Progress on an important strand of NHS England’s new care models ‘vanguard’ project has stalled, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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3.34pm Monitor has announced its new director for provider sustainability.

Adam Sewell-Jones, the deputy chief executive of Basildon Hospital, will join the regulator as the first head of a team dedicated to ensuring foundation trusts have effective support as they seek to improve their performance.

The provider sustainability directorate aims to develop a pool of expertise to support foundation trusts. This includes bringing in house much of the work currently done for the regulator by external consultants in the fields of provider sustainability and solutions development (also known as contingency planning).  

At Basildon, Mr Sewell-Jones was instrumental in turning around a trust which had been subject to regulatory action for a number of years as part of the special measures programme. Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust was removed from special measures in June 2014, following a successful inspection by the independent Care Quality Commission.

Previously, Mr Sewell-Jones worked for University College London Hospitals and Redbridge Healthcare Trust. He was part of the NHS Top Leaders Programme 2010.

3.26pm Progress on an important strand of NHS England’s new care models ‘vanguard’ project has stalled, meaning work on the ground will not begin until summer at the earliest, HSJ has learned.

3.21pm Here’s our full story on Monitor announcing their probe into St George’s finances.

2.06pm Monitor has opened an investigation into the sudden deterioration in finances at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The foundation trust regulator said the investigation would examine how and why this had happened, and identify possible solutions.  

Monitor granted St George’s foundation trust status in February 2015 on the basis it would break even in 2014-15 and make a small surplus in 2015-16. However the trust has recorded a £16.8m loss for 2014-15 and may record a larger deficit in 2015-16.

The regulator said it also wanted to understand why St George’s has failed to sustain progress in treating patients more promptly, as requested at the time of its foundation trust authorisation.

1.17pm The amount spent on outsourced public services has almost doubled from £64bn to £120bn under the coalition, according to research by the Information Services Group consultancy.

Justice, defence and welfare emain the biggest markets, with health the slowest sector, although the number of outsourced contracts has accelerated since the Health and Social Care Act came into force in 2012.

12.15pm The Guardian reports that the Liberal Democrats’ pledge to spend £8bn a year on the NHS by 2020 will be non-negotiable in any coalition deal after the general election, the party has said.

In the fourth “red line” announcement this week, the party said it would insist on investing an extra £8bn each year in the health service by the end of the next parliament, as well as introducing maximum waiting times for mental health services.

11.36am Today is your last day to nominate top clinical leaders in healthcare.

HSJ, working with Veredus, is celebrating those clinical leaders who are making a big impact on health service policy, and medical advancement to provide high quality, safe care for patients.

You can find out more and make a nomination here.

11.34am University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust has expressed concerns that service changes at a neighbouring trust will put more pressure on its maternity services.

A report presented to the trust board this week says there is potential for up to 1,500 more “higher risk” births a year to be delivered at Southampton if proposals by Hampshire Hospitals FT to move obstetric services from Winchester Hospital to a new site go ahead.

Hampshire Hospitals proposes to move obstetric services to a site north of Winchester. The report says this “will almost certainly have ramifications” for Southampton, in the south of the county.

11.17am Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust has agreed steps with Monitor aimed at improving its financial sustainability and reducing waiting time for accident and emergency patients.

Under the legally binding undertakings Kettering is required to:

  • create and implement a short term financial recovery plan;
  • develop and deliver a long term strategic plan; and
  • update its emergency care action plan to ensure closer working with other local health and social care organisations.

The move follows on from earlier action taken by Monitor at Kettering in relation to concerns about the organisation’s A&E service, long term finances and the performance of its previous leadership.

Monitor said Kettering had made significant progress in improving its A&E service, but it was still failing to consistently meet the national target of treating 95 per cent of patients within four hours.

Significant progress had also been made by Kettering’s new leadership in becoming compliant with all Health & Safety Executive and local fire authority guidelines.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

The West Midlands trust has also agreed the location for the service with its commissioner, Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group.

Last month the boards of Heart of England and Solihull CCG both signed off a plan to locate the service at block 14 within Solihull Hospital, with the trust formally notifying the CCG that it would not tender to run the centre.