The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust was supposed to be a shining example of a ‘turned around’ trust.

Its efforts in coming back from a major maternity scandal were regularly trumpeted by some health commentators, and the trust was even rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission in 2017.

But it wasn’t long before the façade started to slip.

Longstanding problems in the urology department became evident after an employment tribunal for one of the consultants, Peter Duffy, who then wrote a scathing book about the trust’s response to whistleblowing concerns.

This prompted NHS England to commission an independent review, which has now concluded there were systemic failings at multiple levels which contributed to more than 500 instances of actual or potential patient harm.

The report, which details 20 years of a department riven with conflict, makes for shocking reading.

Last year the trust was also subjected to another external review, looking at cultural problems and patient safety issues in trauma and orthopaedics, while the CQC has this year rated the trust’s leadership and medical care as “inadequate”.

Several of the trust’s directors have since left, but regulators have so far retained faith in chief executive Aaron Cummins, who took that job in 2018 and remains in post.

A glimpse of tech’s future

An NHS ‘transformation factory’ to support tech innovation will mean significant changes in working, culture, behaviour and funding – and will require NHS England to attract new talent, says a major review of tech leadership.

The people with necessary tech skills “are in high demand”, says the Wade-Gery report, concluding “so to be successful in attracting and retaining key individuals, NHSE will need to create a rewarding environment where individuals can make real and lasting contribution to health improvement and grow professionally”.

The review proposes a “transformation factory” that will mean “significant changes to ways of working, culture and behaviour, resource allocation, and funding”.

The transformation factory is one of four “layers” that should make up NHSE’s “new operating model” for transformation work.

The three other layers are: working with individual integrated care systems to establish needs, capabilities, standards, and roadmaps; ensuring robust “technology architecture”; and strengthening data and analytics capability.

The review’s headline recommendation was the absorption of NHSX and NHS Digital into NHSE.