HSJ has learned the Cabinet Office and Department of Health are exploring the possibility of a cap on agency spending in the NHS, in an attempt to tackle ballooning costs.

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The trust said Monitor will present its bid, which includes a £10m loan and £20m of public dividend capital,to the DH in August.

The trust declined to provide more information about the request, which was referenced in its board papers last month, but the plans were summarised in an indicative document submitted to the independent trust financing facility last year.

The Monitor chief executive said the health service should consider the scope for extending to other performance targets an approach being piloted by ambulance services. Some trusts have been given longer than normal to decide whether to send an ambulance to “red 2” calls, which respond to non-life threatening emergencies.

Asked by HSJ if there was a case for changing the way performance targets were managed to help trusts cope with the current financial squeeze, Mr Bennett said: “On access targets, I think the sort of thing we should be doing is the sort of thing we’ve been trialling with the ambulance services on red 2. Where really there is a clinical argument for saying this is not working as well as it could, and yet, if you [improve the target] it makes it easier within a given resource to hit the clinically better targets.”

The purpose of the agreement would be to create a pool of strong trusts that can quickly be brought in when regulators decide they need to put in a support package at a challenged trust, David Bennett told HSJ.

He described these “super buddying arrangements” as being more long term than the buddying system for trusts in special measures, but significantly short of a formal acquisition or franchise.

3.10pm Negotiations are taking place to establish a private provider led consortium to take on a 10 year, £687m contract to integrate cancer services in Staffordshire.

Sources close to the procurement, part of a wider £1.2bn cancer and end of life care tender by four Staffordshire clinical commissioning groups, have told HSJ the discussions were prompted after commissioners made clear their preference for a consortium to lead as a prime provider across the county.

This led to the two NHS trusts, University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust and the Royal Wolverhampton Trust, and three remaining private bidders – Interserve Investments, Optum (formerly UnitedHealth UK) and CSC – to consider withdrawing their standalone bids and instead forming a consortium. Sources said this could be led by Interserve Investments.

11.40am A new managing director has been appointed for the Health Innovation Network, the Academic Health Science Network for South London. 

Tara Donnelly will be joining in September. She has spent the past 15 years at board level, most recently at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust, where she has been leading on improvement, and as a non-executive director at Macmillan Cancer Support, the leading charity for people living with cancer.

Ms Donnelly said: “I am delighted to be joining this vibrant and innovative community working together to improve health and wellbeing in south London. Great work is already underway and I look forward to building on this with the team and our member partners so that collectively we can do more to improve physical and mental health and increase prosperity in this part of the capital.”

She has worked in a range of management roles at Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals and at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury. Her board experience includes working as chief executive at the West Middlesex University Hospital. Prior to that, she spent six years on the board of the Whittington Hospital as deputy chief executive and director of operations, joining Macmillan ten years ago. She has worked at UCLH, which is part of UCL Partners AHSN, in senior strategic roles for the past six years.

Health Innovation Network chairman Richard Barker, said, “Tara brings her vast experience from both the NHS and charity sectors, and her entrepreneurial spirit. She is well placed to build on our achievements to date and to lead our capable team in our goal of making major impact on the health and wealth of the capital.”

10.25am Relatives of dementia sufferers who pass away in care homes are being forced to wait months to bury loved ones because of new rules, The Independent reports.

Families are being caught up by regulations that require state inquests into the deaths of many Alzheimer’s sufferers before funerals can take place - even when there is little mystery over the cause of death.

The delays are linked to an expansion in the use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, which are intended to make sure that people in care homes, hospitals and supported living are looked after in a way that does not inappropriately restrict their freedom. The number of Alzheimer’s patients subject to DoLS is increasing following a Supreme Court judgement last year that effectively lowered the threshold for what constitutes deprivation of liberty in care, the paper says.

10.15am The Daily Mail reports that the NHS could be forced to deprive the over-70s of medical resources as a result of UN targets designed to cut premature deaths, it has been claimed.

Older people would potentially be discriminated against under goals to reduce deaths among the young, according to a letter published by the Lancet medical journal.

It claims the United Nations proposals - aimed at reducing the number of deaths from cancer, diabetes, strokes and dementia by a third by 2030 - would inevitably lead to the prioritisation of care for younger patients.

9.50am Foundation trusts in breach of their licence will face tighter regulatory controls on their agency and management consultancy spending, as part of an interventionist drive by Monitor to bear down on escalating provider deficits.

Speaking exclusively to HSJ, Monitor chief executive David Bennett this week set out the details of a new approach the regulator will take this year, in an effort to ensure there is “no stone unturned” in the search for productivity savings.

The new tack comes after the FT sector delivered the worst financial performance in its history last year and submitted draft plans suggesting the deficit would be even deeper in 2015-16.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live. This morning we reveal the Cabinet Office and Department of Health are exploring the possibility of a cap on agency spending in the NHS, in an attempt to tackle ballooning costs. Read the full story from HSJ correspondents Shaun Lintern and Sophie Barnes here.