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

HSJ readers are not noted for loving the Care Quality Commission so there will probably be a few tears shed at its embarrassment at giving a hospital the wrong rating for four years.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital should have been “outstanding” following a 2020 inspection but was instead given a “good” rating, alongside the wider Royal Surrey Foundation Trust.

This error only came to light when the maternity services were inspected recently and retained their “outstanding” rating. The CQC quickly changed the hospital’s overall rating on its website and printed material.

Unfortunately, the error rather overshadowed an excellent CQC report for maternity services – and that is a rare achievement with so many trusts getting “inadequate” or “requires improvement.” Among the most striking of the plaudits from the CQC was for the work with refugee/asylum seekers and traveller groups. These may be a small minority in the leafy Surrey area covered by the trust but their problems in accessing care can be significant.

On top of that, the maternity services seem to have a stable workforce, with new facilities and ways of working helping to recruit and retain midwives. Whatever the department’s “secret sauce” is, it seems to be working.

Serious allegations

An NHS trust has concluded that its former chief executive is not a “fit and proper person” to be on an NHS board, after investigating allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour, HSJ has learned.

A specialist external workplace investigation was commissioned by the trust, which considered serious allegations made about the former chief executive’s behaviour.

Sources with knowledge of the situation said almost 30 female staff members came forward to give information to the investigation, but it focused on 12 employees who were willing to give evidence.

HSJ has been told that as a result of the investigation, which concluded at the end of last year, the trust’s chair has informed NHS England in writing that the former CEO does not meet the “Fit and Proper Person Test”, implying they should be ruled out of board roles – or roles with equivalent responsibility – at English NHS organisations and adult social care providers.

Also on today

A former Conservative minister, GP leader, business chief and an eminent healthcare scientist are joining the NHSE board, nearly a year after the non-executive director posts were advertised. And the mental health workforce has become less experienced, while roles have expanded unevenly across the sector, research has revealed.