An NHS England review into children’s heart surgery has called for a major shake-up of how they are provided, proposing a “three tier” model of care, plus the rest of today’s news and comment.
5.25pm Paul Briddock, director of policy at the Healthcare Financial Management Association, has welcomed the joint report by the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund, which calls for a dedicated NHS transformation fund.
He said: “Today’s report from the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund is a useful contribution to the ongoing debate on how we can successfully transform services in the NHS.
“If the health service is to implement the wide-scale changes needed to meet efficiency targets and be sustainable for future years, this healthy debate is welcomed. However, with the substantial £22 billion gap in NHS finances, the clock is ticking for the sector to soon agree on an effective way forward, which is likely to see initial investment required before long-term savings are seen.”
2.23pm A partially sighted pensioner has had his central vision restored for the first time in nearly a decade after he received a bionic eye, the Guardian reports. Ray Flynn, 80, from Audenshaw, Manchester, is the world’s first patient with advanced dry age related macular degeneration (AMD) to undergo the procedure.
The retired engineer, who has peripheral vision, is also believed to be the first human being to have the use of combined natural and artificial sight.
Developed by Second Sight Medical Products, the Argus II retinal implant that Flynn received last month at Manchester Royal Eye hospital, in a four-hour procedure, works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient’s glasses into a series of small electrical pulses, which are transmitted wirelessly to electrodes on the surface of the retina.
The regulatory body for non-foundation trusts, which will soon be merged with FT regulator Monitor under the name NHS Improvement, said in board papers it is “broadening [its] support for challenged trusts”.
Improvement directors have been sent to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, to address “a range of quality and leadership challenges”, and to Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust due to “challenges including emergency access and organisational culture”.
12.36pm In case you missed it yesterday, the Department of Health ended 2014-15 with a revenue underspend of just £1m, which was just 0.001% of its overall budget, its annual accounts revealed.
This was despite the DH’s position against its expenditure limit being propped up by a £250m increase to the revenue budget from the Treasury, plus £640m being transferred from the capital budget.
These transfers, revealed by HSJ in February, were prompted by the huge revenue pressures on the NHS provider sector. Anita Charlesworth, chief economist at the Health Foundation, said the report showed the whole health service is “clearly in underlying deficit”.
11.43am An NHS England review into congenital heart disease services has called for a major shake-up of how they are provided, proposing a “three tier” model of care.
The commissioning body started the review in June 2013. It was a the latest in a series of reviews into the children’s heart surgery, following concerns raised about children receiving complex cardiac surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary between 1984 and 1995.
Under the “three tier” model recommended by NHS England, all hospitals providing congenital heart disease care would work within “regional, multi-centre networks, bringing together foetal, children’s and adult services”.
Each network would have at least one specialist surgical centre as the first tier.
11.34am: The idea for an NHS transformation fund is also backed by NHS Providers, whose director of policy and strategy, Saffron Cordery, said: “This report recognises the need for dedicated investment in transformation in the NHS.
“We welcome how they’ve have gone about it, especially the need for double running costs, because there will need to be a period of time where you’re doing two things at once.
“I think however the devil could quite literally be in the detail. If we are setting up a whole system that’s very complex then that’s when it might get into difficulties. I think it’s got to be as simple as possible. The amount of money needed is a really difficult one to call, and a very difficult assessment to make across the system.”
11.23am: The NHS Confederation said it “fully supports” the proposal for an NHS transformation fund.
Responding to Making change possible: A Transformation Fund for the NHS, by the think-tanks the Health Foundation and The King’s Fund, Dr Johnny Marshall, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “The NHS Confederation fully supports today’s report which calls for a national dedicated fund to drive forward essential changes to the way health and care services are delivered.
“We’ve been arguing for some time for greater resources in transformation to cover the double-running that is often essential for change to be effective. Too often investment has been allocated under the assumption that new services will automatically replace the current model and deliver benefits immediately.
“Our members firmly believe transformation funding will need to be clear and spent in an accountable way to ensure the money set aside really does transform services, rather than being spent on business as usual. This report includes examples of where transformation funding has been successfully implemented and so offers a robust evidence base to work from.
“We also welcome the suggestion to use funding to unlock savings in the NHS estate. We look forward to exploring this further with our members and agree there is value in looking at how to get the most out of NHS properties. To be able to do this, our members though will need a supportive environment which aligns national functions and behaviours with the challenge of redesigning local services.”
11.05am The NHS needs a dedicated transformation fund of at least £1.5bn a year to properly test and roll out new models of care, according to researchers. A new national body should manage the fund from 2016-17, a joint report by the King’s Fund and the Health Foundation also says.
The authors recommend a fund of between £1.5bn and £2.1bn a year until 2020-21, with a second phase focused on rolling out the successful models beyond then.
7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.
We start the say with a comment piece by Andrew Vallance-Owen, chair of the Private Healthcare Information Network, who argues that NHS England needs to reach agreement on a standard set of procedures for the routine measurement of outcomes involving patients.