Provider bulletin: 16 March 2016

In this edition: what you need to know about NHS Improvement, sustainability and transformation plans, Easter monitoring of agency controls, national tariff update, and NHS surplus land review.

This fortnightly newsletter is sent to NHS trust and foundation trust chairs, chief executives, finance, medical and nursing directors, and foundation trust board secretaries. 

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The launch of NHS Improvement: what you need to know

On 1 April 2016, NHS Improvement launches, bringing together Monitor, NHS TDA, Patient Safety, the National Reporting and Learning System, the advancing Change team and the Intensive Support Teams. NHS Improvement will seek to deliver what we know NHS patients, carers, staff and organisations want and need: better healthcare, transformed care delivery and sustainable finances. NHS Improvement will realise this through leadership of the sector and by supporting providers and local health systems to improve.

We will build on the best of what our predecessor organisations have been doing, but with a change of emphasis: first and foremost we will offer real support to providers and local health systems. We will, of course, hold boards to account, and sometimes it will still be necessary to intervene. But our emphasis is clear: our first and most important purpose is to support providers and local health systems to improve.

We are still in the process of developing NHS Improvement, and in the short term the scale of financial and operational challenges across the sector mean we will need to take a more involved and directive approach with more providers than we intend to in future.

We will introduce a single oversight framework during 2016/17 that is based on the principle of earned autonomy and, as we described in Implementing the Forward View: supporting providers to deliver, that segments providers according to the extent to which they meet our single definition of success that incorporates: finance and use of resources; quality; operational performance; strategic change; and leadership and improvement capability. We will seek your views on our proposals for this framework during quarter 1 2016/17.

In the meantime, the current frameworks, Monitor’s risk assessment framework and TDA’s accountability framework, will remain in place and we will continue to support you using these until the new single framework is implemented.

Please continue to liaise with the teams and individuals that you do now within Monitor and the NHS TDA. 

NHS Improvement email addresses

From 1 April, all NHS Improvement staff will be using mail. Please note that there will be no mail forwarding from old email accounts in action, so we do encourage you to save and use the new email addresses. Any NHS Improvement staff who haven’t been on mail before will include their new email address on all their emails. 

To help you find our staff, from 1 April, you’ll be able to search within the mail directory under ‘NHS Improvement’.

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs)

The NHS shared planning guidance asked every health and care system to come together to create their own ambitious local blueprint for accelerating implementation of the Five Year Forward View (5YFV).

STPs will be place-based, multi-year plans built around the needs of local populations. These will be delivered by 44 local health and care systems or ‘footprints’: organisations working together to achieve transformation and sustainability.

NHS England has now published the agreed footprints alongside the names of a number of footprint leads – with more to follow soon. Chief executives of NHS trusts and foundation trusts have also been sent a guidance pack for a short STP submission which is due on 15 April.

For general enquiries, please contact

Easter arrangements for monitoring of the agency controls

Please remember that all NHS trusts and foundation trusts are required to submit a weekly monitoring return via this web link.

Your data returns are due by midday every Wednesday and should be provided in arrears (eg data for the week commencing 14 March 2016 is due by midday on Wednesday 23 March 2016). Please ensure that you have adequate governance processes to provide accurate returns, authorised by a member of your board, every week.

Over Easter, you are required to submit your weekly monitoring returns on Wednesday 23 March and Wednesday 30 March at midday, as per the standard weekly reporting cycle.

The agency team will follow up on missing or late returns to ensure that they can accurately monitor implementation of the controls. 

2016/17 national tariff will be published this month

The consultation period for the 2016/17 national tariff closed on the 10 March. We can confirm that the statutory objection thresholds have not been met so we’re now reviewing all of the responses and will publish the 2016/17 tariff by the end of this month.

Thanks to all of you who provided feedback on the proposals in the consultation period. 

Reviewing surplus land within the NHS

November’s spending review committed the NHS to finding £2 billion from NHS land sales by 2020/21 and releasing land for 26,000 houses.

We know that some of you have started having conversations with Clinical Commissioning Groups about their strategic estates plans and to help with this exercise the Department of Health will be completing visits to better understand what estate the NHS owns, and to explore ways of reducing running costs and freeing up land for sale.

We’d be grateful if you could nominate appropriate leads in your finance and estate functions to help with this for when the team gets in touch in due course.

Events and webinars

See an up-to-date list of all our upcoming events.

External updates

From NHS Leadership Academy

Support for healthcare employees looking to move into their first formal leadership role

The Mary Seacole programme is for healthcare employees who are looking to move into their first formal leadership role. The programme helps candidates to use their success to encourage consistent success across their team and lead on delivering compassionate patient care; it has been redesigned for 2016 to make it more accessible and useful for candidates.

Visit NHS Leadership Academy’s website to find out more or contact or 0113 322 5699 with any questions.

Share your experience of the NHS with future NHS leaders

If you have a story of working within the NHS that you think could help colleagues to develop their leadership skills, the NHS Leadership Academy would like to hear from you. You’ll be asked to share specific examples of your healthcare experiences in a supportive and confidential environment. To register your interest please get in touch.

From NHS England

Please implement the urologist and gynaecologist surgeon appraisal system

NHS England’s ’Mesh working group interim report’ recommends that all medical directors/responsible officers use the urologist and gynaecologist surgeon appraisal system to focus on improving clinical practice and reporting in this surgical area. To help with this, please can you ensure that surgeons within your organisation:

  • are appropriately trained in their practice
  • adhere to NICE clinical guidance
  • comply with national data requirements (by recording procedures on either the British Society of Urogynaecology (BSUG) or British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) database)
  • report complications/adverse incidents to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
  • explain any non-compliance and take action to address it

New indicator to help reduce delayed transfers of care

NHS England has launched a new local Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) indicator aimed at increasing the proportion of patients who are discharged to their usual place of residence within 7 days of admission.

Using the framework could improve patient flow and lead to better patient outcomes while reducing the financial pressure within your trust.

Visit NHS England’s website to see how you may be able to apply the CQUIN to your organisation.

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