A single national leader has been appointed as part of a series of measures to drive up A&E performance, it emerged today.

NHS England’s national urgent and emergency care director Pauline Philip has been appointed as a joint leader with NHS Improvement to implement a series of A&E improvement measures.

The new position was announced in a letter to senior health leaders sent today by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey.

The letter follows chancellor Philip Hammond announcing yesterday £100m for capital investment specifically in accident and emergency departments.

Ms Philip is also chief executive of Luton and Dunstable University Hospital Foundation Trust. The £100m is expected to put an urgent treatment centre based on the model of Luton and Dunstable in every A&E in England.

The letter, seen by HSJ, was sent to all trust and local authority chief executives, and clinical commissioning group accountable officers and clinical leaders today.

Mr Mackey and Mr Stevens said: “In order to ensure complete alignment between NHS England and NHS Improvement in supporting and overseeing urgent implementation of the above actions, we have appointed Pauline Philip as the single national leader accountable to us jointly.”

Single named regional directors will also be appointed by NHS Improvement and NHS England to work with and “hold accountable” CCGs and trusts through sustainability and transformation plans’ A&E delivery boards.

The letter also reveals that trusts will only have to hit A&E performance targets in order to secure sustainability and transformation funding.

It sets out a series of plans to help improve the discharge of emergency inpatients and reduce the number of people attending A&E who could be treated elsewhere.

Mr Mackey and Mr Stevens said further detail will be provided in the Five Year Forwadr View delivery plan due to be published later this month.

They added: “Throughout this winter, there have been three consistent themes relating to urgent and emergency care: difficulties in discharging inpatients when they are ready to go home; rising demand at A&E departments, with the fragmented nature of out-of-hospital services unable to offer patients adequate alternatives; and complex oversight arrangements between trusts, CCGs and councils.”

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