Provider bulletin: 10 January 2018

This weekly newsletter is sent to NHS providers’ chairs, chief executives, finance, medical, nursing and HR directors, and board secretaries.


For action

Alert: risk of death and severe harm from failure to obtain and continue flow from oxygen cylinders

We have issued a patient safety alert on the risk of death and severe harm from failure to obtain and continue flow from oxygen cylinders.

Patient safety incidents have occurred where staff believed oxygen was flowing when it was not, and/or they have been unable to turn on the oxygen flow in an emergency.

Please check immediately if local action is needed, and to ensure an action plan is underway to prevent these incidents.

Updated threshold for very senior managers

From 1 January 2018, HM Treasury has revised the threshold for senior pay controls in the NHS to £150,000 and above.  The previous threshold of £142,500 and above still applies to any proposals made prior to this.

A reminder that NHS trusts are required to seek ministerial approval and NHS foundation trusts to seek ministerial opinion, via NHS Improvement, on any pay proposals that are at or above the threshold for new appointments, and any pay increases which would take an individual’s salary to or above the threshold, even where their current salary is already above the threshold.

NHS ambulance trusts and NHS community trusts still need to seek approval for all very senior managers (VSM) cases irrespective of the amount. Salaries at or above the threshold should not be confirmed with new or existing staff until ministers have approved the proposed pay.

See our guidance on VSM pay and other executive HR issues for more information.

Proposals should be emailed to

Updated data available on the emergency flow improvement tool

The emergency flow improvement tool is now up-to-date with the most recent performance data.

You can now view current and extensive information on patient flow through your emergency department, so you can understand where the bottlenecks and strains are, implement plans to tackle them and have an overview of your organisation’s performance.

Please login to access the most recent data.

Develop knowledge and skills in demand and capacity modelling

The demand and capacity programme is a free, accredited, six-month programme designed to develop organisations’ capability and skills to reduce waiting times for patients. The programme equips staff to train others and spread knowledge more widely at a local level.

The application window for Midlands and East is open and the deadline for applications is 5pm, 4 February 2018.

Find out more information on the next cohort and dates.

Participate in a funded adult mental health first aid instructor course

To improve the quality of care provided to patients with mental health needs, we are launching a programme with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to train 24 adult MHFA instructors.

Please nominate an appropriate person to undertake this ‘train the trainer’ programme, to then lead an ongoing MHFA training in your organisation.

The deadline for nominations is 5pm, 22 January 2018.

Service redesign training for finance professionals

We are offering a quality , service and redesign practitioner programme specifically for finance staff in collaboration with Healthcare Financial Management Association and Future Focused Finance.

This five day programme (over five months) is free of charge to NHS finance professionals attending with a clinical or service management colleague with whom they’re working on an improvement project.

Finance directors, please encourage your team to apply by 5pm, Monday 15 January.


Sign up to January’s improvement directors’ network events

Following our network launch events in September, we’re pleased to confirm events this Friday 12 January in London and Wednesday 24 January in Leeds. The events are aimed at those who lead improvement in their provider.

Book now or contact the improvement network team with questions.

Updates from our partners

From Department of Health

Staff bank – flexible working pilots

In October the Secretary of State announced pilots focusing on reducing agency spend by improving the staff experience of banks – including use of mobile phone booking apps and prompter payment.

These pilots are due to commence from April and we are looking for trusts to participate. This is an opportunity for trusts to develop staff bank best practice, help reduce their agency spend, and be recognised as leaders in the use of technology to deliver safe and efficient flexible workforce solutions.

If you’d like your trust to take part or for further information please email by 5pm, Wednesday 17 January.

Chief medical officer alert on the use of antiviral medicines

Medical directors, please share the CAS alert which provides advice on the prescribing and supply of antiviral medicines for the prevention and treatment of flu. The advice recommends that it is appropriate for antiviral medicines to be prescribed for people presenting with flu-like illness in line with regulations that govern the prescribing and supply of antiviral medicines in the community and current NICE guidance.

From Home Office

New guidance to help NHS staff identify and safeguard ‘county lines’ victims

To safeguard vulnerable young people from being exploited by ‘county line’ gangs, the Home Office has produced guidance and posters to increase awareness among NHS staff of county lines exploitation, and to recognise the signs to look out for, that could indicate that someone is a victim.

NHS staff should report their concerns to their safeguarding lead.