Provider bulletin: 20 March 2019

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

For action

Financial planning workbooks

We have added a financial planning workbook to your trust’s portal. Please use the workbook to help inform and prepare your 2019/20 financial planning submissions, which are due on Thursday 4 April 2019.

If after speaking to your NHS Improvement regional contact you have a question relating to the workbook, please email

For information

Pre-election guidance for upcoming local elections

Local elections will take place in many areas on Thursday 2 May. The pre-election period, also known as purdah, will begin in local areas around six weeks before the election.

Please share our pre-election guidance widely within your organisation to ensure your staff are aware of the implications for communications activities during this time.

Changes to classification of gabapentin and pregabalin

From Monday 1 April, gabapentin and pregabalin will be reclassified as schedule 3 controlled drugs, meaning there will be changes to how they are prescribed and dispensed to increase patient safety.

NHS England has created a guidance document on changes to the law. Please share these with your chief pharmacists.

New provider directory from 1 April 2019

We are replacing the foundation trust directory on GOV.UK with an NHS provider directory on our website from Monday 1 April. It will contain listings for both NHS trusts and foundation trusts, including contact details, key documents and regulatory action.

Archived foundation trust directory pages will be available on the National Archives website and the foundation trust directory will redirect to our website.

Please contact your NHS Improvement relationship team if you have any questions about the change.

Integrated Care Provider (ICP) Contract

NHS England has published the consultation response for a new contract which will help local systems integrate care in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.

The ICP contract will be made available as an option for commissioners to use from spring 2019.

Updates from our partners

National Audit Office (NAO)

Have your say on the NAO Code of Audit Practice

The NAO’s Code of Audit Practice sets the scope of work external auditors perform for local government and NHS bodies, and is refreshed every five years.

The NAO has launched a first stage consultation on relevant issues for the development of a new code, which will come into play from Wednesday 1 April 2020, and would like to hear your views.

Good Governance Institute and Connect Health

New national guidance for musculoskeletal (MSK) services

Tuesday 2 April, 5.30pm–8pm, London

Join this event for the launch of new national guidance to improve MSK services in the NHS. You will hear from a variety of experts and will have the opportunity to examine and debate key issues relating to the sustainable delivery of MSK services.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Mental health policy research unit scoping review

NIHR mental health policy research unit is undertaking a scoping review of community-based service models for people with a diagnosis of personality disorder, complex trauma or with difficulties relating to these diagnoses. The review will be used to inform national policy development and delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

To help inform this review, they are asking mental health providers to send details of any relevant local community mental health service models, particularly those with innovative partnership work, to by Tuesday 30 April.

The Royal College of Pathologists

Implementing the medical examiner system

Thursday 25 April, 9.30am-4.30pm, London

The recent appointment of Dr Alan Fletcher as National Medical Examiner represents an important step in establishing a medical examiner system across England and Wales.

At this event, you will learn about the role of the national medical examiner, hear an update on the implementation of the system and the digital solution, and find out about the next phase of the medical examiner system.

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