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The mystery of the capital’s ‘high-volume’ treatment centres


Next Thursday we’ll see more waiting list data released.

What is contained in it is probably why Sir David Sloman’s office has taken nearly a month to not answer this question: Your letter to system leaders said you would “eliminate” 52-week waits, by when?

The regional director’s office could not answer, nor could it reveal which hospitals were going to be the high-volume centre to burn through the lists in the six major specialities.

There are a couple of likely reasons for their not being able to say when the long waiters would be eliminated.

NHSI/E’s phase three letter set “mad” targets that don’t feel very real to many on the ground. I/E central will know this and have their own reasons for setting stretching-to-the-point-of-snapping targets, but trusts don’t really want to be held to submitting impossible commitments then being chastised for missing them (management teams have been moved on for this kind of thing in less fraught times).

The second reason is that the picture is likely to be scary and also to have an impact on the ongoing three-way negotiation between the NHS, the independent sector - which will be hosting a lot of this work - and the workforce that will actually do it in both places.

There is even less transparency than usual from the regional director’s office and I/E generally when asked anything at all about how effectively private sector facilities are being used, or how much it is costing.

Much more surprising is the fact that Sir David’s office cannot yet name where each of the ICS’s six high-volume centres will be.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 1 October 2020

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