Make sure you are up to date with the events of the last seven days with our insight into the stories that matter most
Contract negotiations sour between providers and commissioners
Three big finance stories on Thursday made NHS England look like the baddies.
First, angry (and influential) teaching hospitals warned that new conditions imposed by the national body on quality incentive payments will put efforts to bring the provider sector into financial balance this year at risk.
Just as one finance director warned that the new conditions would “play out in contract negotiations” between providers and commissioners, an email was being fired off to trusts from NHS Improvement, saying that “very few” contracts have been agreed.
Contracts were to be signed last month, but Bob Alexander, NHSI’s executive director of resources, said negotiations have been “very challenging” and the timetable for operational plans to be submitted would have to be delayed.
NHSI boss Jim Mackey stepped into the row, saying that commissioners that have made “unrealistic” offers had until Friday come up with new proposals.
He also confirmed that providers were “very unhappy” with NHS England’s proposals for quality incentive payments in 2016-17, and NHSI was in discussions with NHS England to try to find a solution.
Southern Health faces warning from CQC
There are two pieces of bad news for Southern Health Foundation Trust
The first is that the Care Quality Commission has issued it with a warning notice requiring improvements to its safety governance after an inspection in January which was prompted by last year’s highly critical review of Southern Health by Mazars.
The second piece of bad news is NHSI’s announcement that it intends to add a condition to Southern Health’s licence, allowing it to make “management changes” if the CQC’s concerns are not rapidly addressed.
Second review into failed Cambridgeshire and Peterborough deal
NHS England has confirmed it will launch a second review into the failed Cambridgeshire and Peterborough older people’s services contract.
The first was published two weeks ago, explaining why the deal collapsed.
The new one will look at other contracts which share some characteristics with the Cambridgeshire deal, including two big ones in Staffordshire.
It will examine the roles of the external advisers brought in by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group on the project; and assess the Department of Health’s gateway process which looked at the procurement before sign-off.
Angela Pedder to lead Devon success regime
One of the longest serving NHS chief executives, Angela Pedder, is standing down from Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust to become “lead chief executive” of the local success regime.
Ms Pedder will lead the northern, eastern and western Devon success regime while also acting as lead for the overall Devon “sustainability and transformation plan” footprint.
Mick Martin resigns from PHSO
The deputy parliamentary and health service ombudsman Mick Martin has resigned from his role at the NHS complaints watchdog, HSJ reported on Tuesday.
This follows stories by HSJ revealing how Mr Martin was involved in the cover-up of sexual harassment at Derbyshire Healthcare FT, and how his boss Dame Julie Mellor knew about it last year but appeared to take no action.
HSJ’s editor last month called on Mr Martin and Dame Julie to resign as a result of this and a number of other failures in the PHSO leadership’s performance.
18 new NCDs named
NHS England has revealed its 18 new national clinical directors, with seven previously unannounced “associate” NCDs.
Chris Harrison, medical director at The Christie Foundation Trust, is the new NCD for cancer, while Tim Kendall, medical director at Sheffield Health and Social Care FT, is the new NCD for mental health.
The NCD for trauma has been retained, and NHS England has created a previously unannounced NCD for cardiovascular disease prevention.
Doubts over CCG contract offers to providers
The chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, Julie Wood, said on Friday that she had doubts that all CCGs would be able to make “reasonable” contract offers to all of their providers for 2016-17.
The revised deadline of end of Friday was issued after system leaders noted that “very few” contracts had been agreed by the start of the financial year.
High stakes are involved, as NHS Improvement is keen to see all trusts nail down contracts that can support the delivery of their “control total” financial targets for 2016-17.
But as Julie Wood told HSJ, commissioners are also under huge pressure, and have a long list of must-dos to deliver with the funding growth they received for this year.
Treasury transfers £205m to DH to combat PPRS shortfall
In February the Treasury transferred £205m to the DH to plug a gap in its finances caused by a shortfall in the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.
Under the PPRS, if NHS spending on branded medicines exceeds an “allowed” growth rate then industry pays the difference back to the DH.
Bumper growth in the first year of the scheme led to a significant overestimate of future growth and PPRS income. When growth turned out to be much lower than expected in 2015-16, the PPRS payment dropped and the Treasury was forced to cough up.
The slowdown was caused by several factors, including a 35 per cent increase in “parallel imports” from the continent which took sales away from the British companies in the scheme.