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.
Action on pay rates for interim managers
Tuesday was a busy day for Jim Mackey.
In the morning, he appeared at the House of Lords committee on the long term sustainability of the NHS, alongside chief inspector of hopsitals Sir Mike Richards.
Then at the end of the day a letter by Mr Mackey was sent to trust chief executives, finance directors and HR directors, telling them he is prepared to take more action against unacceptably high pay rates for interim managers.
On top of that, HSJ’s exclusive interview with the NHS Improvement chief was published that morning. He said:
- The regulator will intervene more actively to ensure trusts enforce medical locum rate caps.
- Sustainability and Transformation Plans and NHS providers’ plans for major workforce changes will be subject to checks on safety, and they will have to show evidence.
- NHS leaders will not be “intimidated or bullied” by regulators, and NHSI will hold trusts to account “professionally and respectfully”.
Contract talks ‘miles apart’
A number of commissioners and providers have been “absolutely miles apart” in their contract negotiations, Mr Mackey said at an event on Thursday.
Local contracts for the next two years that were not signed at the start of the week have entered a mediation process ahead of the national deadline on 23 December.
Meanwhile, commissioners have raised concerns with NHS England about their allocations being reduced as a result of the new national payment tariff.
In a note seen by HSJ, NHS Clinical Commissioners said it had written to the national body “in the strongest terms” over the potential impact of the tariff on CCG finances.
Stevens on clinical leadership
That’s what Simon Stevens told HSJ in our in-depth interview, when asked what he thought about Jeremy Hunt’s comments that introducing general management to the NHS may have been an “historic mistake”.
Read more from our interview with the NHS England chief executive:
- Some STPs are becoming ‘integrated organisations’, says Stevens
- ‘Huge appetite’ for primary care at scale, says NHS England chief
What is the cardinal rule of creating a new multispecialty community provider? You have to keep GPs onside.
NHS England was clear about this when it published the MCP framework in July.
However, the task of keeping GPs happy is not easy. At least not if this CCG is anything to go by: Wakefield CCG was accused earlier this month by local GPs, through a letter from their local medical committee, of “inadequate consultation” over plans to move to a “virtual MCP” by next April.
STPs chosen to lead back office mergers
HSJ has revealed the STP areas spearheading a back office savings drive, which we have also learned system leaders estimate can save £350m over four years.
Greater Manchester, Kent and Medway, mid and south Essex, and north west London have been selected by NHS Improvement to be “pathfinders” for the programme after being impressed by their October STP submissions.
Our back of a napkin calculation, which seems appropriate in the post-truth age, suggests this means the 44 STPs will have to find around £8m of savings each over four years.
Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from the unions – which rightly have concerns about their members’ jobs – and those fearing a re-run of the commissioning support unit debacle and haunted by other botched implementations of a similar ilk.
Property companies to be replaced
The Department of Health is to create a new property company to replace the two that currently exist. The move is in response to a recommendation in the forthcoming report by Sir Robert Naylor on the NHS estate.
The new entity will replace NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships. It will be chaired by Ian Ellis, the current chair of NHS Property Services.
A merger of NHS Property Services and CHP, which are both wholly owned by the DH, was first proposed three and a half years ago.
HSJ reported way back then that the DH was due to set up a programme of “joint working” between the two firms with a view to a merger in 2015.
Fraudster convicted again
A convicted fraudster who was jailed for more than two years after pretending to be a doctor for nine years at a PCT has pleaded guilty after being caught trying to commit a similar crime again.
Conrad de Souza pleaded guilty on Monday to six out of nine counts of fraud at Croydon Crown Court. The three other counts will lie on file.
He was caught by the same NHS Protect investigators who brought him to justice in 2011. That year he was jailed for 27 months after lying that he was a qualified doctor to Lewisham PCT, where he earned £329,000 working in clinical strategy between 2001 and 2010.
Call for single regulator
One of England’s most high profile trust chief executives has said there should be “one regulator” which brings together NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission.
Dame Julie Moore told HSJ trusts are “over regulated”. She said: “I think there should be one regulator responsible for doing it all and I think it needs to be proportionate and I think it needs to be much more intelligence led, and not so absolute in what it does.”
Last month, chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said regulation “might well move” to a single organisation overseeing quality and finance in the future.