HSJ’s roundup of the day’s top stories and talking points

Messages from Manchester

The NHS only got a fleeting mention in David Cameron’s speech to close the Conservatives’ conference on Wednesday afternoon, but there was no shortage of messages NHS leaders can take from the first post-election Tory jamboree.

HSJ’s man in Manchester Dave West gives his take on what the conference means for the junior doctors contract row, NHS funding, social care and more.

Primary care with heft

Former Heart of England FT chief executive Mark Newbold is returning to frontline NHS leadership as the managing director of a huge new GP partnership in Birmingham.

Our Health Partnership will bring at least 35 practices into a single partnership, serving a combined registered list of around 275,000. Although it will hold many small contracts rather than a single huge one, when it launches next month OHP is thought to be the largest single partnership providing primary care in England.

Dr Newbold’s appointment – initially on an interim basis though he wants the job permanently – has been generally welcomed. He is regarded as an intelligent leader with a strong commitment to integration and wider cultural change in the service, and as leader of Heart of England, would have served many of the communities covered by the new partnership. He told HSJ his role would be to help GPs, who have all typically worked as small independent contractors, with the governance arrangements of setting up a large organisation.

He left the FT a year ago after Monitor placed conditions on its license. The trust continues to have chronic, long term problems with performance and governance, and was recently diagnosed with a £30m deficit.

An unfortunate first

Elsewhere, one of the first GP practices to be placed into the Care Quality Commission’s special measures regime is to shut its doors.

Dharmana’s Family and General Practice, based in the Walton area of Liverpool, was placed into the regulatory regime in January after the regulator rated it “inadequate”.

The practice, which has since been re-inspected by the watchdog, is to close by the end of December, Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group confirmed. It is the first practice to go through the regime and then be closed.

Its services will be managed by another local practice on an interim basis from January until a new substantive provider is created to take on the care of the practice’s current patients.

A procurement process will begin next year to find a new provider, the CCG said.

More positively, the Priory Avenue Surgery in Reading, which also entered special measures in January, last month became the first to be taken out of the regime.