional list of “must dos” and some “hard edged” targets and penalties. Among these was the plan to tie access to billions of pounds of transformation funding to the quality of ‘system leadership’ in each area. The guidance set out nine ‘must dos’, and warned providers to expect ‘very limited’ capital funding in 2016-17.
- We revealed that NHS England is to commission a probe into the high-profile collapse of the £800m Cambridgeshire and Peterborough contract for the provision of integrated care for older people, including the work of the Strategic Projects Team, which advised on the initiative.
- Trusts were told to shift elective capacity to help maintain accident and emergency performance over the Christmas and new year period. HSJ understands trusts were called on at short notice to report their performance daily between 31 December and 3 January, amid national-level concern about waiting times. Official figures on the impact of cancelled appointments and operations on elective waiting lists won’t be known for some time.
- Health Education England published its education and training plans for coming years, which indicate there will be 80,000 additional NHS staff
- NHS England made big decisions about allocating NHS funds in 2016-17 and beyond. Among the immediately clear consequences were that some CCGs will receive real terms cuts to their core allocations; and that there will be ‘substantial risk’ to specialised care budgets.Crucial detail – including CCGs’ funding allocations and an explanation of how national “sustainability” funding will be distributed – is yet to be published.
The story of 2015
From an acture sector leadership exodus to the spending review, via the general election: we told the story of 2015 through the stories you read most on hsj.co.uk. Read it here.
Junior doctors’ strike back on
Just breaking as Executive Summary was put to bed, the British Medical Association announced strike action by junior doctors would go ahead on 12 January. Junior doctors’ representatives have failed to reach an agreement with the government and NHS Employers after months of talks and a high profile row. Planned action in December was cancelled late in the day to make way for more talks, but it appears those were ultimately fruitless. Further HSJ coverage of the strike plans will follow.