PERFORMANCE: A senior figure at Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust has blamed the trust’s slow progress with its seven day service planning on a lack of engagement from NHS England and local commissioners.

  • Trust says planning slowed due to lack of information from NHS England.
  • NHS England says it is for local health economies to decide priorities.
  • Trust says clinical commissioning groups have begun to engage following its complaint.

Simon Beesley, the trust’s lead on seven day services, told directors that a lack of information from NHS England regarding which national standards to prioritise in 2015-16 had made planning difficult.

A spokesman for NHS England told HSJ it is up to local health economies to decide which standards to prioritise in their areas.

Kettering general hospital

A lack of information about expectations provided by NHS England is to blame, the trust said

The national body published 10 clinical standards for seven day services in 2013 that largely focused on acute and emergency care.

NHS England guidance for 2015-16, published in January, said providers will need to meet at least five of the 10 standards for seven day services this year.

Mr Beesley added that a lack of engagement from both Corby and Nene clinical commissioning groups had also slowed progress, despite numerous attempts to contact them.

A paper presented to the East Midlands trust’s board last month said: “The lack of information regarding 2015-16 expectations from both NHS England and the CCGs has played a significant role in the loss of momentum gained in 2014.

“During 2014 trusts were told that they would be expected to comply with ‘those [national] standards which have the greatest impact’ by the end of 2015-16.

“Despite a number of requests via different channels, neither NHS England nor the CCGs were able to offer a clearer definition which meant we were unable to effectively prioritise our programme.”

Mr Beesley added that the trust’s current intention was to work with each of its clinical business units “on those clinical standards over which they have direct control”.

An NHS England spokesman said: “Any decisions over which standards to implement will be taken locally between the trusts and the CCGs.

“The standards with the greatest impact will be different for individual health economies across the country and for this reason the decision as to which ones to prioritise in 2015-16 is being left to local determination.”

He added that the East Midlands Clinical Senate had produced a report with “individual recommendations for trusts, showing gaps in services and guidance on how best to fill them” in relation to seven day services.

A Corby CCG spokesman said: “Work around implementing seven day services is still at a relatively early stage… The development of seven day working is an important piece of work for us, and we are working with [Kettering] to establish our shared priorities to take this forward over the coming weeks and months.”

Mr Beesley told HSJ some progress had been made since the board meeting. He added: “Both Corby Clinical Commissioning Group and Nene Clinical Commissioning Group have identified seven day service leads and a recent meeting was held to agree future action.”