HSJ’s roundup of the day’s essential health policy stories and debate

Now you see it, now you don’t

Despite health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s desire to make the NHS the most transparent health system in the world, a request by HSJ’s patient safety correspondent Shaun Lintern to see the full transcripts of interviews from the Morecambe Bay Inquiry has been refused.

The Department of Health said the transcripts first needed to be reviewed and personal information redacted which would take until the autumn of 2016.

This long delay prompted the inquiry chair Bill Kirkup to express his surprise and he told HSJ there was little in the transcripts which should not be published.

The DH statement said: “In line with the government’s commitment to openness and transparency and the clear intention of the investigation chairman, the DH intends to publish the official records about the establishment and functioning of the Morecambe Bay investigation, as well as the records of open session interviews by the panel.

“The publication will be as soon as practicable once the papers have been reviewed to remove any personal data. Given the volume of material to review and the numbers of individuals to consult, the process may take up to the autumn of 2016.”

Crunching the numbers

The public sector and beyond continues to digest the implications of Wednesday’s government spending review announcements.

Following the flurry of news and analysis covered by the Exec Summary yesterday, here’s a selection of comment and opinion from senior leaders in the health sector on hsj.co.uk.

Dame Julie Moore warns against “foolish efficiency targets”, saying: “I completely agree that the NHS should become more efficient… However, when setting targets, you absolutely must be realistic. If you ask me to walk 15 miles in a day, I can do that. Maybe 20, at a push. But if you ask me to do 50 miles, with a 60kg pack on my back, I know I can’t and I’ll think you’re a fool for asking.”

She adds: “The frontloaded money is welcome, but it’s not hard to see it getting swallowed by accommodating the social care deficit in added hospital bed days with frail older people and delays in discharge.” 

Fellow trust chief executive Claire Murdoch is equally to the point, saying she is “disappointed in the settlement”, particularly the cuts to public health and lackof new money for mental health.

RCP presient Professor Jane Dacre summed up the mood of welcoming frontloaded investment, but warning this is “only one element of building a sustainable NHS”.