Rolling coverage of NHS England’s board meeting

HSJ Live logo

  • NHS England chief Simon Stevens acknowledges the risk to the overall NHS financial position this year and says providers must reduce agency spend
  • There is a £268m financial gap to address in the commissioning sector
  • Emergency activity growth was 0.7% year on year from April to July - less than the increase last year - following the introduction of the better care fund

1.15pm: The board meeting is over. We’ll publish news pieces on the financial situation this afternoon, the Live blog is now ending.

11.58am: David Williams tweets: “Stevens: small ray of sunshine - A&E activity growth is 0.7pc for first 4 months of 15-16. slower than the 2.3pc we made CCGs plan for”

11.56am: HSJ’s David Williams tweets: “baumann: £268m of corrective action to take to live within our means. confident of improvement in a months time.”

11.51am: Finance - Paul Baumann, finance director, says he is worried new numbers he will receive tomorrow will show a worse financial position among some CCGs and specialised commissioning teams. He says there’s “lots of work to do across the commissioning sector to live within our spending limit”. He says there “aren’t signficant reserves there waiting to be deployed” due to “tight budgets”.

11.46am: The board is discussing NHS performance - a problem highlighted by Dame Barbara is the 62 day cancer waits standard which is not being met. The board discusses patient experience, which remains strong for hospital services. Dame Barbara says it is difficult to say why but points out low expectations among older people who are just glad the NHS is there. Simon Stevens points out variation in patient experience - for example Pakistani people report substantially worse experience.

11.02am: The board is discussing NHS England’s approach to deciding whether to approve bids for devolution of NHS responsibilities and budgets. Chair Sir Malcolm Grant said approval of devolution arrangements would not be a “one off” decision and would need to evolve. In relation to joint working between the NHS and local authorities, national operations director Dame Barbara Hakin said it had improved but added: “We do have some areas where it would seem that personalities get in the way of progress.”

10.46am: Simon Stevens has acknowledged the overall financial position of the Department of Health is at risk. He said “there is now an understanding that [if temporary staffing spend is not quickly reduced] it will be very hard for the NHS overall to deliver its side of the funding bargain”. He said it meant action was needed to reduce this spending.

10.25am Check HSJ Live and follow HSJ senior correspondent David Williams for live coverage of today’s NHS England board meeting.