HSJ’s round up of Wednesday’s key stories

NOW the Queen endorses the Five Year Forward View

Leading Conservatives are still having vivid nightmares about the passage of their Health Act 2012, so we weren’t expecting much on the NHS in today’s Queen’s Speech.

However, Her Majesty did venture a mention of the health service - and even name checked the Five Year Forward View.

“My government will secure the future of the NHS by implementing the NHS’s own five-year plan,” she announced: a vision which has presumably been playing in Simon Stevens’ mind since this time last year, or whenever he began planning this cunning scheme for world (NHS) domination.

Her Maj also mentioned a few bills which will touch the health service. One will merge the parliamentary and health service and local government ombudsman to create a new Public Service Ombudsman; elsewhere, a new policing and criminal justice bill will seek better treatment for those in mental health crisis and detained by the police.

In a major disappointment to the professional regulators and some professional groups, the draft Law Commission Bill to modernise regulation of health professionals was not included in the government’s programme.

Financially distressed CCG “rations” services

North East Essex CCG has announced it will introduce thresholds for non-urgent elective surgery on the basis of whether patients smoke or are overweight.

These are part of an extensive set of service restrictions aimed at making savings at the “financially distressed” CCG.

Similar plans to limit access - or “ration”, as the phrase goes - were proposed in Devon last year only to be dropped soon after when commissioners came under intense political pressure.

Will the good commissioners of Essex stand firmer… with the advantage that we’ve just got a general election out the way?