HSJ’s roundup of Monday’s must read stories
- Today’s must know: Stevens casts doubt over NHS devolution outside Manchester
- Today’s talking point: Stevens reveals ‘radical’ rewriting of financial balance rules
- Today’s departure: Permanent secretary Una O’Brien to leave DH next year
- Today’s risk: RCS review raises concerns over Bolton surgical errors
Simon’s ‘to do’ list
It’s the time of year for national NHS top bods to make clear their “to do” lists to the service for the coming 12 months. NHS England and NHS Improvement are still beavering away on the formal planning guidance, but we revealed news on the tariff last week, and Simon Stevens has reeled off a number of other priorities in a weighty, wide ranging interview with HSJ.
The NHS England chief exec reveals:
- He doesn’t expect many more areas to follow Greater Manchester down the road of major NHS devolution – and also indicated that full mergers of NHS and social care commissioning budgets are not possible until the latter is properly funded.
- Some areas will be given health economy-wide budget control totals, rather than at the level of individual NHS organisations under a “radical” change to finance rules.
- Money will be diverted from new models of care in 2016-17 to address provider deficits as part of “transition and transformation” fund.
- Health economies will be asked to produce joint sustainability and transformation plans by the summer, to shift funding and activity away from acute care.
- He believes the NHS should expect no funding growth above government plans until after 2018-19 – but could get greater increases after that.
- A “reasonable chunk” of the country will be expected to develop large-scale GP providers and networks.
- There will be a focus on around 20-30 struggling district general hospitals redesigning their acute services to make them sustainable.
- Providers will be given individual targets to improve performance against the four hour A&E waiting target.
Pressure rising for clarity in Cambridgeshire
Trade unions are demanding a full public investigation into what caused the dramatic collapse of an £800m flagship NHS contract in Cambridgeshire, HSJ reported at the end of last week.
The call followed the announcement earlier this month that UnitingCare Partnership was handing back its five-year contract to provide older people’s care to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group just eight months after it went live.
We have already set out the reasons why a full explanation is needed, not least because learning from Cambridgeshire will help others who are trying to establish commissioning by outcomes contracts. But both the CCG and lead provider remain silent over what went wrong.
An explanation on what went wrong with UnitingCare is also needed because the CCG and its providers are working on a major root and branch restructure of all of Cambridgeshire’s NHS and care services. If they cannot successfully oversee a restructure of older people’s services, it is logical to question whether they has the capacity to restructure one of the most financially challenged health economies in England.
Answers on what went wrong with UnitingCare contract are needed quickly.