Your essential update on the week in health
HSJ Catch Up
This new weekly email gives HSJ subscribers a vital update on the biggest stories from the last week in health. If you have been out of the office or otherwise just too busy to keep up, HSJ Catch Up will ensure you are still in the know.
Stevens says government must deliver on funding promises
The pledge by the Leave side to give the NHS an additional £350m a week dominated much of the referendum campaign.
It was dismissed by the Remain side, most economic forecasters, and Mr Stevens himself, who argued that any extra cash from terminating Britain’s EU membership would be far outweighed by the economic shock of exit and fall in tax revenues.
“Both Leave and Remain campaigned for a strong - and indeed a better funded - NHS. So the public, regardless of how they voted, will rightly want our new political leaders to deliver on that promise,” Stevens wrote.
Mr Stevens added his voice to Sir Bruce Keogh and Jeremy Hunt’s in celebrating the contribution that workers from abroad have made to the NHS.
He said it was a “statement of the obvious” that the NHS would “continue to need and benefit from their service in the years ahead”.
Instead of being caught up in the “Westminster swirl”, Mr Stevens promised NHS England would be “a steady hand on the tiller, providing operationally independent leadership for the NHS on behalf of patients and the public”.
After months of controversy and embarrassing revelations Dame Julie Mellor resigned this week as the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman.
Dame Julie Mellor’s departure came four months after we revealed she had been made aware of the role played by her deputy, Mick Martin, in covering up a harassment case while he was acting chair at Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.
HSJ has previously reported that Dame Julie was sent a copy of the ruling of an employment tribunal in July last year, including concerns about Mr Martin’s behaviour. Dame Julie replied only to say that she “noted” the concerns. Mr Martin continued to work as PHSO managing director and deputy ombudsman until after HSJ revealed his involvement in the case earlier this year.
Junior doctors reject contract
On Tuesday it was announced that junior doctors had voted to reject the contract deal negotiated by the British Medical Association. This was met by the resignation of BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana.
The government announced on Wednesday that it would press on with imposing the contract deal, which includes the key concession by the BMA to some plain time working at the weekend.
Alistair Burt announced his resignation
Alistair Burt, made community and social care minister after the 2015 general election, announced he will step down in September following the appointment of a new prime minister.
He made the announcement at the end of an oral health questions session in the Commons, just as the BMA announced its rejection of the junior doctors’ contract.
Mr Burt’s resignation, he said, was not related to any political machinations or policy concerns – he has just had enough of frontbench politics.
The much criticised Care.data programme is to be “closed”, ministers have revealed.
The announcement was made in a statement quietly published around an hour after the findings of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war were made public.
It came as Dame Fiona Caldicott’s review of data security recommended that ministers should “consider” the programme’s future.
Life sciences minister George Freeman said the commitment to realising the benefits of sharing information to improve care would remain.
The National Information Board will be faced with the task of working with primary care on a new way of doing the same thing as Care.data set out to do, only this time without losing the confidence of primary care or arousing widespread suspicion and disquiet among the public.
Trusts must achieve annual targets to secure access to STF
With a helping hand/threatening fist from HM Treasury, trusts have been issued individual financial targets for the year, which if met, means they will qualify for additional funding.
In a document sent to trust finance directors on Thursday, seen by HSJ, NHS Improvement said achievement of quarterly financial targets would be a “binary on/off switch” to secure access to trusts’ share of the “sustainability and transformation fund”.
If a trust achieves its quarterly year-to-date target, or “control total”, it will receive 70 per cent of its STF allocation, while the other 30 per cent will depend on performance against the headline waiting time targets for emergency, elective and cancer services.
Looking at the STF in a positive light, it should give an extra incentive to trusts to regain control of their finances, as well as certainty around the level of central support/bailout funding which is deemed acceptable by national leaders.
NHS England hires controversial ex-hospital chief
NHS England has announced three senior technology appointments, with former Addenbrooke’s chief executive Keith McNeil handed a key role.
Dr McNeil will become NHS England’s first chief clinical information officer, while Will Smart, currently chief information officer at the Royal Free Hospital, will become the new NHS chief information officer.
Dr McNeil resigned from Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust in September ahead of it being placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission.
NHS England has also appointed former Times Newspapers online executive Juliet Bauer as director of digital experience.
Patient Safety Award winners announced
On Tuesday HSJ and Nursing Times hosted their annual Patient Safety Awards. The titles’ editors said safety “does not have to cost the earth”, noting that many of the winning entries cost nothing, despite achieving much.
- Alistair Burt
- British Medical Association (BMA)
- Bruce Keogh
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- DERBYSHIRE HEALTHCARE FT
- East Midlands
- East of England
- Emergency care
- Jeremy Hunt
- NHS Improvement
- Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
- Simon Stevens