Provider bulletin: 3 April 2019

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

For action

Extension of pause on the use of vaginal mesh

Following the national pause on the use of synthetic mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or urogynaecological prolapse, we are now writing to confirm the pause and period of high restriction is being extended.

Please read this letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement’s medical directors outlining the actions to be taken.

New ambulances to be purchased in line with the standard ambulance vehicle specification from 1 April

Ambulance trusts are now required to purchase all new ambulances in line with the newly-published standard ambulance vehicle specification, ensuring your fleet is safe and effective for patients and staff, and provides good value for money.

If you have any questions about the specification, please email

Changes to self-certification communications

From this year onwards, we will no longer send you reminders about completing your self-certification activities, so please build all self-certification activities and deadlines into your calendars. We have published templates and guidance to help you with this (please note these are for your benefit only, there is no need to return these to us).

If you have any further questions, please contact your regional regulation lead.

For information

NHS England and NHS Improvement funding and resource publication

Last week we published ‘NHS England and NHS Improvement funding and resource 2019/20: supporting the NHS Long Term Plan’  which sets out the funding pledges and support that will be provided to help the NHS deliver on the priorities outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

It describes how funding, people and resources will be distributed to transform local health and care systems.

NHS Assembly membership

The NHS Assembly has been created to advise our Boards on achieving the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Assembly builds on the collaborative approach to developing the plan. Its members include national and frontline clinical leaders, patients and carers, staff representatives, health and care system leaders and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

Practising or training doctors, nurses and other health professionals are members to ensure the needs and priorities of the NHS workforce are well represented.

2017/18 reference cost benchmarking tool now available

Your 2017/18 reference cost benchmarking tool and associated guidance have now been published on your trust planning portal.

The benchmarking tool has been produced using the latest reference cost data, and highlights areas where you might have financial efficiency opportunities. It will also allow you to evaluate trust reference costs to improve costing in future collections.

Developing workforce safeguards

As of Monday 1 April, you will now be assessed on your compliance with the recommendations in the developing workforce safeguards publication.

This publication:

• provides a set of recommendations on reporting and governance approaches to workforce planning

• sets out our requirement to assess all providers on compliance (via the Single Oversight Framework and the Annual Governance Statement)

• shares good practice approaches to decision-making on workforce set against safe staffing guidelines

NHS optical voucher values/hospital eye service maximum charge from 1 April

There will be no change to the current NHS optical voucher values or hospital eye service maximum charge. Both will remain at the same level as 2017/18.

Gender pay gap report

We’ve published our annual gender pay gap report detailing the difference in average pay between male and female employees as of 31 March 2018, and the actions we are taking to address and close the gap such as the active gender pay group.

Updates from our partners

NHS Employers

Culture and environment survey

The University of York is conducting a survey on behalf of NHS Employers to find out more about issues such as pay gaps, the effectiveness of staff networks, the inclusion of minority groups, and discrimination in the NHS.

Please share your views and encourage staff of all grades in your organisation to do the same.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Help raise awareness of dementia research

NIHR has developed an online awareness toolguidance and case studies to help you signpost newly diagnosed patients and enable dementia patients to participate in dementia research.

Join Dementia Research (JDR) is a campaign that sets out to meet the dementia 2020 challenge objectives:

• ensuring all staff can signpost patients to participate in research

• 25% of people with dementia are registered with JDR by 2020

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