The gift that keeps you guessing

The government’s NHS funding settlement brings some welcome relief for struggling services, but leaves many tough questions unresolved. Craig Ryan reports.

The NHS’s 70th birthday present from the government was a bit like one of those gift cards from posh shops that don’t tell you how much they’re worth – when you finally get to the till, it’s always a bit less than you need. We know quite a lot about what the “long-term funding settlement”, unveiled on 18 June, is not. It’s obviously not, as Theresa May suggested, a “Brexit dividend” – that claim has been so comprehensively rubbished that there’s not need to go over it again here.

Talking heads

Last year’s Stevenson-Farmer report set out an ambitious agenda for improving mental health and wellbeing in the NHS. Craig Ryan explores the deep culture changes needed to make sure all NHS staff can thrive at work.

After another punishing week and a “frantic” 24-hour period on call at the weekend, Paul, a manager for an NHS trust in the South West, found himself unable to get out of bed. He’d been experiencing stress and feelings of anxiety for months, but knew this was different. “I just couldn’t move. My head felt like lead, I couldn’t even contemplate the things I had to do to get into work,” he recalls.