Is the (Stevens) force with you?
The hints Simon Stevens has been delivering this week, about the financial settlement for 2016/17, are tantalising.
Whatever the final details are, the suggestion that there may be some whole health economy rather than single provider financial budgeting next year is truly radical and much needed.
NHS providers and commissioners (as well as local authorities) have grown adept at robbing each other to achieve institutional in-year break even. A move to health economy financial assessment would really challenge that narrow "I'm all right Jack" behaviour. It would force a wider perspective of what works for patients and the creation of sustainable health economies.
This is not a quick fix and will inevitably take more than one year. It will require implementation of new models of care to embed and reflect wider balanced health economies. It will be difficult to challenge the learnt NHS behaviour to look after your institution first. It will need effective, supportive, long-term and aligned regional system management by NHS improvement and NHSE (any element of that recipe would be a big ask! )
However, to get to the radical change to service models that everyone recognises is needed, you have to start challenging and supporting commissioners and providers to think and behave differently; and that can't be too far, far away…