Make sure you are up to date with the events of the last seven days with our insight into the stories that matter most

What the budget means for health

At first glance, the budget on Wednesday did little to change the outlook for NHS funding in the coming years, but there were some notable announcements by the chancellor:

  • There will be a new levy on the soft drinks industry from April 2018.
  • Most of the £520m raised in the first year will be used to boost school sports.
  • NHS England said the tax is a “major first step to what must be a comprehensive childhood obesity strategy”.
  • Public sector employers will have to contribute an extra £2bn to pensions in 2019-20.
  • Fines against banks will be used to pay for some NHS spending, including a helipad for a hospital in Manchester.

Read HSJ’s finance expert Crispin Dowler’s analysis on

Leaders for eight STP patches revealed

NHS England has announced the individuals appointed to lead ”sustainability and transformation planning” in eight of the 44 geographic “footprints” across the country.

The Greater Manchester footprint is headed by Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, and the Birmingham and Solihull footprint is led by Mark Rogers, boss of Birmingham City Council.

Other STP patch leaders include Royal Free London chief executive David Sloman and Sir Andrew Morris, chief executive of Frimley Health.

Unanswered questions from discovery of missing patients

There are many unanswered questions about long-waiters on elective pathways in the wake of HSJ’s revelation that hundreds of patients waiting more than a year for treatment have not been included in national statistics, here are some of them:

How many patients treated in 2015-16 waited more than a year?

How many still on the waiting lists have waited more than a year?

We know CCGs and NHS Improvement have been receiving updates on long-waiters (it knew about Barking’s 1,015 in January, before the figure slipped out this month) – why haven’t they made these public?

Are trusts going to get the £5,000 fine for each one?

How much has been spent with private providers to take care of this backlog?

More interesting than all that though, what has driven the increase in long-waiters?

Monitor pushing hard for Hinchingbrooke merger with Peterborough

News revealed on Wednesday that Monitor is allegedly “pushing hard” for Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust to acquire nearby Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust is arguably unsurprising.

What could however be viewed as surprising is the timescale the regulator apparently wants to set. HSJ has been told the foundation trust regulator wants a deal done by April 2017, or even sooner.

A senior source warned this could result in a “rushed and acrimonious merger”.

NHS Improvement to get advice from 47 chairs and chief executives

NHS Improvement has brought together two panels composed of 47 chairs and chief executives from NHS trusts to give it advice on improving patient experience.

The panels will meet every few months and will provide NHS Improvement with feedback on what is working well in their own trusts, while advising the organisation on new policies and proposals.

The chief executives panel has 18 members, while the chairs group has a whopping 29 - including the chair of the Care Quality Commission, Peter Wyman.

HSJ Women Leaders network’s 50:50 by 2020 goal gets split opinion

The HSJ Women Leaders network’s ambition to achieve gender balanced boards by 2020 has split opinion on and social media.

On Wednesday we reported that Ed Smith, NHS gender diversity champion and chair of NHS Improvement, welcomed the 50:50 by 2020 goal. He said: “I accept that challenge and will work hard to drive that ambition through the NHS. Now let’s get to work.”

Not everyone thinks a target is a good idea, however, as the debate on demonstrates.

While one reader said “equality and human rights matter greatly to us all, whether we are staff or patients – good on Ed Smith for taking up HSJ’s challenge”, a number of others called the target “PC nonsense”.

Suffolk GP Federation in for super partnership

One of the country’s largest GP federations is in discussion with its members about the possibility of forming a “super partnership”.

Suffolk GP Federation, one of the largest “at scale” GP providers in the country, covers a 540,000 population in the east of England.

Suffolk has been looking at ways to develop its primary care provision, with the federation’s chief executive David Pannell telling HSJ that a super partnership was one of the options being considered.

Claire Panniker to lead Essex trusts network

The three hospital trusts in mid and south Essex success regime are looking into a “collaborative model” that does not involve a full merger.

They are establishing what internal documents seen by HSJ refer to as a “group model”, which involves the three trusts being run as a “network” of hospitals with a flexible workforce.

The three trusts, which have combined revenues of £840m, are Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals FT, Southend University Hospital FT; and Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust.

On Friday, we learned that Basildon chief executive Clare Panniker, is to head the new leadership team, with the job title “lead chief executive”.

Her brief is to drive “collaboration between the three hospitals [in order to] improve staffing levels in some specialties, reduce duplication and costs and improve outcomes for patients”.